Master Remus Fletcher reports on music happenings at Pennsic:
Did you know that there were over 30 European Music classes taught at Pennsic? These classes included everything from music Pre-1200 to Singing in Foreign Tongues. There were also singing and instrumental workshops and performances. Artisans’ Row featured Musicians Day, a hands-on demo were people could show off their instruments and jamming, or otherwise promoting instrumental music. The main stage hosted the Performing Arts Afternoon Series: European Music Exhibition that previewed musical performances and classes that would occur later during the War.
One of my interests is Loud Band. In the SCA a Loud Band is normally comprised of double reed shawms, and rauschpiefes accompanied by sackbuts (period trombones).
Military bands and Town Musicians known as the Waits played Loud Band instruments. Period musical instruments are divided into two types Bas Instruments and Haut Instruments. Bas instruments are the quieter instruments that are normally used indoors like the recorders, crumhorns, virginals and lutes. Haut referred to loud instruments that are more suitable for outdoors. Wolgemut, a popular performance band at Pennsic is a Loud Band. The Pennsic Great Hall has poor acoustics and the sound of recorders gets lost in the din. Loud Band instruments are used to provide processional and fill music for Æthelmearc Court.
Pennsic is one of a handful of events in the modern world where you can get over a dozen people to from a Loud Band. The others are Early Music Festivals and Waits conventions in Europe. Pennsic even has an A&S tent on the battlefield that is known in the music community as the Loud Band Tent.
Mistress Deona von Aachen who has led the Pennsic Loud Band for many years has handed it off to Master Robyn Solarius. Master Robyn held two classic Loud Band sessions and two Period Brass Band sessions for cornettos, an instrument played with a trumpet type mouthpiece and fingered like a recorder and sackbuts. Mistress Rufina Cambrensis also held a Loud Band Sensitivity class. It was run as a Master Class with one person on a part with discussions on how to improve playing and performance techniques. Several “Instrument Petting Zoo” workshops were also held for people to try instruments and discuss how to correct problems with instruments they already own.
While music may be my interest, there are many other classes and workshops taught at Pennsic. Next year, look through the Pennsic book or Pennsic University website; you may find a class or three that interests you.
Any questions? Contact Master Remus at firstname.lastname@example.org
All photographs in this article were provided by Master Remus.