[Bards] Bardic college Events

Scott Barrett barrett1 at cox.net
Mon Oct 30 02:29:26 PST 2006

> One might wonder then how the "period" bards did it. I'm not sure 
> there was "professional voice training" available in the 11th century. 
> Perhaps they did what (I believe) Sean Connary did which was to go 
> down to the sea and try to project over the roaring of the surf. (I 
> may be mixing up my stories but I think I remember reading about some 
> actor who did this.)
Well, if you were a bard or ollamh among the gaelic and welsh tribes, 
when you spoke, the crowd listened, all of them. There was no speaking 
over a bard or filidh, they had rank as part of the priestly class.

As for minstrels, gleemen and singers in most of Europe throughout the 
Middle Ages, most didn't have a high social class and were treated as 
background noise for decoration, or they sang to quiet gatherings as 
requested, such as royal embroidery gatherings or lunch in the gardens. 
Musicians were also background noise when not creating music for 
dancing. The only place music might have the full attention of a crowd 
elsewhere would be in religious settings, where one doesn't chat or 
roar with laughter among his/her fellows like a feast.

As for projecting over the surf, that was the ancient Greek orator 
Demosthenes, who would shout over the tide with a mouth full of pebbles.

Needless to say, commanding a feasthall of various personas with an 
entertaining in depth piece will always be the baptism by fire for 
performers, and frankly I hate to hear a performance in such a setting, 
even one intended for just one table, as I miss much I should like to 
hear. Even in a feast where eaters are silent, the rattle of flatwear 
and the murmur of servers is enough to lose the sound of a performer.
Asking a vocal performer to entertain at a large feast is unfair to 
both the performer and the audience. I've done it, I've been 
successful, and I hate it. There are much better venues.

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