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RE: [SCA_BARDS] Digest Number 518

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  • Marshall Myers
    What an INCREDIBLE blessing. I had just joined this list the other day, with the thought toward adding some storytelling and singing to my recorder playing.
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 9, 2002
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      What an INCREDIBLE blessing. I had just joined this list the other day, with the thought toward adding some storytelling and singing to my recorder playing. I am also fairly new ( well okay a year last April but our first year was greatly interupted so scarcely counts, or counts scarcely as the case may be, the interuption I mention sidewise makes an interetstling tale, or perhaps not. . . *softly chuckles* 'tis a tale of woe. . . ) at anyrate I realised I haven't really posted to the group and here is a post, a plethora of resources, once wished is twice gifted so to speak, so I thank you kindly. One question for those of us who aren't familiar with the term. . . Carolingian? I'm not familiar with the term but something about the Mabinogian(sp?) pops into the back of my head is that related?
      At anyrate I look forward to finding time in the next few weeks to delve deeply into all the resources you offered. Are there equal resources should one wish to delve at placing said tales to music and keeping the music within some kind of period guidelines?
      May the wind in your lungs ne'er fail,
      Nor the tongue in your mouth fall dry,
      Duncan the Delirious of Nordwache, Kingdom of Caid



      "The More you love the more you can love and the better you love, if there were time enough you could love all the good and decent people of the world--Lazarus Long" R.A.Heinlein

      --- On Mon 09/09, < SCA_BARDS@yahoogroups.com > wrote:
      From: [mailto: SCA_BARDS@yahoogroups.com]
      To: SCA_BARDS@yahoogroups.com
      Date: 9 Sep 2002 12:06:30 -0000
      Subject: [SCA_BARDS] Digest Number 518

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      There is 1 message in this issue.

      Topics in this digest:

      1. Re: Introduction and Questions
      From: "KaziBrionSCA"


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      Message: 1
      Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2002 23:11:09 -0400
      From: "KaziBrionSCA"
      Subject: Re: Introduction and Questions

      Greetings from Brion Enkazi, storyteller and fellow Aethelmartian.

      Boy, did you choose the right kingdom! Aethelmearc may have the largest group of quality storytellers of any land in the Known World. All we're missing is Morgana . . . The person you should look up first is THL Gabrielle. She is (mundanely) a full time professional storyteller who lives in the Hael. Her e-mail address is LornaStory@.... You should also try to make it to the Harvest Raid event coming up next month in Jamestown (i.e., Herontir). There are some major bardic activities planned for both day and evening, including the Sylvan Bard competition. A bunch of the kingdom's finest will be there, storytellers included. Ask and ye shall receive - just expect to RECEIVE!!! ;-)

      To answer your specific questions, the problem with finding material is a surfeit of sources rather than too few. It's like drinking from a fire hose; once you start to look it's really easy to drown.

      The first place I'd suggest would be some story poems. Good storytellers hoard their words with a miser's greed. Good poetry uses words as perfectly as the language allows. If you develop the taste, learning some poems will help everything else you do. I'm sure that others will fill in here, but I'd suggest having a look at some of the following, at least. They aren't period (though some are passable) but they're all fun, easy to read, in modern English, and public domain. Make sure to read them aloud to get the most out of them:

      Robert Service's _The Cremation of Sam McGee_ and _The Shooting of Dan McGrew_. Neither is remotely period, but they're wonderful stories and they use the language wonderfully well.

      The set of poems in Longfellow's _Tales of a Wayside Inn_. Though some of these would fit in the SCA, most are too long to learn. Again, though, they're beautiful examples of how the language is supposed to feel when it comes off your tongue.

      Shelley's _Ozymandias_. This one you CAN learn and it's a great piece. "I met a traveler from an antique land who said 'two bare and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert.' . . .

      Yeats' _O'Driscoll and the Host of the Air_. A great SCAdian piece.

      All sorts of stuff from Kipling.

      A.E. Houseman for short-shorts.

      _The Oxford Book of Story Poems_ has a nice collection too, as a place to start. I think _The Highwayman_ may be in there, which Loreena McKennit set to music.

