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On bard performances and how RL songs are used

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On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Xaila » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:31 pm

I don’t have a bard PC of my own so I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but this subject has been rolling around my head for years now. With the current popularity of bard characters and IG bard events it’s something I’ve been thinking about again.

I realize not everyone who wants to *play* a master poet or songwriter actually considers themselves to be one OOC. I would also suspect very few players here actually compose music from scratch (though if you do, awesome!) When coming up with IC creative content of any kind, it’s natural to draw from RL inspirations for ideas. Sometimes it’s helpful to have an existing tune in mind to set lyrics to. I’ve seen some pretty damn inventive Weird Al-ings and parodies. Most people also draw stylistic stuff from RL musicians/genres too. All of this is totally fine!

What’s less fine to me is the tendency for people to parody RL songs and give no indication of this or any credit to the original source. I’m not calling out any individual. I’ve seen this for years. It seemed to me in the past, folks were better about giving an OOC note that the song was “to the tune of x song” or something of that nature. Even worse is when I’ve seen lyrics and even entire songs (with one or two changed words) wholesale lifted and presented as bard songs, again with no credit. This goes beyond fair use and parody/satire and into plagiarism, IMHO. It’s not a good look for anyone. Not only is it lazy roleplay to copy/paste things someone else wrote, but it’s pretty immersion breaking and frankly cringe-worthy to come to an IC Avlis event and be suddenly hit with RL songs.

What say you? What’s the line between fair play in using RL songs/music and just being a lame ripoff? My take, in sum – CREDIT the RL source material always if you use the tune/parody the lyrics – it’s not cool if you don’t and borderline plagiarism. Ripping off entire songs or just changing a handful of words is always super lame and definitely plagiarism and you should probably reassess your desire to play a performing bard if that’s what you’re doing.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Moredo » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:41 pm

I don't have a problem with a bit of RL songs being Avlissified and performed. Of course, an original song inspired by IG events is better but not everyone is up to the task of doing that. I'm certainly not (not a musical bone in my body! :P ) so if my bards were to preform something, it would most likely be something borrowed.

In the end, everything is a remix! :D
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: silverfields2 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:19 am

I think sometimes the shoe fits and sometimes it doesn't and I think the best judge is the audience. But I also think credit needs to be given where credit is due.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Gorgon » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:23 am

*wonders if anyone would notice a rick-roll in dwergen at a performance event*

Been a while since Smeec wore a long white coat. 8-)

Perform Roll: 1-3 = winner!

On a slightly more serious note, I loved the old school performers, but with regular events happening all the time, I can only imagine how hard it is to come up with new material for them constantly. Sure, it can be immersion-breaking if they copy a song word for word (not to mention skirting legal issues), but the ones that use real songs as more of a "same feel/tempo and idea as..." thing can be interesting (some are quite well done). Those I wouldn't mind, but I'd rarely appreciate them IG as anything more than karaoke in RL (there are always exceptions).

I also know the toon drivers here may not be professional song writers in RL, and it is about RP, so I'm always flexible. I keep toying with the idea of trying a bard myself, but no "performing" with it. Just a story teller, and probably not very good at it (sucky toon driver). I doubt it'll ever happen, since I never have time for the 2 PCs I do play now, but it might be fun as something for event nights maybe.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: godrevadac » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:20 am

Cicerious' player here.
As a full time bard, I've walked both roads on this issue and here are my thoughts...

I will tell you it takes more than clicking on an eyelash to refresh the amount of original songs you have in your performance arsenal. Usually when I am asked to perform a song, I do it off the cuff because I unlikely have relevant material prepared. To me, that is part of the fun, I'm still waiting for that day when all the important people laugh me off a stage because of how horrendous a 15-second-hashed composition sounds (or reads). I'll be laughing right along with them because I'm here to have a good time and I'll bet money I've laughed at my characters gaffes more than others have.

When I DO write an new song, I will sometimes use tunes that are in the public domain to help me set a melody to some words. I will then probably change 95-100% of the original words and will probably change part of the structure of the song to the relevant subject or situation. People probably haven't heard the song I use, and if they have they probably don't know who the author is. In any case, if the song possess a remote tone of 'alreadybeendoneadness' I will do an OOC shout out to Stephen Foster or George Cohen or whomever else has had their work subjected to my dismemberment.

