Bards of today and yesteryear...


Bards of today and yesteryear...

Music from opera to thrash, from gypsy to country..And everything in between..

Location: within your heart and soul
Members: 28
Latest Activity: Jan 2, 2014

In medieval Gaelic and British culture (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Brittany and Cornwall) a bard was a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities.

Originally a specific class of poet, contrasting with another class known as fili in Ireland and Highland Scotland, the term "bard", with the decline of living bardic tradition in the modern period, acquired generic meanings of an epic author/singer/narrator, comparable with the terms in other cultures: minstrel, skald/scop, rhapsode, udgatar, griot, ashik) or any poets, especially famous ones. For example, William Shakespeare is known as The Bard.

The word is a loanword from descendant languages of Proto-Celtic *bardos, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gwrh2-dh1-ó-, from the root *gwerh2 "to raise the voice; praise". The first recorded example in English is in 1449 from the Scottish Gaelic language into Lowland Scots, denoting an itinerant musician, usually with a contemptuous connotation. The word subsequently entered the English language via Scottish English.

Secondly, in medieval Gaelic and Welsh society, a bard (Scottish and Irish Gaelic) or bardd (Welsh) was a professional poet, employed to compose eulogies for his lord (see planxty). If the employer failed to pay the proper amount, the bard would then compose a satire. (c. f. fili, fáith). In other Indo-European societies, the same function was fulfilled by skalds, rhapsodes, minstrels and scops, among others, offices that may sometimes also be subsumed under the term "bard" by extension. A hereditary caste of professional poets in Proto-Indo-European society has been reconstructed by comparison of the position of poets in medieval Ireland and in ancient India in particular.

Bards (who are not the same as the Irish 'Filidh' or 'Fili') were those who sang the songs recalling the tribal warriors' deeds of bravery as well as the genealogies and family histories of the ruling strata among Celtic societies. The pre-Christian Celtic peoples recorded no written histories; however, Celtic peoples did maintain an intricate oral history committed to memory and transmitted by bards and filid. Bards facilitated the memorization of such materials by the use of poetic meter and rhyme.

During the era of Romanticism, when knowledge of Celtic culture was overlaid by legends and fictions, the word was reintroduced into the West Germanic languages, this time directly into the English language, in the sense of 'lyric poet', idealised by writers such as the Scottish romantic novelist Sir Walter Scott. The word was taken from Latin bardus, Greek bardos, in turn loanwords from the Gaulish language, describing a class of Celtic priest. From this romantic use came the epitheton The Bard applied to William Shakespeare and, in Scotland, Robert Burns.

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A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories about distant places or about real or imaginary historical events. Though minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. Frequently they were retained by royalty and high society. As the courts became more sophisticated, minstrels were eventually replaced at court by the troubadours, and many became wandering minstrels, performing in the streets and became well liked until the middle of the Renaissance, despite a decline beginning in the late 15th century. Minstrelsy fed into later traditions of traveling entertainers, which continued to be moderately strong into the early 20th century, and which has some continuity down to today's buskers or street musicians.
The skald was a member of a group of poets, whose courtly poetry (Icelandic: dróttkvæði) is associated with the courts of Scandinavian and Icelandic leaders during the Viking age, who composed and performed renditions of aspects of what we now characterise as Old Norse poetry (the complementary aspect being the anonymous Eddaic poetry).

The most prevalent metre of skaldic poetry is dróttkvætt. The subject is usually historical and eulogic, detailing the deeds of the skald's king.

The technical demands of the skaldic form were equal to the complicated verse forms mastered by the Welsh bards and Irish ollaves, and like those poets, much of the skaldic verse consisted of panegyrics to kings and aristocrats, or memorials and testimonials to their battles. The kings and nobles, for their part, were not only intelligent and appreciative audiences for gifted skalds; some of them were poets in their own right.

A scop was an Old English poet, the Anglo-Saxon counterpart of the Old Norse skald.

As far as we can tell from what has been preserved, the art of the scop was directed mostly towards epic poetry; the surviving verse in Old English consists of the epic Beowulf, religious verse in epic formats such as the Dream of the Rood, heroic lays of battle, and stern meditations on mortality and the transience of earthly glory. By contrast, the verse preserved from the skalds consists mostly of poems in praise of kings and incidental verse preserved in the sagas, often done up in the elaborate dróttkvætt metre, and the ballad-like forms that form most of the corpus of the Poetic Edda. Both, of course, wrote within the Germanic tradition of alliterative verse.

A rhapsode (Greek: ῥαψῳδός, rhapsōdos) or, in modern usage, rhapsodist, refers to a classical Greek professional performer of epic poetry in the fifth and fourth centuries BC (and perhaps earlier). Rhapsodes notably performed the epics of Homer (Iliad and Odyssey) but also the wisdom and catalogue poetry of Hesiod and the satires of Archilochus and others. Plato's dialogue Ion, in which Socrates confronts a star player rhapsode, remains our richest source of information on these artists. Often, rhapsodes are depicted in Greek art, wearing their signature cloak and carrying a staff. This equipment is also characteristic of travellers in general, implying that rhapsodes were itinerant performers, moving from town to town.

