[Bards] Some Thoughts on Documentation for Bardic Competition

Marlin Stout ldcharles at ev1.net
Mon Apr 22 10:41:32 PDT 2002

YsfaelEleanor at aol.com wrote:
>        My feelings are that the selection of Bardic champions be a
> combination of the best documentation and best performance.  In other words,
> one may make one's intention to compete by turning in documentation.  Later
> in the event, a choice may be made unubtrusively at a circle/fire which would
> be open to all.

 I would tend to agree, save that one can have the best documentation at
the competition and give the worst performance (or vice versa). Also, I
could take a song, research the heck out of it, and enter the resulting
research paper in a static A&S contest. Someone could write a poem in a
period style, document it, and enter it in static A&S. Either piece
would be wonderfully documented, maybe better than anything else at the
competition. I don't think that should give the performer a leg up over
his competition when he competes with it. Also, how does one document
'traditional' pieces? There are wonderful pieces out there about events
that are within our period, but you can't tell if they were written
during the period. Do they become less 'valuable' in competition because
you can't say when, or in some cases even where, they originated?
Suppose I were to perform Master Ragnar's 'Olaf's House' or 'Dragon
Gold', would the fact that they were written by an SCA bard be enough

>        I should also add that the absolute worst  have ever done was due to
> getting "out of frame" by trying to defend my documentation before performing
> thus my feeling that the documentation and performance phase of any
> competition should be quite seperate. I have been honored to be the best bard
> present and so have won a couple of times, but on none of those occasions did
> I make any attempt at documentation.  Ysfael just doesn't feel comfortable
> handing over a typed sheet of documentation, and Tom is lousy at bardic arts.

 As far as I'm concerned, what's most important in bardic competition is
the performance. Bardic is ultimately about doing, not simply wondering.
I've seen performers assail wonderful period pieces with no emotion, no
spark, nothing to get my interest. And I've seen performers take simple
filks or old traditional tunes and weave a spell over an audience that
has them seeing far off and long ago things, daring death with heroes,
feeling the glow of two lover's hearts, or stumbling through the
silliest situations with some adorable fool. I know which one I'd vote
for, if I was judging. There is much in this world that is orderly,
scientific, written just so and thus.
 When it comes to bardcraft though, show me the magic!

Ld Charles,

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