[Bards] A Question of Categories

lburgin lburgin at gt.rr.com
Tue Apr 25 19:51:43 PDT 2006

I really like your catagories and thought behind them.  AmberLea
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Scott Barrett" <barrett1 at cox.net>
To: <bards at ansteorra.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2006 9:12 PM
Subject: [Bards] A Question of Categories

> Well, I've thought about this and I had a few comments I wanted to 
> share.
> What can I say, I care about you guys... I just (sniff) ...I love you 
> guys, man!
> Ahem.
>  I have always been a firm believer in supporting any form of 
> performance, no matter the style. I don't care what you do as a 
> performer, we all suffer the same tension. We all offer a rather 
> personal aspect of ourselves when we step up to entertain, enlighten or 
> inspire. I'm not terribly interested in division, but classification 
> has some possibilities that should be explored.
>  The following is my mad, deranged personal opinion, mine alone.
> We can't expect a truly historic bard to appear among us. No one is 
> capable of reciting over 100 poems from memory that I know of, but if 
> you know someone like that, ask them if they have their group's entire 
> generational history memorized and can recite both Kingdom and SCA law 
> off the top of their head. We use the term bard as a blanket 
> description.
>  That being said, the SCA holds the arts of the old bardagh, filidh, 
> scops and skalds in high regard. Those arts generally are listed as 
> Master Ihon did, i.e., story, song and poem. I'd actually say that they 
> are (dum, dum-dum!) Vocal Performers. Poets, storytellers, singers, 
> reciters, riddlers and even the dear old herald fall into this class. 
> They are singular creatures, operating alone and usually with a 
> personal collection of works.
>  The second group are poor, under-appreciated musicians, dancers and 
> actors. These folks can perform alone with skill, but generally are 
> accented by working in a troupe or band, or at least with a second. 
> They are students of the technical aspects of entertainment, following 
> notation, movements and scripts with rigid dedication. They practice 
> together when they can and are always on the lookout for a venue. I'm 
> hard pressed to come up with a term for these folks, though Court 
> Performers seems the most accurate, as they usually have specific space 
> needs and flourish like flowers in a spring rain when they have a large 
> audience. This is not to say that the other types of performers don't 
> appear in court, on the contrary, "Court" Performers would be those 
> most in need of a court-like setting, or a feast.
>  Finally, there's that rare and dear class of performer that once had 
> the Motley Sash to represent them, but since that order has closed, 
> they are now left to find their own niche. Luckily, most are quite 
> adept at doing just that. These are the folks I consider Physical 
> Performers (I know there is a lot of room for innuendo here, but if I 
> can ignore it, you can, too). These are the jugglers, the acrobats, the 
> magicians, the puppeteers, the fools. These folks have just as much 
> talent in audience interaction and timing as the other two, but they 
> have polished a collection of movements, expressions and postures that 
> make them highly distinctive. They are a rare lot. They can usually 
> operate alone like the VP's, but are perfectly entertaining as groups, 
> like the CP's. They have their own singular acts and shticks like the 
> VP's but they need exactness in much of their art, like the CP's.
> So there you have it, my take on classifications, IF and I repeat IF we 
> were to give the idea of classification serious consideration. Two 
> broad distinctions, singular or group, and categories, Vocal, Court and 
> Physical.
>  These would not be hard lines that must be followed on all occasions. 
> Each could have their own competitions, like Eisteddfod for Vocal 
> performers, Royal Courtier, His Majesties Fool, etc.
> If need be, all could be thrown together into the A&S melting pot and 
> survive. I offer these lines of distinction not to divide us but to 
> instead provide support and encouragement, as some of the above groups 
> don't have as much as they could. It would make all feel welcome 
> without feeling misunderstood or out of place, especially at an A&S 
> competition.
> ~Finnacan
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