[Bards] What is a bard?

Cisco Cividanes engtrktwo at gmail.com
Mon Jan 7 05:19:04 PST 2008

Responses in-line below:

> This statement just sort of made my hairs stand on end and had my insides
> screamin' the word NO!! [...snip...] I personally define a bard as one who goes forth
> and entertains for the people and themselves.  Not for a panel of judges or
> an award. 
I looked at what I wrote originally, and I do think is was a little 

Lord Allon, for the purposed of this conversation, I would like to amend 
my original statement.

How about
 "bards are people who enter bardic competitions, or who would otherwise 
be accepted in bardic competitions. "

My point was not to say that you have to compete to be a bard.

My apologies to all for even suggesting such a thing.

But rather, I believe competitions reflect the attitude of our audiences 
in that if the hosts/judges of a competition are willing to let you 
enter, the chances are good that a table full of people at feast are 
more likely to think of you as a Bard. The relationships is not cause 
effect, but rather representative.
> SCA bardic encompasses all vocal and instrumental performances... at least
> in Ansteorra. That means story tellers, singers, poets and
> instrumentalists... end of discussion!"
> This statement I would happen to mostly agree with, though there will always
> be individuals within the bardic community that will try to expand the Art
> in some new and interesting way that might not fall into these categories.
And indeed, any "rule" will have its exceptions. Far be it from me to 
say otherwise. But I do personally believe that the above covers about 
99.9% of the people who call themselves bards in the kingdom.

> NO SINGLE PERSON should ever be discouraged from entering a competition for
> any reason.  It is more than half the battle to become a good bard just to
> get up in front of the audience.  If you discourage that you have
> essentially put out the spark that could grow into a passionate fire.
Unfortunately, this opinion is not universal. I know, and know of some 
people who define 'the bard' more narrowly, and have openly told others 
that they are either not bards, or that their interests are 'taking them 
away from true bardic'.  I have not seen such views posted here on the 
list in a very long time, but in person I have spoken with individuals 
who who do not believe instruments should be allowed in bardic 
competitions, or that people who can only tell a story or only sing 
songs should be disqualified from even entering a competition.

In a more general sence, however, I have seen a lot of people posting 
here with various opinions about what is bardic and what role it has in 
the SCA. this post was something of a cumulative reply to the general 
question of "what is an SCA bard?"

Also, as an aside, I am always in favor of including people as much as 
possible, but if someone were to try and enter a dance  performance into 
a bardic competition (I have seen such things serious discussed, and 
even carried out on one occasion), their are some practical 
considerations. Not the least of which is if  the judges can even 
reasonably evaluate a dance (if someone danced for me, I doubt I could 
even compare it to vocal performance, let alone judge it against one).
Also, if there were another venue where dancing is being judged, I would 
gladly suggest the performer consider entering in that competition.

All in all, the above situation probably happens once every two years... 
but its still something to think on for the sake of being thorough.

> I've experienced this one first hand. My hats are off to those with the
> skill to play an instrument effectively enough to convey what they want to
> say without the use of words.
Its really humiliating betting the snot knocked out of you by a flute, 
isn't it  ;)
(above said with a smile and a laugh)

> Once again the competition does not define the the Art of bardic.  The
> performers themselves do that.
Hum... I'm not sure I totally agree with that.
Perhaps a middle ground ...
Wouldn't it be safer to say that the audience is least as influential as 
the bard's in shaping the definition of bardic?

> "Would it be nice if their were more to it?
> Maybe
> But realistically, I doubt it will ever get more complicated that that."
> It doesn't need to be more complicated than that.
Truth be told, I tend to agree :)

> With much respect to you.
And to you, good sir.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk.

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