minstrel: Instrument Differences

Greg Lindahl lindahl at pbm.com
Wed Nov 15 13:26:48 PST 2000

> Yet I also have seen people in the SCA get bored and walk away from songs
> like "Twa Corbies" and "Agincourt Carole," yet sit entranced by such
> perennial favorites as "Bored on the List-field" and "Beer, Cold Beer."

Twa Corbies is 18th century. Three Ravens, which is the ancestor of
Twa Corbies' words, is in Ravenscroft's 1609 book. I think that
particular song makes good background music, but it's not necessarily
a great song for a bardic circle.

> Yes, there is, and will always be, an audience for strictly period music
> with strictly period instrumentation, but I guess I wonder how large the
> gap is between "popular" and "period" music.

What about the audience for popular period music? It exists. I think
the major problem is that people see "period" vs "modern" as the only
factor that determines popularity, when it's also the skill of the
performer and the venue and the accessibility of the music that also
enters in.

If you want to appeal to Joe Average SCAdian with period music, use
the popular Elizabethan stuff, because it's similar to what they're
used to hearing. And you better play it with a lot of style and
enthusiasm, not necessarily a lot of polish. Trot out the fancy music
in court, feasts (as background music), or concerts.

Cooks have the same issue. I see a lot of people complaining about bad
feasts because they were cooked poorly or had too large of a fraction
of dishes with spices unusual to the modern palette. That doesn't mean
all period feasts are bad, or that cooks should always serve pizza.

-- Gregory Blount

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