Songwriting to me is only a scratch on the surface of what my character is all about, but it is necessary and it can take a LONG time to create authentic new works of music. I wouldn't wish something I created to be slightly altered and stolen as someone's own, but the way I see it, I am being inspired by these people and the songs they wrote. All pieces of art come from inspiration and mine are no exception.

I'd be happy to answer follow up questions or concerns with my methods.

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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Xaila » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:20 am

godrevadac wrote:Cicerious' player here.
As a full time bard, I've walked both roads on this issue and here are my thoughts...

I will tell you it takes more than clicking on an eyelash to refresh the amount of original songs you have in your performance arsenal. Usually when I am asked to perform a song, I do it off the cuff because I unlikely have relevant material prepared. To me, that is part of the fun, I'm still waiting for that day when all the important people laugh me off a stage because of how horrendous a 15-second-hashed composition sounds (or reads). I'll be laughing right along with them because I'm here to have a good time and I'll bet money I've laughed at my characters gaffes more than others have.

When I DO write an new song, I will sometimes use tunes that are in the public domain to help me set a melody to some words. I will then probably change 95-100% of the original words and will probably change part of the structure of the song to the relevant subject or situation. People probably haven't heard the song I use, and if they have they probably don't know who the author is. In any case, if the song possess a remote tone of 'alreadybeendoneadness' I will do an OOC shout out to Stephen Foster or George Cohen or whomever else has had their work subjected to my dismemberment.

Songwriting to me is only a scratch on the surface of what my character is all about, but it is necessary and it can take a LONG time to create authentic new works of music. I wouldn't wish something I created to be slightly altered and stolen as someone's own, but the way I see it, I am being inspired by these people and the songs they wrote. All pieces of art come from inspiration and mine are no exception.

I'd be happy to answer follow up questions or concerns with my methods.


Seems pretty solid to me. That would definitely fall on the line of 'inspired by' rather than 'ripped off'. It's the 'slightly altered/not altered at all and presented as original with no credit' that's always rustled my jimmies.

And going back to something Gorgon said, I've sometimes wondered if having so many bard events brings more of this on. Back when I started there were bard things maybe once a month or less? Now it seems like most events involve performances of some kind. It probably doesn't give a lot of time for new material.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: godrevadac » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:02 am

When I joined Avlis about two years ago, I was perhaps one of three bards that were, at most, consistent in their playing (as far as I know). I distinctly remember beaming behind my computer at the sight of another bard. Back then I was still testing the waters and wasn't sure how a stage performance would be received IG. There has since been a new influx of bard characters, which through my observations, has prodded each bard to express themselves in new and unique ways and their means of creating that expression of the character are all different and are all differently inspirated. Bards cannot solo or contribute (significantly) to a fight and perhaps fittingly so but this would leave the performances to be the primary venues for redemption of the characters. Of course each bard would want theirs to be memorable, some way or another, so when you have many bards all performing at events and all prodding each other to perform, a greater deal of material to perform will be required. This seems to be resulting in the plagiarism you have observed as players hastily compose new works.

This is just my guess on the matter, I personally enjoy the many bardic performances and I believe they contribute positively to the dynamism of the world. If a player wants to besmirch a RL bard's work I don't have to give them the satisfaction of their theft of intellectual property, I only have to award my satisfaction to the players who really made me grin.

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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Aneirin » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:29 am

I realize not everyone who wants to *play* a master poet or songwriter actually considers themselves to be one OOC.


I am definitely neither master poet nor songwriter, though once, in my youth, I was a performing musician. I played in a real band that occasionally played for money though to be fair we mostly played for food and beer.

Sometimes it’s helpful to have an existing tune in mind to set lyrics to:


Guilty.
In fact I would say that the vast majority of my stuff I have a tune running around in my head, usually from more than one song. However I am not reusing any lyrics and just like Cicerious' player I'm changing things up. The tune simply allows me to set the meter of the lyrics.

What’s less fine to me is the tendency for people to parody RL songs and give no indication of this or any credit to the original source.


