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Help: 'Period' Music

Celticat 16 Jul 01 - 10:14 PM
GUEST,khandu 16 Jul 01 - 10:24 PM
sophocleese 16 Jul 01 - 10:28 PM
Gypsy 16 Jul 01 - 10:30 PM
MMario 16 Jul 01 - 10:31 PM
Phil Cooper 16 Jul 01 - 10:51 PM
Gypsy 16 Jul 01 - 10:51 PM
MMario 16 Jul 01 - 11:00 PM
Robin2 16 Jul 01 - 11:05 PM
Celticat 16 Jul 01 - 11:06 PM
Sorcha 16 Jul 01 - 11:08 PM
Robin2 16 Jul 01 - 11:21 PM
Amos 16 Jul 01 - 11:30 PM
Benjamin 16 Jul 01 - 11:44 PM
catspaw49 17 Jul 01 - 12:15 AM
SeanM 17 Jul 01 - 01:02 AM
Gervase 17 Jul 01 - 05:08 AM
SeanM 17 Jul 01 - 05:15 AM
Amos 17 Jul 01 - 06:43 AM
John P 17 Jul 01 - 08:42 AM
MMario 17 Jul 01 - 09:39 AM
Kim C 17 Jul 01 - 10:33 AM
catspaw49 17 Jul 01 - 10:40 AM
M.Ted 17 Jul 01 - 11:03 AM
Fortunato 17 Jul 01 - 11:37 AM
Hollowfox 17 Jul 01 - 06:11 PM
Hollowfox 17 Jul 01 - 06:23 PM
DougR 17 Jul 01 - 06:48 PM
DougR 17 Jul 01 - 06:49 PM
DougR 17 Jul 01 - 07:48 PM
M.Ted 17 Jul 01 - 08:55 PM
sophocleese 17 Jul 01 - 08:56 PM
DougR 17 Jul 01 - 10:18 PM
JohnB 17 Jul 01 - 11:32 PM
hesperis 17 Jul 01 - 11:47 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Jul 01 - 12:13 AM
GUEST,Scaramouche 27 Mar 05 - 08:29 AM
Leadfingers 27 Mar 05 - 09:50 AM
JohnInKansas 28 Mar 05 - 04:17 AM
GUEST,Scaramouche 28 Mar 05 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,Stilly River Sage 29 Mar 05 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,MMario 29 Mar 05 - 11:19 AM
GUEST 29 Mar 05 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Don Firth (had to crawl through the transom) 29 Mar 05 - 12:54 PM
GUEST 29 Mar 05 - 02:36 PM
Don Firth 29 Mar 05 - 06:15 PM
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Subject: 'Period' Music
From: Celticat
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 10:14 PM

Does 'period' music really have to be played on the original instruments in order for it to be qualified as 'period music?' While performing late 1800's songs last month, I was approached by a person who rudely informed me that 12 string guitars were not used in that era. I quickly answered that microphones and PA systems were not used then either yet not one person complained. What do you think?


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 10:24 PM

I agree with you. Music is open to interpretation. I prefer to hear each performer's version rather that a note-for-note-on-original-instrumentation-only version.

Good point regarding mikes and PA's.

That's my opinion. Period.

khandu


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: sophocleese
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 10:28 PM

Depends on whether you're trying to re-enact the period, in which case ditch the PA and the modern instrument, or whther you like tunes from an older period and play them, in which case do what you like. That, as khandu said above, is my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Gypsy
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 10:30 PM

You're going to have rude you know whats, in spite of what you do. Don'tcha think that if a 1800's musician could suddenly have a 12 string/amp/mic, they wouldn't leap on the chance? Write it off as sour grapes. You at least, are playing, while the critic is criticising. Guess who i'de rather be?!


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: MMario
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 10:31 PM

sounds like you ran into what I know as an "anachro-nark". Some people just need to rain on anyone elses parade.

There are all different levels of doing "period" music.

a) period tune/song in modern style and instruments

b) period tune/song in the style of the period with modern instruments

c) period tune in the style of the period with reproduction instruments that may or may not be accurate (such as using materials not found in period or crafted with techniques not found in period examples)

d) period tune/song in the style of the period with actual period instruments and/or accurate reproductions of the same.

and many many levels that might split the difference between the levels. different circumstances may call for different levels of authenticity.

and finally - there is always interpretation and the guesswork that goes on when there *is* no complete record.

