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Re: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Re:Bass lyre?

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  • sca_bard@yahoo.com
    I believe I ve seen that quoted to support a whole host of performance ideas: intermittent singing and playing (but not both together), intermittent
    Message 1 of 20 , May 1 5:19 AM
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      I believe I've seen that quoted to support a whole host of performance ideas: intermittent singing and playing (but not both together), intermittent performance (first one scop, then the other), a duet, a duet with a lyre either with it or between vocal pieces, and so on and so on - basically, any combination of two men and/or two lyres which may have been played sequentially or together.  Personally, I think the case for some of those combinations is stronger than for others, but it's certainly not an inarguable description of a a particular kind of performance.

      Tim Caldwell <vikingtimbo650@...> wrote:
      --- In Anglo_Saxon_ Lyres@yahoogroup s.com, "Patrick" <kadwall@... >
      wrote:

      Hi Patrick,

      You might very well be right. As I said, "my very basic old English"
      and "I'm not absolutely sure". :-)

      To be honest, I wouldn't even completely rule out the possibility
      that there is only one musician and that he's referring to his
      instrument by the name Scilling.



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    • LM
      I believe that there is iconography to support ensemble playing of various instruments, possibly as old as the Utrecht psalter, or later in the Cantigas de
      Message 2 of 20 , May 1 5:50 AM
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        I believe that there is iconography to support ensemble playing of various
        instruments, possibly as old as the Utrecht psalter, or later in the Cantigas
        de Santa Maria. Psaltery, lute, fiddle, flute and harp- yes, but I don't recall
        seeing the lyre grouped in with other instruments.

        Larry M


        sca_bard@... wrote:

        > I believe I've seen that quoted to support a whole host of performance
        > ideas: intermittent singing and playing (but not both together),
        > intermittent performance (first one scop, then the other), a duet, a
        > duet with a lyre either with it or between vocal pieces, and so on and
        > so on - basically, any combination of two men and/or two lyres which may
        > have been played sequentially or together. Personally, I think the case
        > for some of those combinations is stronger than for others, but it's
        > certainly not an inarguable description of a a particular kind of
        > performance.
        >
        > Tim Caldwell <vikingtimbo650@...> wrote:
        >
        > --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
        > <mailto:Anglo_Saxon_Lyres%40yahoogroups.com>, "Patrick" <kadwall@...>
        > wrote:
        >
        > Hi Patrick,
        >
        > You might very well be right. As I said, "my very basic old English"
        > and "I'm not absolutely sure". :-)
        >
        > To be honest, I wouldn't even completely rule out the possibility
        > that there is only one musician and that he's referring to his
        > instrument by the name Scilling.
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try
        > it now.
        > <http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=51733/*http://mobile.yahoo.com/;_ylt=Ahu06i62sR8HDtDypao8Wcj9tAcJ
        > >
      • sca_bard@yahoo.com
        As an aside, Timothy McGee s Medieval and Renaissance Music: A Performer s Guide is an excellent resource for 12th century and later musical performance. He
        Message 3 of 20 , May 1 6:09 AM
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          As an aside, Timothy McGee's "Medieval and Renaissance Music: A Performer's Guide" is an excellent resource for 12th century and later musical performance.  He sorts through a lot of evidence for what was done where and when, and you don't need university-level music theory to get a lot of use out of the book.

          Jeff Opland's "Anglo-Saxon Oral Poetry" covers just about every possible performance modality for poet + lyre.  I believe it's based on Opland's PhD thesis, so he has something of a point to prove - it's been a while since I read it, but I think he comes down on the "recitation + music but not at the same time" side.  But to get there, you have to distinguish between awfully fine shades of meaning in ambiguous Latin words ("to sing" and "to recite poetry" are apparently covered by the same word, for instance) and play games with *exactly* what a given description is telling you, and what it's omitting.

          Personally, I would find it quite strange to always be interleaving voice and music and *never* blending the two.  Instrumental and spoken or a capella interludes certainly can add character to a piece, but holding them strictly separate seems artificial. (If we had any evidence that there was some religious or cultural taboo that would impose such a constraint, I might buy it - but we don't.)  I'm flexible on whether the voice should be speaking, chanting, or singing, and I'd guess that they were all done to one extent or another.

          My grounding in the oral traditions of the world is not so great; I don't know if pieces tend to be reproduced exactly, time after time, or if the artist is free to embroider and tailor them each time they are re-told or re-sung.  If it's the second (which is my uneducated guess), that poses a problem for "two at a time" duets.  It's hard to sing together if you don't know what tune and words the other guy is going to be using.  Turn-taking could be *very* effective, though.  Not only are you showcasing your musical/narrative abilities, you're allowing this other fellow to script your lead-in - you have to pick up where he leave off (in the story, in the praise-poem, in the tune).  That could be a really virtuoso display of improvisational ability, and bring home how totally skilled the two scops were.