Guilty.
I have two songs like this, both are so patently obvious that any accreditation is really unneeded. "Brave the Five" is an undisguised parody of "The Ballad of Sir Robin" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 99% of the words are mine but the origin is obvious. The song tells an account of an actual in-game event where Aneirin accompanied four legendary Magi into Helbyssia. At best I've said that the tune should be recognizable to all as an old minstrel tune. I have never credited Eric Idle, or Robins minstrels for that matter.

I try to make it a funny song, it portrays the magi as magnificent and Aneirin as mostly afraid, I don't really feel all that bad about it. I've played it twice maybe three times.

I’ve seen lyrics and even entire songs (with one or two changed words) wholesale lifted and presented as bard songs.


I don't think I have any wholesale lifted songs, though I have reused an entire chorus of a song before. I've also used 12th century poems translated from the original Occitan. I once used some dialog from Cyrano de Bergerac.

What say you? What’s the line between fair play in using RL songs/music and just being a lame rip-off? My take, in sum – CREDIT the RL source material always if you use the tune/parody the lyrics.

Honestly for me, yeah that's fine. But if the song is an undisguised rip-off of stairway to heaven, saying so and crediting Led Zeppelin frankly isn't going to improve the immersion breaking aspect.

I don't think anyone playing a Bard is trying to be lazy or trying to take RL credit for words and lyrics. The best thing you can do in my opinion is after the song has been performed, send the player a tell that the song was recognized and they should credit the original artist.

I would accept such a tell in the spirit it was given, I think most bard players would.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: dashdot » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:56 am

Having rolled a bard, I have to admit that writing poems and songs is a lot harder than I initially thought. Not only that, but performing them in front of people is even more... skeery. So mad props to those bards and non-bard class characters that do come up with original content to entertain us all with.

I'm trying to get more into writing as part of playing a Kenku DOOMSINGER and I want to do tributes for some of the people Eko admires/respects/fears, but honestly, I don't consider myself that great at writing songs and poems, so who knows how many awful poems/songs/things I'll get done. Otherwise, I just cover my singing bases by emoting that a lot of screeches, squawks, caws, croons, trills, and general horrible noises come out of his beak.

That said, I'm massively against plagiarism, and I don't think that simply copy/pasting songs should be allowed. There are a lot of resources out there that can help with creating original content - a quick Google search can get you going there, so there's really no reason to copy line for line someone else's song. (or being blatantly obvious that you're copying someone else's song with one or two words replaced).

As others have said, it's fine if you emote that the tune is similar to xyz song, but if you simply must plagiarize, give credit to the artist who initially penned the song/whatever.

(not so) Fun fact: I once saw The Walrus and the Carpenter "performed" line by line at a bardic event. The DM didn't do anything to stop this at the time, so the entire thing ran to completion and it was just dreadful. Ugh! Let's try and avoid that. :)
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Ninjar » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:20 am

If you aren't sure where to start and do want to work on something original, I'd suggest checking out common rhyme schemes. You now have a template from which to work and need only create a few stanzas!
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Kandi_Nulein » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:57 am

I really miss playing Kandi having read this post :cry:

Poetry was always the hardest to come up with and I spent countless hours and days coming up with stuff, ask Pleth!

That said I used other folks song lyrics but only occasionally and I gave credit where it was due. I was a very keen Larper so I tended to reuse songs from events I attended, and asked permission of the writer! (anyone remember "Holding out for a Healer"? :D )

It is quite difficult in text based roleplaying to breathe life into a song. Simply copy/paste isn't enough. So, adding voice inflections ect is a absolute must to get the right feel. That does take time and some effort.

Anyone tried to RP a dancer? Geez ballet is soo very hard to emulate!
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Plethora » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:26 am

Kandi_Nulein wrote:
Anyone tried to RP a dancer? Geez ballet is soo very hard to emulate!


I have! OMG, dance is crazy hard. <[8)

I assure you folks, the team of project Vorin assure, all true books are vetted for RL content.

Should you experiences IG issues, please PM the DM team <[8)

Xaila, and everyone really.. :)
whether you have a bard or even play, or not..

Id like very much for you to let me know the bard events you have been too,
and that you have experienced
and I will be happy to speak to players (or DMs) you feel are breaking your immersion, should you feel this thread isnt enough.
We have strict measures in place for books and such beyond the curtain.

