bardic-msg - 11/8/01
Period and SCA bards. Commentary on bardic topics.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: FSRAD1%ALASKA.BITNET at MITVMA.MIT.EDU (The Barbarian Wench)
Date: 1 Sep 94 05:19:49 GMT
Greetings unto all.
To briefly introduce myself, my mundane name is Dusty Deal and my SCA
persona is Amber the Restless, although I am currently researching a new
persona. My home is in Oertha and I presently reside in Eringyld. (Both of
these are in Alaska, for those of you who are lost at this point)
I am a weaver of tales, and have been told that I am fairly proficient at
my craft. I grew up in an area where we told stories around the fireplace
in the evening and where I sat with my elders and learned history from their
words. I have heard the same stories from different people and the thing I
have learned about oral storytelling is that no two people tell the same
story the same way. Further, as a person gets older and their world veiw and
knowledge change, frequently they will shape their story differently than
they did in their youth. So the same story from the same person told 10 years
apart, was often different in many ways. What I am trying to show through all
of this is that is is slightly ridiculous to memorize a story exactly as some-
one else told it and then tell it that way for the rest of your life. The
success of a good story-teller depends on that person integrating the story
and telling it in his/her own way. It also depends on playing to the audience
at hand. I certainly tell my tales differently among close friends at a small
revel than I do at Coronation. I know what my friends find amusing and what
touches their hearts. At Coronet, I must gauge my audience and learn them as
I tell the tale, by watching when they laugh and when they are interested. If
you maintain the original flavour of the story and the story line, then there
should be no problem with changing specifics and emphasis within the tale. If
you or your audience are uncomfortable with racist elements in the tale,
change them. Turn the story around or create a group of ficticous scapegoats,
or leave them out if possible. If you have an audience which is going to be
offended by sexism, follow a classically chauvenistic tale up with one where
the woman gets the upper hand. If you have an audience which will be offended
by blatant sexual content (and the middle ages were full of such) tone it down
by using double entendres and gentle puns.
Well, for my first posting, I feel I have said more than enough. My humblest
apologies for the length of this message, but you KNOW how difficult it is to
get a skald to shut up once they get started...
May you walk in paths of health and prosperity,
Your humble servant,
Amber the Restless, wandering weaver of tales.
From: MALICE at ISIS.MIT.EDU
Date: 29 Mar 90 01:04:00 GMT
Franz Joder brings up the question of what to do when one's period song or
story contains material that is offensive to current middle ages audiences.
Rebecca states a dis-preference for bawdy songs.
in cooking one has the option to a)try to find an acceptable substitute, b)
only serve it to small, controlled groups, c)leave it out, d) never cook that
recipie. e.g. a) I will generaly use american beans rather that fava beans,
to which some people are fatally alergic b) "I made this with penny-royal,
don't drink it if you're pregnant c) what i do with the penny-royal if it's
not a major flavoring, d) frumenty with porpis--i'l just never know .
I would guess that in story telling (or singing) one has roughly the same
choices, although I can't think of any story so objectionable i'd never tell
The problems with a) substitute and c) ommit are the same as in cooking--you
end up with something different. Sometimes it isnt vitally different. Many
obscene stories may be rendered bawdy and bawdy stories risque by carefull
substitution of words (boccacio in his deccameron uses words that are in
themselves innocuous where a frenchman of the previous century would have
bluntly used "foutre"). If a story contains a miserly jew, we can say "a
miser" unless his jewishness is vital to the plot (as it is in Merchant of
venice). Sometimes it can be done with some loss (the french faiblau "la
sainersse" (the lady-doctor) uses coarse language for its shock value--leave
it out and you have an understandable but much weeker story). Sometimes it
just can't be done (oh, i suppose you could re-write "le chevalier qi fit
parler les cons" as a knight who conjures voices from elbows and armpits, but
i can't imagine why one would want to.)
So one is left with varing degrees of choosing ones audience (an art in
itself) and tempering ones language. For myself, i choose not to use sexually
or scatallogically explicit english at events (or over the net (french,
german, or latin, however...)). and save those stories for story-tellers
meetings and post-revels. When there are smalls about i guard my self
more carefully--this is a new problem to me. How to people deal with it in
areas where there are often children about?
what level of bawdiness is acceptable at events? explicit language?(clearly
not) Disguised language and explicit situations as boccacio employs?
