Author Archives: galeran

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Melody for Roar!

A new song by Galeran… here is the Melody for Roar!

At evening court at crown tournament yesterday, I performed a new An Tirian anthem with the help of Bieiris do Romans and Mea Passavanti, two very talented bards.  The reception was quite positive, and several people have asked me for the words or tune so that they can learn the song and join in.  You’ll find the lyrics below, and a rough, single-take recording of the melody (MP3) at the link above.  I’ll try to get the performers together so that we can also record the drum and harmony, but this should be good enough to let people learn the melody.

Thanks for all the positive feedback on the song so far! Continue reading

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Patent of Arms

I’m gradually catching up with the aftermath of July’s Laurel ceremony, including chipping away at the dozens of thank-you notes that I owe to the many awesome people who made the day so special.   Today, I also took the opportunity to snap a photo of my Patent of Arms scroll on the copy stand at work, so that I could show it off here.  This marvelous work is by Leah bat Yehiel of Three Mountains.  I can’t believe that she completed this piece of art with only eight days notice!

This also may be the longest text of a peerage scroll that I’ve ever seen . . . it took about five minutes to read it into court!Image

Laureling, Part the First

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted here, but the recent news is so excellent that I thought it might be time to return to this forum. In short, at An Tir’s July Coronation I was elevated to the Laurel in one of the most moving and well, LONGEST ceremonies to which I’ve ever been privy in the SCA. Continue reading

In which Galeran earns a spiffy accolade (and a lot of hard work)

Version the Short: I had the good fortune to claim victory at An Tir’s recent Kingdom Bardic Championships. Now I get to wear a big cloak and carry a shiny horn in court, and more importantly, have the responsibility to perform and teach the art of performance throughout the Kingdom for the next year. You can find some lovely photographs of the event by Talentus here.

Version the Long: I had been strongly considering entering this year’s Kingdom Bardic competition ever since last March, when my single entry of Cantiga 322 on harp and voice was so well received by the judges.  I generally dislike competitions in the Arts and Sciences, as I don’t feel that these activities are inherently competitive (topic for a different post), but at the same time there’s a lot to recommend this particular competition.  For one, the judging is highly informed and thorough, and the general skill of the competitors is quite high, so the event is a real pleasure to attend. For two, and more importantly, the position of Kingdom Bard is highly visible and provides the ideal position from which to encourage performers and foster more interest in the Bardic Arts.  I decided that I wanted that particular job and duty, and thus submitted my intent to compete last December.

I’m glad that I did submit that intent, as An Tir seems to have many great performers, but few performances.  This competition was a case in point, as there were only four entrants in the competition (and only two competing for overall best), but more than ten highly competent individuals serving as judges.  Had I not entered, the title would have gone uncontested, and that’s not a healthy thing. I’m not really sure what’s driving the phenomenon, but I’ve rarely encountered music, storytelling, theatre and so forth at An Tirian events, particularly in any organized fashion.  The problem is definitely not a lack of talent, but it may be a lack of encouragement or a dearth of appropriate venues. I hope to work to improve this over the coming year.

In any case, I performed three pieces at the event: the 14th century istanpitta “Tre Fontane” on alto recorder, the 13th century trouvère reverdie “Volez-vous que Je vous chant” on harp and voice, and one of my few SCA bardic compositions, “Laurel Green, Laurel Fair” for harp and voice.  The first two were for the formally judged rounds, the third was for populace’s choice.  The first two received very high marks from the judges, though I really wasn’t that happy with my performance of Tre Fontane.  It is a very difficult piece and some stumbles are almost inevitable, but I had performed it much better in practice.  So it goes. The last piece won the populace’s choice award, and clearly resonated with much of the audience, as I had hoped.

