minstrel: song question

Monica Cellio mjc at telerama.lm.com
Wed Apr 30 14:29:59 PDT 1997

> Just because a song is written after 1600 doesn't mean it can't be made to
> sound period. 

No argument there.  I like to think that some of my work is plausibly
period in style, or else I wouldn't bother.

> Unless somebody has a degree in early musicology, the
> general SCA audience doesn't know the difference. 

This, however, is a dangerous assumption.  First off, while the number of
people who know any field in-depth is small, it's not generally zero.
People who have done no formal studying but who have listened to a lot
of period music will often be able to recognize that something is wrong
with a song even if they can't articulate it.  There are several people
in my barony who match that description, for example.

Second, every time someone performs a piece that's not blatantly modern
(and doesn't somehow convey its origin to the audience), some listeners 
will walk away with the impression that it might have been period.  This
could be doing harm.  If I perform something that is (to me) clearly not
period but that might sound plausible to the majority, I feel I am doing 
a disservice to the people listening who, like it or not, might be learning
something from me.  I should think about what I want them to learn.

I'm not trying to be a snob, and note that I am talking about style, not
actual date of origin.  I just think we need to be careful in making
assumptions about what people do or don't know and what they will or
will not absorb from a performance.

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