I'd be polite and then ignore them.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 10:51 PM

As someone who does a good deal of "period" work on new steel string guitars and with a partner that plays a doumbek sometimes (not around alot in the 19th century in Europe/North America) I side with doing music from the period on what reflects you in the best light. The phrase, "well I'm booked, but you're not" comes to mind. You can't please everybody.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Gypsy
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 10:51 PM

WE're chasing each other tonight! I applaud your good advice, MMario!


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: MMario
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 11:00 PM

well - since I have to admit my favorite is

Q) Modern song done on period-oid instrument in period style

you may well see I have experience at this. You really haven't heard anything until you've heard "Money Can't Buy You Love" as a four part Elizabethean Madrigal!

*grin*


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Robin2
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 11:05 PM

My favorite story was about a SCA event at an Irish festival...they wished to announce the jousting event, but the lady refused to use the mike, saying it wasn't "period", but no one could hear her. Finally, the desperate sound man bowed and said, "Please speak into the magic stick, m'lady", and THEN she was perfectly happy to use the sound equipment. LOL
We play Civil War Reenactment Balls almost every weekend in the summer. There is always a few that complain about the caller not doing "period" dances, and same will come up to us and request "Ashoken Farewell"
LOL, isn't life grand? Enjoy it, and don't take any of it TOO seriously!
Robin


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Celticat
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 11:06 PM

As a newcomer to the 'forum', I appreciate and respect your opinions. I live in a cultural "death valley" and perform anytime that I can. I love playing 19th century music. I've attempted playing on antique instruments from that period and was quite embarrased when the instrument would go out of tune in the middle of a song!


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Sorcha
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 11:08 PM

I have been told that my fiddle is not "period"--it is a violin with chin rest, shoulder rest, etc. instead of a "period" viol. I could give a shit! It knocks me out a few (very few) SCA competitions, but I don't appreciate Period Police in any guise.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Robin2
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 11:21 PM

"period police", that is perfect!
Celticat, I understand where you are at!Listened to a "period minstral show" at the last reenactment we went to, and had to leave because the authentic instruments were SOOO out of tune it was painful!
They might like to tout "period", but it's my band (with steel string guitars, pickups on the fiddles, and electronic tuners) that gets hired for all the dances.
Robin


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 11:30 PM

I believe that in the 19th, 18th, 17th, 16th, and 15th centuries, the general pattern of those hearing good music was to enjoy it for its neauty, its emotional power, its cleverness of rhyme and rhetoric, or its pleasantness of tone. So your visitor's criticism was roundly out of period and should have been chastised as being anachronistically solipsistic, and improper, to boot.

A


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Benjamin
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 11:44 PM

I play a lot of early music on classical guitar. A mordern guitar wasn't invented in that time. I've been told that it's just same. I personaly don't feel that early music sounds to great on a steel string guitar. That's not to say you can't go ahead and play it any way you want on what ever insturment you got. A teacher of mine in HS plays Bach on a banjo.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 12:15 AM

Great replies and I can't add much, except to say I am ROTFLMAO over Gypsy......

Don'tcha think that if a 1800's musician could suddenly have a 12 string/amp/mic, they wouldn't leap on the chance?

.......geez, what a great line............I am, of course, stealing it!!!

Young Dracula had spent many years going to night school for obvious reasons. He had all his credits but for the music credit because music was only taught one period and that, sadly, was during the day! He tried to negotiate with the woman to no avail and she refused all things he offered to entice her to come in at night. As graduation approached he sent his friend Igor to talk with her some more. Igor returned and told Dracula that she had agreed to come in early for a special course that would start at 6 AM. Dracula stared at Igor for a moment and said, "What good is that you fool? The sun will be coming up you freaking idiot!!!!"

Igor cowered away and then passed on this rest of it. "Well Count, it's the best I could do and it I had to mortgage the castle to pay her........and she already has the check."

"WHAT?" screamed the Count. "You ARE an idiot! Go tell her the deal is off and get a stop payment on the check!"

Igor started to move away towards the door and then turned and asked, "What shall I tell her?"

