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AW: [norse_course] Re: Sleepless in .se

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  • Daniel Ryan Prohaska
    Hi Sjur, You wrote:
    Message 1 of 16 , Aug 1, 2003
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      Hi Sjur,

      You wrote:

      <Since Latin has been a spoken language in
      <the church and in the academical world anyway, there is no problem to
      <make such a learning tape.

      Precisely, but this has little to do with reconstructive phonology. As
      you pointed out Latin was used as an academic, administrative and sacred
      language to this day, but in its various national pronunciations.
      Nowadays many Latin teachers follow more closely the reconstructed and
      attested pronunciation of the classical or "golden" Latin period. This I
      find preferable. Of course it always comes down to the reader being able
      to emulate these sounds and give a rough approximation of what it "could
      have sounded like". This can also be done for Old Norse, as no single
      variety of modern Scandinavian is phonologically so conservative to have
      retained a general character of Old Norse. Even Icelandic, which has
      undergone tremendous changes since the Old Norse period, not to mention
      the scarcely attested Viking period.

      <I don't know Ancient Greek to well to say anything about it, but I
      <assume that it has no natural offspring.

      I suppose one could call the "Katheravousa" variety of Greek an academic
      a offspring of Old Greek. In the past 30 years this variety has been
      largely replaced by the "Dimotiki" "the people's language" (i.e.
      Standard Modern Greek). Katheravousa is used only in the judicial
      language, in universities and a few newspapers. Most of the Greek
      emigrants throughout the world still feel that "Katheravousa" ought to
      be standard Greek and deplore the switch to Dimotiki. Off course the
      pronunciation, like modern Latin is not like Old Greek, but it uses
      forms and lexical items found in the ancient language.

      <So, the reason that Old Norse is special is that
      <(1) It has a close offspring which can be "taped" instead,
      <(2) the amount of potential users is rather small since it is the
      <language of the Icelandic Sagas, not the root language of western
      <civilization.

      <(1) and (2) points in the direction that Old Norse learning tapes are
      <quite uninteresting (just take a Modern Icelandic one instead). But,
      <I should point out that, personally, I like to reconstruct Old Norse
      <pronunciation.

      <A question: If such an Old Norse learning tape would be recorded,
      <which nationality or region should the reader be from (i.e. what
      <accent should he have)? If we identify Old Norse with Old Icelandic
      <it is obvious. I wouldn't make that identification. I would prefer a
      <reader from my own region. A Scanian would prefer a Scanian reader. A
      <Gutlander would prefer a Gutlandic reader. A Finland-swede would
      <prefer a Finland-Swedish reader. Etc.

      As a reconstructed Old Norse phonology would be unlike Finland-Swedish,
      Gulandish or Scanian, it wouldn't matter where the speaker came from.
      S/he wouldn't even have to be Scandinavian.

      I'm sure it would be helpful to record Old Icelandic/Norse literary
      works and give a carefully reconstructed sound-guide to the
      reconstructed phonemes as well as the metre intended in recital. I
      disagree with you on your latter point.

      I can recommend the CD "Edda - Myths from Medieval Iceland" by
      Sequentia, sung recordings of part of the Edda using a reconstructed
      Norse phonemic system.

      Dan






      --- In norse_course@yahoogroups.com, "Lewis, Raymond J."
      <lewisrj@a...> wrote:
      > Why - yes! I do believe that you should be in bed!
      >
      > I've seen other posts by you - so I know that you're not daft or
      anything.
      > Did you know, my good man, that one can, at this very moment,
      purchase audio
      >
      > tapes on Classical Latin and Ancient Greek pronunciation? Now -
      I've been
      > told
      > that neither the Romans or the Old Greeks had recording equipment
      and, since
      > I
      > am a rather smug modern, I'm inclined to believe it.  However,
      since I'm
      > also a
      > really smart hick - I have an idea that the pronunciation of now
      dead
      > languages
      > can be grasped at (i.e., reconstructed) by various means. Since you
      are
      > clearly
      > a slick fellow, who knows many things, please let me know if I
      might,
      > perhaps,
      > be, somewhat, on the right track here.  If you find that the
      correct
      > path be followed, or nearly so, please indicate why it is that Old
      Norse is
      > so
      > incredibly special that others could not have gone about the task
      of the
      > reconstruction
      > of the pronunciation thereof.  Since I, in fact, do not know that
      there are
      > no such
      > tapes, your explanation will be most welcome.
      >
      > Raymond
      >
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: sjuler
      > To: norse_course@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: 7/29/2003 8:02 PM
      > Subject: [norse_course] Sv: Re: Sv: thanks
      >
      > Heill,
      >
      > I write this message 2 a.m., I should be in my bed now :)
      >
      > The reason that I wrote "Are you really sure that there are Old
      Norse
      > learning tapes on the market out there!?" is that Dorilys was
      asking
      > for "Old Norse [...]learning tapes". As you know, there are no such
      > tapes since Old Norse is not a spoken language (any more). This
      > should have been realized by Dorilys (or be realized _now_).
      >
      > Sjul
      >
      >
      > --- In norse_course@yahoogroups.com, "Lewis, Raymond J."
      > <lewisrj@a...> wrote:
      > > Say - weren't you the fellow that wrote:
      > > ------------------------------------------------------------------
      --
      > ---
      > > I usually write my posts around midnight. Maybe I should be in
      bed
      > > then :D
      > > Sjul
      > > ------------------------------------------------------------------
      --
      > ---
      > >
      > > After reading this I'd have to say ----------------------->>>
      > >
      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > From: sjuler
      > > To: norse_course@yahoogroups.com
      > > Sent: 7/26/2003 4:16 PM
      > > Subject: [norse_course] Andsvar: thanks
      > >
      > > Are you really sure that there are Old Norse learning tapes on
      the
      > > market out there!? I knew that the Norse culture was amongst the
      > most
      > > advanced ones in the medieval, but I didn't know they invented a
      > > sound recording system...
      > >
      > > /Sjuler
      > >
      > > ----------------------->>>
      > >
      > > that it looks like you've stayed up too late again - eh?
      > >
      > > Raymond
      > > ------------------------------------------------------------------
      -
      > >
      > > --- In norse_course@yahoogroups.com, Dorilys Turner
      <khorrki@y...>
      > > wrote:
      > > > Thanks for the wonderful pages you've sent so far. Do you know
      > > where to get Old Norse or Icelandic language learning tapes, & @
      > what
      > > price?   Sunshine & Rain!
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > blessings, dorilys
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > ---------------------------------




