Teleri (telerib) wrote,


I've been kicking around assorted ideas about medieval music and the SCA when something hit me:

A whole lot of early music ink is devoted to trying to justify adding accompaniment to medieval songs that are essentially monophonic (single-voiced). Why? Because no early music ensemble really wants to record one guy singing a capella. They want a descant, or for the vielle player to have something to do, or at least some percussion or something to make it sound 'more like something modern audiences would like.' Solo a capella is too simple (and by implication easy); real musicians must play things that are complicated.

What have we got a ton of in the SCA? Solo a capella performers. Do we like them? Oh yes. SCA bards are stunningly well-positioned to perform in exactly the tradition of all of the secular songs of Europe til 1300 or a bit later. There are love songs and narrative songs and drinking songs and satires; there are songs of Crusade, songs of lament, and songs in praise of kings. About the only things you don't find are songs of nations (since nationalism is a few hundred years away), so you have no period models for "My Kingdom, Love It or Leave It."

And the SCA solo a capella performers are, by and large, not interested in this repertory, because it's 'not something our audience would like.'

Clearly, our ancestors had horrible taste in music, since no one in the modern era apparently wants to hear it.
Tags: music, sca
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