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Re: [Authentic_SCA] Period music vs. creativity. (Was: Promoting Authenticity)

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  • Bob Davis
    ... Learning the old modes is the first step in performing period music, IMO. When I was studying music in college, we were required to learn each scale --
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 4, 2001
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      Justin Eiler wrote:

      > <nods> Yes, some is in "modern" scales -- and I have done a song or two
      > in Dorian ("Riddles Wisely Expounded" from D'Urfey, and "Twa Corbies" to
      > the tune of "Al A'larch" -- both of them OOP, but both a lot of fun). I
      > guess the problem is that Dorian, to me, sounds spooky -- it works great
      > for "Twa Corbies", but did not, to my mind, "fit" the emotional mood of
      > "Riddles."

      Learning the "old" modes is the first step in performing period music,
      IMO. When I was studying music in college, we were required to learn
      each scale -- major, minor, modal equivalents -- and were regularly
      tested on those and arpeggiation of chords therein. "Mr. Davis?
      Arpeggiate the Five=-seven of five chord of the Phrygian scale of the
      relative major of C minor. You have fifteen seconds." I DO NOT LIE.
      It was a cast-iron pain in the tuchus. That's why we practiced five
      hours a day. And we were *percussionists!*

      And, since I'm a masochist, I learned the "old" modes to the same
      standard. I can no longer perform them to that standard after three
      years away, but it helps immeasurably for theoretical analysis of a
      piece palced before me. Helps me to sight-read.

      > Side note: what specific song did you sing? (And is sheet music
      > available. More sheet music! <pant, pant, drool, drool>

      Indeed. Charts are ALWAYS welcome, provided due credit is given. Also,
      if these are your own editions, citation of the MSs -- and how I can get
      at them -- is insisted upon! :)

      > It's entirely possible. And it also must be noted that I play "middle
      > period" -- _Walla Puria_ during the reign of Llewellyn the Great (Wales,
      > specifically 1200-1205 c.e.). I'm also looking at the Goliards and the
      > Troubadors / Trouveres of that time period, as this is music that would
      > (reasonably) have been heard by a relatively well-traveled _bardd_ of
      > that time.

      Recordings are often suspect. Stick with established groups, such as
      Anonymous 4, the Hilliard Ensemble, etc.

      > And that's the other side of things -- I have to admit that I also love
      > "SCA Filk." True, it's more appropriate for revels than the "catual"
      > event, but I will admit that some rogue who looks suspiciously like me
      > has been seen at revels singing "Cold Beer" and "The Ball of Balyknure."
      > (But it wasn't me -- it was my evil twin Skippy. <g>)

      Too true. I enjoy performing liturgical chant, organum, Minne- and
      Meistersingerlieder, troubadour chansons, ad infinitum. I also enjoy
      singing The Chemise Song. ;-) Timing is everything; ask a Court herald.

      > > Depending on how expensive the student harp is, it might
      > > be worthwhile to just go ahead and purchase a medieval
      > > one (whichever style fits your target time period). :)
      >
      > I had considered that -- but I am also interested in playing that same
      > harp in other venues (I incorporate music in my religious activities, and
      > as I said, I filk). True, "sharping levers" are not period, but some of
      > the other music that I'm going to be playing requires that kind of
      > flexibility. (Plus which, I have no clue whatsoever what changes the harp
      > went through in history -- well, I am moderately sure that the strings
      > weren't nylon, but you know what I mean <g>.)
      >
      > I've seen good "student harps" for about $300-500 USD.

      My two pence -- buy an excellent-quality instrument the first time. The
      benefits far outweigh the negatives. For example, the foibles of a
      "student-quality" instrument often are so bloody frustrating that the
      student, unless driven by demons with whips, throws the thing out the
      window. Also, the sound is often far inferior -- more frustration.

      Besides, it's authentic! ;-)

      > Almost entirely vocal -- the only instrument I have any practice with is
      > the modern guitar, though I have also been experimenting with a friend's
      > harp of late.

      Lark in the Morning Music has a six-string "lute" which I've had my eye
      on for some time. I am a mere tinkerer with a guitar -- I'm primarily a
      percussionist -- but it tempts me nonetheless.
    • stephen higa
      (Sorry I ve been sending so many messages!) ... I feel your pain... ... All right, all right you two ;). I don t remember exactly which one it was, but it was
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 5, 2001
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        (Sorry I've been sending so many messages!)


