My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

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My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:56 am

Hi, I translated a song into Gàidhlig for our choir. I used a combination of Google tr*nsl*t* plus a Gàidhlig dictionary (Wiktionary). Could you tell me if my tr*nsl*t**n is correct?

The English lyrics are:

Michael, hero of the sun.
Lend us your sword,
The battle has begun.
Teach us to listen and to speak.
Saint Michael, hero of the sun.

My draft tr*nsl*t**n is:

Mìcheal, gaisgeach na grèine.
Thoir dhuinn do chlaidheamh,
Tha am blàr air tòiseachadh.
Teagasg dhuinn èisteachd agus bruidhinn.
Naomh Mìcheal, gaisgeach na grèine.

Any corrections needed?



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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by GunChleoc » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:33 am

A Mhìcheil, a ghaisgich na grèine.
Thoir dhuinn do chlaidheamh,
Tha am blàr air tòiseachadh.
Ionnsaich èisteachd agus bruidhinn dhuinn.
A Naoimh Mhìcheil, a ghaisgich na grèine.

Google tr*nsl*t* tends to fail really badly on the grammar - the purpose of the tool is to help you understand texts in languages that you don't speak. It is useless at providing publishable copy.

If you're serious about leanring, best give it a wide berth, because your brain will remember the erroneous texts ;)
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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:44 pm

Thanks a million GunChleoc!

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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by akerbeltz » Wed Sep 30, 2020 6:33 pm

ps faclair.com beats Wiktionary hands down 8-)

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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:57 am

Question @ GunChleoc:

Are all of the words essential in your tr*nsl*t**n? I ask because: the number of syllables, and brevity, are key factors, as it's an intricate piece of music in three part harmony, which requires each word to correspond to a note. The less syllables the better. The English lyrics are very succinct -- almost like a newspaper headline.

My questions show how much a beginner I am in Gaelic:

Are the "A"s in front of "Mhìcheil" and "Naoimh Mhìcheil" necessary? What does it do? Is it an exclamation like "O Michael", or some other function? It should be the simplest title-like form.

Also: what does the phrase "bruidhinn dhuinn" mean? Does it mean "speak to us"? In contrast, the English is worded very generally: "Teach us to listen and speak." (to no one in particular)

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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:57 am

akerbeltz wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 6:33 pm
ps faclair.com beats Wiktionary hands down 8-)
Thanks akerbeltz!

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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by GunChleoc » Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:42 pm

The "dhuinn" belongs to "ionnsaich". "ionnsaich" = "learn", "ionnsaich do" = teach. So, it can't be left out.

The "a" is part of the vocative case and is needed also: http://www.akerbeltz.org/index.php?titl ... oper_nouns

"Tha am blàr air tòiseachadh." could be shortened to: 'S am blàr air tòiseachadh. And I made a grammar mistake - my bad. Should be "air a thòiseachadh". Alternatively, you could say "Thòisich am blàr".

Also, note that in Gaelic music, the rhythm is changed to fit the rhythm of the words, and not the other way around as in English. Long syllables are twice as long as short syllables, and unstressed syllables then get lengthened as needed to make it fit the meter. Here's a good example for that:



Compare the first line of the first 2 verses.
  1. In the first verse, "Bidh clann Ulaidh", the "Ul" syllable is short.
  2. In the second verse, "Bidh clann Amhlaigh", "Amh" is long.
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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Níall Beag » Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:51 pm

tr*nsl*t*ng a song without knowing the tune is pretty much impossible.

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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Sat Oct 03, 2020 11:52 pm

GunChleoc wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:42 pm
The "dhuinn" belongs to "ionnsaich". "ionnsaich" = "learn", "ionnsaich do" = teach. So, it can't be left out.
Okay, that makes sense. Follow-up question: what's wrong with teasgaisc? Is the word archaic/obsolete in Scottish Gaelic?
The "a" is part of the vocative case and is needed also: http://www.akerbeltz.org/index.php?titl ... oper_nouns
Okay, I think I can work them into the meter. It may actually help in some places.
"Tha am blàr air tòiseachadh." could be shortened to: 'S am blàr air tòiseachadh.
Thanks a lot! This gives me some leeway.
And I made a grammar mistake - my bad. Should be "air a thòiseachadh". Alternatively, you could say "Thòisich am blàr".
Thanks for the correction, and for an alternative - this gives me options.

