minstrel: Bardic Performance A&S

Erilar hoehlefrau at chibardun.net
Thu Nov 16 08:35:36 PST 2006

On Nov 16, 2006, at 9:37 AM, Lieder, Lisa wrote:

> This is a fascinating topic.
> My call (entirely unprofessional) is that they should be two separate
> entries (Performance and Composition).
	Looking at the event page, I see two categories: "full  
documentation" and "partial documentation".  Performing from  
manuscript with music stand is completely UNdocumentable for my time  
and place,  the one I composed music for is miles from being paper- 
independent even for the harp part, and the verses are too long and  
complex for me to memorize in the next year or two at best, so if I  
want to perform the piece I wrote the melody for or even some other  
Minnelieder I have moderately-documentable melodies for, I need music  
and a music stand.  I can't memorize as fast as I could a few decades  
ago, even if my 13th-century self could have, living in a less  
heavily paper-dependent culture.  8-)
> For performance the scope should be judged based on your research and
> application of "how" a performer would perform a piece. How would they
> dress, behave, interact (or not) with the audience.

	This I can do, but only for a piece I have memorized, because that's  
a basic requirement of the style, whether fully or only partially  
documentable, or original based on period practice and performance.
> For example, a
> Mudahar from Persia would perform a traditional Persian prayer poem  
> (in
> Chant)very differently than a Fundamentalist Berber from North Africa
> (Screaming), an Andalusian Muslim from Granada (Sardonic) an English
> Crusader (Formal) or a Spanish Conquistador (With great force of
> history).
	Exactly!  And a period performance can only be FULLY explained  
without breaking persona by written documentation.
> As a woman, I could not perform this poem in the Persian, Berber or
> Spanish style. But I could perform it in an Andalusian style or as an
> English woman.
> Questions to ask in performance:
> Would the piece be memorized or would you bring music/composition?
> Would there be improvisation?
> What kind of pace would it have?
> Would the performer remain on stage or move about the audience?
> Would they make eye contact with the audience?
> Would there be intermezzas?
	These are excellent questions.  In my case, the answers to the  
second and last questions would be "yes, often, in the case of a  
professional Minnesinger", but my persona is not a pro and the  
absence of between-verse interludes in particular is excused by that  
fact(I don't have a back-up band) and my definition of audience, both  
of which are part of my in-persona introduction.

> I'm going to cross-post this on the bards list but I think "what  
> makes a
> quality period performance--not based on composition" is not often
> discussed very clearly.

Good thought!

Lady Mechthild zur Drachenhoehle, erilar
Maker of runic inscriptions, literate in the languages of the Eddas  
and Minnesaenger, sometime performer of works of the latter, singer,  
artificer, incipient harper, illuminator, archer, and Journeywoman of  
the Minstrels' Guild of Drachenwald
device: or, dragon statant contourny,
wings elevated and adorsed,
and upon a point pointed, sable, a bizant

Erilar's Cave Annex: http://www.airstreamcomm.net/~erilarlo
includes a brief biography of Mechthild as well as accounts of my  
heavily medieval trips to Europe.

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