Innoccuous language for storys based on adultery and fornication with the acts
them selves glossed over (and all night he did just as she wished...)?
Language so abstract scollars will argue for centuries just what is going on
(le roman de la rose)?
The middle agers were a raunchy, bawdy bunch. they thought sex was hillarious.
malice at isis.mit.edu
From: heiman at thor.acc.stolaf.edu (Mark F Heiman)
Date: 16 Jul 91 14:40:18 GMT
Organization: St. Olaf College; Northfield, MN
Greetings from Cedrych the Silent!
I am reprinting below (with permission) an advertisement which I think may be
of interest to many. I have no direct connection with this endeavor, but I
have spoken with the perpetrator and am willing to try to field any questions
you may have.
A Journal of the Bardic Arts
Unto the Minstrels, Troubadors, Trouveres, Jongleurs, Scops, Gleemen, Poets,
Balladmongers, (and Bards) of the Known World, from Owen Alun in the Barony of
There has long been a need for those of us in the SCA who are interested in the
Bardic Arts, spread out as we are amongst these several kingdoms, to develop a
better means of communicating with each other -- sharing material, experience
and research. This is the purpose that I hope will be served by this
The kinds of material I am most interested in disseminating are:
o Original/New performance material (stories, songs, poetry)
-- Anything from "Serious Period" to SCA-fylk [sic] is welcome.
o Articles/Letters on aspects of the Bardic Arts and Performance
o Contact Information/ Special Announcements
We will publish quarterly: (May 1, Aug 1, Nov 1, Feb 1)
Deadlines will be: (Apr 1, Jul 1, Oct 1, Jan 1)
Issue 1 will be published August 1 (deadline July 1)
Subscriptions: US$8.00/yr, checks payable to SCA-Minneapolis
Thomas' Rhymer is a journal of the Bardic Arts in the Society for Creative
Anachronism. It is not an official publication of the SCA, Inc and does not
delineate SCA policies. It is available from the publisher:
184 W. Skillman Ave.
Roseville, MN 55113
(612) 487 2510
Thank you for your assistance in the endeavor.
pro veritas verbum
I would like to be listed in the Known World Bardic Directory ____Yes ____No
* End Quote *
Owen tells me he's hoping to print about 40 pages per issue -- the first issue
will be slightly smaller, but thereafter he'll increase the format. Especially
exciting (at least from my perspective) is that songs will be printed with
music whenever possible.
If you have questions or comments, please feel free to drop me a note. If I
can't help, I'll pass it on to Owen next time I see him.
Cedrych the Silent
heimanm at carleton.edu
Mark F. Heiman "Heaven is gracious, but few can draw safe deductions
heimanm at carleton.edu on its method." -- Charles Williams
heiman at thor.acc.stolaf.edu _Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury_
heimanm%carleton.edu at interbit <-- BITNET ================================
From: mfy at sli.com (Mike Yoder)
Date: 24 Jul 91 15:45:23 GMT
Organization: Software Leverage, Inc. Arlington, Ma
Unto all fishers and fishmongers of the Rialto, but especially to the noble and
beauteous Esmeralda, does Franz Joder send greetings.
Yes, there is overlap among the Storytellers, Jongleurs, Bards, and Mummers
(another guild which I may not have mentioned). This is due to historical
reasons and perhaps a small dash of politics; in practice the difference
between the guilds tends to be one of emphasis, and it is usually intuitively
clear which guild is most appropriate. There are sometimes ad hoc alliances,
as it were, for particular performances: the Jongleurs will supply the
musicians at plays done by the Mummers, for example.
The Mummers perform plays, and mummings. The storytellers tell stories; the
Jongleurs have two halves which do instrumental music and singing respectively,
but most members are in both parts. The Bards are mainly concerned with
personal performance involving singing, often to the accompaniment of a harp or
other instrument that can be played while singing.
These divisions are somewhat fuzzy: a ballad would be appropriate at either
Storytellers or Bards. There have also been instrumental performances at
Storytellers, but strictly speaking this is outside their purview.
There is no bar to being in as many guilds as you want, other than personal
I have oftimes whispered temptingly to folk of the Storytellers and Bards
guilds that merging the two guilds would be especially serendipitous. The
strong imbalance of positive to negative responses to my siren songs makes me
think that it might even happen someday (it's a very period thing to do).