Thanks also for the youtube example -- I'm not sure I yet understand the difference between how long vowels/syllables, stressed short vowels/syllables, and unstressed short syllables are treated. I haven't delved into the video yet though -- I'll check it out.
Níall Beag wrote:tr*nsl*t*ng a song without knowing the tune is pretty much impossible.
Luckily, I know the tune, and only needed some linguistic pointers and options. Once I have the revised sheet music put together, I might post an image of it here for further review. Thanks everybody!
Last edited by Gaelic Way on Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Sun Oct 04, 2020 2:40 am

Um, this may be too much to ask...but is anyone here able and willing to render this into IPA phonetic script?:

A Mhìcheil, a ghaisgich na grèine.
Thoir dhuinn do chlaidheamh,
'S am blàr air thòiseachadh.
Ionnsaich èisteachd agus bruidhinn dhuinn.
A Naoimh Mhìcheil, a ghaisgich na grèine.

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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:16 am

I uploaded the tune onto Youtube, with GunChleoc's lyrics.
The top line shows my best guess for pronunciation. I realize that Gaelic has different phonemes than English, but I'm trying to render the sounds with the closest Anglicized equivalent, for an Anglophone choir. Still, if you see I'm off in my phonetics, please let me know.

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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:34 pm

P.S. I see I made some typos (Mìcheal instead of Mhìcheil), which I'll fix -- but that's the gist of it. Thanks to everyone for your help!

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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by GunChleoc » Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:59 am

If you created this with MuseScore, can you share the source file on the MuseScore site? It will make it a lot easier for me to help.

I also recomment that you keep the accents in your transcription, to mark the long vowels - this will help your choir with understanding the pronunciation.

Just looking at the thumbnail, note length for "blàr air thòiseachadh" in the top voice would be 4. 8 4. 8 2. to make it fit the wovel lengths. For "ghaisgich", you would do it the other way around (8 4.), since "gais" is short.
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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Mon Oct 05, 2020 3:44 pm

Here's the revised version - I fixed a bunch of my typos and shifted some of the notes (e.g. so both syllables of greine 'sun' are on a high note, as in the English version).



And here's the link to the MuseScore: https://musescore.com/user/28202910/scores/6374626
If you would like, I could email you the original file.

My choir is mixed German-speakers and English-speakers, so we've had to make a simple, custom phonetic system which is streamlined and doesn't confuse either. :)

I'm interested to see what you're aiming for. You're welcome to fiddle with it. Yet in listening to the (beautiful!) Bidh Clann Ulaidh song you shared, I'm not seeing what you said about long and short syllables. For example, the line: "Bidh clann a' rìgh, bidh clann a' rìgh" has the same words in both phrases, but the rhythm/stress still flip-flops.

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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Níall Beag » Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:54 pm

The rules of vowel length are pretty subtle, and attempting to describe the Gaelic musical idiom in brief is about as difficult as describing any musical idiom.

Here's my attempt at the core concepts, though, assuming 4 4 (Does 4 2 imply two strong beats in the bar or four?)

As with most languages, a strong beat should coincide with the tonic stress of a word, which means unstressed words (eg "a" and "agus") should never fall on first beat of a bar, or any other strong beats (eg 3 in 4 4; 4 in 6 8; 4, 7, 10 in 12 8 etc). "a" and "agus" should be passing notes and/or on beat 2 or 4.

Long syllables are preferentially placed on beats 1 and 4 (they always receive tonic stress, so that follows from the above rule) and if your tonic syllable is short, you have to sing it short -- i.e. less than one beat.

Unstressed syllables can be whatever length you want, as vowel length is a characteristic of tonic syllables only. However, in general, drawn out syllables tend to involve lenited consonants that have the effect of diphthongising the vowel, as diphthongs naturally lengthen the syllables, even though they're not conceptually viewed as long.

Here's a tune from the common psaltery: Bangor.
Here's the same tune after it's been naturalised into Gaelic idiom.

You'd think it was a different tune. That's what you're up against here: you can either sing the tune, or you can sing Gaelic.

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