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    • Haukur Thorgeirsson
      ... I hear that from time to time. I also saw that Renee praised their new album; saying the phonetic reconstruction was impeccable. See here, rather far down
      Message 2 of 16 , Aug 1, 2003
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        > I'm sure it would be helpful to record Old Icelandic/Norse literary
        > works and give a carefully reconstructed sound-guide to the
        > reconstructed phonemes as well as the metre intended in recital. I
        > disagree with you on your latter point.
        >
        > I can recommend the CD "Edda - Myths from Medieval Iceland" by
        > Sequentia, sung recordings of part of the Edda using a reconstructed
        > Norse phonemic system.

        I hear that from time to time. I also saw that Renee praised
        their new album; saying the phonetic reconstruction was impeccable.
        See here, rather far down the page:

        http://glosses.net/archives/cat_old_norse.php

        Anyway, Óskar and I reviewed their Myth CD during the heyday
        of this list. Our reviews can be found here:

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/norse_course/message/693
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/norse_course/message/694

        We independently came to almost exactly the same conclusions.
        (But they need not be the only valid ones.)

        Kveðja,
        Haukur
      • Daniel Ryan Prohaska
        Haukur and Óskar, I read the reviews you posted. Though formally you are probably right in many ways, in others you are not. I doubt this CD was recorded with
        Message 3 of 16 , Aug 2, 2003
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          Haukur and Óskar,

           

          I read the reviews you posted. Though formally you are probably right in many ways, in others you are not. I doubt this CD was recorded with the intent of making it into an academic exercise on reconstructing a sung version of the “Edda” as it was performed in mediaeval Iceland. It is a modern artistic expression of an old text, not more no less.

           

          To criticize it under this aspect does not do the craftsmanship and effort justice that was put into it.

           

          And how would you know how the Edda was performed in the first place? Were you there? Even darwing conclusions from modern Icelandic, Faeroes, and Norwegian traditional folk music doesn’t really help, because performace and musical styles develop and change over time at least as much as language does.

           

          I disagree that it sounds like “a bunch of Germans” confronted with an Icelandic text – I certainly know what that sounds like, and I do not find the like on the Sequentia-Edda-CD.

           

          Dan

        • haukurth@hi.is
          Hi, Dan! This exchange is only marginally on-topic but I hope no-one minds our discussing Sequentia a bit more. ... I m sure it is nowhere explicitly stated
          Message 4 of 16 , Aug 3, 2003
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            Hi, Dan!

            This exchange is only marginally on-topic but I hope
            no-one minds our discussing Sequentia a bit more.

            > I doubt this CD was recorded with the
            > intent of making it into an academic exercise on reconstructing a sung
            > version of the “Edda” as it was performed in mediaeval Iceland.

            I'm sure it is nowhere explicitly stated but that's
            the impression many people seem to be getting.


            > It is a modern artistic expression
            > of an old text, not more no less.

            Certainly. But why would they do all this research
            if their goal wasn't, at least partially, to reconstruct
            something?


            > To criticize it under this aspect does not do the craftsmanship and
            > effort justice that was put into it.

            The aspect we were asked (by more than one person)
            to criticize was the accuracy of the pronunciation.
            As I said two years ago:

            "Obviously the members of Sequentia are musicians
            (not linguists) and they will have to be judged for the quality
            of their music. I don't know much of anything about music so
            you shouldn't take my comments about it very seriously."

            As for accuracy of pronunciation we found it mostly absent.


            > And how would you know how the Edda was performed in the first place?
            > Were you there? Even darwing conclusions from modern Icelandic, Faeroes,
            > and Norwegian traditional folk music doesn’t really help, because
            > performace and musical styles develop and change over time at least as
            > much as language does.

            Even so, later Icelandic and Faroese folk songs would surely
            be a better approximation than, say, traditional Japanese music
            or modern opera. And this criticism was founded on their own
            claims. They said they'd listened to a whole lot of traditional
            Nordic music - yet I hardly heard a trace of that in their
            performance. Neither did Óskar.

            But it so happens that now we do have someone on this list
            who is much better qualified to judge Sequentia's music.
            Konrad, what do you think?

            By all means, don't let me ruin your enjoyment of the music.
            I keep giving the impression that I hated this CD but that's
            not the case at all. I enjoyed some of the melodies. I'd even
            like to own it but I'd rather prefer not to pay for it ;-)

            Kveðja,
            Haukur
          • Lewis, Raymond J.
            ... From: haukurth@hi.is To: norse_course@yahoogroups.com Sent: 8/3/2003 10:23 AM Subject: Re: [norse_course] sequentia Hi, Dan! This exchange is only
            Message 5 of 16 , Aug 3, 2003
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              -----Original Message-----
              From: haukurth@...
              To: norse_course@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: 8/3/2003 10:23 AM
              Subject: Re: [norse_course] sequentia

              Hi, Dan!

