minstrel: divers subjects

Corrie Bergeron corrie at itasca.net
Tue Mar 14 09:58:40 PST 2000

A "period guitar" - try a mando or cittern

The cittern is a period antecedent of the modern guitar.  The
Madola and Bouzouki are similar instruments.  Mid-Missouri
Mandolins has a line of very nice mandolas in the $500 range.  As a
guitarist, I find he basic "magic 3 chords" for the keys of C and G
and D pretty simple on the mando tuning (tuned in 5ths), and jigs and
reels and hornpipes just roll off ever so easily!  Search on cittern,
madola, bouzouki, waldzither, and fado (Fado is a Portuguese musica style 
that uses a cittern-like 12-string 'guitarra').  You could also purchase a
mandolin (go for a pear-shaped body with a round soundhole, not the
bluegrass style or the "tater-bug").  My mando is tuned down a 3rd from
standard tuning - I prefer the richer lower tones.  I lucked into a
waldzither on ebay - see pictures and a sound file at

On filk

I've done a ton.  But as the song goes, you have to know when to hit 'em,
know when to spit 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run.  Only
once have I ever asked a performer to never repeat a song in my presence,
and that was a young gent whose contribution to an evening of gentle love
songs was an obscene rendition of "The Night of the King's Castration."
It was so blatantly offensive and out of place I felt justified in
frosting him.  Bottom line-  expand your repertoire, listen, pick up the
zeitgeist and go with the flow.  If you make a mistake with a particular
selection, people are usually pretty forgiving.  Tang's quoted episode
made me chuckle - those folks at that fire took themselves WAY too
seriously IMO!

On copyright - 
Thanks for the detailed and informative postings.  Copyright law is VERY
complex, and if we really abided by the letter of it, nobody would say
anything at all, most likely.  The point of clearinghouses such as ASCAP
and BMI is to protect the intellectual-property rights of composers and
writers - a noble thing, indeed!  The major issue for us as feast-hall
performers, fyre-walkers, and bazzar buskers is to GIVE CREDIT WHERE

I published a songbook a number of years
ago which was quite literally photocopied from my extensive collection of
photocopies.  I prefaced it with a disclaimer that the collection was
intended solely for private education and entertainment, that no profit
was being made from it, and that no infringement or assertion of any
rights was implied or construed.  Everywhere I could identify the
author or other copyright owner, I did.  

It's probably illegal as all get-out regardless.  I do my best to "render
unto Caesar that which is Caesar's", and I'll let Confucious's maxim "Is
easier to get forgiveness than permission" handle the rest.  

Brendan O Corraidhe, since AS XIV

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