Fwd: minstrel: period music/period sounding music

CONSORTMUS at aol.com CONSORTMUS at aol.com
Tue Apr 22 10:20:35 PDT 1997

Well, gee, I guess now I know, don't I????

I  think I must be something more along the lines of an expert who has
forgotten how hard it was to learn.

Forwarded message:
From:	fruitbat at macquarie.matra.com.au (Fruitbat)
To:	CONSORTMUS at aol.com
Date: 97-04-21 05:11:43 EDT

>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?"

There are two reasons, corresponding to the two kinds of "filk" (generic
term for songs produced from the marriage of new lyrics to old tunes).

The first kind of filk is troping, like what the monks did with the Mass to
update it: you take an original and update _some_ of the words, so that the
original is still visible, as it were.  This is mainly done in the SCA for
humourous effect; see my web page, <http://macquarie.matra.com.au/~fruitbat>.

The second kind is broadballading, which is essentially borrowing a good
tune but making no reference to the original.  Here in Lochac, one
well-known example is Blodeuwedd's _On The Eve Of Hastings_, a stirring
song about the 1066 invasion to the tune of _Capital I_ from Sesame Street.
 Despite the humourous origins, the song is a true poignant war song, and
_very_ popular.

>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

The difficulty is twofold: first, writing a period-sounding tune is a lot
harder than you'd think (whether you're a newbie blissfully unaware of the
complexity, or an expert who has forgotten how hard it was to learn).
Second, there are times when a Beatles tune is just right for what you
want, if you're looking for humourous effect around a campfire.  Remember,
originality is not the only trait of a bard, or remotely the most important.

I've been writing original songs and filk for 5 years within the SCA.
Within the last two years I've begun (at last!) to feel able to write songs
in something remotely like authentic style.  

There are other points: the fact that filk is easier to teach, the
intricate tricks you can perform with your audience's heads by turning a
humourous art form into something deeply serious, the widely differing
views of "mundanities" within the SCA, and the fact that some made-up tunes
are far more mundane than even the Beatles!  But there's a start.

Yours in thrall to the Muse,

- - Fruitbat - - - - - - - - - - - -

The pen is mightier than the sword -
so, in this dangerous world,
I always carry a pen.

        - Ashleigh Brilliant

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