Well, as promised, I will be blogging as we put together our season of shows for the OSF Green Show. First up:
Elizabethan music & dance!
We have three shows to cover, 2 featuring dance, and one featuring Elizabethan Ballads and instrumental music. Today, Pat O’Scannell and I are preparing for the arrival of our musical collaborators, Beltain. We will be blending into some ballads from the Beltain repertoire, and they will be learning a couple of things we know. In addition, we all share material from the Morris and Playford dancing traditions that we all learned through the oral process at the Renaissance Faires, long before either Pat or I came to OSF.
Beltain will be singing and strumming some big beefy blarges and other mandothangs, so Pat and I will be adding all of the other instrumental parts, on a variety of our favorite Renaissance instruments, including shawm, dulcien, krumhorns, tenor gamba, renaissance guitar and….what else…oh- recorders, whistles and percussion. I think that covers it. So where to begin?
And so we did. It did not go smoothly, but that’s why we start a week in advance. We began by bringing the tenor gamba up to A 440 Hz. Immediately, the high g string broke, taking several other strings out to sea with it. Forty five minutes later, the gamba and the guitar agreed for up to five minutes at a time.
This is progress. As, my friend Jon Winsett once said, ” The Renaissance in music would have only taken ten years, were it not for gut strings.” He is almost unbearably correct on this point.
Next came the woodwinds. Pat’s alto shawm likes to be a little sharp. Normally, I am very happy with that, but today the dulcien just would not come up. It was great in g minor, but very flat when we moved into d mnor. This has to do with this particular instrument’s idiosyncratic relationship to the tempered scale! Reed surgery was deemed necessary, but postponed until after lunch, followed by coffee and krummhorns. These were forcibly persuaded to agree with the shawm (more or less), and we called it a day!
Next time, we will play some music…