kentheriot at ravenboymusic.com
Sun Apr 27 10:30:01 PDT 2008
Welcome to the SCA and to the Ansteorran bardic community! I'm pretty sure
you will get a variety of answers to some of your questions simply because
there aren't any really "hard and fast" rules concerning bardic performance
in the SCA, competition of not. As a matter of fact, it may surprise you to
know that some of us who have been doing this for 20 years (OMG that makes
me feel old;)) are STILL asking these very questions!:).
So here are MY opinions on what you ask. But as I said, mine aren't
necessarily the RIGHT answers, since in a way, there really aren't any.
<. If I Filk a melody, is it supposed to be a period melody with SCA
related words/theme or a non period melody with SCA related words/theme? Or
a period melody on any theme?> Are you going to the King's College event?
If so, you might want to take a class or two from my Lady, Mistress
Adelaide. One of the classes she's teaching is on Period Filk. She will
discuss what was actually done, filk-wise, in our period, as well as what is
and is not considered appropriate for SCA performance. One thing I think
many of us agree on is that while it can be very funny to filk to modern
tunes (since so many people are familiar with the tune already), you should,
as a general rule, not perform those at bardic circles or competitions.
They might be performed at unofficial gatherings, or "after-revels." Like I
said, there are exceptions. What most of us try to do is keep the
atmosphere on an SCA event as magical as possible. This usually involves
hiding obvious "mundanity" (not sure if you're familiar with the term we use
to describe "modern life," mundane has come t mean anything not of the SCA.
"mundanes" are either your modern clothes.("I'm getting into mundanes now"),
or sometimes even people not in the SCA ("Let's be nice to the mundanes").
So when at feasts, we try not to put coke cans on the table, wear blue
jeans/sneakers, play heavy metal music on our boom-boces, etc.). In keeping
with that effort, we don't want to sing filks to "We Are The Champions," or
Beatles songs, etc. since that might break the "medieval mood" that so many
of us try to capture. On the other hand, if you filk to a modern song that
isn't going to be well-recognized by folks, that might be OK, since it
probably wouldn't ruin the mood unless it were 12-bar blues or something.
Do you see what I'm driving at? Basically, you don't have to filk to a
period tune, though it would be really cool if you did;).
<For example, the words to Scotland the Brave, while lovely, were actually
written in the 20th century, and yet this song is performed at Scarby. Is
it appropriate to perform at a Bardic competition or not?> As a general
rule, no. Competitions don't have to be period songs. Obviously if you
write a story, poem or song yourself, it wouldn't be period. But it is
usually prudent to have "documentation" for your piece, meaning you write up
some research showing how your piece would or could have been appropriate
SOMETIME in our period. It does NOT have to be in your own persona's
period.to answer another question you had. There is an entire repertoire of
bardic pieces out there, both period, and written by SCA members. Any of
those would be appropriate for a competition, along with original pieces, of
course. Documentation is not always required, but usually a good idea. But
it usually wise not to perform songs that are known to be out of period for
competition (but again, I refer back to the "it depends" rule..since
obviously songs written by you or other SCA members are, by definition, not
<I have a nice piece I am trying to prepare for Springfaire but I don't know
how to find out if it is period, other than just trying to do some searches
on the Internet about it to see what I can find out.> I would wager that
any number of the folks on this list have resources in their possession that
could tell you whether a certain piece is period or not! Just ask about the
particular piece on this list and you'll almost certainly get an accurate
I hope that helps!
From: Liz Wilson [mailto:ewilson618 at tx.rr.com]
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 5:44 AM
To: Ansteorran Bardic list
Subject: [Bards] Filking
I am new to the SCA and the Bards List but I love Bardic competitions and
performances. I'd like to try it myself although I am a very average
I probably could learn to tell stories. I don't have much fear of public
and speaking because, although I am now a stay at home mom, in mundane life
I was an attorney for 15 years (and I'm still licensed). If you can do
argument or argument in a courtroom when real money is at stake you can
probably do Bardic (although not necessarily well!)
At any rate,one of my questions relates to Filking. If I Filk a melody, is
to be a period melody with SCA related words/theme or a non period melody
SCA related words/theme? Or a period melody on any theme?
If I'm performing at a Bardic competition and my persona is still being
developed, do I have to stay in persona? For example, if I compete at
Springfaire, and my persona is 1315, can I do anything in period or am I
supposed to limit myself to what would have been heard in Scotland in 1315
anyone even knows what would have been heard!) Can I just be kind of a
generalized performer and do things in period from any time frame?
What happens if I do something that is out of period (but not obviously
Also I am very familiar with repetoire from Scarborough Faire because I've
going for 20 plus years and I have a lot of recordings. However these songs
not always in period. For example, the words to Scotland the Brave, while
lovely, were actually written in the 20th century, and yet this song is
at Scarby. Is it appropriate to perform at a Bardic competition or not?
Any ideas on how I find out what is in period and what
isn't for the Scarby or any other repetoire,
and what WOULD be appropriate at a Bardic competition and what
wouldn't? I have a nice piece I am trying to prepare for Springfaire but I
don't know how to find out if it is period, other than just trying to do
searches on the Internet about it to see what I can find out.
Any advice to a new Bard, who is taking herself way too
seriously, would be appreciated.
Christianna (hope they won't laugh at me)
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