minstrel: Who's afraid of the big bad filk?

Christopher Gregory krummhorn at hotmail.com
Sun Mar 19 20:45:34 PST 2000

> Since I guess I'm the one who started this, please allow me to clarify.
> I have heard filks that I admired from the point of view of musical and
> lyrical craftsmanship.  They can, indeed, be very witty and genuinely
> entertaining. But hearing lyrics about SCA people and their activities
> sung to a familiar 20th c. tune is, for me, a bit dissonant, like
> walking into a 7-11 wearing a tunic.  Even when the filk is good it
> takes one out of the game, is alienating (in a Brechtian sense).

I love that feeling I get when I'm at an event, and suddenly, the last
t-shirted guy or boom-box leaves the room, and I feel like I have fallen
through a time warp into the camp of a medieval army, or the feast hall of a
real-life Lord and Lady.  And theres nothing that dashes that feeling more
than 1) hearing my mundane name called out, 2) seeing the guy with the
t-shirt walk back in, and 3) hearing a song about something last Pennsic to
the tune of "Star Wars."  These things, as well as seeing a car with
hi-beams drive up, really get my breeches in a bunch.  And I know that that
time-warped feeling has left for the evening, and won't return until the
next event.

> I suspect that many, if not
> most of the gentles in the society (who aren't bards or performers
> themselves) don't particularly like period music and don't listen to it
> unless it's forced on them at an event.  When the garb comes off,
> Nirvana goes on the CD player.

This is indeed sad but true.  The beauty of period music is often overlooked
by people who view it like they view breeches or a tunic.  Now call me weird
(why not? I do!) but I walk around at home in breeches and a tunic, simply
because they are more comfortable to me than jeans and a t-shirt.  And
likewise, I listen to period music not because it is period, but because it
it beautiful (Salve Virgo Singularis, Anonymous 4) or fun (the Farting Song,
Baltimore Consort and the Merry Companions) or raucous (Volta 100, Michael
Praetorius.)  The same reasons I listen to beautiful (Desert Rose, Sting) or
fun (Any Monty Python song) or raucous (Song 2, Blur) music from modern
times.  One should not treat period music like garb, and remove it when the
garb comes off.

That's my soapbox, and now I'm stepping from it.

Richard Crowder (the Sickly) of Burnham
who will no longer respond to the name "Chris" at SCA events.

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