Re: Amps and CD players
- This is what shawms are for :) The only problem is that you can only
play for so long before you can't feel your lips.
The one caveat with live musicians for dance (and this is coming from
a musician) is that they have to either know the dances or talk to
the people running them to make sure they have the repeat structure
As for amplification in other settings, this is something of a pet
peave with me. If you are a singer who cannot fill the hall with
your voice, don't try. Sing to individual tables in the feast hall,
sing as background music for high table, but don't set yourself up to
fail. Another thing that I see often is folks with hurt feelings
because people don't give their attention while they're singing in a
feast hall. They won't give it, you have to command it.
Just my two cents,
- --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Lady_Lark_Azure" <
As for amplification in other settings, this is something of a pet
> peave with me. If you are a singer who cannot fill the hall withhall,
> your voice, don't try. Sing to individual tables in the feast
> sing as background music for high table, but don't set yourself upto
> fail. Another thing that I see often is folks with hurt feelingsa
> because people don't give their attention while they're singing in
> feast hall. They won't give it, you have to command it.And vice versa. I've tried to contribute ambient background music
only to have some well meaning soul start screaming "Pray Attend the
BARD!" at the top of his lungs. (Heralds!) Couldn't he tell that I
was playing from my seat at a table? I thanked him, told everyone to
go back to their dinner and went back to playing. He figured it out
and was duly embarrassed by his zeal, being a pretty good guy - for a
- --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Greg Lindahl <lindahl@p...>
> > Then let me extend an invitation for you to COME BACK. Wehaven't had live
> > dance musicians in the 3 years I've been active, and I wouldLOVE to dance
> > to live music. (Man, talk about your Moments....) Garb Wars isMay
> > 14-16....Have
> Heh. I appreciate the invite, but I live in the West these days.
> you asked either the Atlantian Performers Guild or the AtlantianGo north, my friends, go north! ;) Ro, we won't be able to help you
> Academie de la Danza for help?
out this year (at least, I don't think so), but if you give the
Branslers a fair amount of advance notice, we might be able to set
something up. We've played Atlantian events in the past, but it's
not something we would think to do without an invitation.
Jehanne, I think you beat me to mentioning the one and only example
of event amp use that I've ever seen -- I suspect we know the same
lute player. I don't remember ever seeing any other musicians use
amps at an East Kingdom event, barring Lakewood where they have
mikes on the performance stage, and that's much more of a
demo/public Ren Faire than it is an SCA event. The Branslers have
been sorely tempted on a few occasions (like the Coronation we
played where, after we'd *finished* our big march-the-monarchs-in
piece, a gentleman in the fourth row came up to ask when we were
going to start playing...grrr), but the general feeling is that it
wouldn't be appropriate.
Could the people who have had issues with amped performances give us
a rough idea (no names mentioned specifically, of course!) of what
areas/situations they're referring to?
- --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Hasoferet@a... wrote:
> Seems kind of pointless to me. You go to all the trouble of havinglive
> period music, and then you rig them with amps? Only cool if you'regoing for a
> slightly skewed medieval-techno effect.Well (having already said that I don't believe in using them
myself)... the reason that some people do is that "going to all the
trouble of having live period music" and then not having *anyone* in
an acoustically dead hall be able to hear the music is pretty darn
frustrating. Not to mention that it makes the musicians look like
total idiots for standing around holding instruments when no sound
is audible. ;)
Among the factors involved: Most of the halls we use are completely
structurally different than what you would have seen in period, our
attendance numbers often run in the hundreds, and we tend to have a
lack of period "loud" instruments like shawms and rauschpfeifes.
Altogether it's just not an authentic set-up; so, if some people
choose to compensate for the difficulties in non-period ways, even
though that's not my choice, I don't think that merits being
dismissed out of hand. What might be a more fruitful discussion: How
to encourage autocrats and others to make sure that the dancing is
set up so that the musicians aren't trying to fill up an entire
gymnasium with sound and/or compete with the voices of two hundred
people who are talking rather than dancing -- or that performing
takes place in smaller spaces with good acoustics, with somewhere
else for people who aren't interested to go.
- --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Wendy" <SabineKdL@y...> wrote:
> Jehanne, I think you beat me to mentioning the one and only exampleYep. Tell Jannequinne hello from me the next time you see her.
> of event amp use that I've ever seen -- I suspect we know the same
> lute player.
> The Branslers haveSome halls are what I call acoustic black holes. (I'm thinking of
> been sorely tempted on a few occasions (like the Coronation we
> played where, after we'd *finished* our big march-the-monarchs-in
> piece, a gentleman in the fourth row came up to ask when we were
> going to start playing...grrr), but the general feeling is that it
> wouldn't be appropriate.
that Shriner temple in Norristown or wherever it was where Andreas
and Isabella had their first coronation.) Not fun, but no help for
it, in most cases.
