[Bards] From Eleanor Fairchild - on Eisteddfod

Darius of the Bells masterdarius at earthlink.net
Mon Jan 5 17:14:08 PST 2004

First I would like to say, having watched parts of the competition during
the day and then staying on for the entire last round, that the small number
of competitors was no liability to this years competition. The talent and
passion displayed was worthy of remembering in song.

Now on to Eleanor's question of why didn't people compete...

I think the bulk of those of us who were there and did not compete had other
responsibilities and would not wish to to do a disservice to the bardic
community should we win. For myself I am Star Signet, as well as my duties
to my apprentices and trying to further myself in the rapier community. Had
I competed and won, it would have been just to see how the cloak would look
with my doublet.

I am going to hazard a guess that the requirement of written docs shied many
others away from the competition. Even with Pendaren's post about what he
expected, it is still an intimidating thing to do if you have no experience
in writing documentation. When documenting a period piece you need to go
further than "written in 1403" but how far? and documenting original pieces
in period styles you are trying to match up form, style content and meter
with a long dead poet who we can only study and surmise their intent. This
still leaves out pieces that are just simply written as the muse descends
upon us.

Surely the act of siting down and writing a song about things happening in
the kingdom was done in period, after all a new style had to come from some
where. How then, can you actually give your judges a scale with which to
measure that against a 9th Century Goliard poem, or one of the poems by Kit
Marlowe?? In the end that is what our documentation in competition is for,
to help our judges make an informed decision.

The line we walk as bards between period recreation and entertainers is a
fine and nebulous one to be sure. There is a time and place when the more
period piece is, the better choice it is for the given audience. However,
there will also always be a time and place in Ansteorra for a rousing battle
hymn written to the tune of a 20th century folk song or a well sharpened
satire written to the tune of a 70's rock ballad. We must simply remember to
read our audience and chose our pieces well. As long as I don't have to
start carrying notebooks of docs with me to sing a song for friends by the
fire I will be content.

In Service
Darius of the Bells, OL

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