Vocal Music



I really enjoy singing, but I am quite shy about public performance. For a period of time, I sang along with the Jararvellir Local Vocal, but my ability to regularly practice with them made public performance impossible. I did learn the alto section (I'm a contralto, so I sang with the alto's to balance the huge soprano section) of several madrigals, which I still enjoy singing to myself despite the occasional weird musical passages.


So, now I'm on my own, trying to gather a section of songs I'm happy singing and doing some research on vocal music, particularly Tudor secular song, as I believe a true gentlewoman of the era would be well-versed in music.

Merouda's SCA Songbook

It's difficult to get me to sing in public; I'm pretty shy about it, as I mentioned. However, the following is a list of songs I enjoy singing; those that are not, to the best of my knowledge, under copyright are linked to the lyrics. If ever you find me alone at Pennsic, you might be able to persuade me to sing one. Or you might not.


Period or barely post-period songs:

These songs were written prior to 1600, for the most part. Elizabethian madrigals written up to 1610 are included in this category because of the stylistic similarity to pre-1600 Elizabethian madrigals.



My heart is offered still to you (alto line)

Now is the month of maying (combined alto/soprano line for single voice)

Pastimes with good company

See how I am held captive (Belle qui)

Though my carriage (alto line)



Possibly Period

Songs usually ascribed a pre-1600 date but which I have not yet been able to identify as period. It may be that the tune is period but the words are not; for instance, the tune used to sing the children's songs Baa Baa Black Sheep/Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/The Alphabet Song existed well before 1600, but none of these lyrics were written before 1600.



Traditional Ballads and Folk Songs

Songs primarily of the British Isles, written after 1600 and usually from the nineteenth century, although, of course, some are earlier and some are later in origion. They all share a certain stylistic similarity and are simple to sing. The end of the sixteenth century did see the beginning of the ballad as we know it, but it is very difficult to identify more than a few ballads that came through the centuries with both the music and original words intact.

 Angus and the Kilt

The Ash Grove


Driver Boy

Scarborough Fair

The Wench's Lament


SCA Culture style

The practice of setting new lyrics to older tunes is not just a modern phenomenon ("filk" songs and "parody" songs). It's a common period practice--indeed, the lyrics for Greensleeves were written to an already extant melody, a melody that would eventually be used for the Christmas carol What Child is This--the manner by which most 20th century Americans know this pre-1600 tune. At this time, I'm not differentiating between songs written about an SCA subject to a period tune or a periodesque subject set to a modern tune, although I suppose that I shall have to as this section grows larger.

A Lady's Lament

At the Pennsic War