              This exchange is only marginally on-topic but I hope
              no-one minds our discussing Sequentia a bit more.

              --------------------------------------------------------------------
              Come now - if you're going to be a moderator then you had better
              deliberate a bit more carefully on your verdicts. I like the fact
              that you and smiley keep the sex chat out of the discussion - unlike
              other, public groups. Still, your judgements can be annoying to the
              Aquarius in me.

              Dan is making a very good point about PRONOUNCEMENTS on Old Norse
              PRONUNCIATION. There's a number of you guys, out there, who either now
              talk, or have talked about ON pronunciation like its some static thing. Now
              don't even start up with how you'all make it clear that language is fluid
              and ever-changing. I recognize that you do state this as a fact, still, your
              left hand does not communicate well with your right and pronouncements tend
              to border on the ludicrously fixed. I can meet people on the bus today that
              have such a drastically different accent from me that I can scarcely
              understand about half of what they be talking about - and they were born and
              raised but 500 miles from my present location within the sphere of
              homogenous and all pervasive media coverage dominated by a West Coast accent
              (like which I have). It looks as if some
              people are so desperate to recreate the past that they are willing to
              sacrifice the obvious in it's attainment.

              Still, with that said, efforts to recreate the past are not in vain and
              we must applaud efforts to conserve some of what has been needlessly
              lost. My request is that you not get all picky and petty about what you've
              found and try to blanket the world with it. It turns truly useful
              information into something more like propaganda.

              This is where Sequentia comes in. They did claim the music to be based
              upon an extrapolation of the musical traditions of Medieval Iceland and
              did claim that significant efforts were made to recreate both the music
              and speech of the time and place. With this in mind, it is obvious that
              the inhabitants of Modern Iceland are in a better position to evaluate
              Sequentia's claims than the rest of us. Therefore, I can't say that any
              of us should fault Haukur and Oskar for their naturally biased evaluations.
              It's the bias that we're counting on to give us information not available
              from any other source.

              We need to be aware of the biases of others as well as our own - otherwise,
              we're bound to get a rather distorted view of the world past and present.

              Raymond
              ----------------------------------------------------------------------

              > I doubt this CD was recorded with the
              > intent of making it into an academic exercise on reconstructing a sung
              > version of the "Edda" as it was performed in mediaeval Iceland.

              I'm sure it is nowhere explicitly stated but that's
              the impression many people seem to be getting.


              > It is a modern artistic expression
              > of an old text, not more no less.

              Certainly. But why would they do all this research
              if their goal wasn't, at least partially, to reconstruct
              something?


              > To criticize it under this aspect does not do the craftsmanship and
              > effort justice that was put into it.

              The aspect we were asked (by more than one person)
              to criticize was the accuracy of the pronunciation.
              As I said two years ago:

              "Obviously the members of Sequentia are musicians
              (not linguists) and they will have to be judged for the quality
              of their music. I don't know much of anything about music so
              you shouldn't take my comments about it very seriously."

              As for accuracy of pronunciation we found it mostly absent.


              > And how would you know how the Edda was performed in the first place?
              > Were you there? Even darwing conclusions from modern Icelandic,
              Faeroes,
              > and Norwegian traditional folk music doesn't really help, because
              > performace and musical styles develop and change over time at least as
              > much as language does.

              Even so, later Icelandic and Faroese folk songs would surely
              be a better approximation than, say, traditional Japanese music
              or modern opera. And this criticism was founded on their own
              claims. They said they'd listened to a whole lot of traditional
              Nordic music - yet I hardly heard a trace of that in their
              performance. Neither did Óskar.

              But it so happens that now we do have someone on this list
              who is much better qualified to judge Sequentia's music.
              Konrad, what do you think?

              By all means, don't let me ruin your enjoyment of the music.
              I keep giving the impression that I hated this CD but that's
              not the case at all. I enjoyed some of the melodies. I'd even
              like to own it but I'd rather prefer not to pay for it ;-)

              Kveðja,
              Haukur


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            • Daniel Bray
              Heill Haukur! I have a copy of the Sequentia CD, and even as a relative novice, I found numerous errors in pronunciation. I also was somewhat disappointed that
              Message 6 of 16 , Aug 3, 2003
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                Heill Haukur!

                I have a copy of the Sequentia CD, and even as a relative novice, I found numerous errors in pronunciation. I also was somewhat disappointed that the style owes more to Gregorian chanting than to medieval songs or folk songs that I've heard. The metre of Eddic poetry should, in my mind, lend to it a certain rhythm, which I didn't find at all on the Sequentia production. That being said, I still quite enjoy it as a musical production. Do you know of any recordings of traditional folk ballads or the like, that would give us a better idea of how it should sound?

                Kveðja,

                (the other) Dan

                haukurth@... wrote:
                Hi, Dan!
                
                This exchange is only marginally on-topic but I hope
                no-one minds our discussing Sequentia a bit more.
                
                  
                I doubt this CD was recorded with the
                intent of making it into an academic exercise on reconstructing a sung
                version of the “Edda” as it was performed in mediaeval Iceland.
                    
                I'm sure it is nowhere explicitly stated but that's
                the impression many people seem to be getting.
                
                
                  
                It is a modern artistic expression
                of an old text, not more no less.
                    
                Certainly. But why would they do all this research
                if their goal wasn't, at least partially, to reconstruct
                something?
                
                
                  
                To criticize it under this aspect does not do the craftsmanship and
                effort justice that was put into it.
                    
