Choral Interpretation of Tolkien’s Elvish Verse

The Lord of the Rings is perhaps the most well-known – and indeed one of the very first – literary fantasy series ever written. What many people fail to realize, however, is that J. R. R. Tolkien is not just a masterful storyteller – he is also a linguistic and poetic genius. He poured his whole livelihood into the development of Middle-earth and the Elvish language, and his finished epic also includes a great many songs – some written in English, others in Elvish – that augment his world and further develop its backstory and mythology. This summer, I will do further research on the external and internal influences that inspired Tolkien to develop Middle-earth in the way he did, and use my findings to compose an original piece of choral music based on the text of one of his songs from The Lord of the Rings. If I find that one language or culture of the world was an especially large influence on his development of the Elvish language, I will do additional research on that particular music-culture and attempt to emulate its musical style as closely as possible in my final composition. This piece of music would serve to increase appreciation for Tolkien’s literary genius in anybody who studies, performs, or hears it; furthermore, as there is already a growing tradition of music related to Tolkien’s work, my piece would contribute to that international musical movement.