Help with translation

Steve Skipworth #1433

I’ve been trying to decipher the lyrics to this song for years now and recently got a hint that it is in Tolkien Elvish. Part of it is excerpts from A Elbereth Gilthoniel. Can anyone help me with the lyrics?

m.youtube.com

2020-07-30T21:28:28+00:00
Elaran #1435

The voice is so faint in comparison to the other sounds that I can barely hear the words, but catching a few things helped with finding the rest.

The part between 0.30 and 1.30 apparently uses the lyrics from a soundtrack of the LotR film trilogy. I was able to catch it thanks to a mispronunciation by the singer. I heard a "ch" (i.e. /ʧ/) sound at 1.10, as in the English "church", a sound which does not exist in Sindarin. Basically, the singer said "ai ʧin", but I figured that that is a mispronunciation of "i chin", which should be read like "ee heen" (i.e. /i ˈxin/ in IPA). Here:

A Bereth thar Ennui Aeair! (0.30)
Calad ammen i reniar (x2)
Mi 'aladhremmin ennorath. (1.00)
A Elbereth Gilthoniel
i chin a thûl lín míriel... (x2)

[Side note: I am not sure where the first line of this originated. It is supposedly heard in a scene from the extended FotR film when Frodo and Sam heard a song of the Elves, but what I hear in that scene is actually "rîn athar annûn-aearath" which is the actual second line of the Passing of the Elves soundtrack. Perhaps someone simply made a guess on what the first line is (since it is very faint in that scene) and people took that to be the official thing (and that is why the song that you linked uses it), whereas it should have been "rîn..." as in the soundtrack.]

[Linguist's Note: The lyrics and other Elvish translations for the films were written before some of the most informative notes of Tolkien on his languages were posthumously published. This means that older translations tend to have numerous mistakes, as is the case here, because they were more guesswork than proof-supported.]

The song continues with English:

O Queen beyond the Western Seas! (1.30)

This matches the second line of this poem by Tolkien in the books. However, the song does not continue with the poem's following "O light to us that wander here / Amid the world of woven trees!" lines. Instead I hear:

light us to the world of woven trees

... which makes little sense to me, nor does it match any text of which I am aware. It may be some sort of a butchered merging of those two lines from the poem. As for the rest, I can barely hear a thing. I caught "light is on... ??? ...to you", then maybe "clear is your voice and the words are true", where "clear is your voice" resembles "Clear are thy eyes and bright thy breath!" line from the poem.

At 2.00 it returns to the first two lines of the first part, repeating it for a whole minute and saying "shine on me" between each repetition.

At 3.45, it uses the second and third lines from Tolkien's own Sindarin poem A Elbereth Gilthoniel:

silivren penna míriel (3.45)
o menel aglar elenath (x2)

At 4.15 it returns to English. It is all really vague, so I am unable to comment here. The rest of the song uses some more of those earlier repetitions, and that is about it...

2020-07-31T15:43:41+00:00
Steve Skipworth #1442

Elaran, thanks so much for the detailed response. I’m going through it in more detail now to transcribe the lyrics. I hope you enjoyed the song.

2020-08-02T15:17:59+00:00