Bards - Kingdom Eisteddfod

Ulf Gunnarsson ulfie at
Thu Oct 19 20:27:33 PDT 2000

Her Grace asked:
> What will be the  format for the KE?

I really like the idea of double elimination tournament, with no repeating
weapon styles.  This method has given us many exceptional bards, as they
must be versed in more than one style (story, song, poem, instrumental), and
must have a repertoire of several pieces.  They also show their ability to
size up an opponent and pick a piece more likely to "overcome" them; such is
an excellent talent for any bard.  This is the format of the first
Eisteddfod I competed in, where I was matched in the first round with Her
Grace, Duchess Willow, and was very easily defeated.

I may change this, though, if we have too many entrants, as this can lead to
a very loooonnng tournament.  I'd like to start as soon after site opens as
possible, but there will be Circles and such that folks may want to attend.

I mention four "weapon" styles above.  It used to be just three;
instrumental was added... oh... about ten years ago, but still receives
little popularity.  I have seen many instrumentalists entertain and amaze,
so I consider it a valid category.  It is a little hard to chronicle the
deeds of heroes in an instrumental piece,  but a good instrumental piece
written in commemoration of such deeds always evokes discussion of those
deeds after it is performed.

Other styles might be considered on a case by case basis:  best to ask

As a laurel and a person who knows what can be asked from the Premier Bard,
I'd love to see some period pieces or pieces written very close to period
style and subject.  As a bard of the camps, I'd love to see pieces written
about our own heroes, kings, and groups.  And as an individual, I like
pieces where the Vikings win.  (Ja-ja)

Documentation?  It may be orally delivered. All pieces should have some sort
of documentation, even if it is simply the name of the AUTHOR and when it
was written.  Bonus (to me, at least) if you know style, country, similar
pieces, famous historical performances of the piece, etc.  Folks, it is
important to know more than just the piece itself, if for no other reason
than it helps pick appropriate pieces for appropriate situations.  (And it
makes you look really smart...)  If your documentation is longer than can be
orally delivered, but you really want the judges to look at it, you might
bring three copies and leave them with the judges before the tournament
starts.  That way no one is forced to read AND listen at the same time.

To me, you lose no points for just saying "I wrote this myself and it
follows no particular style".  But you will have an edge over your opponent
if you can say "I wrote this myself.  It is in Drokkvaett, the court poetry
style of Viking Age Scandinavia.  It has complex syllabic rhymes with a
rigid alliteration scheme, and the sagas remark upon men who could compose a
drapa of this at a moments notice."  Or even "I wrote this myself.  It is in
the court poetry style of my homeland, much more complex than anything you
Saxons can do.  Our heroes can speak for hours in this style.  And my dog is
better than yours."

Finally, just some advice from experience: Bring copies of anything you have
written.  People will ask for them.  And it is a good way to get a song out
and being sung.

Ulf Gunnarsson
Premier Bard of Ansteorra

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