[Bards] What is a bard?

Emily Minier Emily.Minier at DTAG.Com
Mon Jan 7 07:59:05 PST 2008


Yes, the audience determines what they want in a performance.  BUT, the
audience doesn't have to be limited to pre-determined, set judges.
That's my point.  

I, personally, like Ihon's definition "I think a good working definition
of a bard (for SCA purposes) might be 'one who performs narrative.'
Most, but not all, songs, poems, and tales meet that criterion.  Some
instrumental music does (if you don't think so, I'd suggest listening to
some Klezmer).  Some dance does so.  A juggler who simply exhibits skill
without more would not be a bard under my definition."

Your loving, big-sister-type friend,
Nyx (with a "y" so I'm not a lice treatment)

More correctly known as Lady Adalia VonderBerg

-----Original Message-----
From: bards-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org
[mailto:bards-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org] On Behalf Of Cisco Cividanes
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2008 9:35 AM
To: Ansteorran Bardic list
Subject: Re: [Bards] What is a bard?

Nix, I don't want to argue with you!... all it will accomplish is me 
getting frustrated and you admonishing me like a big sister (something 
that I am not terribly happy about, mind you).
[all above said in good humor]

seriously, however...
Yes, we both have seen judges who were left scratching their heads after

some odd-ball entry. but at the same time, a number of performing venues

have been distinguished as separate performance arts, distinct from 
"Bardic". The two biggest ones are Drumming and middle eastern dancing. 
They have their own competitions, something that I believe was at least 
partly a product of audiences and judges not really wanting to group 
"dancing" in with "bardic". but at the same time, not wanting to exclude


Anyone can be a performer--I take nothing away from the raw guts it 
takes to stand up in front of an audience and perform.

But as to what we are called... frankly, I still think that the audience

has a bigger say in that than you might be giving them credit for.

example--and I and NOT advocating this!, just making an example.

What do you think would happen if a lot of groups started holding 
competitions for the best instrumentalist? (participation concerns
My theory: you would then introduce into the popular culture the idea 
that their are vocal performers and Instrumentalist, neither better, but

each distinct. The bardic champion would be asked to perform at feast, 
and likely so would the instrumental champion. before long, the 
distinction between bard and musician would be more clarified, and 
people might be asking to hear from a "bard" and a "musician".

Before long, and without alienating anyone, you have given people who 
play instruments their own distinct category and venue, and have 
narrowed the definition of bardic to strictly the vocal arts.

so, in maybe 5 years, when people say "bard", they are probably thinking

vocal performances only, because we didn't say "musician" as well. "They

have their own competitions, so why should be just lump them in together

when they are so obviously different?"

My point again is not the advocate any of this, but just to demonstrate 
how our audience and the people running our competitions can affect what

the definition of a "bard" is.

This same scenario could be used for any breakdown, story telling, 
history, Singing....

We ARE all performers, yes. But again (and for the last time, I promice)

I think that the audience as much as the performer shapes the definition

of the word bard.


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