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!
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.
In 1803, a manuscript was discovered in a Benedictine abbey of Benediktbeuern, 50 km south of Munich, a discovery that was do be crucial to our understanding of Latin secular writing in medieval Europe. Because it was found in Beuren, Johann Andreas Schmeller, who published a complete edition of the poems in 1847, called the manuscript Carmina Burana. Continue reading
As I mentioned earlier, I have been asked to create singable translations for all the pieces at St. Cecilia Press, and I am happy to be able to say that I have finished! (Or, at least, I’m caught up until Monique adds more pieces.)
My recent translations include 16 pieces to accompany Monique’s editions, plus two I’ve done just on my own initiative. 🙂 They are as follows: Continue reading
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
In brief: Here are a couple Renaissance Italian pieces that I’ve translated as part of my ongoing efforts to write singable translations for all the songs at St. Cecilia Press. Continue reading
The reason I’ve been silent for the last month or so is that I’ve been finishing this:
A Collection of Winter Holiday Songs for Medieval & Renaissance Enthusiasts
It’s a big songbook of SCA-Period Christmas carols (and songs for other winter holidays). I’ve been working on it for 2-3 years, and I’m excited to have finally finished it.
The joy of singing holiday songs often comes from revisiting favorites, indulging in memories and joining in the ritual of singing familiar songs with others. I think that’s why many people don’t want to sing SCA-period carols: They want to sing their favorites, and they believe that none of their favorites are old enough to “count”. I hope this songbook will help show that there are plenty of pre-1600 holiday songs that are still popular today.
For example, did you know that the following songs are wholly or partially SCA-period?
- O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
- O Tannenbaum
- What Child Is This?
- The First Nowell
- Ding Dong Merrily on High
- God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
- Good Christian Men, Rejoice
- Christ Was Born on Christmas Day
- The Boar’s Head in Hand Bear I
- Good King Wenceslas
- Auld Lang Syne
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
I’ve tried to include as many modern favorites as possible, but there are also lots of new songs, too! For more details about how I decided what to include, please read the Forward.
I hope people will find this helpful. As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me.
Here’s the link one more time.
A few things that I’ll fix the next time I update the pdf:
- p. 28: A 2-voice version of “Veni, Veni Emanuel” was discovered by Mary Berry in the 1960s. I’ll include it in the next update. (Also, the second word in verse 2 shouldn’t be capitalized. Whoops!)
- p. 37, 224, & 247: “Sloan” should be spelled “Sloane”.
- p. 37: The missing sign for the D. S. al Fine belongs at measure 1, just after the pickup.
- p. 97: Stella ducte lumine means “drawn by the star’s light”.
- p. 103: I intended to capitalize the song’s title as “Dieux Soit en Cheste Maison”.
- p. 197: “Sellenger’s Round” is found in My Ladye Nevells Booke of Virginal Music (1591) by William Byrd (c. 1540 – 1623).
- p. 230: “Sellenger’s Round” appears in the 1687 edition of The English Dancing Master, not the 1651 edition. Also, the tune appears solidly within SCA Period in My Ladye Nevells Booke of Virginal Music (1591) by William Byrd (c. 1540 – 1623).
Note: For several songs, the popular form of the melody (which I have included) is somewhat modified from the original melody as published in period. One good example is page 120, where the modification and its source are noted in the Index but not in the main body of the book.
To add in the next edition: “Dives and Lazarus”
My friend Jadzia is working on a new website for her editions of medieval and Renaissance music: St. Cecilia Press, and she mentioned that it would be cool if I wrote some singable translations for the pieces she’s edited. So, this week I worked on translations of “El Grillo”, “Es ist ein Schnee gefallen”, and “Plaude euge Theotocos”.
Recently, a friend asked if I would help with a project.
My friend is hosting a ball next year that has a super-cool theme: All of the dances on the dancelist will be dances performed to tunes that also have lyrics. (In other words, they’re dances, but they’re also songs.) And they’ll all be performed by a choir. There was a similar dance this summer that went very well, so he’s planning next summer’s reprise.
He asked me to write a singable translation for a 15th-century Italian dance called “Vita di Cholino”, which is danced to the song “La vida de Culin”. I happily agreed. However, it wasn’t as straight-forward an assignment as I’d assumed…
For fun, I’ve written a singable translation of a little piece that has been attributed to my favorite troubadour, Raimbaut de Vaqueiras. It is almost certainly not by him, since it is not at all his style, but it is cute nonetheless.
Sadly, I cannot find any information about the original tune for this piece. It might not exist anymore. I was able to find a couple of recordings of people singing these lyrics to different tunes, however. Perhaps these tunes are composed by the performers?
Having given up on finding an extant 12th-century tune for these lyrics, I’ve decided to simply place them here, sans music. Here are the original lyrics, if you’d like to compare – as I said, they are very cute.