Wednesday, 18 December 2013

On Project Plans: The Book of La

My previous book-related project (still somewhat ongoing) is the Book of La, a music book for bardic occasions. The first version has already been... I won't say finished, but released into the wild perhaps? But it certainly won't be the last.

The Book of La started at the College of St Aldhelm, after we developed the habit of singing at the pub after our weekly meetings. Initially, we were using the very fine The Known Words, but the problem we encountered in that environment specifically was that with so many inexperienced members of the SCA, many of the songs we would otherwise love to have sung weren't known to most (or even any), and songs are quite difficult to sing without tunes.

The solution I hit upon was to make our own book, with those favourites of ours, with the tunes included, and some other songs we thought would add to the experience, including several of the College's songs. The result was the College of St Aldhelm Book of La (College War XVIII Edition), which was put into print with funding from the College, and given out at the College War event we hosted that year. It was a reasonable success, and only a few heartbreakingly-obvious typos to point out...

My current place with the project is to fix up the errors, polish the product, and give the College a version to put on their website. That's nearly done, but I'm easily distracted, as this blog may be taken as testament to.

After that, my plans are to expand on the Book of La with more songs, as best as I'm able to find tunes for (which is really the difficulty). It may take some time before the next edition is ready, but that's inevitable.

As I'm withdrawing from the College to allow the next generation to make it their own, I had to decide whether to pass the Book of La on to the next Seneschal to improve, or keep it as a project of my own. Considering the varying workloads required of students, and the specialised techniques that went into its creation, and I freely admit a decent level of emotional involvement, I've decided to carry the Book of La project myself, removing the College labels from the next edition (though I'll keep the College of St Aldhelm songs in there... perhaps I ought gather some songs from the other Colleges around Lochac, too, for balance).

The Book of La itself is largely presented in a modern style, with modern sheet music, for the sake of readability and usability. It's in a somewhat large-print format, so that it can be read by candlelight or firelight in a bardic setting, or printed at half-scale for portability.

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