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.
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
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
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.
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.