A vampirish grin graced the Count's countenance as he replied, "Tell her I'll see her next period."





Sorry.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: SeanM
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 01:02 AM

I've run afoul of the problem of the 'period police' as well. The group that I've been most recently associated with are 'sailors' at Elizabethan Renaissance faires.

Well, the problem is... with the exception of "Haul on the Bowline" and possibly "A Rovin'", there just ain't much in the way of Elizabethan sailor stuff out there documented to sing. Actually, most sources agree that there just isn't much to begin with.

So... we just took other songs ("The Mermaid", "Mingulay Boat Song", "Get Up Jack! John Sit Down", and others) and called it a day. We rarely get complaints, but for the genre of events we play entertainment is generally valued over authenticity and we don't really pay attention to them.

If you're getting paid, then do what the show requests. If you're doing it as a volunteer for your own enjoyment, tell them to shove it up their... er... do what you enjoy!

M


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Gervase
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 05:08 AM

Drifting a bit, but Brahms wrote much of his piano music for the wooden-framed fortepiano. I recall an anecdote to the effect that, towards the end of his life, he heard a 'modern' iron-framed piano and started tearing his hair out and said: "I wish these had been around when I was composing my earlier work."
And imagine the thought of J.S.Bach with a bank of Rolands and Korgs. Eat your heart out, Rick Wakeman!


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: SeanM
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 05:15 AM

Heck, it's true of ALL mediums...

Imagine Cecil B. DeMille with modern CGI effects... Michaelangelo with modern sculptor's mediums and architectural theory... DaVinci with modern schooling...

It boggles the mind. Would they still have excelled? Or is part of their genius created by the restrictions of the mediums presented?

Sounds like a topic to be debated over many pints. Make mine a stout while you're at the bar, would you?

M


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 06:43 AM

Da Vinci with modern schooling? "Yo!! Dude!! Check da mooon, man!" "Hey, it's like -- gravity, man!! 'Sssup wid dat?"
What a terrifying thought! "Yo! Leo! Heard you was dissin the priests big time, man!". I think there's a film track in it somewhere!

A


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: John P
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 08:42 AM

I used to play in a band that did pseudo-medieval music where the entertainment value was a lot higher than the musical value. We were playing in a tavern one night when we realized there was someone at the bar heckling us. If you play in taverns you expect to get heckled sometimes, but this guy was a medieval musicologist and was drunkenly roaring at us about all our out-of-period performance practices. He was offended that we were playing in A=440. Then he got really upset because I played a harmonic on my mandola. His point, I think, was that there was no evidence that anyone ever played a harmonic on a stringed instrument during the medieval times. He didn't want to hear me telling him that he maybe liked medieval music, but he obviously didn't have much respect for medieval musicians. Any musician with a stringed instrument will quickly figure out that you can play harmonicsand then slip them into the music here and there.

Here's a challenge for the period police, especially those who seem to think they know how music was played in ancient times: Find a musician that has never heard rock music. Show them photos of Led Zeppelin playing live. Let them read a few treatises by modern academic musicologists. Give them the sheet music to a few Led Zeppelin songs, in moden notation even. Get some instrument builders to look at the pictures and build the instruments based on that. See whether or not they end up sounding anything at all like Led Zeppelin. Now substitute wildly inaccurate woodcuts for the photos, and regress the sheet music to early notation. The sound is going to be even farther off.

A big part of period performance, for me, is producing a performance that is clearly understandable by the audience. That's what the musicians of the past were doing. Unless you are playing for a bunch of scholars, you are not going to accomplish that with strict adherence to what little we know about period performance practice or by using only period instruments.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: MMario
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 09:39 AM

you of course realize this entire thread is probably driving "knowledgable experts" away in droves? *grin*

John - good points.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Kim C
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 10:33 AM

If you are not playing in a "period" context, it shouldn't matter. Good songs are good songs in just about any guise.

Mister and I play 18th & 19th century events. I use a chin rest (okay for 19th c) and a shoulder rest, because that's how I learned to play. I can go without the shoulder rest for a little while, but not without both. It's physically painful.

We played an 18th century event with a very accomplished fiddler out of Williamsburg. I was moaning a little because I had to have these tools to play, and he said, you know what? Nobody's ever come up to me and thanked me for playing without a chin rest or a shoulder rest.

