Mellonath Legolas

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Archives:Elvish Voice and Song

 

 

Originally posted by Ithildin

IIRC in LOTR there are at least a couple of instances where characters were recognized as being Elves by their distinctive voices. I would imagine their vocal range to be greater than that of mortals, and the timbre of their voices I would imagine to be richer and fuller also. Their beautiful clear voices, their Sindarin speech and the ethereal quality of their songs added up to a sound that was uniquely elvish. Glorfindel only called out a greeting, yet it was characteristic enough to establish his Elven identity. Legolasí song as he approached Minas Tirith that morning may have contributed to Imrahilís ability to recognize him as an Elf.

 


Elanor: Ithildin,
Thanks again for a very good compilation as well as for significant and beautiful contribution re: voices. BTW, the fact that Imrahil heard Legolas' voice could indeed be the key issue. IIRC Legolas had alredy stopped singing when they met Imrahil, but it didn't really matter, since Legolas greeted the Prince of Dol Amroth and was the first of the two to speak.

 

Luthien: Agreed, Tolkien always seemed to point out that the voices of Elves were clear and melodious. I imagine an ethereal sound to them too.

That made my thoughts stray to the tremendous significance of song to Elvish culture, and to Legolas. Often we find him walking and singing to himself, or lying in the grass and singing to himself softly. The singing must be somewhat relaxing to him I think.

I recall Sam Gamgee trying to describe the incredible beauty of Lothlorien and saying:

"I feel as if was inside a song, if you take my meaning."

That line always seemed to stay with me, a simple yet profound appraisal of the harmony that was elvishness. Memories were like waking dreams to the Elves. Often Legolas expressed memories and stories that were passed down by his people in song (the lay of Nimrodel, the green fields of Lebennin). Emotions that deeply touched his soul also seemed to find a voice in song: his sea longing was translated into his most memorable song (IMHO).

I've always wondered what Legolas' waking dreams were like and now I think I can reasonably surmise.

They were like living inside a song.

Words are just words, but put them into a song sung in a fair elven voice (Telerin too)- and well, that must have been something quite remarkable to hear.

 

Ithildin: Beautifully expressed, Luthien! I agree.
I always thought the images of Legolas singing to himself were a remarkable glimpse into his elvishness. Music is a powerful way to express emotions, and as Elves experienced emotions with such passion, it makes sense that music and song would be an integral part of their lives.

 

Morgan: Luthien,
I second Ithildin's reply to your post. Your interpretation is pure poetic artistry. I believe song can cross the barriers between worlds and capture a moment that will stay with us an eternity. It is sad that the keeping of bardic traditions has fallen into disuse throughout history. What a rare and treasured thing it would be to be walking in the forest with friends and have one of them spontaneously break into song in order to recant a story. Sometimes I feel we live in a world where people talk a lot, but don't truly speak.