Michael Sparrow – Ainulindalë: The Music of the Gods – Abstract

In the beginning of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel The Silmarillion, he compares the creation of Middle-earth to a song. My research goal for this summer is to produce an original, full-length interpretation of what that song might have sounded like. The orchestration of my composition will contain a separate instrument for each of the gods, or Valar. The piece will feature four movements: the birth of the Valar, the doom of Morgoth, the creation of the Dwarves, and the awakening of the Elves. The first task I will undertake is reading The Silmarillion to familiarize myself with the characteristics of the different Valar. Following this, I will explore representations of the Valar in other forms of art or literary analysis. This will allow me to see if my interpretations match those of other artists before me. Based on this information, I will assemble a fitting orchestration, and will then begin formal composition. This project will contribute to a growing tradition of art and culture that honors Tolkien and his world. It also builds upon similar research that I undertook after my freshman year, in which I also produced an original musical composition inspired by Tolkien’s mythos. These two pieces could constitute a foundation for a larger portfolio of my works should I choose to assemble one.

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