[Bards] An interesting bardic idea...

Alden Drake alden_drake at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jun 11 12:38:26 PDT 2008

Note - this reply is purely from my own perspective.  I make no claim 
that the views expressed are the right views, nor that they will agree 
with any of y'all's views. :)

One of my favorite formats is elimination bardic, where the competition 
pits two individuals together in a round and judges between them.  With 
a double elimination format, bards get to perform at least twice, and 
better bards can perform enough times that it starts to challenge their 
repertoire.  Plus, I like the element of juggling your pieces against 
your opponents, keeping the "big guns" in reserve, or calling them up 
because you suspect John Doe is going to go with a certain piece that 
blows people away.  We don't do as much elimination bardic, instead (I 
suspect) favoring equal stage time for all entrants.  I also liked 
seeing Eisteddfod as a "top half of the list moves to the next round" 
approach too.

Competitions that require certain things - I'm mixed on this.  I like 
competitions that require different styles (poetry, story, song, 
interpretive dance, etc.), and I like requiring original pieces (as a 
demonstration of composition skills).  Write on demand can be fun and 
interesting, and I've asked for that in a competition before.  It works 
because everyone is in the same boat.  Requiring period (style) (pieces 
with documentation) is good because it helps promote education and 
research (something I heard the SCA was about- hehe) 

I'm not very keen on requirements of themed pieces though.  Especially 
ones that are rather specific.  I think it's a bit unbalanced towards 
people who specialize or are closely associated with the theme, and 
leaves people who aren't a limited amount of time to prepare/find/write 
something to fit.  Sometimes notices of the requirements aren't sent out 
early enough to give people time to come up with something.  I also 
don't like learning a new piece purposefully for a competition.  I like 
learning a new piece because I like the piece.  I don't need to fill my 
head with a piece that I need for a competition that I'll likely never 
perform again.  I also don't like performing a piece for the first time 
in a competition.  I like giving it some air time in casual venues first 
to see how it plays against an audience.

I think putting *requirements* into a bardic competition will (to some 
degree) eliminate people who might have otherwise participated.  A 
better approach might be to have *requests* for which the performer may 
chose to adhere to, or not.  If I read that a competition *requires* a 
piece about the "Pope's new hat", odds are good I'm not going to enter 
the competition at all.  I have nothing in my repertoire on that 
subject, nor do I want to add a piece on that subject.  However, if the 
judges request a piece on that subject, I may still enter, but not 
perform to that request.  I may loose points because of it, but I'll 
still participate with the penalty.  When I'm coordinating a bardic 
championship, I'll often have "documentation requested, but not 
required" in one round - meaning points will be added if you submit 
documentation, but if you don't, you're still welcome to perform.

Just my thoughts,

Genie Barrett wrote:
> Hey all,
> Found this and thought it had merit.
> http://sandradodd.com/ideas/artsci2.html
> What do you think?  And, which formats for bardic competitions 
> interest you all most?
> Also, I'm curious, what are your feelings about competitions that 
> require... period pieces, original pieces, different styles, written 
> on demand pieces, etc.?
> Maggie
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> Bards mailing list
> Bards at lists.ansteorra.org
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