Viking Saga Songs. 2: Odin, mighty world-creator
The song is 'Odin, mighty world-creator' which describes the realms of the Viking world: Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim, Bifrost, Helheim and all held in place by the roots and branches of a great ash tree called Yggdrasil.
Tutorial: 'Odin, mighty world-creator'
Key timings in the tutorial are:
00 00: Finding out about Odin, and noting that his name gives us the word 'Wednesday'. Then learning the introduction to the song, noting it's similarity to a horn call on two notes.
02 56: Learning Verse 1, beginning: 'Odin, mighty world-creator...' Listening to a line and then repeating with Joanna. Joining the introduction to Verse 1.
04 37: Learning Verse 2, beginning: 'Jotunheim, frost and ice...' which is about the frozen land Odin creates for the giants.
05 57: Learning Verse 3, beginning 'Midgard, middle-earth...' and moving straight on to Verse 4 about Asgard at 07 01. The melody remains the same as for previous verses.
08 02: Learning three further verses - Verse 5 about Bifrost - the rainbow bridge; Verse 6 about Helheim - an underground realm of evil; Verse 7 about Yggdrasil - the world ash tree, that holds all the realms in place.
11 30: Learning the ending - the word 'Odin' repeated four times.
The saga: Odin creates the world
The story episode to accompany the song 'Odin, mighty world-creator' is a reprise of Odin creates the world.
Loki recounts how he stood at Odin's shoulder as Odin creates three realms - Jotunheim (home for the giants - his enemies); Midgard (home for 'skinny, hairy' things called humans) and Asgard (shining city of the gods).
Odin also creates the first humans by finding two trees and 'muttering something' into the leaves, to create the first man and first woman. And, as a final touch, Odin connects Asgard to Midgard with a rainbow bridge called Bifrost. This is an adapted version of the full Viking creation myth, focusing solely on Odin's part in it.
See Resources below for a quiz about the story.
Song: 'Odin, mighty world-creator'
Listening music: an extract from 'Das Rheingold' by Richard Wagner
Das Rheingold is an opera by Richard Wager, premiered in 1869. It is part of the Ring Cycle which also dramatises Viking mythology. As the opera draws to a close Donner – one of the Viking gods – calls up a storm and the air clears to reveal Bifrost, the rainbow, forming a bridge to the gods’ new home.
Listen carefully to the extract:
- Can pupils hear the lightning strike, followed by a roll of thunder, followed by the shimmering music for Bifrost?
- Can they say why this music is suitable to depict the rainbow bridge?
- Do they notice again the use of horns in the music?