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Beowulf recitations in Old English w/ A-S Harp
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TOPIC: Beowulf recitations in Old English w/ A-S Harp

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Silveran
Beowulf recitations in Old English w/ A-S Harp


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Saturday March 17, 2012 4:33 AM
On another forum, I was alerted to these videos. Apparently, they've recorded the entire epic and it's available on DVD.

Quite interesting to say the least. As always, you must ignore half the comments of "over-dramatic". Apparently, these fools don't understand how tales were told by bards.

What I was more wanting to know is if it's accurate. I figure our very own Lingistic's scholar SL would know. And, if you didn't know about these videos, SL, figured you would be at least interested.

Opening (Lines 1-19)

Grendel's Arrival at the Hall/ Beowulf's Ambush (Lines 710-735)

Battle (Lines 1/2 of 736-765)
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Death before Dishonor -- Nothing before Coffee

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TheShadowlord
RE: Beowulf recitations in Old English w/ A-S Harp

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Monday March 19, 2012 1:13 PM
I haven't come across these before - many thanks for the links. It's great to know people are doing this sort of thing.

First impression is that it sounds a bit too Swedish. OTOH, no one really knows what English anno 1000 sounds like. My own feeling for the language is formed by my own teacher, who I doubt speaks it like the old guys did. It certainly isn't McRae-Gibson (small insider joke there).
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"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
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Silveran
RE: Beowulf recitations in Old English w/ A-S Harp


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Thursday March 22, 2012 5:52 AM
So from what I take out of your comments, is this: We don't have an exact understanding of the phonetics of the language as it is truly dead (just like we really don't know how to speak AEgyptian, but all agree this is going to be how we pronounce it). But, one could think of this rendition as one dialect of Old English, such as the difference between the Queen's English, Midwestern American, Southern American, and Australian dialects? Would you feel this is an appropriate way to think of the various interpretations of the pronunciations?

Have you heard of any other artists doing this sort of thing?
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TheShadowlord
RE: Beowulf recitations in Old English w/ A-S Harp

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Friday March 23, 2012 3:04 AM
There were undoubtedly different accents throughout the dialect-continuum that is lumped together under the rather inacccurate term 'Old English'. For starters, you can see different dialects in the various text avaiable, and changes throughout the centuries. What most people mean by OE is West Saxon of the 8th century or so, the time of Alfred the Great. Not surprisingly, really, since most of the literature we have from the time is of this locality and period. Things like Northumbrian are a couple hundred lines of verse, while WS has lots of texts. WS is also the dialect of most of what you might call OE's greatest hits: poems, the AS Chronicle, and later Beowulf.
But this doesn't mean that using modern accents to pronounce old languages will make it sound any less odd.

You can try listening to these two things. The first is Arne Torp, Norway's foremost expert on Old Norse and proto-Norse moving towards proto-Germanic (nice guy, and he doesn't dress like this normally). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJPVSX9_FXU

The second is some random Aussie trying to speak OE. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YndfK23P9tY&feature=related

Granted, these are two rather different languages, but you can tell (or at least I can tell), that Torp has made a much greater effort to change pronunciation and rhythm of his language, while the Aussie sounds like an Aussie no matter what language he tries to speak.

I don't know of other people trying to bring crowds of people to listen to performances of OE literature, but whan I was younger one of my favorite tapes for travling was a recitation of Beowulf. In OE, of course. Not a performance, just reading of the work. I couldn't understand shit, I just liked the sound.
Yes, I was that much of a nerd even before I hit my teens.

(sorry about the links. for some reason the linking button doesn't work for me anymore).
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I feel happy...I feel happy!

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
- Stephen Roberts
 Message #340806 - This was a reply to message #340804

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