A griot (English pronunciation: /ˈɡri.oʊ/, French pronunciation: [ɡʁi.o], with a silent t) or jeli (djeli or djéli in French spelling) is a West African poet, praise singer, and wandering musician, considered a repository of oral tradition. As such, they are sometimes also called bards. According to Paul Oliver in his book Savannah Syncopators, "Though [the griot] has to know many traditional songs without error, he must also have the ability to extemporize on current events, chance incidents and the passing scene. His wit can be devastating and his knowledge of local history formidable." Although they are popularly known as 'praise singers', griots may also use their vocal expertise for gossip, satire, or political comment.

Griots today live in many parts of West Africa, including Mali, the Gambia, Guinea, Western Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal, and are present among the Mande peoples (Mandinka, Malinké, Bambara, etc.), Fulɓe (Fula), Hausa, Songhai, Tukulóor, Wolof, Serer, Mossi, Dagomba, Sahrawis, Mauritanian Arabs and many other smaller groups. The word may derive from the French transliteration "guiriot" of the Portuguese word "criado," or masculine singular term for "servant."

In African languages, griots are referred to by a number of names: jeli in northern Mande areas, jali in southern Mande areas, guewel in Wolof, gawlo in Pulaar (Fula), and igiiw (or igawen) in Hassaniyya Arabic. Griots form an endogamous caste, meaning that most of them only marry fellow griots and that those who are not griots do not normally perform the same functions that they perform.

An Ashik (Azerbaijani: aşıq/Ashiq, Turkish: aşık, عاشیق, Armenian: Աշուղ, ashugh, Georgian: აშუღი, ashughi) is a mystic troubadour or traveling bard, in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran who sings and plays the saz, a form of lute. Ashiks' songs are semi-improvised around common bases. In September 2009, Azerbaijan’s ashik art was included into UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Ashik tradition in Turkic cultures of Anatolia, Azerbaijan and Iran has its origin in the Shamanistic beliefs of ancient Turkic peoples.

The ancient ashiks were called by various names such as bakhshi (Baxşı), dede (dədə), and uzan or ozan. Among their various roles, they played a major part in perpetuation of oral tradition, promotion of communal value system and traditional culture of their people.

These wandering bards or troubadours are part of current rural and folk culture of Azerbaijan, and Iranian Azerbaijan, Turkey, the Turkmen Sahra (Iran) and Turkmenistan, where they are called bakshy.

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Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on January 2, 2014 at 7:36pm
For those Rogues on the east coast (and a bit of Texas), Wine and Alchemy is looking to do a winter tour. If you'd like to see them without waiting for fall, check out their fundraiser!
Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on January 15, 2013 at 2:07pm

Happy New Year to All,
It's hard to believe 2012 is behind us but I'm looking forward to a fantastic 2013. We are currently over the 450 member mark and I have no doubt we will see 500 pretty early this year. I am very excited about that.

By now most of you have seen the new look for Psaltery Strings. I hope this hasn't caused anyone too much difficulty. I've only heard of one technical issue so far, please let me know if you are having any problems.

I have some plans for Psaltery Strings and will be rolling them out during the year. If any of you have any suggestions regarding what you would like to see, please feel free to contact me. I'd love to hear from you. This is your community.

I have a question for all of you.
How much is Psaltery Strings worth to you?

That answer will vary by individual for sure, but please think about it. A dollar a week? A dollar a month? Nothing at all : (

The Ning platform that supports this social network format requires a monthly fee. My personal time and effort is a labor of love, but I would like to recover some or all of the monthly fees paid to Ning. The cost is $24.95 per month, $300 per year.

I don't want to make Psaltery Strings a subscription site so there are two ways I'll be asking for your help.

For those who would prefer to purchase something and have a portion of the purchase price put towards supporting the Psaltery Strings Network, I will be providing links to bowed psaltery or music related merchandise. A portion of the cost of the merchandise (generally in the 10% area) will be put towards the cost of running the Psaltery Strings Network.

For those who prefer a more direct approach in supporting Psaltery Strings, I will provide a donation option through PayPal.

Going forward I will be shamelessly plugging for support, hopefully without becoming a total annoyance. Your feedback regarding this will be appreciated. Also, keep in mind that this is not a charity or non-profit organization so there are no tax deductions for any support you provide directly or indirectly.

Another new thing for 2013 will be a very select and discrete set of advertisements. I don't want Psaltery Strings to start looking like a billboard so once again your feedback will be important here. More to come on this in the next few weeks.

