minstrel: Period music and dulcimer

Greg Lindahl lindahl at pbm.com
Sat Apr 15 07:41:58 PDT 2000

> However after reading the debate around the guitar/lute I'm having
> second and third thoughts.

I hope not. I think you got an unusual impression of the SCA.

> The dulcimer is a period instrument, but like 
> most medieval instruments it has changed and continues to 
> change. My dulcimer is a small "student" instument, but it is 
> still probably larger than a period instrument would be.

Period dulcimers came in all sizes. I can show you several
illustrations of double-bridged large dulcimers around 1500. I don't
know anyone who makes a more period instrument for any price, probably
because there are no significant differences, and the early music
community mostly ignores the instrument. I personally play a Russel
Cook "featherweight" 15/16.

> How serious is most of the current SCA about accuracy?

They aren't. If you played period tunes you'd be way, way ahead of the
curve. Remember that authenticity is a personal thing to most people;
just because they say they personally wouldn't do what you're planning
doesn't mean it isn't a good trade-off for you. And, to repeat myself
repeatedly, the fact that you're actually interested in period music
(instead of playing the folk music you might already know) is very,
very good. I can't say that enough times.

> Second question: Is there an SCA publication of commonly used 
> period tunes?  If not, why don't aa couple of you guys get 
> together and write one.

Heh. No, there isn't, but there are quite a few online resources you
can use. Not enough easy-to-use material, though.

> Even a list of tunes in one of your 
> repertoire would be of greate help to newbies and re-newbies.
> :-)

That gets asked and answered a couple of times a year on this list and
there is an archive, but there's no easy-to-use version of that. It
would be cool if someone would go through the archive and make up some
subsets on specific topics, like what Stefan did for the Rialto.

-- Gregory Blount

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