minstrel: period music/period sounding music

mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU
Sun Apr 20 18:20:52 PDT 1997

On Sun, 20 Apr 1997 CONSORTMUS at aol.com wrote:

> I have read here lately about using this tune or that tune from contemporary
> sources,  and I'd like to ask, if I may, "why?"
> It seems to me that it would be more authentic, or at least more
> authentically bardic in spirit to compose your own tunes if you need one to
> fit your original lyrics, and writing a simple period style tune isn't very
> hard - it would certainly sound better than, say, a Beatles tune, wouldn't
> it?

To answer your question of why, here is why many people write lyrics to
contemporary tunes.  
1) humor.  If someone is writing a funny song, often times it adds to teh
joke if the tune is a well known song that people will be familiar with.
A humorous song to the tune of "My hearty service" will not go over well
with most people.

2) ease.  A lot of people who want to try writing songs often don't know
much about period music at first, and so they put it to the tune of a
period-sounding (or as period sounding as they know) modern tune.

3) some say it is period.  There was a period practice called
"Contra-facta" (I'm probably mispelling it) where people wrote songs to
already existing popular tunes.  A lot of people think it would be
defeating the purpose of contra-facta to write a new song to a period
tune, because it would not be a tune readily recognised by the audience
(which it would have been in period)-- so to reproduce the effect, a
modern song is used.

Now I am not agreeing or disagreeing with any of the above reasons.  These
are just reasons I know of that people use.  I'm sure there are others.

You seem to imply that people can easily write their own tunes to their
lyrics.  You say that it isn't that hard.  Well, for a lot of people it
is.  I, for one, used to have a lot of trouble at composing my own tunes.
I could write lyrics with no problem.  They just came to me.  But music
was another story.  Consequentially, a lot of my songs were written to
other tunes.  I do write my own music now, for the most part, but I still
have trouble, and often borrow from other tunes to help me.  Someone more
familiar with words than with music (as I am--although I am learning more)
will have trouble writing music.  But, like any art, it only gets easier
the more you do it.

Hope this gives you some insight.

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