Know Enough to Know I Don’t
When I first joined the SCA, I figured I was gonna jump into fighting and dabble in the Arts and Sciences. Now, I am nearing the end of my term as the Seneschal for Terra Pomaria and realizing that I should take this chance to stop and think about what I want to focus on as the Worlde comes back together.
I will likely always dabble in many things: combat, archery, henna, needlework, service, but I have found that the most rewarding work I have done thus far has been in the Bardic Arts.
If you had asked me a year ago if I considered myself a musician I would have laughed and said no, but I do play an instrument.
I have found myself in a strange situation: I never tried to learn anything music-related past what was required for school, outside of learning to play my hammer dulcimer. I have a general understanding of chords, and pitch, and key, but not much more than that. I am clueless about necked instruments, with or without frets.
The size of the stumbling block this was became even more clear when I decided to purchase a santoor and an oud, to further my Persian persona.
I bought books and tried to read articles that explained how the musical methods of the Near East worked, comparing them to similar concepts known in the Western World. It’s kind of like being told a cat is like a dog, just with pointy ears and long whiskers, except that I only know that a dog is a small furry animal with four legs and a tail. I don’t have the knowledge required to make the changes needed to get a cat.
All Right, but what Kind of Bard?
I don’t know if I will choose a single type. I love the sense of scope that the performing arts has. Thus far I have played instruments, danced, and even sung. I doubt I will ever be a juggler, but I want to tell stories, and do puppet shows, and, and, and…
I think that is my favorite part of this: I don’t see a limit on what I could accomplish, as I tend to put on myself for other endeavors.
That being said, my initial focus will likely be learning to play the instruments I have, and Persian Dance.
So What Next?
First things first: I am going to be studying Western Music Theory, so that I can better understand Eastern Music Theory. I am also going to be working on my physical endurance so that I can do some justice to the beauty of Persian Dance.
6 Replies to “Bardic Pilgrimage: the 2021 Stopover”
This is really neat. I’ve dabbled in music my whole life, but solely western focused – best of luck in the new endeavors!
I have only just allowed myself to self-view as a musician, which is a huge thing for me to let myself be.
I seem to like jumping in the deep end only having the doggy paddle ability to stay afloat, lol
Looking forward to seeing where you go with this! Have you encountered Dr. George Sawa yet? He has a website where he shares his research of historical music in the Near East. Thanks for posting your exhibit!
I have not yet seen Dr. Sawa’s website, but I have just recently been made aware of him through some Facebook pages I recently joined
Very interesting! I was surprised to see that they linked teaching Eastern Music Theory to Western. Is there a language barrier aspect to it?
So traditional learning of the Eastern musical methods is still master/student directly, from what I have seen. I have recently purchased some books aimed at using the Western method as a starting point to explain the Eastern method, so targeted at folks who know what a chord is and use that to help them grasp a maqam