minstrel: Instrument Differences

Taliesin of Earthstar taliesin_o at juno.com
Thu Nov 16 04:07:14 PST 2000

On Wed, 15 Nov 2000 16:26:48 -0500 (EST) "Greg Lindahl" <lindahl at pbm.com>
> > 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.

That's the kind of information I've been lacking -- I knew that "Twa
Corbies" was a Child Ballad variant, but didn't know it was OOP.

As for bardic circles -- yeah, I'd be a lot more likely to sing it at a
revel, but I'd bring it into Bardic if it fit the mood of the circle. I
sang it for Bardic at a Halloween event this year (To the tune of "Al'
Alarc'h", the tune Bethancourt sings it to) -- appropriately creepy for
modern sensibilities, and yet catches the "versimilitude" of in-period

> > 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.

Well, "skill of the performer" is my department -- and I'm not anywhere
near where I'd like to be, but that's nothing that time and practice
won't cure.

"Venue and accessability" are other factors entirely. I assume that's
another area where time and experience will come into play -- you learn
the audience and the mood and adjust your performance accordingly.

> 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.

That's a good idea -- and one that I can do, even with my limited
resources. (Library access and work schedules don't exactly jibe <g>.)

Justin W. Eiler / Madog Hir, the "Wannabard"
taliesin_o <AT> juno.com

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