On the Mechanics of the Bardic Arts

Hector of the Black Height shares his insight on the mechanics of the Bardic Arts on this page.

Hector comes at many of the same questions that I find fascinating, from a different angle.  Frequently we arrive at similar conclusions, though sometimes we follow different paths to get there.  His insights into these topics are always valuable to me,

The web of narrative has many strands, stories spring from the points of connection.  Each strand represents its own path.    What is most important is understanding how to make, wear, and care for the cloth so that it may continue and be of use to many.

What is a Bard

I was asked this question a long time ago by a young lady who declared herself to be my student.
This is the answer I gave in October 1995.

To craft the truth in words of cunning rhyme
To speak good sooth to all in careful prose
Defend the weak falsely accused of crime
And seek to heal the wrack of sorrow’s woes

To ever be a servant to the art
To choose the right path though the way be hard
To share the hidden secrets from the heart
This is what it means to be a bard.

20 years later I think it’s still a reasonable place to start from.

Two of the invaluable lessons I learned from my first declared student:

  • Teacher is an accusation.  There is no appeal to this accusation.
  • Earnest questions from others are some of the greatest gifts you can ever receive.

The definition of “what is a bard” will be different for each person:

  • Different people may prefer to use different terminology,
  • Each person’s definition will be informed by the culture and place they come from (in all the dimensions these terms can have),

These will also influence the material they choose to present and encourage.

An Introduction

Welcome to this experiment.  I’m going to try to post on various topics that I get asked about concerning performance, poetry, history, and community and other topics of interest to me in the context of the bardic arts and other performance contexts.   At times we may stray into areas such as the the trivium and quadrivium, social sciences, mythography and literature, historiography, philology and virtuality.   The only commandment is civility.  Let’s see how it goes.