minstrel: comments on Thomas' letter

Lisa and Ken Theriot lnktheriot at compuserve.com
Mon Mar 20 14:33:26 PST 2000

Thomas wrote:

< People who did not have the chance to read and learn about the medieval 
times do not know the difference between a German lute of Hofner and a 
medieval-arabic "al out". They just see the minstrel dressed in a wonderful 
costume playing an instrument and he hears him singing a song. The dress, 
the instrument and the song will be in the imagination of this person in 
the audience 100 % original medieval.>
The Lowest Common Denominator strikes again!  We all feel "the mood ruined" 
in pretty direct relationship to how educated we are.  People who know 
NOTHING about period music are pretty easily fooled, the more educated, 
less so.
I attended an event recently where they had a "period love song" contest; I 
meant to enter, but I ran out of time to look up and polish the piece I was 
going to do, so I did not enter.  It turned out there was only one entry, a 
(I assume) well-meaning but ignorant lady who sang a piece which I know to 
be OOP.  The sponsor of the contest was happy to give her the prize, so I 
assume that they didn't know any more about period music than the entrant 
did.  I could have entered any number of pieces which would have blown the 
other lady out of the water, none of which were period, but to what end? 
 If Greg (or most other people knowledgeable about period music) had been 
judging, they would have required some documentation and the lady would not 
have been able to enter.  Of course there would have BEEN no entries, but 
perhaps forwarding the cause of truly period music would have been better 
Know your company.  Cleave to your own.
< In my opinion we got a kind of responsibility to be real and authentic! 
 Nobody can be 100 % authentic but we can and must try to come as close as 
possible to it.>
Possible and discernible only to the level of education of the assemblage. 
 If you feel this way, stay on Enchanted Ground.  Know your company. 
 Cleave to your own.
< Making medieval music we should use the right instruments and if we 
cannot and we put knowingly some "wrong" instruments we have the duty to 
tell this our audience. I accept Lady Arabellas German Lute in a medieval 
content as long as she is telling everybody that this instrument is not 
medieval. I will get very angry if she does not. Sorry Milady!!!>
I agree with Brendan that detailing your variances from strict periodicity 
does not belong at a bardic circle.  It belongs in your documentation when 
you enter an arts competition, and it forms part of your answer to any 
polite queries you receive, but you will only bore and irritate people if 
you break up the flow of a bardic circle with verbal documentation (unless 
you can make a good story out of it!).  Again, perhaps a bardic circle in 
Enchanted Ground would be another matter.  Know your company.  Cleave to 
your own.
As far as OOP instruments, I'd rather hear music on anything than not at 
all (I do draw the line on anything you have to plug in).  I don't think 
Arabella needs to go about shouting the bardic equivalent of "Unclean!" 
because her instrument isn't period; I certainly don't when I play my 
guitars.  On the other hand, I wouldn't take even my cittern-ish looking 
guitar to a circle on Enchanted Ground.  Know your company.  If you can't 
cleave to your own, at least try not to offer outright offense.  I HAVE 
seen people with lute-body guitars who look down their noses at regulation 
guitar players as being "less period", and that I find as offensive as it 
is ridiculous.
< I love Sean Connery and Richard Gere but when I saw the film "The first 
Knight" in London with a good friend who is University Professor for 
Middle-High-German Literature we both were laughing very often at the 
"wrong" moments.>
The worst thing about the movie is that they tried to make Camelot out of 
what was to be Tristan and Isolde.  In an interview with Sean Connery which 
I read, he said that he signed on to play King Mark of Cornwall, and was 
amazed when shooting began that he had become Arthur (because the suits 
didn't think T&I would sell like Camelot).  Probably would have stunk 
anyway, but less violently.

My two ducats,

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