                The aspect we were asked (by more than one person)
                to criticize was the accuracy of the pronunciation.
                As I said two years ago:
                
                "Obviously the members of Sequentia are musicians
                (not linguists) and they will have to be judged for the quality
                of their music. I don't know much of anything about music so
                you shouldn't take my comments about it very seriously."
                
                As for accuracy of pronunciation we found it mostly absent.
                
                
                  
                And how would you know how the Edda was performed in the first place?
                Were you there? Even darwing conclusions from modern Icelandic, Faeroes,
                and Norwegian traditional folk music doesn’t really help, because
                performace and musical styles develop and change over time at least as
                much as language does.
                    
                Even so, later Icelandic and Faroese folk songs would surely
                be a better approximation than, say, traditional Japanese music
                or modern opera. And this criticism was founded on their own
                claims. They said they'd listened to a whole lot of traditional
                Nordic music - yet I hardly heard a trace of that in their
                performance. Neither did Óskar.
                
                But it so happens that now we do have someone on this list
                who is much better qualified to judge Sequentia's music.
                Konrad, what do you think?
                
                By all means, don't let me ruin your enjoyment of the music.
                I keep giving the impression that I hated this CD but that's
                not the case at all. I enjoyed some of the melodies. I'd even
                like to own it but I'd rather prefer not to pay for it ;-)
                
                Kveðja,
                Haukur
                
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                Homepage: http://www.hi.is/~haukurth/norse/
                
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                -- 
                Daniel Bray
                dbray@...
                School of Studies in Religion A20
                University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia
                
                "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." H. G. Wells (1866 - 1946)

              • Daniel Ryan Prohaska
                Haukur, (the other) Dan etc., Thanks for your response - interesting. Well if you ask me, the Gregorian chanting isn’t all that far off the mark. Even in
                Message 7 of 16 , Aug 4, 2003
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                  Haukur, (the other) Dan etc.,

                   

                  Thanks for your response - interesting. Well if you ask me, the Gregorian chanting isn’t all that far off the mark. Even in Iclandic folk songs of today traces of mediaeval musical traditions are discernible. So they must have been present in mediaeval Iceland as well. I don’t think the Edda, as it was written down was a “folk” story and performed as such. It was rather my impression that they were recited by professional narrators keeping oral traditions alive that date further back in the past, maybe even chanted? The form would have been very stylised. The point is, though, that neither of us were there to hear it, so anything anybody can make about the performance of the Edda in mediaeval Iceland can only be an informed guess.

                   

                  I’m not particularly steadfast on Icelandic and Norse, though I know a bit, but people who specialise on specific topics, can get very opinionated, and sometimes need to be dragged down to earth again. I know this from bitter personal experience – I too have my favourite topics. A lot of knowledge does not mean absolute knowledge.

                   

                  Dan

                   

                  -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
                  Von: Daniel Bray [mailto:dbray@...]
                  Gesendet: Montag, 04. August 2003 05:13
                  An: norse_course@yahoogroups.com
                  Betreff: Re: [norse_course] sequentia

                   

                  Heill Haukur!

                  I have a copy of the Sequentia CD, and even as a relative novice, I found numerous errors in pronunciation. I also was somewhat disappointed that the style owes more to Gregorian chanting than to medieval songs or folk songs that I've heard. The metre of Eddic poetry should, in my mind, lend to it a certain rhythm, which I didn't find at all on the Sequentia production. That being said, I still quite enjoy it as a musical production. Do you know of any recordings of traditional folk ballads or the like, that would give us a better idea of how it should sound?

                  Kveðja,

                  (the other) Dan

                  haukurth@... wrote:

                  Hi, Dan!
                    
                  This exchange is only marginally on-topic but I hope
                  no-one minds our discussing Sequentia a bit more.
                    
                    
                  I doubt this CD was recorded with the
                  intent of making it into an academic exercise on reconstructing a sung
                  version of the “Edda” as it was performed in mediaeval Iceland.
                      
                    
                  I'm sure it is nowhere explicitly stated but that's
                  the impression many people seem to be getting.
                    
                    
                    
                  It is a modern artistic expression
                  of an old text, not more no less.
                      
                    
                  Certainly. But why would they do all this research
                  if their goal wasn't, at least partially, to reconstruct
                  something?
                    
                    
                    
                  To criticize it under this aspect does not do the craftsmanship and
                  effort justice that was put into it.
                      
                    
                  The aspect we were asked (by more than one person)
                  to criticize was the accuracy of the pronunciation.
                  As I said two years ago:
                    
                  "Obviously the members of Sequentia are musicians
                  (not linguists) and they will have to be judged for the quality
                  of their music. I don't know much of anything about music so
                  you shouldn't take my comments about it very seriously."
                    
                  As for accuracy of pronunciation we found it mostly absent.
                    
                    
                    
                  And how would you know how the Edda was performed in the first place?
                  Were you there? Even darwing conclusions from modern Icelandic, Faeroes,
                  and Norwegian traditional folk music doesn’t really help, because
                  performace and musical styles develop and change over time at least as
                  much as language does.
                      
                    
                  Even so, later Icelandic and Faroese folk songs would surely
                  be a better approximation than, say, traditional Japanese music
                  or modern opera. And this criticism was founded on their own
                  claims. They said they'd listened to a whole lot of traditional
                  Nordic music - yet I hardly heard a trace of that in their
                  performance. Neither did Óskar.
                    
                  But it so happens that now we do have someone on this list
                  who is much better qualified to judge Sequentia's music.
                  Konrad, what do you think?
                    
