A&S Judging: Criteria / Standards

Matthew R. Popalisky mpopali at comp.uark.edu
Thu Oct 24 15:57:14 PDT 1996

On Wed, 23 Oct 1996, Mike Baker wrote:

> This is not to say that every meandering tale told should be allowed into 
> competition, or that a thirty-minute recitation of a saga rendered in Old 
> Icelandic is or should be directly comparable to a quick quatrain quoted 
> querulously. Standards, if created, must be flexible enough to permit 
> recognition of unpopular as well as popular forms.  At the same time, they 
> must not be so nebulous as to become seen as a needless extra burden.

This part is fairly easy with good communication
>      As a _performer_, I must observe that we do not have any truly reliable 
> basis upon which to base a standard.  What is pleasant to the trained & to 
> the UNtrained ear differs greatly in this modern world which serves as 
> backdrop to existence in the Current Middle Ages.  Someone formally trained 
> in pre-Renn music is going to have a different approach to music than 
> [self-description] "a middle-aged almost-hippie" who grew up on the 
> folksongs of the 1950's & '60s, Porter Wagner and Mitch Miller TV 
> broadcasts, and other "pop" music *footnote 1*.

People formally trained in Common Practice Era music have problems with
pre-Renn.  As one must know what to look for in weaving, needlework, and
carving, one must also learn what to listen for in performance.
> competitors.  In this light, I consider the Calontir model to have some 
> merit and to present one of the more rational systems I am even indirectly 

As it takes wild horses to get me to perform, what are these standards?
> Robin of Gilwell has a favorite tale concerning A&S judging criteria as they 
> have been used in other kingdoms.  It involves the challenge of a sovereign, 

As I am unlikely to have the priviledge of Robin's fine storytelling (and
I am sorry), could someone please e-mail the story to me?
> Footnote 1:  I'm sorry, but in my opinion if a song has definite lyrics and 
> is sung in such a way that those lyrics cannot be understood there will be 
> two personal standards kick in. (Foreign or archaic _language_ is not the 
> issue, recognizable _words_ is the issue.) As a judge, I am going to deduct 
> from whatever ranking I might otherwise have considered even if 
> theoretically the piece is being presented in thoroughly authentic period 
> operatic style

OK.  So I finally get four brave souls who want to take a stab at "Moro
Lasso, Al Mio Desolo" (madrigal by Gesualdo), an especial favorite of
mine, and sing it in competition with me.  Will you count me off because
while we WILL be singing distictly, but it can be hard to sort out 5
parts.  Those happy distinct beginnings and ends do get lost in the

As a music teacher, and this holds for everything I hear, I am looking for
pitch sense, steady beat when appropriate (even synchopations must be
steady), rhythmic accuraccy, good/appropriate diction, phrasing and how it
points up the melody and words, and effort.  For original composition, I
would expect a good fit between the rhythms of the words and music and the
strong beats of both as well.

Kateryn Heathrydge

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