        > tested on those and arpeggiation of chords therein. "Mr. Davis?
        > Arpeggiate the Five=-seven of five chord of the Phrygian scale of the
        > relative major of C minor. You have fifteen seconds." I DO NOT LIE.
        > It was a cast-iron pain in the tuchus. That's why we practiced five
        > hours a day. And we were *percussionists!*

        I feel your pain...


        >> Side note: what specific song did you sing? (And is sheet music
        >> available. More sheet music! <pant, pant, drool, drool>
        >
        > Indeed. Charts are ALWAYS welcome, provided due credit is given. Also,
        > if these are your own editions, citation of the MSs -- and how I can get
        > at them -- is insisted upon! :)

        All right, all right you two ;). I don't remember exactly which one it was,
        but it was either "Kalenda Maia" (you've probably heard this one...Raimbaut
        de Vacairas, 1180-1205) or "Dona, si totz temps vivia" (Berenguer de Palol,
        early 12th c., pretty obscure). The first one I got from our music library,
        and of course it was one of those times where one forgets to take down
        bibliographic info when photocopying... The second was from a recording by
        Altramar, but darn it, I haven't been able to find the sheet music anyplace.
        :( However, I shall soon make a trip to our manuscript library to peruse
        the reproductions of the Cantigas de Santa Maria. I'll definitely keep you
        guys updated on that. Unfortunately, I'm not too sure how you can get at
        our manuscripts (at UC Berkeley) from where you guys are, but if you ever
        pay a visit just alert me and I'll make arrangements. :)

        >> It's entirely possible. And it also must be noted that I play "middle
        >> period" -- _Walla Puria_ during the reign of Llewellyn the Great (Wales,
        >> specifically 1200-1205 c.e.). I'm also looking at the Goliards and the
        >> Troubadors / Trouveres of that time period, as this is music that would
        >> (reasonably) have been heard by a relatively well-traveled _bardd_ of
        >> that time.

        Anne Azema: "Le Jeu d'Amour." 13th c. Trouvere songs. This is a great
        recording by one of the greatest voices in medieval music (IMO). Her tone
        is decidedly NOT "bel canto" but it certainly is *bel canto*. ;) It is warm
        and golden and filled to the brim with emotion. She can sweep from
        light-hearted joy to deeply-anguished yearning to bitter anger. Ah! She
        sings like she's spinning gold with her throat!

        Just a recording that might be of interest. :)

        > Recordings are often suspect. Stick with established groups, such as
        > Anonymous 4, the Hilliard Ensemble, etc.

        I totally agree.
        However, I rarely go by "established" groups (sometimes I find that they can
        get kind of similar across recordings) except Boston Camerata; with me, it's
        a hit or miss type of thing. I buy it if it sounds convincing based on the
        Amazon.com audio clips or if I already love the artist (i.e., Boston
        Camerata or Altramar). And if the documentation is lacking or the liner
        notes are rhapsodic and romantic (i.e., talking about knights and ladies and
        crusaders with no real substance) then, miss. But if they do their
        research, and the vocalists are convincing in the repertoire (that's a big
        point for me), then, hit! However, I'm not too fond of Anonymous 4, and I
        haven't had much inclination to look into the Hilliard Ensemble, but that's
        just personal choice. I'm more into the mediterranean repertoire...and that
        repertoire has its own amazing interpreters.

        >> And that's the other side of things -- I have to admit that I also love
        >> "SCA Filk." True, it's more appropriate for revels than the "catual"
        >> event, but I will admit that some rogue who looks suspiciously like me
        >> has been seen at revels singing "Cold Beer" and "The Ball of Balyknure."
        >> (But it wasn't me -- it was my evil twin Skippy. <g>)
        >
        > Too true. I enjoy performing liturgical chant, organum, Minne- and
        > Meistersingerlieder, troubadour chansons, ad infinitum. I also enjoy
        > singing The Chemise Song. ;-) Timing is everything; ask a Court herald.

        all right, all right. I guess my problem is that I just don't know any SCA
        songs, and to tell the truth, I just don't really have any desire to. ;)


        Moshe
        --------------------------------------------------
        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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