                  By all means, don't let me ruin your enjoyment of the music.
                  I keep giving the impression that I hated this CD but that's
                  not the case at all. I enjoyed some of the melodies. I'd even
                  like to own it but I'd rather prefer not to pay for it ;-)
                    
                  Kveðja,
                  Haukur
                    
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                  Homepage: http://www.hi.is/~haukurth/norse/
                    
                  To escape from this funny farm try rattling off an e-mail to:
                    
                  norse_course-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com 
                    
                  Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/ 
                    
                    
                    

                   

                • sjuler
                  Hi Dan, I think that the most important reason to make a recording in a reconstructed Old Norse is that the metre recitation will be more accurate (in theory).
                  Message 8 of 16 , Aug 4, 2003
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                    Hi Dan,

                    I think that the most important reason to make a recording in a
                    reconstructed Old Norse is that the metre recitation will be more
                    accurate (in theory). E.g., Modern Icelandic often has an extra
                    syllable (Eirikur instead of Eirikr) which makes a recitation
                    somewhat invalid.

                    /Sjur

                    >
                    > Hi Sjur,
                    >
                    > You wrote:
                    >
                    > <Since Latin has been a spoken language in
                    > <the church and in the academical world anyway, there is no problem
                    to
                    > <make such a learning tape.
                    >
                    > Precisely, but this has little to do with reconstructive phonology.
                    As
                    > you pointed out Latin was used as an academic, administrative and
                    sacred
                    > language to this day, but in its various national pronunciations.
                    > Nowadays many Latin teachers follow more closely the reconstructed
                    and
                    > attested pronunciation of the classical or "golden" Latin period.
                    This I
                    > find preferable. Of course it always comes down to the reader being
                    able
                    > to emulate these sounds and give a rough approximation of what
                    it "could
                    > have sounded like". This can also be done for Old Norse, as no
                    single
                    > variety of modern Scandinavian is phonologically so conservative to
                    have
                    > retained a general character of Old Norse. Even Icelandic, which has
                    > undergone tremendous changes since the Old Norse period, not to
                    mention
                    > the scarcely attested Viking period.
                    >
                    > <I don't know Ancient Greek to well to say anything about it, but I
                    > <assume that it has no natural offspring.
                    >
                    > I suppose one could call the "Katheravousa" variety of Greek an
                    academic
                    > a offspring of Old Greek. In the past 30 years this variety has been
                    > largely replaced by the "Dimotiki" "the people's language" (i.e.
                    > Standard Modern Greek). Katheravousa is used only in the judicial
                    > language, in universities and a few newspapers. Most of the Greek
                    > emigrants throughout the world still feel that "Katheravousa" ought
                    to
                    > be standard Greek and deplore the switch to Dimotiki. Off course the
                    > pronunciation, like modern Latin is not like Old Greek, but it uses
                    > forms and lexical items found in the ancient language.
                    >
                    > <So, the reason that Old Norse is special is that
                    > <(1) It has a close offspring which can be "taped" instead,
                    > <(2) the amount of potential users is rather small since it is the
                    > <language of the Icelandic Sagas, not the root language of western
                    > <civilization.
                    >
                    > <(1) and (2) points in the direction that Old Norse learning tapes
                    are
                    > <quite uninteresting (just take a Modern Icelandic one instead).
                    But,
                    > <I should point out that, personally, I like to reconstruct Old
                    Norse
                    > <pronunciation.
                    >
                    > <A question: If such an Old Norse learning tape would be recorded,
                    > <which nationality or region should the reader be from (i.e. what
                    > <accent should he have)? If we identify Old Norse with Old
                    Icelandic
                    > <it is obvious. I wouldn't make that identification. I would prefer
                    a
                    > <reader from my own region. A Scanian would prefer a Scanian
                    reader. A
                    > <Gutlander would prefer a Gutlandic reader. A Finland-swede would
                    > <prefer a Finland-Swedish reader. Etc.
                    >
                    > As a reconstructed Old Norse phonology would be unlike Finland-
                    Swedish,
                    > Gulandish or Scanian, it wouldn't matter where the speaker came
                    from.
                    > S/he wouldn't even have to be Scandinavian.
                    >
                    > I'm sure it would be helpful to record Old Icelandic/Norse literary
                    > works and give a carefully reconstructed sound-guide to the
                    > reconstructed phonemes as well as the metre intended in recital. I
                    > disagree with you on your latter point.
                    >
                    > I can recommend the CD "Edda - Myths from Medieval Iceland" by
                    > Sequentia, sung recordings of part of the Edda using a reconstructed
                    > Norse phonemic system.
                    >
                    > Dan
                    >
                    >
                  • Haukur Thorgeirsson
                    Hey, Sjuler. ... Yes. I suppose. Another metrical issue is syllable length which is important in the dróttkvætt metres. In Old Norse, as in Latin and Greek,
                    Message 9 of 16 , Aug 5, 2003
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                      Hey, Sjuler.

                      > I think that the most important reason to make a recording in a
                      > reconstructed Old Norse is that the metre recitation will be more
                      > accurate (in theory). E.g., Modern Icelandic often has an extra
                      > syllable (Eirikur instead of Eirikr) which makes a recitation
                      > somewhat invalid.

                      Yes. I suppose. Another metrical issue is syllable length which
                      is important in the dróttkvætt metres. In Old Norse, as in Latin
                      and Greek, there should be short and long syllables. In modern
                      Icelandic, however, all syllables are "long".

                      So, in theory, there may be something to gain from an accurate
                      reconstructed pronunciation. But to get the syllable length
                      right it would probably be best to get a Finnish speaker to
                      read. Finnish (and I think Estonian too) distinguishes
                      syllables like: at, aat, att and aatt by length of the sounds.

