minstrel: Re: digest 837 (blue ribbons, period music)

Jennifer Friedman friedman at tznet.com
Thu Mar 9 08:32:25 PST 2000

>> I hereby unilaterally decree that a blue (blue being a color
>> associated with music in almost every major work of popular fantasy
>> concerning music in the 20th century :) ribbon or rope tied to a gate
>> post or otherwise prominently displayed at a camp entrance means
>> "BARDS WELCOME HERE NOW (we feed!)".  

I LOVE this idea.  Tibicen, do you give us permission to re-distribute this
on our local/regional lists?

>I would like to see more scope for speculative reconstruction in the
>SCA, especially in music (that being my main interest).  But I would
>rather see people attempting original compositions in period style than
>finding excuses to use out-of-period music because there's not enough of
>the real stuff.  (And I'd like to see filks banned altogether, but
>that's my personal quirk.)

Ignoring the filk question (which I bet EVERYONE has an opinion on), I must
say that anyone who feels there's 'not enough of the real stuff' for us to
sing or play, hasn't been to a (good) music library lately.  When I find
myself running out of ideas/music, I go to the Mills Music Library at the
UW-Madison and start half-educatedly, half-willy-nilly rummaging around the
stacks.  There are unbelievable amounts of pre-1600 music just sitting and
waiting to be found.  I bring piles of books out to a carrel and I sit for
an hour and pick out stuff that looks interesting, then take the piles to
the copy room and go at it.  

I expect to be able to do this every time I go to Madison (5-6 times a
year) for the rest of my life, before I exhaust the resources of this
particular library.  I might not sing every song I copy, but in any bunch
there are a few that really grab me.

Now if you're going to limit yourself to a particular genre, language, or
culture, sure, you might use up all the good stuff after a few years.  For
example people have often complained of the dearth of true period Scottish
music (I haven't done research in that area).  But I see no point in
limiting myself personally.

I am suprised that more bards don't go do stuff like this.  It's all free
for the taking (okay, ten cents a page, but you know what I mean) at your
nearest music library, and you aren't even breaking copyright unless you
turn around and sell or make multiple copies of your copies (fair use
allows one copy for personal educational use).  I know a bard who didn't
even know ANY SCA period music had survived except for Greensleeves and
those tunes they play at dance revels (not that these are truly period in
all cases)...and yet he tries to write his own in period styles.  As
Tangwystl said, unless we do the research, we cannot know that what we are
doing is either true-to-period or true to the spirit of the period.

We have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants, if we can
conquer our fear of heights.

Lady Eliane Halevy of Falcon's Keep       Jennifer Friedman
Chronicler, Shire of Falcon's Keep        823 W. 17th St.
Principality of the Northshield           Marshfield, WI 54449
Middle Kingdom                            (715) 389-9194
                    friedman at tznet.com

"Tant que vivray, en age florissant/Je servirai le dieu
d'amour puissant/En faits, en dits, en chansons et accords."
(As long as I live in this flourishing age/I will serve the 
all-powerful god of Love/In word and deed, in song and harmony.)
--Claudin de Sermisy

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