I’ve had a heavy focus on advancing my ability to play Dowland’s “Clear or cloudy” the last several weeks. The song, I’m happy to say, has come along nicely in a relatively short time. (Video below.) It’s worth discussing the components involved in advancing a challenging piece.
In a previous post, I made a reference to “deliberate practice” (a term I first encountered in Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers), but today let’s focus in on how what that looks like for this situation. Quoting an excellent article on the topic: “Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.”
Saturday was my first Crown Tourney in a while. I had missed serving as a list herald, which is as combat-adjacent as I get using my particular skillset (i.e., my voice). It was a busy event, albeit a cold one (thank you, Suba, for the loan of your pink gloves partway through the event, for which I received many fashion compliments!).
As a little surprise for Alison Wodehalle and the shire of Hartshorn-dale, my friends and I have thrown together a quick demo recording of “Masters of the Game” for your listening, and for people who want to be able to learn the song. It’s available as a free download.
I got some brief studio time a few weeks ago with a couple of friends: Donal Artur of the Silver Band, who provided guitar and vocals, and Melodia Beaupel, who sang vocals as well. I thought this would be a fun way to finish out the commission. Please enjoy.
As promised, we resume our examination of Thomas Campion’s work. “I care not for these ladies” is probably one of Campion’s best known songs, capturing his keen eye social mores and the sexual politics of his day, and his delight in being comically naughty (often at the expense of women, and in ways that are concerning).
Nature of work: Song (or “air”) for one to two voices (Cantus/melody and Bassus/bass) and lute, lyrics in English
Historic source: Thomas Campion, (A Book of Ayres for Lute, Bass Viol and Voice, 1601)
I’ve spent more time than I had expected working heavily on Dowland’s “Clear or cloudy” since the recent post on it, and the piece has as a result progressed further than I had planned. So this week, I think it’s ready for an intermediate demo. There is still quite a ways to go, but…enough expectations management. Here it is.
This past week, a beautiful, vibrant, and much-loved young woman, Debbie Waldinger, known in the SCA as Catalina Beatriz de las Torres, was taken from us. The events surrounding her loss have shaken the East Kingdom to its core, along with the rest of the Society.
I had only just started getting to know Cat, and can only imagine how her many close friends and family must feel. They are in my thoughts. I offer our Queen my support, as do so many in our kingdom and the SCA at large, as she continues her new reign on her own.
Out of respect for the loss and the feelings of everyone in our community, I have de-listed the song page and the video for the filk that I wrote and performed for our royalty recently. I do not wish it to be a distraction in this time of grief and sorrow.
This week, we’ll take a detour from Campion, for an quick update on the process of learning Dowland’s “Clear or cloudy”, introduced a while back. As I’d mentioned, it was a relatively new piece, and one of my main goals for the fall and winter is to learn the piece, and if possible, have it ready at performance level in time for King’s & Queen’s Bardic Champions in February. While it’s still early going with the piece, and I’m not quite ready to share a recording of my stumbling, I have been making some progress, and today, discovered some issues with the version of the music that I’ve been working from. This seems like a good opportunity to share about how I’m breaking down a long-term A&S goal, and the pitfalls that can happening when working outside one’s area of deep expertise.