minstrel: Mid-Realm Bardic Madness Challenges

Cerian Cantwr cerian at minstrel.com
Tue Aug 1 18:44:57 PDT 2006

Mid-Realm Bardic Madness VIII – The Song of the Sea

Greetings and welcome are bid to all Bards, Troubadors, Trouveres,
Minstrels, Minnesingers, Jongleurs, Singers, Storytellers, Poets,
Scops, Skalds, Fillids, Olaves, Griots, Wordsmiths, and Friends of
these arts. Also Musicians, Dancers, Jugglers, Magicians, and Players
as well.

This year's Bardic Madness will take place on November 11th, 2006.
Our hosts will be the Barony of Brendoken (the event takes place near
Wooster, OH). Many thanks go to all of them for their hospitality in
helping the bardic community out this year. Our theme will be the sea
and all that lies within it.

The purpose of today's challenges is to encourage the participants'
creativity and artistic growth.  They are not meant to be
competitions - everyone who takes part can consider themselves a

Your response to the various challenges may be in many different
forms. Song or story are the most obvious choices; however juggling,
magic, instrumental, or dance can also express an idea or tell a
tale.  All of these could be used to answer a given challenge (though
perhaps not all at the same time  :-)  .  Our desire here is to be
inclusive rather than exclusive.  If you have something to share that
doesn't quite fit or that stretches the definitions a little, then
fire away.

It is our wish to create a "bardic safe zone" - a friendly place
where you may feel free to experiment and try new things.  If you've
never performed before, now's your chance.  You'll be hard pressed to
find a friendlier and more supportive audience.  We would be
delighted to see lots of first time performers.

Please remember, in order to make sure as many gentles get a chance
to perform as possible, we ask that you limit your performances so
that they run less than five minutes.

For more event information, see the website at
http://tilted-windmill.com/bms8/  Additional information will be
posted there as it becomes available.

For questions about the days bardic activities (challenges, teaching
a class, participating in the concert, or serving as a patron),
please contact the provost:
    Cerian Cantwr
    cerian at minstrel.com

For questions about the site and logistics, please contact the
    Sofia Tyzes
    karoline at karolinekramer.com

The Challenges

Fyt the First:

Pass the Tale:
All those who wish to participate get up together, and tell a tale
from beginning to end.  The challenge's patron will 'conduct' by
pointing to the person whose turn it is to continue the tale, and
deciding when it is time to end.

Here There Be Dragons:
Sailing off into the unknown was a chancy business.  No one knew what
waited in the blank corners of the map.  Tell us of such a journey,
real or metaphorical, and what was found along the way.

Death, Doom, and Gloom:
This song isn't from Calontir.  A surprisingly large percentage of
sea songs end badly for their participants.  Cheer us all, well… down
with a song or tale of something soggy and grim.

2nd fyt:

Stir Fry:
Given a list of words, do something artistic with them.

Why Wait for Willy:
Many women waited for years at a time while their lover (usually
named Willy) went to sea.  It seldom worked out well.  Let us know
about one of these difficult relationships.  How did it work out, why
was the lady willing to wait so long, or how come the guy is always
named Willy anyway?

By the bleary bloodshot eye o' Bluebeard!  What be a day 'bout the
sea without mention o' them merry buccaneers  o' the deep – the
pirates?  Stand to, and give o'er wi' pirate song or story, lest ye
be made ter walk the plank!

3rd fyt:

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words:
Members of the populace will draw pictures for this challenge based
on the theme: things found in the sea (feel free to define this
broadly).  Participants will pull both a drawing and a song out of a
hat just before the challenge starts.  Write two verses and a chorus
about the picture using the tune.

It Came from the Deep:
The sea is said to be the home of many monstrous creatures: sirens,
sea serpents, and krakens among them.  Tell us of one of these
legendary creatures or an encounter with one.

Period Piece:
Perform a documentably period piece of music, story, or song (poetry,
prose, and so forth are good too).  Dig out those reference books,
blow off the dust (try not to sneeze), and see what wonderful and
magical treasures you can find in them.  There is a staggering amount
of fantastic material out there.  Find something, be it silly or
sublime, and amaze us with it.

4th fyt:

Scrimshaw Carving:
Given a piece of material (perhaps from the great white whale, Moby
Dial), some tools, and a subject; carve an image and compose a text
based on it.  This may be done individually or as a team.

Rondeau Roundabout:
The rondeau is a French poetic form dating back to the thirteenth
century.  It consists of thirteen eight syllable lines and two
repeated four syllable refrains.  These fifteen lines contain are
broken into three stanzas and contain only three rhymes.  The rhyme
scheme is as follows:

Stanza 1: A A B B A   (5 lines of eight syllables)
Stanza 2: A A B C     (3 lines of eight syllables,
                        plus the 4 syllable refrain)
Stanza 3: A A B B A C (5 lines of eight syllables,
                        plus the 4 syllable refrain)

So, how does this all work in practice?   Something like this:

A	Attend and I will tell to you,
A	Of how to write a rondeau true.
B	Use thirteen lines that hold eight feet -
B	Plus two of four, that do repeat.
A	Where, but three rhymes make their debut.

A	Split into stanzas, that are few,
A	Five lines in one and four in two -
B	Plus six in three. It's now complete.
C	Our Rondeau's done.

A	The `A' rhyme you will eight times view.
A	The `B', but five times will accrue.
B	The `C' you will but two times meet,
B	Identical in ev'ry beat.
A	Our poem is done and so we're through,
C	Our Rondeau's done.

Additional examples can be seen at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rondeau_(poetry) and
http://www.forwardpress.co.uk/04_workshop/workshop_02.htm.  As
always, for all the gory details, look at The Princeton Encyclopedia
of Poetry and Poetics.

Land Ho:
Sea voyages were dangerous.  Many ships sailed out only to disapear
without a trace.  Because of this, the first glimpse of journey's end
was always a welcome sight.  Sing a song of celebration that tells of
arriving at a destination, reaching agoal, or coming home.

Challenge General Rules

Challenges are not contests. You win by entering and striving to do
the best you can.

Challenges are designed to encourage you to try your hand at
something new, to stretch yourself, to enjoy, and to celebrate the
creative spirit.

Read the guidelines for the challenges carefully, like most
exercises, they are designed to help you develop in specific areas.
Try to follow them as closely as you can, but stretching them in
unexpected directions is good too.

Individuals are welcome and encouraged to give recognition to those
performers whom they especially enjoy.

In order to allow the largest number of people to participate,
challenge entries shall be limited to five minutes or less. Each
person may enter a maximum of one piece in each challenge and a
maximum of eight challenges.

More information about the minstrel mailing list