                      Any takers?

                      Kveðja,
                      Haukur
                    • Haukur Thorgeirsson
                      Hi Dan(s)! ... I m trying to tell you I don t know how it should sound! :) But I can recommend the CD Voices (Raddir) for traditional Icelandic music. Be aware
                      Message 10 of 16 , Aug 5, 2003
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                        Hi Dan(s)!

                        > Do you know of any recordings of traditional folk ballads or the like,
                        > that would give us a better idea of how it should sound?

                        I'm trying to tell you I don't know how it should sound! :)
                        But I can recommend the CD Voices (Raddir) for traditional
                        Icelandic music. Be aware that the typical Icelander is
                        probably not aware what constitutes to the older Icelandic
                        musical traditions. Poetry by the romantic poets sung to
                        tunes by 19th century German composers may be his idea of
                        a folk song ;)

                        The Faroese musical tradition is somewhat more alive and even
                        a random group of natives can probably perform something for you.

                        Kveðja,
                        Haukur
                      • sjuler
                        God afton, bäste Hök Torgersson. ... This is perhaps even more important in a reconstruction since syllable addings (bátr bátur) are less common than
                        Message 11 of 16 , Aug 7, 2003
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                          God afton, bäste Hök Torgersson.


                          > Hey, Sjuler.
                          >
                          > > I think that the most important reason to make a recording in a
                          > > reconstructed Old Norse is that the metre recitation will be more
                          > > accurate (in theory). E.g., Modern Icelandic often has an extra
                          > > syllable (Eirikur instead of Eirikr) which makes a recitation
                          > > somewhat invalid.
                          >
                          > Yes. I suppose. Another metrical issue is syllable length which
                          > is important in the dróttkvætt metres. In Old Norse, as in Latin
                          > and Greek, there should be short and long syllables. In modern
                          > Icelandic, however, all syllables are "long".

                          This is perhaps even more important in a reconstruction since
                          syllable addings (bátr > bátur) are less common than syllable
                          lengthenings (bera > beera).



                          >
                          > So, in theory, there may be something to gain from an accurate
                          > reconstructed pronunciation. But to get the syllable length
                          > right it would probably be best to get a Finnish speaker to
                          > read. Finnish (and I think Estonian too) distinguishes
                          > syllables like: at, aat, att and aatt by length of the sounds.
                          >


                          How about the grave accent in Old Norse, did it exist? Or to be more
                          specific, did a 13th century icelander use the grave accent. If so,
                          was this feature of importance in metres? And if it was, a Finnish
                          guy shouldn't really make the recording. I know only two areas in
                          modern Scandinavia which have preserved both the syllable lengths
                          (short, long and "super long") and the grave accent, and they are
                          Dalecarlian and Österbottniska. Maybe we should let someone from
                          Älvdalen record Old Norse metres? (the grave accent makes it sound
                          more alive in my ears - icelanders, like e.g. Haukur, tend to
                          resemble Arnold Scwarzenegger in the ears of a Scandinavian which
                          uses the grave accent)

                          (Note: Many areas in Sweden and Finland have preserved both the short
                          syllables and the grave accent; my own dialect is to some extent one
                          of them)




                          > Any takers?
                          >

                          Maybe we should contact Bengt Åkerberg from Ulum Dalska (We shall
                          speak Dalecarlian)?
                          Email to Ulum Dalska: ulumdalska@...
                          Here are some recordings in Dalecarlian of some poems which Bengt has
                          performed:
                          http://www.geocities.com/jepe2503/hogsvenska/dalska_dikter.html

                          If you like the Österbottnish accent better, maybe we should let one
                          from Österbotten make the recording. This is how the dialect sounds
                          like:
                          http://swedia.ling.umu.se/Finland/Osterbotten/Vora/ow.html

                          > Kveðja,
                          > Haukur

                          Hälsningar,
                          Sjuler
                        • konrad_oddsson
                          ... I got this impression as well. Heimir sent Sequentia to Norway, or at least made them listen to volumes of Norwegian traditional music, while the group
                          Message 12 of 16 , Aug 9, 2003
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                            --- In norse_course@yahoogroups.com, haukurth@h... wrote:
                            > Hi, Dan!
                            >
                            > This exchange is only marginally on-topic but I hope
                            > no-one minds our discussing Sequentia a bit more.
                            >
                            > > I doubt this CD was recorded with the
                            > > intent of making it into an academic exercise on reconstructing a sung
                            > > version of the "Edda?as it was performed in mediaeval Iceland.
                            >
                            > I'm sure it is nowhere explicitly stated but that's
                            > the impression many people seem to be getting.

                            I got this impression as well. Heimir sent Sequentia to Norway, or at least
                            made them listen to volumes of Norwegian traditional music, while the group
                            also studied and listened to Icelandic and Faroese poetry singing. Despite
                            this, I hear very little of these authentic sources in their recordings. In truth,
                            the originals are far more authentic as far as Nordic tradition is concerned.
                            The musicians in Sequentia are fine and highly trained specialists, but they
                            simply lack the many years of highly specialized training, and the uniquely
                            Nordic sensibility, which are absolutely required to perform this music. The
                            Sequentia group make highly acclaimed recordings of Hildegard Von Bingen.
                            These and other recordings are enough to secure the group's position as a
                            very important and talented players in European medieaval music. The Edda
                            recording will not be counted among their greatest achievements. While the
                            playing is technically excellent and the compositional sense sound, the style
                            and emotional expression conflicts with both the material and the received
                            tradition of Nordic music.