This is getting windy, so I'll close now. The December and January music of the month will be coming shortly along with information on some wonderful denim shirts with a bowed psaltery embroidered on the back and Psaltery Strings embroidered on the front left!

Happy Bowing!

Visit Psaltery Strings at:

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on January 14, 2013 at 1:57pm

Hello Everyone!

Happy January 2013, lets make it a musically rewarding year!

January's sheet music is The Cruel War. You'll find the sheet music and midi files for practicing at this link..

Something new for 2013...bowed psaltery embroidered shirts from Touchwood designs! They are offering beautiful denim shirts for men and women with an embroidered bowed psaltery on the back and a Psaltery Strings image on the front. The folks at Touchwood Designs have generously offered to donate 10% of the purchase price to help support Psaltery Strings when one of these shirts are sold. Talk about a win/win! You'll have a great looking shirt and have helped to support you FAVORITE bowed psaltery web site : )

Visit Touchwood Designs at:

A big thank you to everyone who has donated to support Psaltery Strings. I've added a PayPal donation button as it may make donating easier for some of you who aren't quite sure how to go about it. Any donations are greatly appreciated, some donations can even get you a beautiful new denim bowed psaltery embroidered shirt!

More to come, keep on bowing!


Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on November 28, 2012 at 12:55pm

Hello Everyone!

I've posted Angels We Have Heard on High for the November sheet music. December's will be close on its heels. Here's a link to the sheet music:

We have quite a few new members and I'd like to ask everyone who hasn't already done so to mark their location on the members map. The map is located at the bottom of the center column on the main page. It's not as user friendly as I'd like it to be, but it's fun to see where everyone is. Here's the link:

For those of you who are attending or considering attending the Symphony in April, I can share some sheet music with you now. The Westmans don't have the official page ready yet and the songs aren't absolutely the ones we'll play, but if you'd like a potential head start e-mail me and I'll send you some music now. You can e-mail me at



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Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on September 21, 2012 at 10:37am

Wizard of Id Cartoon for Sep/21/2012

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on September 18, 2012 at 9:24am

Hi Everyone!

Well, September is well under way and fall is definitely in the air. I'm sad to see the summer go but I do love the fall. The winter is, however, another story : P


Just a reminder that Rick Long's gathering is coming up in October. If you possibly can, try to make it. We had a great time last year and it sounds like he's planned a few new things for this year. I can't make it due to a work conflict (they haven't figured out that my psaltery playing is the priority) and am very disappointed. I sure hope I can make it next year.


Thanks to Ivan Bradley for the August sheet music, Four Seasons Winter Largo.

I'm sure my slacking on the music hasn't gone unnoticed....I'll try to be more punctual in the future but make no promises. As usual I have bitten off more than I can chew in my personal life.


September's song is Pretty Saro. I love the way Iris DeMent sang it in the movie "The Songcatcher"  If you haven't had a chance to see that movie, you should try to. It's a good movie with some great songs. 

Have a great September and keep on bowing!


Visit Psaltery Strings at:

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on September 16, 2012 at 11:31pm
Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on August 31, 2012 at 8:54am

Wizard of Id Cartoon for Aug/31/2012

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on August 24, 2012 at 8:17am

Dear Lutegroup Members: For those of you who joined within the past year, Ning, the company that hosts this group, charges a $600 annual fee for a network with all the features we have. This is the time of year when I ask for help to pay it. Many ning groups have gone to a paid access/subscription model, but I want to keep the lutegroup as voluntary donation only, since we do have a range of members from starving students to starting musicians to wealthy bourgeoisie patrons (just like in the old days!). If even 1/3 of the current members contributed $1 each we would be fully covered for the year. You can find links to contribute by paypal on the Main and Donate tabs of the site. If you prefer to send me a check directly, feel free to privately message me. 


Thanks to the members for keeping this an active and respectful group. While I turn away 1-2 obvious spammers every week, those who are members are contributing a wealth of information, pdf's, photos, music and videos, making this a fantastic resource for lutenists worldwide. 


Thanks again to everyone for their support of the group.


Daniel Shoskes

Visit Lute at:

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on July 17, 2012 at 7:34am
Hi Everyone!
I've posted July's sheet music and in keeping with the 4th of July mood I selected America the Beautiful. Here's the direct link;
Let's try to remember and honor the U.S.A. when we are making music. Even with our current difficulties there is no country I'd rather be living in. I wish I could say the same for the State (and I don't mean "mental state") that I currently live in, but that's a topic for a different forum on a different network!   : )
The third music lesson was posted earlier this month so a big thanks to Dona Benkert and to everyone who contributed additional thoughts and information to that thread. We're all about sharing thoughts and ideas so please don't hesitate to ask questions or post your own experiences and ideas.
So, what's the best thing you can do on one of these 90 degree muggy evenings? If you don't know the answer already I'll tell you....PLAY YOUR BOWED PSALTERY!
Have a wonderful July 2012.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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