The research class went well. The spiel got spieled and the single student seemed to find some good content in it. I ran longer than in practice, probably because there was just one student and we tangented a little. It's hard to stick to a formal script in such an informal setting.
Feedback from the student was also good. She noted that, at the rate I was covering the information, the class was more intermediate than beginner. Which is true - I cut out all the side notes and examples that would make it more suitable for beginner fare. The real problem is that I was trying to teach four classes (Research, Documentation, Lit Search and Aspects of Performance) in one class slot. Really, what I should do is a track at Pennsic U. Research, Documentation, Goal Setting, Literature Search and Source Evaluation, Process, and Giving and Accepting Constructive Criticism. That's six classes and I'm pretty sure I could do an hour on each easily.
Hrmph. A few more topics and a few more hours and I could teach a college course on this...
I knew I had some problems with the performance. The range on the tune isn't all that wide, but it does go right over the break in my voice (from chest to head). And it goes over it in a nice smooth run of notes so I can't hide the changeover in an interval jump. I thought I fixed it - a little extra push with the diaphragm at the right time kept things from going flat.
Then I went to sing it - at feast, since the competition was canceled. I don't really like singing at feast for a variety of reasons. This time, we were outdoors under a tent and it was raining. I had no extra diaphragm to push with - I was using all my voice to be heard. And I was heard, so it's nice that went well. But the high notes were sketchy and that problematic run was problematic.
I thought I had fixed it in practice, but I wasn't practicing at max volume. Then, I didn't think I'd have to be singing it at max volume...
Other than me stopping in the middle to try and repitch it to fix the problem, having the repitch fail and just soldiering on with the lousy transitions, it went well and seemed to be well-received. The good folk of Highland Foorde apparently recently lost one of their own, a fighter - so the theme of honoring the valiant fallen was something that resonated with the crowd that night.
The Research Class notes are good enough for government work. There almost wasn't a class - it turns out the fellow asking for volunteers never passed on my info to the A&S minister - but the ominous silence spurred me to check in with the minister and lo, she can still fit me in.
One last change to the virelai:
Mocking fear, laughter roars just doesn't sing well. If it was for the b(open) section, it would be fine, but it doesn't work with the music for b(closed). So it'll now be:
Almost done. It needs "Figure 1" and some proofreading.
I can rattle off the class in 40 minutes, allowing 20 for sidetracks, rambles, and (hopefully) questions. I want to give space so we can workshop things of interest to particular people. Or, if they all turtle up, I'll present some of my (good and bad) documentation as examples.
A good start at documentation for the virelai. I doubt that I'll be able to get a score done in time; I need to finish the References section; I think I'll hyperlink the section titles. Also, I haven't documented any aspect of my performance, since I'm still developing it. Time to hit the McGee again. But I could hand this in and hold my head up, I think.
(I have a few baby-related projects to finish for HRM as well: he probably outgrew his last tunic and the Pack-n-Play needs a disguise. "Good enough" may have to serve.)
Edit: You know, including the lyrics in the documentation might not be a bad idea... *facepalm*
I will have to cop to some less than stellar craftsmanship in my documentation. I'm going to abuse the melismas something fierce (I think I've got as many as four notes to one syllable in some places) to get everything to line up. Also, I insert two new bars of music that are copies of an "F-G-a" rising run in the original (at the end of the b(open) line). I do maintain the b(open) and b(closed) style.
Once I've practiced it enough to be mostly comfortable, I may experiment with a podcast. At this stage, I'm committed to this music for this composition, but if the "almost but not quite" nature of it makes your ears bleed, I would appreciate that feedback so that I know not to do it in the future. Mi contra fa - not every performance decision that I make will be the right one.
I don't think I can shake Douce Dame Jolie after all; at this stage, I'm too used to using it for the chorus and parts of the verses. But the good news is that I think I can shoehorn in my words without too much violence to the original tune.
"Blind King John falls in the fray." I have that, marked with accents on scrap paper, as "BLIND king JOHN falls IN the FRAY." Seriously. I put an accent on "in." On purpose and everything. I mean, you can read it that way, but it's far from natural to do so.
I'm going back and forth on using some modified version of Douce Dame Jolie as a tune. With the deadline approaching, and with the tune working really well for most of the poem, it's a real temptation. But on the other hand, music that is very similar but not the same will probably drive some folks mad. I get that way with repurposed Christmas carols and hymns in church. I don't mind the tune being reused so much as the clumsy way the lyrics are kept as similar as possible - just similar enough that you think you're singing the usual version when up pops something different. I was halfway through O Come, O Come Emmanuel before I realized the rest of the congregation was not following it the first line of the refrain with "And ransom captive Israel." Or What Ice Is This? to the tune of Greensleeves. I can live with What Child Is This? and Greensleeves sharing music, because the words are so different. And I can live with filk that's usually a parody of the original sharing many of the words.
I can only imagine that if I heard myself singing something that was almost, but not quite, Douce Dame Jolie, I'd be slightly puzzled and gritting my teeth every time the music went "wrong." I'll have to see what magnitude changes we're talking about here - I got a first draft of the tune done over the weekend, but I haven't seen how well it works with the text yet.