Poet-singer Profession in Salan | World Anvil
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Poet-singer

The poet-singers were bards of the ancient time, that performed and composed epic poetry by singing. It was the primary means of conserving the epic stories of the time of wander but the tradition has since been lost after the invention of writing.  

Methods

Memory techniques

Since the Nem script was first introduced only in the 2nd century AFS, the epic poems had to be transmitted orally, and were learned directly from earlier masters by listening. This must have been an extremely time consuming method, even for the most eccelent bards. For example, it is told that Kauteirin spent nearly 10 years mastering the trade, but was still unfamiliar with many legends circulating around his time.

Some, including the famous music scholar Ván of Sankai believe, that the bards of old utilised similar techniques to the Saial Memory Singers, who still hold on to the orally-transmitted tradition of religious music.  

Musical style

The oldest mythologies were written in the dactylic hexameter, which is also believed to have been the meter of the original oral poetry. The early epics contain many repeating sections, which in addition to the meter, are believed to have facilitated the recollection of the long epic stories without writing.

Little is known of the music performed accompaning the epic poetry, but poet-singers such as Kauteirin were often represented playing the lyre both in the epic poems and in the early art.
by Unknown artist, Met museum
Daursan and Kauteirin on a ceramic vase.
Kauteirin playes the lyre, while Daursan converses with a peasant woman.
 

Transition into written medium

Once the Nem script was introduced 2nd and 3rd century AFS, the old memory techniques were not needed anymore, and the tradition of poem-singing began to fade. It is believed that the memory of the epics was already fading, when the scholars of that time set onto preserving them in the new medium.  

Revival

New interest in the techniques of the ancient poet-singers was sparked by Ván of Sankai, who proposed her revolutionary theory, that the music of the ancient poets was preserved, not in the music of Farensal, but in the Saial Memory Songs. This lead into new research trying to revive the original musical style behind the epics, and new versions of the epics in various musical forms. However, Ván's theory remains controversial, and is not supported by the many traditional scholars of the written epics.
Famous in the Field

Preserved works

It is believed, that many of the most foundational Faren myths and early historical accounts were first composed by the poet-singers, even though the canonical versions were written much later in the 2nd century AFS. These include:

Songs of Daursan and Kauteirin
Great Slave Rebellion of Stonelords' Throne
Ásinnar's Journey to the Underworld
Giant and the Rainbow Snake

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