minstrel: Does historical science influence SCA?

Alte Musik Salzburg schallaboeck at magnet.at
Tue Mar 21 14:30:06 PST 2000

An answer to what Tim Connor was writing:

> 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.

That's the point! I agree!!! .-)

> 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).

Ever and ever I can hear the "SCA is not a scholary pursuit", or long
explanations to the songs will bore the people. Just yesterday I saw a TV a
film about "Sonny and Cher" - yes I know different style, different
century - and one of secrets of success was the way they were talking before
they were singing. This was entertaining!!!

Who expects I want to give a scientific lecture before I sing my original
songs goes wrong. I know there is just a very few people with that much
interest to listen to reports about the newest researches in Medival

What my ensemble is doing since 18 years within 900 concerts all over europe
we give historical background in an entertaining way. Our audience loves and
applauds when we give information. We are singing all the songs in original
words in middle-high-german and guess the people like it.

And the last proof: My main work is to travel all over Austria as a special
teacher in Early Music and Medieval Literature. Children and youngsters are
the most rigid judges you can imagine. What they don't like they don't spend
a minute of attention. Now I come into a group of 50 pupils and I got one or
two hours to wake their interest in Early Music. I am not DOING FILK!!!
Anyway they all listen with open ears, eyes and very often even open mouth
beeing such astonished about the beauty, variety and the funny sites of
early music.

> And the truth is, truly authentic early instruments are too expensive for
> most non-professionals.  >
> 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.

Also professionals must make concessions and compromizes with instruments
because of the enormous prizes for historical instruments and the capacity
of their tour-bus.  At least this two criterias happen to be our problems
ever and ever.

And also professionals are never 100 % authentic or as you call it period.
No, we are just on a way to come closer and closer to the truth. And we are
musicians loving good sounds and sometimes a medieval theme like the "Oxford
Dance" (13th century, Oxford Bodl. Lib. Douce 139) sounds great when you
play it on a lute-guitar. Yet in the pause we explain all the instruments
and of course we will tell the truth about the lute-guitar.

You see I am not illiberal. I just don't like it when it comes close to be a

With best regards

Thomas M. Schallaboeck

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