Hello all. My Father is a computer engineer and has always been fascinated by both space and music. He spent most of his life designing computer chips and patented several designs, often naming them after the space-faring races found in Star Trek. He is also the choir director for his Eastern Orthodox church and the most amazing person I’ve ever known. While he is not always the most socially graceful, he has amazing thoughts and ideas that he loves to elaborate on and explore.
I’m not nearly as interesting, but I work as a Spanish teacher and am on the board for the professional organization of foreign language teachers for my state, the MFLA. When I learned that the keynote speaker for our annual Fall Conference was going to be none other than Dr. Marc Okrand I mentioned it to my Dad, thinking he might want me to get something signed. However, he latched onto the idea of getting an authentic translation of an Eastern Orthodox troparion, then composing music for it and singing it with his choir at church.
I spoke with Dr. Okrand at the conference after his wonderful keynote speech, and he was very patient with me, despite how unusual and silly it may have seemed at the time. My Father wants to do Klingon music correctly, so had several questions about anatomical/cultural factors as well as what an alien music might sound like (listed below). Dr. Okrand sent me an essay on Klingon music written for the opera done in Klingon, and suggested I post my request for a translation here in the KLI community. He said you are all very active and often wiling to help others, and I would be very grateful for any assistance.
The text my father would like translated is a Paschal Troparion, a traditional song used to celebrate Easter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paschal_troparion):
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death
And upon those in the tombs bestowing Life
Here are the “thoughts” my father sent me in an e-mail:
“I mentioned my idea to my choir leaders, both of who think that the idea is crazy and that Klingon is not the right language. I agreed with them until I got a chance to get a good translation. On my way back I was thinking of Klingon music, difficult to really get a grip on what is needed.
Klingons may have a different neurology. The shape of their heads are different with the large frontal crest, like Orthodox saints are drawn. We have language on the left side in two small centers and feelings on the right side. Klingons may not even have 4 major lobes. Perhaps you can get some help on how Klingons think. Natasha played a few Klingon pieces for me where the music interval featured was the 5th.
Thought 2 (addressed the the essay Dr. Okrand sent me):
Alien music may be very different. An engineer may be just as good at getting free of human rules as anyone else. We have gray coded numbers where in binary only 1 bit changes at a time. An analogous gray music would change only one note at a time. But this is a different species. We have 3 elements in good music: melody, harmony, and rhythm. Steve K. assured me that the 3rd element is the one that Klingons find most appealing.
One technique I thought of that would really sound alien is to have two musicians stay on a chord while 2 others slowly changed frequency together as they move to another chord locking into the other voices. This kind of technique may be common in some kinds of music, but I have not heard it. It can’t be played on a piano and may need to be notated on a score in a different way.
I have had a melody that I have wanted to use for the Paschal Troparion for years, but it would not be appealing to Klingons. Perhaps you start with the words, ad rhythm, then put in harmony and finally weave in a melody, just the opposite of what we do in our music.
Please let Dr. Marc Okrand (and know the KLI) know that any comments on how Klingon music should be done would b appreciated. He may have had similar thoughts in putting together the language. The language itself may provide some clues.”
A thoughtful translation, and any responses to his thoughts would be amazing. I’d love to be able to do this for my father and bring one of his “crazy” ideas to reality. If you would like to e-mail me directly, my e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
TLDR: I’d like a translation of an Easter choir song in Klingon for my quirky but amazing Dad to use at this church.