minstrel: Does historical science influence SCA?

Tim Connor timcon at flash.net
Mon Mar 20 22:00:33 PST 2000


Thomas--

My point about the general tastes of the society when out of garb was
exactly the opposite of what you took it to be--not that we should cater
to preexisting tastes, but that as performers we have some obligation to
adhere to period styles in order to help our less-educated friends
become accustomed to the sound of period music.  We can't really expect
non-musicians to study early music, but if they hear it enough, it will
start to sound "normal" to them.  I do, in fact, listen to medieval
music most of the time--just because I like it.

That said, I think flexibility is essential.  The SCA is not a scholarly
pursuit (even though it is informed by scholarship, or should be).  It
is recreational (pun intended--I hope it translates into German).  And
the truth is, truly authentic early instruments are too expensive for
most non-professionals.  If there is to be music in the society, we need
to blur our vision a bit at times in order to have it *feel* right.  My
goal is to, as nearly as possible, *feel* medieval.  Much harder to do
than simply looking and sounding medieval.  And it necessarily involves
going beyond what is documented, because I know that if I were a 13th
century musician I would have been a composer and an improviser.  To be
authentically period I have to make up stuff that never existed in
period, but could have.  I won't borrow it from Bob Dylan.

Lute-guitar?  No big problem as far as I'm concerned (too bad it's not a
12-string--you could just tune the Gs to F# and it would be a lute circa
1500, for most practical purposes).  There was enough variation in
medieval instruments that it could be just an eccentric lute or
cittern.  I'm willing to suspend my disbelief to that extent.

Regards,

Tadhgh

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