[Bards] Situations That Ruin Bardic Circles

Ken Theriot kentheriot at ravenboymusic.com
Mon Apr 30 13:39:53 PDT 2007

<1.  Good Bards.  You can make do with OK Bards, but too many BAD Bards can
ruin a Circle.>


Oh, Robert.  I was going to stay away from this one, but since you bring it


How do I define a "bad bard" without a) offending someone, and b) sound like
I'm bragging, since I believe myself to be a "good bard"?


Don't get me wrong here, I am totally with you.  I have a friend in Caid who
is oft-quoted as saying "life is too short to listen to bad bards."  At GW,
my friend Master Efenwealt Wystle (from Atlantia) and I decided we must hold
a "good-bards-only" circle at our camp (how ego-centric is that?:)).  We
wanted to keep it small, and dense with bardic goodness.  It was odd how it
worked out.  The plan started out as just a 3-person thing (Efenwealt,
Adelaide and I) at our camp after dinner.  Just a private thing, and very
spur-of-the-moment (planned it at around 2 pm for that very night).
Efenwealt asked if I trusted him to tell "the right people" to come and join
us.  I knew instantly that I could trust his definition of "right people."
What resulted is what has become known by one particular lady in our barony
as "the bardic that didn't suck."  And she was right!  We had all the things
I described for a good circle.  There were only about 10 people (only 2
non-performers and 6 laurels for bardic performance), it went in order
(without too much in the way of regimentation..good bards won't need much
guidance), nobody spent more than 10 minutes performing, and the level of
talent was high.  What more could you ask?  Well, as it happens, it was
FREEZING FRICKIN' COLD that night.  So, I guess there's always something;).


Anyway, there are basically 3 things that make a "bad bard" in my opinion.  

1) Someone who can't sing, but insists on doing so anyway.  I believe a
tone-deaf person should stick to story-telling and poetry.  

2) Someone who does bad material.  This could be bad original material (poor
poetry, story, or song-writing skills), the modern-tune filk I mentioned,
crass "no-kidding-there-I-was" stories, etc.  The latter can be improved by
better choices.  The bad original material situation can only be improved
with more study and/or practice.  

3)  Someone who behaves badly.  These are the folks who hog the airtime, go
out-of order, get drunk, loud, rude, etc.  


Let me say one thing about the folks in categories 1 and 2 (who are bad
singers, or write poor material).  Please, please, please do not shout
HUH-ZAH!  And clap wildly when they are through performing their crap.  It
isn't that I want to be mean to people.  But if they receive strong positive
feedback on poor work, they'll never know it was crap!  Oh I'm gonna get
flack over that comment I'll bet.  But its true.  


My next two cents.







From: bards-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org
[mailto:bards-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org] On Behalf Of Robert Fitzmorgan
Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2007 10:50 PM
To: Ansteorran Bardic list
Subject: Re: [Bards] Situations That Ruin Bardic Circles


     As Her Grace, Willow has so correctly stated, Bardic Circles don't just
happen, someone has to make them happen.  What is needed for a good Bardic

1.  Good Bards.  You can make do with OK Bards, but too many BAD Bards can
ruin a Circle.  It also helps if the Bards actually STAY at the event.  If
everyone is staying off site chances are poor for a decent Circle. 

2.  A Place to have it.  Something with a good ambiance is nice but a good
group can make do with any reasonably quiet location.   Anyplace near the
drumming is not good.  

3.  Time in the Schedule, preferably Time AFTER the schedule.  If Court and
Feast run till after 11:00 there probably won't be much in the way of

4.  Someone to arrange for the above and make it happen.  This can be done
formally or it can just be someone hunting up the bards and saying, "Let's
go over here and make a circle".

    Having someone run the circle can be helpful sometimes but a group of
experienced Bards can often just 'wing it'.  

"If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much
of a day."     John A. Wheeler 

Fitzmorgan at gmail.com
Yahoo IM: robert_fitzmorgan 

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