mp3 recording SCA songwriting

My first anachronism assignment

I haven’t checked in around this in a while, but my studies with Maistre Lucien have been a source of constant joy throughout the year to this point. Lucien has been unfailingly supportive, even as he continues to hold me to high standards, with a gently probing Socratic approach.

This last session, Lucien presented me with an assignment to stretch and test my understanding of period music and language, which I enjoyed immensely. He has granted his kind permission for me to publish what I produced in response, and I share it here.

bardic general songwriting

Updates–website and projects

Quick updates: I did the next thing on my to do list today, and submitted this year’s six new songs for copyright. I know I don’t really have to–or at least I could wait until I’ve written three more to finish the album. But having registered the copyrights, I’m much more comfortable letting my songs fly free.

Also, to submit my songs, I have to transcribe the sheet music (since now I can do the whole thing in 10 minutes and upload sheet music PDF’s online!), which means…

Yep. Sheet music to all the songs are now posted on the song pages. (Also, I re-posted the MP3 download links.) I’ve started posting chords.

And now, the serious recording process will begin. Starting with GarageBand demos of all the songs (some of which I’ll probably post).


bardic Pennsic SCA songwriting teaching

Pennsic 42 as a Budding Bard

I started this post back on Monday of War Week, but Pennsic kept happening, and on our return home, mundane life (particularly my job) pulled me right back in.  Much as I wanted to do a detailed diary of Pennsic, and/or a lengthy gratitude list, I’m going to resist the impulse because:

  1. I’ve spent time thanking the people who deserved my thanks, and will continue to do so, and
  2. As my wife points out, I did enough navel-gazing during my downtime at Pennsic to last me the rest of the year.
bardic Pennsic SCA songwriting

All New Songs from Pennsic Posted

I will post about my experiences at Pennsic when I get home. I will note that I did get several requests for lyrics and/or music to songs I performed during the war. (Bardic squee.)

As of now, all of my original pieces performed during Pennsic 42 have their lyrics posted, including “Lady of the Rose”. I will attempt to put up recordings or videos of performances the songs as soon as I can, for any who wish to perform them.

No one needs to ask my permission to perform one of my songs–there is no higher compliment a songwriter can be given. Please credit me as the author (as Drake Oranwood if you’re in the SCA)…and if you dropped me a note after you performed one for the first time, I would be delighted to hear about it (though that isn’t required).

general songwriting technology

Mmmmmaybe I’ll blog a little more. (Technology and the bard)

So, I finally found the WordPress iPhone app. Given that I do most of my writing these days on my iPhone, that’s very cool.

I’ve been trying to manage my writing process better since I committed myself to bardic just about a year ago (a few months before I set up this site and the Facebook group). By “better”, I mean “make it more convenient to write, easier to find my stuff, easier to share my stuff, and less likely to lose my stuff”. And since I first got an iPhone in my hands last year, that has meant (as so many of you have probably already found) doing it on my iPhone.

bardic Pennsic SCA songwriting teaching

Spring Update

I know–I don’t write, I don’t call… What have I been up to?

  • Getting ready for Wars of the Roses, where I plan to debut TWO new songs: my first adaptation of a period piece, “Tam Lin of the Elves” (Romantic! Epic!), and my first historical piece, the long-planned Richard III song “The Last Plantagenet” (in progress). As always, I will post the songs publicly after the event.
  • Listening to the work in progress cut of my first bardic single, “The Bastard’s Tale”, on repeat. I’m pleased to say I listen to this recording over and over and I keep liking it better. Will be finishing the vocals this weekend.
  • Getting ready for Pennsic, where I will be teaching my first class, “Songwriting to Tell a Story.” I’ve done as much research for this class as I have for the songs, and starting to put the notes together.
album bardic mp3 Pennsic SCA songwriting teaching

Overdue updates – the site, performances, recording a CD (!!!), and looking forward

So I haven’t posted since December. Bad bard. Bad, bad bard. Well, busy bard. Which is good. (And it’s not like the handful of you out there aren’t catching all of this on Facebook anyway.)

Still, what’s the point of a “blog” about my “bardic career” if I don’t take the time to post about said “career” when I’m actually “doing things” in it? Probably because I have the grace to be at least uncomfortable with the implicit narcissism involved, but if I can deal with it, I trust you can too (or you’ll stop reading, and we’ll all just have to find a way to cope).

mp3 songwriting

GarageBand recordings (including “House of Dancers”)

I’ve been playing with GarageBand a bit today, with a bit better understanding of how to get vocals mixed, and with the advantage of a USB microphone (thanks, love, for getting me “Beatles Rock Band” two years ago!). In addition to some actual Bardic work (to be shared when the time is right), I finally tackled the vocals for my hitherto-unrecorded epic rock song “House of Dancers”.

Now you can finally hear the song Spiny Norman was never ready to bring onstage, as best I can record it on my own.


Edit (2/3): Re-uploaded the file I’d apparently deleted when I was trying to improve the mix.  Don’t think I succeeded, but at least the s0ng is back on the site, and I corrected the links.

bardic songwriting

Back to Bardhead

So I’ve cranked out another new song this week (“Changeling”), and hope to record an a version of it so that I can share it in the “Works in Progress” section within the next few days (still finalizing the tune).  It’s exciting to feel the rust coming off the hinges, as I’m starting to be able to compose new pieces in shorter order without having to be at an event like Pennsic to get the wind in my sails (O, the mixed metaphors!).  More are on the way.

bardic songwriting

We interrupt our songwriting to ponder…songwriting

An intriguing thought strikes me, as I near the completion of the first draft of a new song.  To the extent that form follows content (yes, Mr. Sondheim, to the best of my ability), it feels right now as if process follows form.  My recollection of getting my handful of Bardic songs to date on the page, the process of working through each one feels as if it mirrored the nature of the song.  “The Bastard’s Tale” came out quickly, rushing to the page, hot, angry, and urgent, impatient to get to the point.  “My Thirst” lurched drunkenly to and fro during the writing, staggering for a day through the wrong tune, which had to be rewritten, shortening every line by a couple of syllables–this had the effect of tightening the jokes and making the song easier to sing as if inebriated, but at the time the rework was a touch like a hangover.  “Call Me Will”, whose concept had eluded me for over a year, was coy and required stalking for a few weeks even after it took shape.  It took patience and guile to lure it into place, but once I had it pinned, I was surprised at how little rewriting it actually required–it more or less sank right into the page in the end.