And I'm pretty sure, no one is going to complain about too many bard events :) We are an RP world after all
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: SkeletonParade » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:39 pm

Writing poetry is easy.
Writing good poetry is hard.

I have performed one altered cover in my time on Avlis and it was accredited to a famous royal bard (using the name of performer). I don't usually do covers and that is likely the only one that Ursula will perform. Some of the old minstrel tunes are great in Avlis, as are sea shanties. There would be songs passed down from generation to generation and those songs are often unknown to most. Modern pop songs are harder to swallow for me as they really cannot be unheard.

That said...write something awful, play something ridiculous, roll perform, win adoration.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Darkfire » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:54 pm

Uh yeah. I'm with you on that. Use tunes, parodies, etc... give an OOC ((parody of, or based off of, or to the tune of... to credit the source AND give people context or a tune to feel it to in RL))

Straight copying songs word for word, or almost word for word, isn't cool. 100% immersion breaking.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Grunt » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:31 pm

Plethora wrote:Id like very much for you to let me know the bard events you have been too,
and that you have experienced
and I will be happy to speak to players (or DMs) you feel are breaking your immersion, should you feel this thread isnt enough.
We have strict measures in place for books and such beyond the curtain.

And I'm pretty sure, no one is going to complain about too many bard events :) We are an RP world after all
Bards FTW

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I really like bard events when I can get to them. I used to go to the monthly one in Ferrell back in the days when Raen ran them, and I would run the evening performance for the US times as a DM when I had a wand. I read journals with poetry/songs in them (and if there's a inspired by/lifted from somewhere song in there, I can usually pick it up), and enjoy them. I like bards doing tales and stories, historical or fable. Bards have the class skill to relay the news in an entertaining way, and put heroes into legendary status with a stroke of the pen. <3 Bards.

Walking into this during an NH4 weekly bard event, however, was a bit jarring. These were all word for word lifted from RL songs:

<snip>

("I'll Never Fall in Love Again", written by Burt Bachrach and Hal David, the most famous version being sung by Dionne Warwick)

This was followed by a cover of "The Werewolf" by Michael Hurley (I think he was the original artist). It was followed by "You'll Never Walk Alone"...done by several artists and sung by Liverpool football fans in rememberance (edited thanks to Xeo!)

From the time I walked in, everything was a direct line for line cover song. YMMV, but that was what I saw! I haven't been around during the GMT time to attend another, but others might be able to relay if it's changed format. I applaud the effort to keep the bardic events going, and if it's tough to get new material together, maybe making them monthly again would help. The other 3 weeklies could be writing workshops or some other bardic-style performance thing (a play? Those are fun!) to keep the spirit of it alive.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Xeo » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:41 pm

Grunt wrote:
This was followed by a cover of "The Werewolf" by Michael Hurley (I think he was the original artist). It was followed by "You'll Never Walk Alone"...done by several artists and football hooligans


Just a bit of English Culture education here just in case you didn't know. That song "You'll Never Walk Alone" is not a football hooligan's but a remembrance song for those who lost their lives at the Hillsborough disaster.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Xaila » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:50 pm

+1 Grunt. I dug up my logs of an event in which there were two word for word copies of RL poems/songs.

The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll (I walked in during the middle of this so didn't get the entire thing)

<snip>

I thought it was a great move to eliminate stuff lifted from RL in IG books. I think the kind of stuff from Grunt's logs and mine should probably also be limited. For what it's worth I'd much, MUCH rather see something original and Avlis-related that's imperfect and flawed than lyrics ripped wholesale from RL folktunes, showtunes, or pop songs. I would think part of the fun of being a bard PC is to write something about the epic deeds and misdeeds of what goes on in game - those are always my favorite bard performances. And heck, sometimes it's even fun to let your character suck a little ICly (epecially if they're a new character or something). Like SkeletonParade said - write something awful, play something ridiculous. It doesn't always have to be works of genius.

EDIT: Removed the character/player names of the performing PCs from the logs. I can tell you that this was from two different PCs and not the same individuals involved in Grunt's logs. So clearly multiple people have done it/are doing it.
Last edited by Xaila on Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Moredo » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:53 pm

Grunt wrote:It was followed by "You'll Never Walk Alone"...done by several artists and sung by Liverpool football fans in rememberance (edited thanks to Xeo!)