On day two of An Tir’s competition, (yes, it is two days long) each finalist repeats one of their performances for a much larger audience that includes the royalty as well as people that are primarily in attendance for the concurrent Kingdom Arts and Sciences competition.  I reprised the trouvère song (which is better suited to the SCA bardic tradition, more universally accessible and the stronger of my two performances) and definitely nailed it.  I’m very happy with my arrangement of the piece and I performed it as well as I ever have. The grill session after the performance also went well (I’ll chalk it up to the combination of my experience defending a Ph.D. thesis, and the rosewater wafers and hazelnut milk with which Rhi plied the judges).   My challenger Jahnkin de Leeuw chose a Gregorian chant as his final entry and performed exceedingly well.  I was particularly impressed with his control of pitch and tuning  . . . his chosen piece required completely exposed, very long notes. I couldn’t have held such tones nearly as constant as he did!  Still, for better or worse the judges chose my entry for the top prize, and in the closing court I received the cloak and horn of the  Kingdom Bard to wear and keep for the coming year.

I’m still planning out what I’d like to do with the position, but I’m certain that I want to encourage a lot more performances in a variety of genres.  That will certainly involve running some bardic circles and performing in court, but I’m also hoping to showcase some other folks and to insert music into some places where it isn’t as commonly encountered, such as tournaments.  I’d also like to build a greater community of performers, but I may end up with some challenges there due to a potential major division between (self-classified) bards and musicians that I’ll discuss in a subsequent post.

I’ll close with a question for any gentle readers who care to comment.  With respect to the performing arts in An Tir, what would you like to see happen in the coming year? My ear is open to you, and there’s no better position from which to spark some change in that area than the one I now hold.

An Tir – West War and a Surprise Authorization

GaleranHerein, one will find the tale of how I (Galeran) was granted a surprise authorization in sword and shield combat during the last minutes before the last day of battles at An Tir – West War, was tossed into three different melee scenarios, survived to tell about it, and even enjoyed the experience.

After a methodical year spent assembling armor and preparing to start participating in heavy combat in An Tir, somehow I thought I’d have some warning before authorizing, let along fighting in a series of battles. My progress towards assembling and crafting pieces of my kit had been slow due to the huge time demands of my job, and my improvements in skill and confidence at Tuesday practices had seemed incremental at best.  About a month ago, when last I had inquired about steps that I needed to take in order to authorize, our local marshal (a very well known and  respected knight and Count) sparred with me and asked me to work on a few specific issues. I did indeed work to correct those over the next week of practice, but then life does as it will and I needed to leave town for a conference, then caught the flu for most of the last week before An Tir-West War (the biggest annual event in these parts, with about 2500 people).  Having missed my last chance to attempt an authorization before the War due to the creeping crud,  but having recovered my health by  Friday, I assumed that I’d be sitting the main event out. Even so, I packed the armor along in hopes of finding some informal practice.  Rhi and I stuffed the car full on Friday and arrived at the event Saturday evening, with just an evening and a day of the event remaining.

I was enjoying a morning stroll with Rhi on Sunday when we ran into our friend Nemo, who happens to be a very skilled local fighter, and the day took an abrupt turn. As far as I recall, the conversation went about like this:

Galeran:  Good Morning, Nemo.

Nemo:  Where’s your armor? The battles are about to start.

Galeran:  I’m actually not formally authorized . . . can’t fight at War.

Nemo:   I’ve been fighting you for a year now and there’s no way that you are going to miss this. Follow me . . . .

. . . which triggered a flurry of events involving me being marched up to some prominent knights, being told to dash back to my tent to get my kit, and eventually discovering that I had misunderstood the marshal a month ago, who had in fact been waiting for weeks for me to bring him the paperwork to sign. All of which resulted in me feeling sheepish and the ink still being wet on my authorization card as  the knights placed me in a unit and wished me luck five minutes before the start of battle.

The post is already getting long, but suffice it to say that I managed myself well enough through a broken field, field  and castle battle, discovered that those armed with sword and shield do a lot of blocking when pikemen are around, managed to kill someone once, died ignominiously when someone got behind our line, and managed to confuse several comrades-at-arms with the “beware of girl with sword” sticker on the shield that I had borrowed from a female friend. More importantly, I had a great time, and apparently have become a least a little more competent over the past year than I had thought.

Lots of other neat stuff happened at the war was well, including some fine musical moments and a fun chance to surprise Rhi with a gift, but those are material for other posts.

Next time I want to go for an authorization though, I think more planning may be in order. 🙂