Sources,Criteria, etc

ERIN NHAMINERVA amazon at mercury.sfsu.edu
Thu Sep 7 15:31:46 PDT 1995


   Standards can be useful if seen as a means of furthering oneself along 
the path. As a means of acquiring pretty tokens to wear or titles to 
bear, however, they serve no purpose I can see. If you are doing things 
bardic for the love of the art, you don't need anyone to hold you to 
anything. This includes filkers, streetsingers, and the people on 
Fishermans Wharf. 
   I know all this has been gone over to some extent, if the size of my 
inbox when I was able to reconnect the terminal is any indication, but I 
had a few more thoughts, so please bear with me. I'm interested in the 
historical definition of the word "bard" just because it has such a lot 
of baggage associated with it. I didn't mean the statement from Joyce as 
a definition once and for all. That's the best one I've seen so far, and 
if anyone has any other sources from elsewhere in the celtic world, I'd 
really appreciate the info. Since "bard" has entered the language and is 
used in so many different ways, it is almost impossible to use the term 
without evoking a different image in the mind of each person who hears 
it. I'm not looking for a final definition, but I'd be interested in 
tracing the changes over time and between places and how they connect. 
Jed's suggestion to set out personal definitions interests me as well. If 
I'm the only one who wants to hear about this, let me know and I'll 
desist. 
   I'm still working on my personal definition-I think I always will be. 
I didn't start out calling myself a bard of any sort, I always thought of 
myself as a streetsinger. The term was applied to me by others and 
correction seemed impertinent. I see bardship as a means of educationg 
both oneself and others through music. Sometimes this involves the 
composition of music as a means of remembering events, sometimes of 
translating past happenings forward as a means of keeping memory alive. 
That is the main part of what I do as a streetsinger. The people who come 
through the Faire gates are there for entertainment and if I can engage 
their interest in old ballads and stories and give them a taste of what 
the form is really about, they might wish to go further on their own. 
That is what groups like Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention did best, 
I think. Few of us will read Child for pleasure, after all, especially if 
we have no conception of what the dry text represents. Written words and 
music are really forms of cold storage, in a way. They need preparation 
to be properly appreciated. However, to go back to something like Tam Lin 
after hearing the Fairport Convention version is to add to a living story 
rather than trying to resurrect a dead text. 
   As for Bard-In-A-Box, I see what you mean by the minstrels in chains 
image, but it beats Cassetus Chromus, which I've also seen used. While 
the simple words "cassette" and "album" may be perfectly period, 
according to Hoyle, they have modern associations which make their usage 
just as questionable. At that point, its just a matter of different 
tastes. I have problems with Master Card and Lady Visa as well, and 
they're painted on half the booths at Faire. Besides, Bard-In-A-Box 
causes people to ask me what the little wrapped packages beside my bowl 
are and I can tell them all about the little minstrels gallery contained 
inside the box with the spinning reels, the labor of the wondrous Masters 
of the East, etc. Hey, I call my car a round-footed beast too. 



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