Bad Bards or Bad Drummers?

Paulette L Ogg oggb at
Sat Dec 14 10:23:14 PST 1996

On Sat, 14 Dec 1996 04:47:53 -0600 gunnora at (Gunnora Hallakarva)
>Gunnora says:
>Yes... but usually these do not alter the overall mood of the circle 
>as much as the one volume, one speed, one mood drums can.  The long 
>boring/tuneless bard problem is one reason I always have enjoyed group
singing in 
>bardic circle... and I don't mean your formal "This is a bardic circle
>we will all compete."  I mean the fun ones that spontaneously form
>a campfire, around some seats on the edge of a listfield, or even in the
>middle of an empty field with nothing but the singers.

Then what is the problem?  You just ask the "drunken drummer"  to leave,
you tell him/her that this circle is for singing and story telling and
unless the drummer is a complete idiot they will. .  It looks like you
have already lumped me with those that don't want to do more than  get
drunk and beat on a drum as loud as I can,  there you have made a 
mistake.   I enjoy listening to songs and stories as well as the drums. 
And I have joined in on many group sing a longs.  I unlike you have had
fun at BOTH.

>Gunnora replies:
>I believe that when one is beset by an attack bard, they can be politely
>firmly encouraged to stop, or light-heartedly teased into stopping, or
>simply asked to go back to their tent and sleep it off NOW.  And if 
>said attack bard won't listen, that's what axes are for.

Yet you are unwilling to do this to a drummer?  and what about us poor
little peons that don't  "out rank" the attack bard, our only recourse is
to leave whether we want to or not.  Like they say rank has it's

>Gunnora says:
>If the drummers have the consideration of a dead skunk, they will not
>monopolize a circle no matter how much fun they are having.  It is 
>simply wrong to stroll up to someone else's circle and take it over
>OR attack bard).  If you want a drumming session, why not start one on 
>your own turf, then you call the shots?  Tell drummers early in the day
>be hosting a drumming circle, invite the dancers etc  And if you do come

>to someone else's circle, if you are being considerate, you will take 
>turns,not play for more than five to ten minutes (with ten to fifteen
>breaks, or a shift to "accompaniment" mode to allow singers to sing 
>and tale spinners to yarn..

As it is simply wrong to walk up to a drumming circle and take IT over. 
This too I have seen, and as far as having it on "my turf" it was. So
drummers are not the only rude one here.

>Gunnora said (looking over her glasses and frowning):
>My lady, no one said that the drummers and dancers had to take a long
>off a short pier.  You have taken the suggestions made, filtered them
>through indignation, and your answer has come out in this sentence like
>outraged squawk of a stepped-on broody hen.

As is your statements now, you too have taken what I have said and
filtered them for yourself.  Never once did I say I didn't like "regular"
bardic circles, I was just pointing out that just as there are rude
drummers/dancers there are also rude singers/story tellers. And your
rantings also sound like stepped on livestock.

>Drummers are a good thing, in moderation.  They are even a good thing, 
>in excess, if they have made arrangements to do nothing but drum without
>wrecking someone else's circle.  
>I personally get very tired of the DOOM DOOM TEKKA TEK over and over 
>and over, it is true.  And there's nothing as obnoxious as having to 
>listen to five hours of bad drumming and bad dancing and accompanying
>drunks,especially when this all takes place after 2 am.

I'll be, we have found something we agree on.  Most circles should end by
2 am. There comes a time when even a "regular" bardic circle should have
stopped hours ago, but no one is allowed to complain about that because
that would just be rude.
>As I mentioned before, if the drummers don't want a bad rap, they need 
>to take steps to go beyond the dreaded DOOM DOOM TEKKA TEK.  They need
>show courtesy to other performers.

Then the same can be said of  "regular" many times do we need
to hear the same song/story from the same person, event after event??? 
Yet again to say anything is to be rude.

>But why should we allow rank novices at drumming to do their learning 
>on our recreation time?  We absolutely would NOT allow a novice tuba
>to interrupt our circle and start honking really loud random notes on
>tuba. We wouldn't want someone to practice their beginners scales,
>on a violin during our events where no one can get away from the dead

Ok, what about the novice singer or the story teller that has to start
over again and again because they lost their place???  Why should we let
them  do their learning on our recreation time???  We encourage them, as
we should, why not do the same for the drummers/dancers???  See your
statement apply to both sides of this issue. If you don't like the way
things are going either find a way to change it ( with some sort of tact,
or maybe even an offer to help teach) or leave the area.

