Identifying Prowess in an SCA Musician

Check out this post that I co-wrote with Monique Rio (Jadwiga Krzyzanowska) at BlowThyHorn.com. It’s essentially a checklist of skills we expect SCA musicians to have before we call them “experts”.

If you’re looking for ways to expand your musical knowledge, you could also use it as a guide for what to learn next!

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Proposed Criteria: Middle Kingdom A&S Division I

As many of you know, the Middle Kingdom is currently working on updating the criteria for A&S competitions. I’m the team lead for Division I, which includes the performing and literary arts.

It is very important that the new criteria work well for the people who plan to enter these categories in A&S fairs. So Midrealm performing and literary artists, we need your feedback!

As categories become available for public commentary, I’ll post links to them here. Please read and comment on any that are of interest to you.

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Warrior Ethics in Japanese War Tales

Today I get to talk about one of my favorite literary genres: the Japanese war tale!

War tales (gunki monogatari) are books of Japanese prose fiction about wars and other military conflicts, primarily written in the Kamakura and Muromachi periods (though some of those I’ll discuss are even older). Usually written by anonymous authors or compiled from oral tradition, war tales depict actual historical events and characters in a fictionalized way. Although they’re not always completely historically accurate, war tales are valuable resources for medieval Japanese ideas about specific historical events, the overall meaning of those events, and values about warfare and the people involved in warfare. Continue reading

Piae cantiones ecclesiasticae et scholasticae veterum episcoporum… and Neale & Helmore

Last night we received our first big snowfall of the year, and that means it’s time to talk about Piae cantiones!

Why should you become familiar with Piae cantiones? Only because it’s a incredibly rich source of medieval Christmas music, some of which you already know. And because it’s easy for modern musicians to read and understand. And because of its importance to the history of religious and school music in Scandinavia. And because what other medieval Finnish music do you know? Continue reading