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About Bard

The term bard (Russian: бард, romanized: bard) came to be used in the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, and continues to be used in Russia today, to refer to singer-songwriters who wrote songs outside the Soviet establishment, similarly to folk singers of the American folk music revival. Because in bard music songwriters perform their own songs, the genre is also commonly referred to as author song ("авторская песня" avtorskaya pesnya). Bard poetry differs from other poetry mainly in being sung with simple guitar accompaniment as opposed to being spoken. Another difference is that it focuses less on style and more on meaning. This means that fewer stylistic devices are used, and the poetry is often in the form of a narrative. What separates bard poetry from other songs is that the music is far less important than the lyrics; chord progressions are often very simple and tend to repeat from one bard song to another. A far more obvious difference is the commerce-free nature of the genre; songs are written to be sung and not to be sold, as the bards are often working professionals in a non-musical occupation. Stylistically, the precursors to bard songs were Russian "city romances", also known as urban romances, which touched upon common life and were popular throughout all layers of Russian society in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. These romances were traditionally written in a minor key and performed with a guitar accompaniment. Bard poetry may be roughly classified into two main genres: tourist song and political song, although some other subgenres are also recognized, such as outlaw song and pirate song. Initially the term "bard" was used by fans of the tourist song genre, and outside those circles, the term was often perceived as slightly derisive. However, there was a need for a term to distinguish this style of song from the traditional mainstream pop song, and the term eventually stuck. Many bards performed their songs for small groups of people using a Russian guitar, and rarely, if ever, would they be accompanied by other musicians or singers. Those who became popular were eventually able to hold modest concerts. Bards were rarely permitted to record their music, given the political nature of many of their songs. As a result, bard tunes usually made their way around via the copying of amateur recordings (known as magnitizdat) made at concerts, particularly those songs that were of a political nature.


This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Bard (Soviet Union) , which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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