Here in the West, we do a lot more outdoors. That presents its own
issues, but I have yet to see anyone here resort to amplification for
- Caveating it with the "sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do"
clause (which covers hidden CD players for dancers without musicians
I totally understand the issue with dynamics and early music
presentations. I play a repro 15th century harp on a semi-
professional basis- frequently have to do the sound augmentation
thing, or folks get upset 'cause they can't hear what they hired.
But one of the draws of SCA (and other forms of reenactment) for me
was a chance to *actually get to play the music in the sonic
environment in which is was originally played* Talk about period
performance practice! This came home for me at a Pennsic, walking
through the market place and getting to hear a small folk harp a good
40-50 feet away, no amping at all. Truly magical (I think of my week
at Pennsic as the week the radios played my favorite music for a
Without a good sound tech, amping can be a nightmare. Even if I
wanted to, I'd hate to have to soundcheck around a campfire. What a
mess, and wouldn't that destroy the period ambiance? I'd rather not
play at all.
Rather than get into a volume war with the doumbeks* and boom boxes,
let's treasure what we have and continue to try to spread the word.
(Of course, I do double on shawm, so maybe I should be quiet about
*Not talking about you, Sasha, if you're the band I'm thinking of (Ed
B's the saz guy, right?) then I've heard you and you guys kick butt.
- In a message dated 3/31/04 3:02:08 PM, davidparishwhittaker@...
<< Rather than get into a volume war with the doumbeks* and boom boxes,
let's treasure what we have and continue to try to spread the word. >>
Honestly, though, I've found that live music in a reasonable setting carries
FINE. Maybe not one voice filling the Masonic Auditorium, but I've rarely
thought 'oh, I can't hear the music' at an event. Especially the doumbeks. ;) But
other music as well.
Do not beg. Do not refuse. Preserve. Bestow.
--Colman mac Beognae, 'The Alphabet of Devotion
- --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Raquel wrote:
> Honestly, though, I've found that live music in a reasonablesetting carries
> FINE. Maybe not one voice filling the Masonic Auditorium, but I'verarely
> thought 'oh, I can't hear the music' at an event. Especially thedoumbeks. ;) But
> other music as well.Like so many things <grin>, it depends on the situation. Performance
is usually manageable, as people who are interested can move closer
if it happens that the sound isn't carrying. But dancing can be
tricky -- I once watched two recorder players trying (and failing
fairly catastrophically) to provide dance music for ~40 dancers in an
acoustically dead hall. Eeeeesh. Of course, the "correct" answer to
that problem is that they should have been playing different
instruments, but that's just not a realistic expectation... I think
the least offensive alternative in that particular case would have
been for everyone involved to graciously acknowledge that live music
is indeed lovely and special, before switching to a boombox.
I don't know... is this one of those situations where you have a
classic best vs. good dilemma?
- David wrote:
"*Not talking about you, Sasha, if you're the band
I'm thinking of (Ed B's the saz guy, right?) then I've
heard you and you guys kick butt."
Whoa - cool! High praise - especially coming from you.
We are pretty serious about this music, and sharing it
and its history. Last year at Great Western War, we
played in the A&S tent on Saturday night, with some
guests from the UCSB Middle East Ensemble.
Our presentation was 3/4 performance and 1/4 basic
theory (since modal structure is quite different),
history (This is an 'ud. It comes from Persia. It is
the ancestor of all European lutes - you may thank us
now. Look, it is a vastly superior instrument because
it has not been defiled with frets...<evil grin>) and
introducing the audience with some of the 'exotic'
instruments we play ('ud, baglama saz, the koshkarjeh
lute from Azerbaijan, various drums, the ney flute and
It went over very well, and showed some people that
the horrid, monotonous sounds coming from Dumbekistan
do not reflect what the real music of the Near and
Middle East sounds like.
Sasha - Whoa - where did this high horse come from,
and how is it balancing on that soapbax?
- Sabine wrote:
> I thinkIf they could have been relatively unobtrusively amped (at least enough to
> the least offensive alternative in that particular case would have
> been for everyone involved to graciously acknowledge that live music
> is indeed lovely and special, before switching to a boombox.
> I don't know... is this one of those situations where you have a
> classic best vs. good dilemma?
overcome to limitations of the facilities acoustics...somewhat) my
preference would be for the live musicians, rather than the boombox.
One one hand, you have the live musicians, who can provide all sorts of
flexibility (song length, tempo, et cetera) - on the other hand there is the
boombox, with the sterility of a recorded performance.
I'm not suggesting that you crank the recorder consort up to 11 like Spinal
Tap, but there can be a middle ground... of course, like David, I would also
suggest more shawms <heh heh>
Sasha (more work for musicians!)