We've had this conversation here before... it's sometimes difficult to get "period" instruments, either originals or reproductions. They cost money. Some are not so expensive, but not all of us have a spare $500 to spend on a nice repro banjo. That's several weeks worth of groceries.

The most important thing, I think, is that you choose good songs and present them well, because that's what MOST people are going to appreciate and remember.

Cheers------ Kim


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 10:40 AM

Hey John!!!..........Man, that is a beautiful analogy! Lots of good stuff to steal on this thread! Personally, I'm having a great time "seeing" the bad woodcut of Led Zeppelin which makes the whole thing perfect.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:03 AM

Another factor to consider is that the goon who said that the 12 string guitar was not used in the 1800's was wrong. So was the drunken phoney who said that there is no evidence that anyone ever played a harmonic on a stringed instrument in medeval times.

The 6-string guitar is the more modern instrument--the guitar evolved from the lute/oud, which is a double-coursed instrument, and the earliest guitars were 12 strings, not 6. As to the harmonics, first, Pythagoras used string harmonics to define the pitches of a scale, 2500 years ago, and they've been around ever since. The rebec, which is/was a Middle Ages/Renaissance bowed instrument,played on the knee, and was popular before the violin was developed, actually is played by using only harmonics--

When it comes down to it, traditional singing and instrumental styles are probably the best evidence that we have of the way that music was played in the remote past--so next time anybody questions you, point that out, as well--


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Fortunato
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:37 AM

Play the music Cellicat, and let those who have ears listen. (Those who are mostly colon and sphincter may go elsewhere). cheers, chance.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Hollowfox
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 06:11 PM

Three thoughts came to mind with this thread. 2) Funny thing, last week I was listening to an interview with a lady (Amelia S. Haygood?) who did a CD of all of Bach's Goldberg variations, with all the repetitions that are usually omitted these days. She'd done her research and found that "repetitions" weren't just identical duplications of a set of notes, but had a different meaning at the time of composition. She was passionate that the intentions of the composer be


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Hollowfox
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 06:23 PM

(oops) be respected, not the whims of the performer. But she performed them on a modern piano, saying that what variety of keyboard they were performed on was relatively unimportant.
3) Last year I attended a series of workshops on performing arts in the medieval era, and today,at Pennsic (the Big Society for Creative Anachronism event hereabouts). The salient point for this post is that if performers for a 21st century audience did a set of authentic medieval illusions (as far as can be documented), the audience would be bored stiff, if they stayed around in the first place.

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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: DougR
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 06:48 PM

I think the "song" is the thing, not the instrument that plays it. Unless you are representing, as Sophocleese said, that you are performing period music in the style of the period, then play it on the instrument that is best for you.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: DougR
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 06:49 PM

I think the "song" is the thing, not the instrument that plays it. Unless you are representing, as Sophocleese said, that you are performing period music in the style of the period, then play it on the instrument that is best for you.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: DougR
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 07:48 PM

As you can see, I believe it a lot.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 08:55 PM

Many of the old instruments were not all that great to listen to, and, in the case of the aforementioned rebec, were terrors to play, as well--


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: sophocleese
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 08:56 PM

That's okay Doug, I like seeing my name over and over again.

sophocleese


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: DougR
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 10:18 PM

Happy to oblige, Sophocleese (that's one more time!)

DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: JohnB
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:32 PM

Spent eight years doing mostly Renn/Med/Old english folky stuff in an a cappella octet. We mostly tried to be fairly accurate with our material. Ren Fairs are not really interested in authenticity, more with Bawdacity, so we did some of the original Bawdy stuff too. Our "newest" piece would have been Chastity Belt. I like to see people doing what they can with what they have, don't let this material die because you can't afford museum reproductions of original instruments. When confronted with such audacity as this, always remember the truly period Anglo/Saxon retort "Fuck Off" JohnB


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: hesperis
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:47 PM

I found an AWESOME link for those of you who compose with soundfonts - not a REAL period instrument, soory. Early Patches.

Hehehe.

Now, we just need a Bodhran soundfont...