Oh, you have probably noted that our use of "Bard" and "Jongleur" doesn't quite
match the usual definition. Quite right, but I predict this will eventually be
changed. Recently the Brewer's Guild changed its name to "Worshipful Company
of Brewers and Vintners" in order to have a name more period in flavor;
sometime in the next few years I expect an avalanche of similar changes to
occur, and in the process some names will probably become more precise. This
is a safe prediction because of Carolingia's culture, which is best described
as simultaneously pro-authenticity and anti-authenticity police. (Yes, I've
been throwing a few snowballs now and then.)
Franz Joder von Joderhuebel (Michael F. Yoder) [...uunet!sli!mfy]
The soul's Rialto hath its merchandise. -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
From: cjcannon at ucdavis.EDU
Subject: RE: 'New book'
Date: 3 Dec 1993 18:41:13 -0500
Greetings to all ye Fisherfolk!
One of my correspondents indicated that he had been passing along
bibliographic info. on 'on-topic' books he'd seen at the library where he
worked. He was quitting to go off to Grad School, and suggested I take
his place. I don't know if I'll be able to do that, but here's one I just
Paterson, Linda M.
The world of the troubadours : medieval Occitan society, c. 1100-c. 1300
/ Linda M. Paterson.
Cambridge ; New York, NY : Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1993.
xii, 367 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -355) and index.
Library of Congress Card no.:92-37723 ISBN:0521352401 ca. $60 hdbd.
The dust-jacket 'blurp' suggests that this is the first comprehensive
study of Occitania, 'the south of France' and its society. It says that
the author's approach is multi-disciplinary and offers insights into
issues otherwise unavailable to those without specialist
I hope it meets someone's interests/needs.--Carol (currently awaiting my
info./application packet in order to join the SCA, which means I'm one of
those 'infernal' lurkers, I suppose.)
Date: Thu, 5 Jun 1997 20:53:25 -0400 (EDT)
From: KiheBard at aol.com
To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: How were ollamh made/recognized?
In pre-Christian Ireland, the greatest of the bards were the ollamh
(also seen in documentation as ollave, etc.)
Beyond completion of 14 years training and memorization of
approximaetely 20 thousand lines of poetry, they were also
required to complete one major composition of a new poem
and were further expected to play at least one instrument
with some degree of skill. Primarily, however, the voice was
the instrument required of the ollave.
The requirements were relaxed in later years, and went through
some weirdness when codified for the Welsh (by Hywel Dda
The precise requirements are lost in oral tradition and history,
therefore, and would also have been different in various
regions inhabited by the Celtic peoples....
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 1997 14:45:43 -0500 (CDT)
From: "J. Patrick Hughes" <jphughes at raven.cc.ukans.edu>
To: sca-arts at listproc.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: How were ollamh made/recognized?
I do not have access to the journal _Eriu_ but my sources indicate that it
contains in its 1942 volume pp 1-60 and 220-36 "An Old Irish Tract on on
the Privileges and Responsibilities of Poets, edited by E.J. Gwynn. If
any are able to access this, I would appreciate a copy. I have no current
access to interlibrary loans :(
jphughes at raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: ANST - The Bard's Road
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 99 18:33:29 MST
From: Scott Fridenberg <scottf at okom.net>
Reply-To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG
To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG
tegan at swbell.net wrote:
> I am autocrating an event in May in Loch Soilleir and since it is
> our Baronial Championship where we pick our Bard and Artisan I have no
> choice but to make it a competition. What I would like is some input
> from bards that are currently competing on how we could improve upon
> the standard competition.
> Since this event will be special because we will be welcoming a new
> Baron and Baroness I wish to have lots of entertainment.
> I myself prefer wandering bards. There is nothing like having a bard
> wander in to your pavillion and entertain you with story and song to
> make you feel special.
> Basically what can I do to accomadate you the bards?
> Tegan Rhos
I've ran a few competitions where the Bards are given tokens of some kind, (
we used rings the first time) and throughout the day the bards will challenge
one another and wager tokens on the outcome of the challenge. The challenge
can be anything of a bardic nature that they agree on, and they decide amoung
themselves who will judge the challenge. They are encouraged to choose judges
from amoung the populace. This format is a lot of fun for the bards and the
populace alike. You can select the winner as the person with the most tokens,
or choose the 3 or 4 with the most tokens for a judged final round.
