Musicial authenticity

Robin Hilp robin at
Mon Sep 18 13:31:09 PDT 1995

On Sun, 10 Sep 1995, Greg Lindahl wrote:

> [...] In addition to positive methods of documenting things, there
> are also negative ones: do the lyrics of "The Witch of Westmoreland"
> represent a theme that you find in historical songs?
> [...] I can
> document the words and music for some period songs. I can't document
> the appropriate accent or performance technique; in fact, I suspect
> that no one will ever document that.

Hm, well, I'm trying to document performance technique.  (Okay, with slow 
success as yet, but I've made indeed some headway.)  Haven't found any 
detailed stage directions *grins* but there are a lot of well-documented 
clues to verbal and non-verbal characterization and even some clues to 
speech patterns.  (I'm a storyteller and use music only peripherally when 
at all, btw.)

The main question I haven't been able to document is, to what extend did 
professional storytellers use costumes, endowment, and mime to supplement 
their words?  Endowment has been around almost longer than history! ... But 
in some cultures that aspect of acting was reserved for religious 

Actually I'm finding not a dearth of information but a mountain of 
sources, with few clues as to which sources are reliable ... *whine*

> On Sep 9,  9:28, Brett Williams wrote:
> > And that's not a step I want to take. One of my greatest joys in music 
> > is what I call 'redaction music": a demonstrably old piece of music or 
> > song that's been redone/reinterpreted anew.
> Redactions can be nice, but for me, it depends on what has been done
> to the piece. Did the writer rework the piece to have lyrics about SCA
> history that would fit well into real history? Or did the writer
> rework the piece to talk about computers? There's a good and a bad way
> to do most things.

This raises a related question in my mind:  To what extent should an SCA 
performance be modified for modern tastes?  If I were to perform stories 
from the Decameron as it is written, my audience would be asleep halfway 
through the apologies.  OTOH I can spice-up my delivery with modern body 
language and idioms and keep my audience chuckling.  I'm still wondering 
whether I'll always have to compromise between authenticity and fun.

    Robin Hilp      robin at      (503)645-7333x400
 Microtek International, Inc., 3300 NW 211th Terrace, Hillsboro, OR 97124 
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