The real problem here is that we have what looks to be Liverpool supporters in the player base! :glaskugel:
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Ninjar » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:59 pm

Moredo wrote:
Grunt wrote:It was followed by "You'll Never Walk Alone"...done by several artists and sung by Liverpool football fans in rememberance (edited thanks to Xeo!)


The real problem here is that we have what looks to be Liverpool supporters in the player base! :glaskugel:


(( Sidetracked: +1 ))

Note: I don't see mentioning the names as calling people out, but rather examples for the discussion. If you're one of these people feel free to jump in with your opinion! Let's try to be civil and discuss it :)
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: godrevadac » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:19 pm

This post inspired me to create more new work for my bardic arsenal of original content. Thank you all :D

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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: bolo » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:34 pm

This thread makes me miss playing my Bard/Cleric, Father Silas. While I certainly don't consider myself a very good poet or songwriter, I always did enjoy his rendition of "Maleki Loves Me" ( sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me").
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Xaila » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:40 pm

bolo wrote:This thread makes me miss playing my Bard/Cleric, Father Silas. While I certainly don't consider myself a very good poet or songwriter, I always did enjoy his rendition of "Maleki Loves Me" ( sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me").


:saufen: Bwahaha... That's a nice metal image. My never-quite-got-off-the-ground Malekite priest concept was southern revival preacher type thing so I can appreciate incorporating stuff inspired by goofy church songs.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Micah » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:39 am

As far as my personal taste goes, I'm ok with just about anything, though full lifts tend to be the least enjoyable for me but when they are the right song at the right time I'm either grateful of laughing my ass off. I also have this in between position where if somebody says "in the tune of xyz" I'm ok, if they don't say it and I figure out its in the tune of "xyz" then I get hung up on that, and if they don't say it and I don't figure it out I am the happiest. I have no idea why I feel this way. My favorites are the ones that describe the music so clearly you can hear whats happening (at whatever level of borrowing that may occur) and/or anything done in coordinated groups. Having done some barding, barding like this is very hard work.

My only real complaints about bards performing are from my PCs and can be solved with violence... like that time Geris snapped E's flute in half. Turns out she had like +15 to her STR check to punch him in the stomach. Praise Aarilax it was in the stomach. Geris got her a new f***ing flute. :finger:

What we need is a bardic collection box of some kind. Its are real pain in the ass to give bards money for their performances.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Micah » Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:05 am

On a more official note...

The forums are not and have never been a place for posting up logs of people whose role play you are not happy with, names removed or not. All of this discussion can happen without that. Please fix your posts. If you have a complaint about another player, their roleplay, or whatever... take it to the team.
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Re: On bard performances and how RL songs are used

PostAuthor: Frannie Mouze » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:01 pm

:)

This is an interesting post. I play a bard, and I played here for a long time before getting up the nerve to roll up a bard. I'm the first person to say it's flipping scary to put your crappy poetry out there for everyone to judge. My very first day on Avlis was attending a concert produced by Raen featuring Elong Singalong (my toon at the time got hired to be a bouncer at that show)--and for the next five years watched the bards of Avlis (and COPAP) with a sense of awe at how they related their IG experiences to their audiences.

I am guilty of taking a Disney song and changing three words of it, and turning it into an Avlis bardic favorite (Tip the bard, we like getting paid too!).

I am also guilty of taking some of my favorite songs, and drastically changing the words, but keeping the structure and patterns, thus making them instantly recognizable to anyone that has heard the original song. The first time I perform a song like that in game- I ooc'ly mention where it's from, and if I put it up on Frannie's wiki page, it's credited. If I'm performing one of these songs and someone asks me in a tell if they are thinking of the right melody, I'll happily answer yes.

With all of that being said, I like to play my bard as someone who shares history and lore with people. 98% of Frannie's songs are based on in game events--split about 50/50 between original works and works based heavily on RL music. I would rather hear about events that happened to your character and their friends at a bardic event, than hear songs that I can listen to on the radio or internet.

Just my two cents. Game on.
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