>Beginning drummers need to practice on their own time, or as I 
>mentioned, if they want opportunities to learn from other drummers at
events, either 
>(1) make a drumming area for this activity or (2) do drumming during the

>day, before nightfall so that their mistakes and one rhythm doesn't
>everyone nuts during the quieter circles in the evening..

Is that an offer to help??? That would be the best thing any one could
do.  If it is because of lack of experience then why not offer your help
instead of your complaints.

>Gunnora says:
>I beg to differ.  People get to drum or dance at home while 
>practicing. People need to do a lot of drumming at their homes, in their
>living rooms etc. so that when they do drum in public they are bearable.
>one would allow a beginner with any other instrument to assault our ears

>the way we regularly have to be assaulted by novice drummers.  DON'T do
>your learning and practicing at events!!  Do it at home!  Practice with 
>tapes of medieval/middle easter music.  Tape yourself and listen to what
>sounds like.  Invest in an inexpensive metronome and find out if your
idea of
>rhythm has any relationship to the real world.

Finely some good advice instead of just complaining.  But this too apply
'' to the "regular" bards, not just drummers/dancers.

>Gunnora answers:
>We aren't discussing competition circles, here.  For one thing, those 
>almost always have a moderator, and entries are almost always timed to
>extent. As for "not being forced", well, that is so.  However, I have on
>several occasions had a bardic circle at MY OWN CAMP invaded by The
>Who Would Not Die.  Where do you go then?  You're already "at home" but
>you thought you were going to bed, forget that feeble dream.  And you 
>know, the really drunk drummers are hard to get to leave.  It can be
done, but 
>you have to be a really rude ass hole (even ruder than the drummers) to
>their attention in this instance (or resort to the bad bard axe, as 
>mentioned above).  This is why I think that drummers (and other
performers) need 
>to be sensitive about what and where the circle is!

Then if it is on "your own turf" then follow your own advice (as earlier
stated)  and ask them to LEAVE.  Too bad if they think your an ass hole,
its your camp, you didn't ask for drummers did you?

>You know, when I first got in the SCA, it was customary to ask 
>permission to enter a camp that was not your own, at the very minimum to
call out 
>"Hail the Camp! May I enter?"  This allowed introductions to be made,
>people knew who the guests were and who the host/s were.  It might be a
>idea to practice asking that question when entering a circle.

I do this, unless it is to the "main communal"  bardic circle.  And I
have NEVER had it happen for me in my camp though, never once has anyone
asked before they just walked in, be it drummer/ dancer, or singer/ story

> If you will be drumming, it is only polite to ask whether *this* circle
will be a 
>good place to share your skill.  If the people there tell you that no,
>is a laid back, quiet circle, or a tale spinner's group, or whatever,
>argue. Find another venue in which to exhibit your own skills or stay
>enjoy the skills of others.

Then give the drummers the same respect, that is ALL  I have been saying.
 Why should they be kind and considerate to you if in return for
consideration they get called "Nothing but a bunch of no talent
drunks"???  After a time you stop being hurt by it and start getting
even...  Not the SCA way of doing things is it?  People have asked for 
tolerance of their fellow man/woman on a different thread, why can't we
have a little here??? 

If your not willing to teach or help out then you have no reason to
b*tch.  I am willing to help and have done so on many occasions, I have
organized bardic circles that have had  BOTH storytellers/singer AND
drummers/dancers and have had very few problems.  This is for both
competition and just for fun.  Like I said you are ALWAYS free to go
elsewhere and if it is at your camp you are ALWAYS free to tell every one
to leave. 

Some of the BEST bardic circles I have been to have been out in the
western border of Ansteorra, (where I use to live) where they don't
realize you can't have it both ways. I guess they haven't had people
coming out there telling them they have to do it a certain way, and they
have grown up (SCA wise) without all the preconceived notions of what a
bard should be.

HL. Gwendolene McIver

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