Author Topic: HELP! Performing Muisc at an Elizabethan Faire 1558-1603 of the period or not?  (Read 1647 times)

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Offline Oriennightwatcher

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Performing Music at an Elizabethan Faire 1558-1603 of the period or not is what I am concerned about. The Faire I am auditioning for is "The Renaissance Pleasure Faire" in Irwindale California for Faire 2011. I have been looking things up in my music history book but, the information is not specific enough to the Elizabethan court. This group of performers that I am working with is interested in singing music from English, Scottish, Irish, Sea Shanties, and songs of the lower classes.

Though this faire from what I have seen in the past two years is allowing things that are not period for the lower classes but, in fact are just related or about the Renaissance period itself. Though for this faire this musical era time period and staying with the guidelines of the Elizabethan Era and Region is a dilemma to me. I guess it just comes down to entertainment factor as I am looking on their website and trying to find links to other musical groups that performed at last year’s event.

The other thing is this faire now has pirates, gypsies, and other things. It is just all so confusing to me because not all things at this faire are period or Region/place appropriate from the Queens court in England in her reign. Which is fine and one of the things I love about it. Yeah Fantasy. Which i just realized is a part of the campaign soligan. Should I stop worrying about it and just perform what I like that is either original material or sticking to only things like English madrigals.

Just so I don't forget to write this down is that the goal of my group is to have fun possibly have a few introductions of interludes of comedy to lighten things up. I would like to write some Ren like material of my own and I want to write a good musical show that contains enough authenticity of the period. If anyone has performed at this faire or one like it maybe you can tell me what they like or prefer to see/hear from musical performers.

I think now that I have frightened off enough people it is a safe time to say that I am an actually classical singer. I sing opera but, I have fallen in love with faire and want to make it a part of my day to day not just once a year event in Irwindale, Ca. Anway enough of that...

Offline Becky10

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Hello!
  The Pleasure faire people seem pretty quiet here but I'll see if I can give you what little help I can  ;D.
 I am not surprised that you're getting confused about how this faire is, it's pretty diverse.
They turned it into "Port Deptford" I think so they could let in some acts that are from "exotic" locations, so it's not strictly England and then they made it "faire and fantasy" and went together with World of Warcraft (that kinda bugged me) last year so it's become a bit muddled to be honest. I wouldn't stress about fitting exactly in the time period as long as you guys don't bust out into Lady Ga Ga  ;).

From what I've seen is the comedic acts seem to get a lot more attention so your groups style sounds like it will fit in really well. This is from an audience view point though I am sure the performers will have some good tips.

Does your group have a name yet so I can suggest you guys to people in 2011?
« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 06:23:22 PM by Becky10 »
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Offline Fugli

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Most Renaissance Faires are a conglomerate anachronism, do what you like. If you want period stuff, there are a few good books, but most of the stuff that you hear at a faire is out of period and most people there won't know it all from a John Denver song anyway.

Otherwise, John Playford is a good source for melodies, and my favorite period song book is Shakespeare's Songbook.
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Offline will paisley

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If you want period, start with Playford.  Otherwise, just make sure that no one will recognize it and it *sounds* sorta/kinda period.  If you're doing comedy, you can even use something modern people recognize as a deliberate comic anachronism, as long as you make the words tie in to the past.  I've seen excellent madrigal groups get ignored in droves on the lanes, primarily because most 21st century audience members don't relate to that kind of music.  Given that you're a classically trained singer, however, you've probably got a bit more leeway to go serious.
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Offline Capt Robertsgrave Thighbiter

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  Just remember that Faires are entertainment.  You can be fantastic singer of historically accurate period music,  but to the modern ear, most music from more then 100 years ago is, well , boring and repetitive. I too have see the same thing that Will alludes to above.. A really accomplished madrigal group with 5 people listening to them . 
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Offline Baron Dacre

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Performing Music at an Elizabethan Faire 1558-1603 of the period or not is what I am concerned about. The Faire I am auditioning for is "The Renaissance Pleasure Faire" in Irwindale California for Faire 2011. I have been looking things up in my music history book but, the information is not specific enough to the Elizabethan court. This group of performers that I am working with is interested in singing music from English, Scottish, Irish, Sea Shanties, and songs of the lower classes.

Though this faire from what I have seen in the past two years is allowing things that are not period for the lower classes but, in fact are just related or about the Renaissance period itself. Though for this faire this musical era time period and staying with the guidelines of the Elizabethan Era and Region is a dilemma to me. I guess it just comes down to entertainment factor as I am looking on their website and trying to find links to other musical groups that performed at last year’s event.

The other thing is this faire now has pirates, gypsies, and other things. It is just all so confusing to me because not all things at this faire are period or Region/place appropriate from the Queens court in England in her reign. Which is fine and one of the things I love about it. Yeah Fantasy. Which i just realized is a part of the campaign soligan. Should I stop worrying about it and just perform what I like that is either original material or sticking to only things like English madrigals.

Just so I don't forget to write this down is that the goal of my group is to have fun possibly have a few introductions of interludes of comedy to lighten things up. I would like to write some Ren like material of my own and I want to write a good musical show that contains enough authenticity of the period. If anyone has performed at this faire or one like it maybe you can tell me what they like or prefer to see/hear from musical performers.

I think now that I have frightened off enough people it is a safe time to say that I am an actually classical singer. I sing opera but, I have fallen in love with faire and want to make it a part of my day to day not just once a year event in Irwindale, Ca. Anway enough of that...


Ah yea... the period thing. The core groups/guilds try to be period, some of the other stuff are either stage acts, booths or patrons. The guilds, booths and stage acts are held to different standards costume-wise.

My suggestion is to talk with the various groups. (I'm listing the "home-grown" acts, we have circuit act but they don't seem to be as well integrated into the faire, as you are local you will probably fall into the same category as these folks)

Merry Wives of Windsor - probably closest to what you are looking at
Serenata - an offshoot of Commedia, all period music, however in Italian, French, Spanish and Provencal
Poxy Boggard - most non-period
Celtic Squall - Celtic mostly
Brigid's Daughter's - Celtic mostly

There are a few others, but these are the one's off the top of my head.

Also if you get to me quickly I might be able to arrange for you to appear at our glade-stop (our time has been cut this year tho)

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Master John Davies
mka James Mares
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Queen's Court
Renaissance Pleasure Faire.
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(Baron Dacre)

Offline Circa

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"To thine own self be true" some famous dead guy said. Within reason, of course, when you're playing under someone else's rules.
If you want to stay period, by all means do so. But, as aforementioned, the modern sensebility is not so attuned to the whims of the past.

http://www.chivalry.com/cantaria/
Is one of my favorite places for musical inspiration. They have links to other helpful places, too.

You might also keep in mind that music wasn't quite so viral back then; it'd take a long time for a popular song to circulate, and a long time for it to become obsolete, which gives you some retroactive leeway.   :)

There's also the option of writing your own tunes. There's a metric tonne of awesome period-adhearant groups out there, but if you can come up with something specifically yours and awesome, people will remember you, come back to see you, etc.. You won't be just another group singing The Kynges Ballade.

That said, best of luck in whatever you choose!   ;D

 

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