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

An toil leat ceòl, bàrdachd no ealain sam bith eile? Am faca tu rudeigin inntinneach air an TBh? Innse dhuinn air / Do you like music, poetry or any other art form? Did you see anything interesting on the telly? Tell us about it
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Re: My Michaelmas song tr*nsl*t**n - could you look it over?

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:37 am

Hmm. Okay, but what about, say, Silent Night in Gaelic? Is the tune changed to fit the words?



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

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:50 am

P.S. Tonite our group of 20 sang the tr*nsl*t**n you helped with. People loved it. Thanks GunChleoc and everyone!
People noted that the Gaelic version doesn't sound as "hard / sharp" as the English version, and that it the sound-mood of the words evoked a autumnal golden glow.

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

Unread post by Níall Beag » Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:29 pm

Gaelic Way wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:37 am
Hmm. Okay, but what about, say, Silent Night in Gaelic? Is the tune changed to fit the words?
The tune to Silent Night works a lot better as it was written in German meter, whereas this tune appears to follow Latin meter.

The big difference is that German and Gaelic (and English) are stress-timed languages (i.e. the tonic syllables form a (mostly) regular rhythm and unstressed syllables are given whatever length necessary to fit the beat) whereas Latin and its descendants are syllable-timed (each syllable gets the same length of time).

Silent Night's a good example, as the two main phrases set the entire meter for the piece: Stille Nacht, heilige nacht -- two phrases, two tonic stresses, implying march time; "heilige" -- one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed, implying waltz time. March + waltz = 6 8.
This leaves a lot of scope for added or dropped passing tones and grace notes as and when verses require them, and at least one Gaelic version does exactly that.

Consider these two lines from each verse with barlines added:
1)
| Holder Knabe im | lockigen Haar,
| Schlaf in | himmlischer Ruh!
2)
| Tönt es laut von | fern und nah:
| Christ, der Retter ist | da!
3)
| Da uns schlägt die | rettende Stund'.
| Christ, in deiner Ge-|-burt!

All of these lines start on the first beat of the first bar of the musical phrase.

Here are the same lines in the first Gaelic version on Omniglot:
1)
A' | freasdal a’ phàisd tha | àlainn ‘na shnuadh,
An | sìth o nèamh ‘na | shuain,
2)
An | t-sèisd bh’ aig ceòl an | ainglean binn:
Tha | Crìosd, am Fear-saoraidh, ‘nur | còir,
3)
'S tha | uair nan gràs an-|-dràsd' dhuinn dlùth, [I think
| Shlànaighear, o’n | rugadh tu

Note that all but one of those lines has an added note before the barline to accommodate a weak syllable. The second version does away with this by ensuring the lines begin with a tonic syllable.

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

Unread post by Níall Beag » Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:51 pm

The English lyrics place all tonic stresses on strong beats and populate all strong beats with tonic syllables, with the exception of "and" in bar 6.

You could argue there's a bit of poetic licence on giving the third syllable of Michaël extra stress but given that it's on the upbeat, it can be interpreted as secondary stress, which would be fine. In the end, the real oddity here to a modern ear is using Michaël rather than Michael in the first place.

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

Unread post by GunChleoc » Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:23 pm

Eek, my MuseScore skills have gotten really rusty. I don't have time to relearn right now, so I edited the sporano for the first sentence and added the text with GIMP. I hope this will give you more or a feeling for the stressed/unstressed syllable thing.

Image

Sharing the score was still very helpful though, because I could listen to my changes :)

BTW the soprano is muted in the mixer for your shared score.

For understanding how the rhythm affects the music, listening to some puirt a beul might help - it's a completely different genre (words are chosen to fit the rhythm so it can be danced to), but the rythmic principle still holds and is very strong.

Here's a good one by Julie Fowlis - it's at danceable tempo rather than a how-fast-can-you-sing contest, so you'll have a chance to follow it. Somebody posted the lyrics too.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C57AbthFus
Oileanach chànan chuthachail
Na dealbhan agam

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

Unread post by Níall Beag » Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:16 pm

That doesn't fix i, which shows a weakness in my previous attempt to describe the pattern. Because "gais-" is longer than "-gich", it still sounds long. This is the point of the so-called "Scotch snap" as I understand it -- to highlight that a tonic syllable is short by contrast to the longer following unstressed syllable. "thòiseachadh" hasn't been corrected either, because the tonic syllable (thòis-) is on a weak beat, whereas a weak syllable (-adh) is sitting on a strong beat.

This fundamentally breaks the language in the song in a way that no-one would ever do writing in their own language.

It's like singing Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht or Michael, Hero of the sun.

Sorry, I say no-one, but having read the last bit back, I realise that I mean anyone other than William Shatner...

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

Unread post by faoileag » Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:16 pm

EDIT!
My apologies. :naire: I wrote this after reading the (then) last post on page 1, not realising there was already a page 2.
I'll leave it up in case of interest anyway.


The principle is right, though the example with Gaelic psalm-singing, a genre and style in its own right, is extreme. It takes the basic tune and slows it down immensely, and the congregation fills in the gaps between the "signpost notes" with their own often elaborate grace-notes, in their own time. It's in the tradition of (secular) unaccompanied seann nòs singing, again very traditional and decorated, and putting the words before the tune and rhythm.

There is also choral music sung in Gaelic, based on classical (non-Gaelic) music, usually arrangements of Gaelic poetry or traditional songs. This is a relatively modern genre, stemming from the late Victorian period, and connected with the Royal National Mòd (and regional offshoots), a competitive music festival not everyone "approves of" as not a traditional style. It has however developed as a popular genre itself, and original music, some very modern, is written for it too. But even here, each piece of sheet music has the sentence on it "Gaelic vowel lengths take precedence!".

If you're interested , here are some choir-related links.
Mòd: https://www.ancomunn.co.uk/#
http://largsgaelic.moonfruit.com/
https://www.gaelicchoirs.org.uk/useful-links/
https://www.gaelicmusic.com/album.php?SKU=SKYECD19

and lots on YouTube if you look for Gaelic choirs
e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2B0CFi4yec (Sìne Bhàn)


Psalm-singing:
Main online teacher is Calum Martin of Lewis, and his Leum Music on YouTube has a series of workshops.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4zq-M0GN0Q

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

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:29 am

Níall Beag wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:51 pm
In the end, the real oddity here to a modern ear is using Michaël rather than Michael in the first place.
Good point. I think the song is from the English Anthroposophical / Rudolf Steiner community -- in that spiritual community, I've heard that English-speakers purposely (always) pronounce the name with three syllables Mi-cha-el, to emphasize the "el" (god). So it's an intentional / systematic / denominational thing, not just in this song.

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

Unread post by Gaelic Way » Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:45 am

Sounds like Níall Beag already found it, but here's the English version of the song (Michael, Hero of the Sun): https://margot91.webnode.cz/_files/2000 ... %20Sun.pdf

GunChleoc, thanks for the head's up about the muted soprano: I uploaded a fixed version: https://musescore.com/user/28202910/scores/6374626

Thanks to everyone (GunChleoc, Níall Beag, and faoileag) for the thoughtful primers on Gaelic song syllables -- I'll need to digest what you-all shared -- it's all new to me -- I'm overwhelmed in a good way! I see it would be cool/better to nativize the tune in the Gaelic tradition. I'll need to chew some more on your words though. Thank you!

LOL at THE ShatNER examPLE. That is A good point! :-D

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