      Speaking of music, you can also tell most good ballads as poems. Professor Francis James Child put together the definitive collection of English ballads back in the 19th century, usually available as a five-volume set. Any good library will either have it or can get it for you easily. I haven't looked, but I'd bet they may be available on-line as well. Have a look at _Mary Hamilton_ (Child 174?). The Scottish border ballads make some nice, bloody ghost stories as well.

      You can also de-musicify modern songs, btw. I tell Mercedes Lackey's _Some Kind of Hero_ as a poem, and it's great. _Big Joe and Phantom 309_ makes a good ghost story. You have to start being aware of copyright issues at this point, but so long as you make no money with them and don't do any bulk recording you'll have nothing to really worry about.

      There are also some great SCAdian poems and ballads to check out, as well as stuff from so-called Filk songs. I've told Duke Cariadoc's William Marshal poems for years to great receptions. _Catalan Vengeance_ was intended as a song, but works at least as well when told. When you start looking around, you'll find dozens of great pieces in this category. BUT PLEASE NOTE: these are all works that belong to living authors and you would be using them in the same arena as the creator. All rules of law aside, ethics and courtesy both demand that you ask for permission first. The answer will almost always be "Sure! Great! Go ahead! Gush-blush-and-all-that-stuff!" but make sure to ask. I love hearing other people tell my stuff, but I admit to feeling peeved if it looks like someone "stole" it.

      Whew! Ok, as to stories.

      First rule: You will read/hear anywhere between 50 and 100 stories for every one that sings to you. Don't try to tell the 99 that don't "sing." Explaining why that's so would get into deep issues of philosophy, art, and other very fuzzy fields, but it is.

      Second rule: Start SHORT! Make it your guideline that every story should "feel" like five minutes for your audience. When you're new, two minutes will feel like five, so be courteous. When you get good, ten minutes will feel like five and it will even out. When you get _really_ good, length won't matter at all to your audience - the restriction comes more as a courtesy to other performers.

      The best place to start looking is in the children's/young adult section of your local library. Folklore is in the 398s. It will take up many bookshelves. Pick a category you think you'd like, dig in and have fun. If you find a piece that's almost right (or one you want some perspective on), look it up in Margaret Read MacDonald's _Storyteller's Sourcebook_. That's essentially a reference work, but it's a good one, she's a storyteller by trade as well as a librarian, and what it will do is list and direct you to other versions of the story.

      There is also a publisher called August House that grew out of the National Storytelling Network. They have been publishing a fairly consistent line of ready-to-tell stories for the past decade or so. The catalog is available on-line, and you can look it up in the library. THL Gabrielle (mentioned above) has a book out that they published and which is worth publishing. I think it's called something like "Medieval Tales For Children To Tell." Her mundane name is Lorna Czarnotta MacDonald if you want to look it up.

      I'll wind down soon (really!), but here are some other tips. I've found that storytelling breaks down into a variety of identifiable traditions, and each teller finds that a few of those will "sing" to him or her more often than the others. Look for that pattern, and then pull books out of the library along those lines.

      Other specifics: Aesop, Arabian Nights, the set of East Indian wisdom tales called Jatakas (sp), the Jewish stories known as Midrash, the Brothers Grimm, Tyl Eulenspiegel (a European trickster); individual scenes from the Viking sagas, the Arthurian epics and/or the Carolingian cycle stories (I'm a good source for the last if you're particularly interested); and medievalized versions of the so-called Jack Tales and other Southern and Appalachian folk tales. I can almost guarantee that's legitimate, btw, since those folktales usually arose as variants from earlier versions that crossed the big pond.

      Some internet sites you can visit are: http://www.pacificnet.net/~johnr/aesop/ (aesop's fables), http://www.literature.org/authors/aesop/fables/ (more of the same), http://www.asd.wednet.edu/EagleCreek/Barnard/Sites/lan/fairyfolktale.htm (fairy and folk tales), http://members.aol.com/surlalune/frytales/index.htm (a big site on fairy tales), http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/folktexts.html (a professor of folklore), http://www.storyarts.org/ (Heather Forest's page, she who wrote some of the best books for source materials), http://www.legends.dm.net/ (a good source for links), http://www.storynet.org/ (the National Storytelling Network), http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/kipling.html (Kipling's poems - go back in the page and you'll find other poets too), http://www.pjtss.net/ (another storyteller).

