minstrel: Dynamics and tempo variants

M. J. lawteller at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 9 12:54:32 PST 2000


  When you are considering dynamic changes, one thing must be considered abouve all other things:
Environment. A balladeer, either in period or post period, was used to noise being in his/her
environment. If you are in a quiet hall, with an attentive audience, all well and good. However,
if you are in a bar or feast hall or even outside, it will never be quiet enough for very
effective dynamic changes, and you'll want to reach as many listeners (or potential listeners) as
possible. Even mic'ed, that will only help a little, and not enough to make it worrth losing an
audience because they can't hear you.  
  However, dynamics can be (and were) used, in the correct environment, beacuse the more
"theatrical" you were (to a point) the more money you were likely to get, which was, by and large,
the whole point. (Sorry to everyone for my cynicism on this point). The whole problem was that the
"correct environment" for dynamic change was rare. But, a good musician is willing to change to
fit the situation. So, if you can do it, great, but if you know that it won't help, don't do it.
Outside of the musty halls of academia, there have never been (and never will) be hard and fast
rules as to what you can do to please an audience. Each performance must be re-tailored every
  Most of the above paragraph is true for tempo variants. Our kind of music is like Shakespeare.
Once written for the masses and easly going, now one cannot change a thing for fear that the ghost
of artists past will come and strike people down (or at least thump them on the head repeatedly).
Make the song your own. If you don't like it, change it. POOF! You just created your own
arrangement. That is a time-honored tradition that has always been, and always will, no matter
what.   And we're all a little better for it.
Corwyn MacCamie
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