          LM <lavrans@...> wrote:

          I believe that there is iconography to support ensemble playing of various
          instruments, possibly as old as the Utrecht psalter, or later in the Cantigas
          de Santa Maria. Psaltery, lute, fiddle, flute and harp- yes, but I don't recall
          seeing the lyre grouped in with other instruments.

          Larry M

          sca_bard@yahoo. com wrote:

          > I believe I've seen that quoted to support a whole host of performance
          > ideas: intermittent singing and playing (but not both together),
          > intermittent performance (first one scop, then the other), a duet, a
          > duet with a lyre either with it or between vocal pieces, and so on and
          > so on - basically, any combination of two men and/or two lyres which may
          > have been played sequentially or together. Personally, I think the case
          > for some of those combinations is stronger than for others, but it's
          > certainly not an inarguable description of a a particular kind of
          > performance.
          >
          > Tim Caldwell <vikingtimbo650@ hotmail.com> wrote:
          >
          > --- In Anglo_Saxon_ Lyres@yahoogroup s.com
          > <mailto:Anglo_ Saxon_Lyres% 40yahoogroups. com>, "Patrick" <kadwall@... >
          > wrote:
          >
          > Hi Patrick,
          >
          > You might very well be right. As I said, "my very basic old English"
          > and "I'm not absolutely sure". :-)
          >
          > To be honest, I wouldn't even completely rule out the possibility
          > that there is only one musician and that he's referring to his
          > instrument by the name Scilling.
          >
          >
          > ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
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          > it now.
          > <http://us.rd. yahoo.com/ evt=51733/ *http://mobile. yahoo.com/ ;_ylt=Ahu06i62sR 8HDtDypao8Wcj9tA cJ
          > >


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        • Tim Caldwell
          ... wrote: Hi, ... Yes, that s a huge difficulty with the Old English stuff as well. It s easy to translate a word as music or singing ot
          Message 4 of 20 , May 1 7:35 AM
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            --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com, "sca_bard@..."
            <sca_bard@...> wrote:


            Hi,


            >you have to distinguish between awfully fine shades of meaning in
            >ambiguous Latin words ("to sing" and "to recite poetry" are
            >apparently covered by the same word, for instance) and play games
            >with *exactly* what a given description is telling you, and what
            >it's omitting.


            Yes, that's a huge difficulty with the Old English stuff as well.
            It's easy to translate a word as "music" or "singing" ot whatever,
            but the OE words don't correspond to MnE ones exactly. Also, it's
            sometimes hard to be sure whether a word is being used literally or
            metaphorically. For example, we just don't know what the Anglo-Saxons
            meant by the verb /singan/. It's translated as "to sing", but it's
            used in a variety of different contexts and for all we know it might
            sometimes just mean "recite poetry formally" or something.




            > My grounding in the oral traditions of the world is not so great; I
            >don't know if pieces tend to be reproduced exactly, time after time,
            >or if the artist is free to embroider and tailor them each time they
            >are re-told or re-sung. If it's the second (which is my uneducated
            >guess), that poses a problem for "two at a time" duets. It's hard
            >to sing together if you don't know what tune and words the other guy
            >is going to be using. Turn-taking could be *very* effective, though.



            There's a lot of info available on the web about the Serbian guslars,
            poets who recited/sung oral poetry to the accompaniment of a bowed
            instrument called a gusle (and you'll find mp3s as well). The
            tradition survived until less than a century ago. Their poems/songs
            did't come with tunes the way our songs do. Each poet has a handful
            of tunes he always uses. Each tune is the duration of a single line
            of poetry, and he changes the tune slightly for each line, gradually
            moving towards one of his other tunes, so that it's often hard to
            define exactly which tune he's using at a given moment. During a long
            performance he'll use all of his tunes, and he'll use the same tunes
            for his other poems. Guslars can repeat long epic poems word for word
            after a single listening, but they don't copy the tunes used by the
            poet they learnt from, they apply their own. As far as I know, they
            didn't do duets (which for the reasons you pointed out would be
            difficult). The musical tradition of the guslars isn't really like
            modern music, in large part because it's tailored specifically for
            the purpose of accompanying epic poetry composed to a strict metre.
            For this reason, I suspect that the music of the ancient germanic
            scops was also quite different to modern or late medieval music.

            Cheers,
            Tim
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