      You can also ask your local librarian about tapes or CD's of storytellers. Leaving all SCA tellers out (several of us, including me, have tapes or CDs available), I'm a huge fan of Syd Lieberman, and Jackie Torrence has several tapes out which are reliably good in quality. (A lot of the best tellers work around personal stories more than folktales, which you absolutely should NOT try to borrow).

      As for "customary", the answer is Neither. When you're starting out you should focus on telling stories you like in an entertaining way. If they're original, great. If they're classics, wonderful. If they're pure Victorian but great to hear, I can't wait. The refining (if any) should wait until you figure out the parts of the game that you like best. The SCA is not any one thing; we are the parent group - the original Big Tent. We belong to the bunny fur barbarians every bit as much as we do to the Italian Renaissance, Henry the Fifth, the samurai, the mongols, King Aruthur, or the Vikings. Whatever's right for you is right enough; the only trick is to remember that you being right doesn't mean that other people are wrong.

      And on that very pompous note, I will retire at last to my bed. Ever yours, and looking forward greatly to meeting you in person,

      Brion Enkazi,
      Sylvan Bard of Aethelmearc, ret., ret.
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: patiencetheimpetuous
      To: SCA_BARDS@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, September 06, 2002 10:21 AM
      Subject: [SCA_BARDS] Introduction and Questions


      Greetings,

      I am Patience the Impetuous of Rhydderich Hael, Aethelmearc. I am
      new to the Bardic Arts, in fact I am pretty new to the SCA, went to
      my first event in March. I would like to develop an repetoire of
      stories but am having a little trouble finding sources, it seems
      there are plenty of sources for musicians and singers but
      storytellers seem to be on there own. Does anyone know of any good
      sources you can direct me to? Also, in competition, is it customary
      to write your own period-style tale or to retell a published period
      story?

      Thanks for your assistance,

      Patience the Impetuous


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    • KaziBrionSCA
      Carolingian refers to the Charlemagne stories. Charlemagne means Charles the Great. Carolingian comes from Carolus, the Latin form of Charles. There
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 9, 2002
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        "Carolingian" refers to the Charlemagne stories. “Charlemagne” means “Charles the Great.” “Carolingian” comes from “Carolus,” the Latin form of Charles. There are at least as many stories in the Carolingian cycle as there are in the Arthurian, though most are less well known.
         
        I'm delighted to have been of use. There are sources out there for Everything. Lord knows there must be musicians galore in Caid. Ask around and I'm sure they'll be more than happy to help. Just remember that we tend to give the Really Really Long version of the answer. When in doubt, make sure to ask for the summary first. (It's actually a compliment in a way. It implies that the person has enough depth of knowledge to drown you in the first place).
         
        YIS
         
        Brion Enkazi, Aethelmearc
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Monday, September 09, 2002 11:52 AM
        Subject: RE: [SCA_BARDS] Digest Number 518

        What an INCREDIBLE blessing. I had just joined this list the other day, with the thought toward adding some storytelling and singing to my recorder playing. I am also fairly new ( well okay a year last April but our first year was greatly interupted so scarcely counts, or counts scarcely as the case may be, the interuption I mention sidewise makes an interetstling tale, or perhaps not. . . *softly chuckles* 'tis a tale of woe. . . ) at anyrate I realised I haven't really posted to the group and here is a post, a plethora of resources, once wished is twice gifted so to speak, so I thank you kindly. One question for those of us who aren't familiar with the term. . . Carolingian? I'm not familiar with the term but something about the Mabinogian(sp?) pops into the back of my head is that related?
        At anyrate I look forward to finding time in the next few weeks to delve deeply into all the resources you offered. Are there equal resources should one wish to delve at placing said tales to music and keeping the music within some kind of period guidelines?
        May the wind in your lungs ne'er fail,
        Nor the tongue in your mouth fall dry,
        Duncan the Delirious of Nordwache, Kingdom of Caid

         

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