                            > > It is a modern artistic expression
                            > > of an old text, not more no less.
                            >
                            > Certainly. But why would they do all this research
                            > if their goal wasn't, at least partially, to reconstruct
                            > something?

                            Reconstruction was a stated goal according to my reading of the writings
                            which accompanied their Edda CD. However, as a performer of Nordic
                            traditional music myself, I see no need to reconstruct Nordic music. The
                            tradition did survive in Norway, despite the fact that extreme poverty and
                            sustained persecutions lead to the extinction, or near extinction, of Nordic
                            traditional music throughout the rest of Scandinavia. History has played its
                            cruel tricks on the Scandinavians. Nevertheless, the ancient gemstone of
                            Nordic traditional music did survive. Passed on note for note from teacher to
                            student generation after generation, this extremely intricate, and melodically
                            and rythmically complex, tonal treasure barely survived the ravages of man
                            and time. It lost nothing of its raw and primordial power. This extraordinary
                            music represents an unique and exceptional survival in European history. It
                            has elements which are so old that one has to travel all the way to India to
                            experience these same elements. Not surprisingly, Norse traditional music
                            has often been mistaken for Indian, or other oriental, traditional music.


                            > > To criticize it under this aspect does not do the craftsmanship and
                            > > effort justice that was put into it.
                            >
                            > The aspect we were asked (by more than one person)
                            > to criticize was the accuracy of the pronunciation.
                            > As I said two years ago:
                            >
                            > "Obviously the members of Sequentia are musicians
                            > (not linguists) and they will have to be judged for the quality
                            > of their music. I don't know much of anything about music so
                            > you shouldn't take my comments about it very seriously."
                            >
                            > As for accuracy of pronunciation we found it mostly absent.

                            The singing is excellent, but not in accordance with Nordic traditional music.
                            The pronunciation is poor. Whatever pronunciation system is adopted for a
                            sung language, the same sounds sound always be pronounced the same.
                            This is also true as regards vowal and consonantal length. In the Sequentian
                            recording, one can hear the same sounds and sequences pronounced with
                            various articulations, a feature highly uncharacteristic of native speech.

                            > > And how would you know how the Edda was performed in the first place?

                            The Edda is being performed every day. Like the ancient and traditional music
                            of the Nordic folk, the Edda is always growing and slowly accumulating new
                            jewels in its crown. Members of every generation have participated in this
                            gradual and careful evolution.

                            > > Were you there? Even darwing conclusions from modern Icelandic,
                            Faeroes,
                            > > and Norwegian traditional folk music doesn't really help, because
                            > > performace and musical styles develop and change over time at least as
                            > > much as language does.

                            In the case of Nordic traditional music, this development has been so slow
                            that musicologists describe the music as "frozen" or "petrified". There are
                            many reasons for this. Let me mention a few. To start with, Nordic traditional
                            music was passed on using natural tunings not used in other European music,
                            thus requiring new students to adopt an overall tonal system, as well as many
                            tunings, which are incompatible with other European music. Additionally, the
                            tradition has been such that highly intricate, often microtonal, miniature master-
                            pieces were learned note for note, or at least nearly so, by each succeeding
                            generation of traditional musicians, many players spending their entire lifetime
                            mastering the music. Finally, the traditional musicians have been more or less
                            isolated inhabitants of country districts until relatively modern times, travelling
                            from district to district to play weddings, dances, parties and funerals. As is
                            often the case even today, the audiences demanded recognizable tunes and
                            the traditional playing which they had grown up with.


                            > Even so, later Icelandic and Faroese folk songs would surely
                            > be a better approximation than, say, traditional Japanese music
                            > or modern opera. And this criticism was founded on their own
                            > claims. They said they'd listened to a whole lot of traditional
                            > Nordic music - yet I hardly heard a trace of that in their
                            > performance. Neither did ?kar.

                            Agreed. I play Icelandic and other traditional Nordic folksongs and hear little
                            such influence in the Sequentian recording.


                            > But it so happens that now we do have someone on this list
                            > who is much better qualified to judge Sequentia's music.
                            > Konrad, what do you think?

                            That would be me. My qualification is that I play Nordic traditional music, both
                            folksongs and intricate traditional masterpieces. I am a devout adherant and
                            religious student of the masters and of traditional playing. The music and the
                            poetry are my whole life.

                            Regards,
                            Konrad.


                            > By all means, don't let me ruin your enjoyment of the music.
                            > I keep giving the impression that I hated this CD but that's
                            > not the case at all. I enjoyed some of the melodies. I'd even
                            > like to own it but I'd rather prefer not to pay for it ;-)
                            >
                            > Kve?a,
                            > Haukur
                          • konrad_oddsson
                            ... As did I. I also was somewhat disappointed ... A correct reading, in my opinion. The metre of Eddic poetry should, in my ... The Eddic metres match the
                            Message 13 of 16 , Aug 9, 2003
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                              --- In norse_course@yahoogroups.com, Daniel Bray <dbray@m...> wrote:
                              > Heill Haukur!
                              >
                              > I have a copy of the Sequentia CD, and even as a relative novice, I
                              > found numerous errors in pronunciation.

                              As did I.

                              I also was somewhat disappointed
                              > that the style owes more to Gregorian chanting than to medieval songs or
                              > folk songs that I've heard.

                              A correct reading, in my opinion.

                              The metre of Eddic poetry should, in my
                              > mind, lend to it a certain rhythm, which I didn't find at all on the
                              > Sequentia production.

