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184Re: [Authentic_SCA] Vocal music and Languages

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  • stephen higa
    Mar 5, 2001
      Re: [Authentic_SCA] Vocal music and Languages

      > And these I do NOT like. If I'm going to do a song -- either original language or translated
      > -- and it does NOT stand up on its own without an introduction or translation, then I feel
      > that I'm doing something wrong as a performer. (However, this is a pet peeve of mine,
      > and a YMMV situation.) I might give a brief "in persona" introduction, such as "In my
      > travels, I learned this tune in the city of [Where-ever]," and give the title, but beyond
      > that the song stands or falls on its own merits.
      Ah, most of the time I do that in-persona introduction.  Like once I said "I heard this song from a minstrel when he spent the night in my patron's house on his way to Sarganza, and I enjoyed it so much that I hurried to the nearest scribe to have him take down the lyrics," and at the event today I performed a Cantiga de Santa Maria by prefacing it with "this is a Christian song in praise of Santa Maria.  I heard a Christian man sing this a few weeks ago as he sat across the street peeling radishes, and I was struck by how similar the melody was to our own melodies."  I suppose these are a little long as introductions, but I guess I like to get into my "medieval self" when doing them.  In fact, I used to introduce and finish off every song I did in 12th c. Spanish (with a greeting/explanation and some phrases of gratitude, respectively).  ;)  I don't do that any more, but it sure did help to get in the proper mode.  Hmm.  I don't know.

      Unfortunately, I also would like to make it evident that the piece will be a period piece (and not just some random foreign folk song), but one can't very well say "this is a 13th c. praise song to the Virgen Mary" or "this a 12th c. Arabic muwashshah from Al-Andalus."  Any ideas?
      > And I also have to look at it from the point of view of someone in the audience. I would
      > find it somewhat distracting to sit through a summary translation, quite distracting to
      > sit through a complete one -- and totally beyond the pale to endure a "modern-style"
      > introduction.
      Really?  Once this woman who had studied in Iceland or someplace and had learnt some folk ballads.  She performed a few for us in the original language, but prefaced it with a synopsis, including full translation of the chorus and explanation of the onomatopoeia (it was about a mischievous little sprite who disrupted a Sunday mass :)).  She had us sing along with the chorus and make the appropriate noises.  I personally enjoyed it much more than I probably would have had I not known what it was about.  :)  

      Qu'er non es grazitz lunhs mestiers
      menhs en cort que de belh saber
      de trobar -- qu'auzir e vezer
      hi vol hom mais captenhs leugiers
      e critz mesclatz ab dezonor.

                      --Guiraut Riquier, 1292

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