minstrel: filk/period music/cut off date/what were we talking about? ;-)

EoganOg at aol.com EoganOg at aol.com
Fri Mar 24 07:58:57 PST 2000


In a message dated 3/24/00 1:08:20 AM Eastern Standard Time, lindahl at pbm.com 
writes:

> Eoghan, I'd like to ask you a few tough questions. Please don't feel
>  personally attacked; I'd really like to learn some things about the
>  attitude of someone who thinks quite differently than I do about
>  performing in the SCA.

No problem.  I was just hashing about some personal opinions, so I'll be glad 
to hash some more.  I don't think you and I have *completely* different 
opinions.
  
>  What if there's someone in the audience who knows early music? Does
>  that change what you sing?

If there is someone in a baridic cirlce who knows a lot of period music, and 
I know this, then I will be a bit more stingent with the authenticity of what 
I sing.  
  
>  Do you think it's bad that I'll go somewhere else to have fun if a
>  bardic circle consists mostly of modern music?

No.  I probably will, too, if it gets too bad.  Although more often than not, 
when a blatantly modern peice gets performed at a bardic circle, it's because 
the performer simply didn't know anything else, or didn't know the peice was 
modern.  Instead of leave, I teach by example--the next time my turn comes 
around, I try to steer the circle towards something more period.
 
>  Why don't you sing English Renaissance songs, like the ones in
>  Ravenscroft? I transcribed and put these on the web long ago; I've
>  never heard anyone sing them other than me or people who learned them
>  before I showed up.

Oh, I know a few English language songs from the 16th century, and I do 
perform these. (No Ravenscroft, though--I really shoudl try and learn some of 
those from your web site).  My point was simply that *most* of the actual 
period songs, in the original language, would be uncomprehesible to a modern 
English speaking audience.  
  
>  Why don't you sing pre-1600 non-English songs translated by others? In
>  all the years of research by Scadians, not to mention music
>  historians, there should be quite a few available. Are they not
>  available enough?

There are a few available, and I do sing some of these.  Most of the songs I 
sing at baridc circles are of my own composition, though.
  
>  Are you proud of wearing T-tunics? Are you proud of what you sing at
>  bardic circles? When do you think you should be doing your best,
>  musically, compared to "lying around the house"? You sing period
>  pieces at competitions; is that the only time you want to do your
>  best? Or is that just following a rule?

The T-tunic thing was just for comparison.  I have a few early Scottish 
leines that for all intents and purposes are constructed and look like 
"T-tunics."  These are construced from patterns based on archealogical finds 
and made from period materials.  I didn't weave them myself, and I used a 
sewing machine, but I am proud of them.  I also have some T-tunics that are 
cotton blends that look nice, but I wouldn't say I was "proud" of them.  They 
look ok, but do you really have to be proud of everything you do?

Musically, I do my best whenever I can.  I don't enter competitions that 
often, but when I do I try to come armed with documentation and practice.  
When I perform at other venues, such as bardic circles, I choose from period 
songs, traditional songs that, in my opinion, are not overtly modern and have 
peirod themes, and songs I have written myself.  I try to teach by 
example--this is very authentic, this is not authentic, but you can get by 
with it, and this is something I wrote myself.  Keep in mind, as I said 
before, I am not a musician, and I sing at events largely for my own 
enjoyment, and because people seem to like to listen to me.
  
>  Do you think that encouraging early music necessarily makes newcomers
>  uncomfortable?

No, not at all.  Please please please encourage them.  But I do know, from 
dealing with newcomers, that sometimes people can get in at the middle of an 
authenticity debate and think--jeez, am I going to have to worry about what I 
do at events?  Will they not let me do such-and-such?  When I have somebody 
new to performing (and most SCA bards have never performed before they join 
the SCA), I find it is of the most importants to get them to perform 
SOMETHING, anything at all, to get them used to performing.  Later, we can 
work on what is period or acceptable.
  
>  BTW, in Isenfir, most newcomers get loaned something considerably
>  nicer than a T-tunic to their first event, and construct something
>  considerably nicer when they first sew. We're pretty proud of the
>  encouragement and help that we offer. I've found many other groups in
>  my travels around the Known World which likewise have helped each
>  other to achieve a pretty high standard in dress.

Very good--I think the standards of dress (and everything for that matter) 
have increased considerably in the SCA overall--evenin the short 7 or 8 years 
I've been playing.  Largely through leading by example.
Aye,
Eogan

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Sangster of Scotland and Atlantia
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Pursuivant Extraordinary at large
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mouse couchant, all within an orle of roundels, Argent.
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