                              The Eddic metres match the rhythms of Nordic traditional music. The match is
                              at times, in fact, so extact that it hardly matters for purposes of time whether
                              one sings or simply speaks the verses. By far the most difficult part lies in
                              understanding the emotional content of the poetry and how to express this
                              within the strict and conservative form of the inherited traditional music. There
                              is, however, no other way to express this poetry in music, nor will there ever
                              be. Both the poetry and the music are organic growths from the same soil.

                              Regards,
                              Konrad.


                              That being said, I still quite enjoy it as a
                              > musical production. Do you know of any recordings of traditional folk
                              > ballads or the like, that would give us a better idea of how it should
                              > sound?
                              >
                              > Kve?a,
                              >
                              > (the other) Dan
                              >
                              > haukurth@h... wrote:
                              >
                              > >Hi, Dan!
                              > >
                              > >This exchange is only marginally on-topic but I hope
                              > >no-one minds our discussing Sequentia a bit more.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >>I doubt this CD was recorded with the
                              > >>intent of making it into an academic exercise on reconstructing a sung
                              > >>version of the "Edda" as it was performed in mediaeval Iceland.
                              > >>
                              > >>
                              > >
                              > >I'm sure it is nowhere explicitly stated but that's
                              > >the impression many people seem to be getting.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >>It is a modern artistic expression
                              > >>of an old text, not more no less.
                              > >>
                              > >>
                              > >
                              > >Certainly. But why would they do all this research
                              > >if their goal wasn't, at least partially, to reconstruct
                              > >something?
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >>To criticize it under this aspect does not do the craftsmanship and
                              > >>effort justice that was put into it.
                              > >>
                              > >>
                              > >
                              > >The aspect we were asked (by more than one person)
                              > >to criticize was the accuracy of the pronunciation.
                              > >As I said two years ago:
                              > >
                              > >"Obviously the members of Sequentia are musicians
                              > >(not linguists) and they will have to be judged for the quality
                              > >of their music. I don't know much of anything about music so
                              > >you shouldn't take my comments about it very seriously."
                              > >
                              > >As for accuracy of pronunciation we found it mostly absent.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >>And how would you know how the Edda was performed in the first place?
                              > >>Were you there? Even darwing conclusions from modern Icelandic,
                              Faeroes,
                              > >>and Norwegian traditional folk music doesn't really help, because
                              > >>performace and musical styles develop and change over time at least as
                              > >>much as language does.
                              > >>
                              > >>
                              > >
                              > >Even so, later Icelandic and Faroese folk songs would surely
                              > >be a better approximation than, say, traditional Japanese music
                              > >or modern opera. And this criticism was founded on their own
                              > >claims. They said they'd listened to a whole lot of traditional
                              > >Nordic music - yet I hardly heard a trace of that in their
                              > >performance. Neither did ?kar.
                              > >
                              > >But it so happens that now we do have someone on this list
                              > >who is much better qualified to judge Sequentia's music.
                              > >Konrad, what do you think?
                              > >
                              > >By all means, don't let me ruin your enjoyment of the music.
                              > >I keep giving the impression that I hated this CD but that's
                              > >not the case at all. I enjoyed some of the melodies. I'd even
                              > >like to own it but I'd rather prefer not to pay for it ;-)
                              > >
                              > >Kve?a,
                              > >Haukur
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >A Norse funny farm, overrun by smart people.
                              > >
                              > >Homepage: http://www.hi.is/~haukurth/norse/
                              > >
                              > >To escape from this funny farm try rattling off an e-mail to:
                              > >
                              > >norse_course-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                              > >
                              > >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                              http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              >
                              > --
                              > Daniel Bray
                              > dbray@m...
                              > School of Studies in Religion A20
                              > University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia
                              >
                              > "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and
                              catastrophe." H. G. Wells (1866 - 1946)
                            • Lewis, Raymond J.
                              ... This is where Sequentia comes in. They did claim the music to be based upon an extrapolation of the musical traditions of Medieval Iceland and did claim
                              Message 14 of 16 , Aug 11, 2003
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                                Okay - when I said:
                                ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                --------
                                This is where Sequentia comes in. They did claim the music to be based
                                upon an extrapolation of the musical traditions of Medieval Iceland and
                                did claim that significant efforts were made to recreate both the music
                                and speech of the time and place. With this in mind, it is obvious that
                                the inhabitants of Modern Iceland are in a better position to evaluate
                                Sequentia's claims than the rest of us. Therefore, I can't say that any
                                of us should fault Haukur and Oskar for their naturally biased
                                evaluations.
                                It's the bias that we're counting on to give us information not available
                                from any other source.
                                ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                --------

                                I didn't know that we would be treated to such an excellent example of the
                                mentioned bias

                                When Konrad wrote:
                                ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                --------
                                The musicians in Sequentia are fine and highly trained specialists, but
                                they
                                simply lack the many years of highly specialized training, and the
                                uniquely
                                Nordic sensibility, which are absolutely required to perform this music.
                                ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                --------

                                This notion of a so-called "Nordic sensibility" is clearly correct - yet -
                                it is also,
                                clearly, a distortion. Yet, I don't wish to sound overly critical. All I
                                wish to say is
                                that there is room for other "sensibilities" within any sphere of knowledge
                                other than
                                just that one which would seem most pertinent. What we hear from Sequentia
                                is the
                                result of their own, sort of patented method of recreating dead musical
                                forms from
                                what little remains of them. In this manner, what they've provided should
                                not be
                                taken lightly - especially by those who possess the more pertinent
                                "sensibility".
                                Doubt gives knowledge flexibility - and therefore greater strength. Doubt is
                                the yeast
                                in the bread. Those who leave doubt behind live in a world grown too small.
                                Actually, I think that last bit would sound better in ON - although I don't
                                know the
                                words. Maybe latter.

                                Raymond
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