Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What am I?

What am I---besides a nut. I am a minstrel of the Internet highways. A Minstrel was a professional entertainer of any kind, from the 12Th century to the 17Th. A juggler, acrobat, story-teller, spy, etc. or more specifically, a professional secular musician, usually an instrumentalist. The heyday of minstrelsy was chiefly within the period c1250-c1500.
While the organization of musical life and therefore the social status of the minstrel differed from one region to another, it is clear that some secular musicians of the later Middle Ages were completely outside the predominant social structure; along with entertainers and other professions, they had no fixed abode and owed allegiance to no civil or ecclesiastical authority.
With the romantic reawakening of interest in the culture of the Middle Ages, 'minstrel' became frequent in the special sense of wandering poet-musician, and to this day the word evokes the image of the itinerant singer accompanying himself on a plucked string instrument before an audience of knights and their ladies - a real enough phenomenon but only one among many in the range of medieval secular music.
One traditional role that has fascinated scholarship since the 18th century is that of the bard or epic poet-singer. He is usually supposed to have recited his lengthy tales to simple melodic formulae corresponding in their articulation and repetitions to the half-lines, lines and couplets of epic or narrative verse; he is also thought to have supported his song with an instrument such as the harp or fiddle or nowadays a keyboard. In most endeavors, the minstrel brought news and cheer to those he came across.

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