minstrel: Several Questions, and more on Filk

Tim Connor timcon at flash.net
Wed Mar 22 20:59:02 PST 2000


Katy Krieg wrote:
> 
> According to the stuff I've read, there's a Great Scholarly Debate on
> whether or not instruments were used to accompany voices at all before
> about the Rennaisance.  Christopher Page wrote a good deal on this topic,
> if you want to look him up.  I personally find it hard to believe that
> people didn't accompany themselves instrumentally before the lute pieces
> and such, 

Page's argument is that a particular type of troubadour song, which he
calls "high style," was sung unaccompanied.  Joel Cohen has argued the
other way (you can find the article by going to the SCA A&S page
maintained by our noble listmaster).  I suspect that, as usual, it
depends--troubadours who had a great deal of confidence in their voices
might have gone a capella, while those with shakier pitch or less
dynamic styles might have preferred instrumental support.  I do think
it's hard to pull off an a capella performance with an audience that's
used to modern recorded music, with the full sound of a rock band or a
symphony orchestra.  But if you're a brave sort, go for it.

Tadhgh

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