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 12:13 AM

I have a number of performances on cd of 18th C. music, some with period instruments, some with modern. I like both in most cases, it really depends on the interpretation. Orchestral groups using period or period copy instruments are all over the place now. It is good to have something close to the piece as the composer wrote it, but there is no reason to insist that the old way is the only way. M.Ted is right- the six-stringed guitar is fairly late. If you look at related instruments such as the theorbo- lots of strings!


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: GUEST,Scaramouche
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 08:29 AM

I heard something once about Beethoven and others having someone to unjam the keys on the piano as they played.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 09:50 AM

I missed this thread first time round , and as a muso who does a lot of Medieval Banquets ( Which in our case are banquets on a Medieval Theme) found it fascinating . On one occasion we had a (Obviously) Re-Enactment type who requested a fifteenth century tune ! This clown was dressed like a fifteenth century serf - At A Banquet of The Nobility !


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 04:17 AM

One would have to suppose that some of the "period natzis" would object that a performance on a Stradivari violin was not "authentic," since all known (and they probably are all known) Strads have had the neck reset to a different angle than the original to make it possible to play anything except "period" music. There is no such thing as an "authentic and original" Strad - but they're mostly pretty nice instruments.

For those like me, who aren't particularly reenactment fans, there seems to be some ambiguity about what various contributors mean by "period" music. I assume that some are talking about "SCA period," which I think I understood once to mean "pre-Elizabethan" while others are referring to "Ren-Faire" music, which would be Elizabethan era and perhaps a little later(?). I suppose it doesn't matter much which period - since the real point here is how much attention to pay to those more interested in displaying their own "knowledge" than in appreciating a performance.

I can observe that paintings I've seen of instruments dating back a bit (to ca. 1250?) seem to show little visible/external change in bowed instruments, but some real mysteries for the plucked ones. The mysterious "how did they get 11 strings on it with only 7 pegs" crops up frequently, but may just reflect the scant overlap between the arts of music and of painting.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: GUEST,Scaramouche
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 04:58 AM

I think period means anything outside the last century.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: GUEST,Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 10:56 AM

So many other factors come into the performance with "authentic" historic instruments--the size of the room, the behavior of the audience (keep quiet so the performers can be heard!), etc. And historic instruments are now so old that often they probably don't sound like they used to, either.

I agree with those who suggest that composers would have loved access to the newer instruments.

Interesting thread.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 11:19 AM

I hear "period" mostly from SCA types - which technically means pre-1600; (which would include MOST of the Elizabethean period) but from some Ren-faire types as well - in which case "period" depends on the faire - Usually Tudor or Elizabethean - though could be Stuart/Cavalier or another time period.

then you get the black powder re-enactors, English Civil War re-enactors, American Civil War re-enactors, American Revolution re-enactors all of which have their own "periods"


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 11:35 AM

I think perhaps the late 18th century audience would have been even more different than the instruments used so perhaps in the interests of authenticity you should have politely asked him to f--k off.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: GUEST,Don Firth (had to crawl through the transom)
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 12:54 PM

I am fond of a particular early music consort of some prominence, and I have a stack of their CDs, along with CDs by a few of the individual members of the group doing their own things One of the women has a CD of folk songs and ballads, quite well done, I think, but I'm sure ethnic purists could find fault with it.   

About a year ago I had a chance to hear them live. During the intermission, rather than disappearing backstage, they came down and mingled with the audience.   I have two CDs of the lutenist in the group doing lute solos (danged good stuff!), and I had a chance to chat with him for a few minutes. I asked him about the strings he used on his lute:   did he use gut strings, or were they nylon?

"Nylon," he said. "I get some static sometimes from authenticity freaks, but the practicalities of the matter are that gut strings are so inconsistent and unreliable that if I tried to use them, we'd have to stop frequently for me to replace broken stings, and I would have to be constantly tuning. With nylon strings, I can play music instead of spending most of my time fussing with my instrument."

Works for me!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 02:36 PM

You must be talking about Baltimore Consort and Custer LaRue. I have one of her ballad CDs and I like it a lot. A little bit too "classically" done, but I still like it. I absolutely love her selection of ballads!


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Period' Music
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 06:15 PM

Good shot, GUEST! Right on target. Clicky.

The lutenist, of course, was Ronn McFarlane.

Don Firth


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