We have learned from experience that you should place a tight limit on the
number of tokens that can be wagered and limit challenges to two or three
bards. If not you may find that several bards who have very few tokens left
will join in one group challenge and suddnly the competition will be decided
on the basis of one performance rather than consistant quality throughout
the day. This tends to spoil the competition.
Barony of Northkeep
Bard of Elfsea
Minstral of Mooneschadowe
Subject: Re: Bardic Acronyms
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 19:51:19 EDT
From: EoganOg at aol.com
To: atlantia at atlantia.sca.org
MSOB--shorthand for the Militant Society of Bards. We are a confederation of
bards that began originally in the Kingdom of Atlantia but has now spread al
over the known world. To quote from Master Efenwealt Wystle on the MSOB web
"The MSOBs (also known as the muh-SO-beez or the Militant SOB's) is a loose,
interkingdom confederation of performers from all over the Knowne Worlde. We
are singers, storytellers, poets, musicians, jugglers, fools and other
assorted entertaining people within the Society for Creative Anachronism
"Our primary goals are to:
"-share bardic material
"-promote the bardic arts
"-teach our audiences two important thigs: "Always feed and water your bards
and minstrels because then they come back!" and second, the word "More!".
Applause is nice, but "More!" really gets your point across!
"-we carry a badge - actually, we just tend to wear various forms of motley.
The rule of thumb is "when you wear your motley, you are ready to perform."
The above heraldic badge has never actually been submitted to the SCA
College of Arms, but it sure is cool.
"-There is no fifth goal."
We also publish a newsletter, the Motley Crew (so called because of our
identifying motley). The web page there is
http://www.scottishtartans.org/mc.html, and is maintained by myself, the
chornicler. You don't have to be an MSOB to subscribe. Likewise, not all
MSOBs subscribe, choosing to read the newsletter over the web.
To let you know more about the organization, here is a little bit I wrote in
the last newsletter: "If there is one point that I want to stress it is
this—to be counted among the ranks of the Militant Society of Bards one must
realize that the most important aspect is to be Militant! We donÕt have a
skill requirement. We encourage research but wonÕt kick you out if you donÕt
do any. We would like for you to sing or play well, but we were all new
learners at some time. What we need are bards that are militant. We need
folk who get out there and perform. Be seen. More importantly, be heard.
Be available. Make the performing arts known and recognized in your area.
That is what the motley cloth is for. In Atlantia it has become associated
with the Bard. People see it and expect a performance. With work and time
it will be recognized as the symbol of a performer throughout the Knowne
World. Be good, and be heard! "
If you have any further questions, visit the web pages above, or write to me,
Master Efenwealt, or one of the other founding members such as Master Niall
Dolphion, Master Bryce de Byrum, Baroness Julitta, etc. In fact, if any of
you are reading this now, perhaps you would like to share your thoughts on
our motley crew!
Tighearn Eoghan Og mac Labhrainn, CP
Chronicler for the MSOB
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 14:18:19 -0500
From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>
To: StellarArts at Onelist.com, sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu,
Merryrose <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>,
Subject: Re: bardic websites
Ivan A Velez wrote:
> I am looking for websites or places where I could find bardic songs
> and tales, I started to like this old minstrel art and want to learn it.
> Alonso de Terranova
These are a few that spring to mind. I have quite a few more unfiled
Master Ioseph has a huge database of SCA songs from many folks as
well. Look under the Locksley.com sites.
Music and Poetry
If you can't find the address try slicing off the end of the URL
as it may have been changed a bit. If it still isn't there....
Subject: Re:(Fwd) bardic info
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 10:08:55 -0800 (PST)
From: Ceara ni Neill <kisamul at yahoo.com>
To: Stefan li Rous <stefan at texas.net>
Ivan A Velez wrote:
> I am looking for websites or places where I could find bardic songs
> and tales, I started to like this old minstrel art and want to
> learn it.
> Alonso de Terranova
Try this site:
----Ceara ni Neill, House Barra
To: SCA_BARDS at egroups.com
From: "Fayme Harper" <GypsyProductions at yahoo.com>
Mailing-List: list SCA_BARDS at egroups.com; contact SCA_BARDS-owner at egroups.com
Date: Sat, 28 Oct 2000 23:55:56 -0000
Subject: [SCA_BARDS] Bards who don't sing.
For those of you that specialize in bardic arts other than singing, I
made another club that addresses that.
Drop on by and sign up.
Your humble moderator, Sapphira of Alexandria