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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a rhapsode?
What is a rhapsody?
What are rhapsodics?
Why are you only concentrating on classic poetry and public domain poetry?
How do I produce a live rhapsody?
How do I produce an audio rhapsody?
How do I produce a video rhapsody?
Should I do a solo rhapsody or stick with group rhapsodies?
Where can I learn more about performing poetry and improving as a rhapsode?
How do I get started?
How do I join Rhapsodize?

What is a rhapsode?
The name “rhapsode,” Greek in origin, literally means “stitcher of songs.” The ancient Greek rhapsode performed selections from memory from written texts of Homer and Hesiod. As these poets were revered as the repositories of the culture in oral and literary form, the rhapsodes were popularizers, preservers, and promoters of the cultural heritage of their time and place. They were not the authors of the poems they performed, but the interpreters, much as actors interpret the words of the playwright. As I see them, contemporary rhapsodes perform the classic poetry of their own culture and language, serving the poets, the poems, and the public by popularizing, preserving, and promoting the cultural heritage of their own time and place.

References: Wikipedia      Encyclopedia Britannica       Dictionary.com

What is a rhapsody?
A rhapsody, as this Rhapsodize initiative defines it, is the work of a rhapsode or troupe of rhapsodes: performance of a particular selection of poems, arranged and introduced in a way to create a unified whole. In common parlance, a rhapsody is mostly thought of as a musical composition. Various definitions:  Dictionary.com    Merriam-Webster   About.com

What are rhapsodics?
We use the term “rhapsodics” to refer to the activity of rhapsodes and the theoretical philosophy and commentary on rhapsodes and rhapsodies. Rhapsodics is a concept parallel to poetics. As poetics deals with poets and poetry, rhapsodics deals with rhapsodes and rhapsodies (poems in performance). As such, rhapsodics embraces the study of speech, poetics, acting, memorization, performance from scripts, performing live, recorded performing, and the entire range of activities of ancient and contemporary rhapsodes.

Why are you only concentrating on classic poetry in the public domain?
Many classic poems are being neglected and are in danger of being completely forgotten, despite being available in printed and internet anthologies as well as some performances in audio recordings. Rhapsodize seeks to bring classic poems more prominently into the currency of the minds and hearts of English speaking people so they may serve to enrich the lives of the general public and inspire the works of contemporary poets. While Rhapsodize also seeks to encourage rhapsodizing in all languages and of contemporary poetry, since the founder is only fluent in English and there being a great wealth of classic English language poetry in the public domain to perform, this project is committed to rhapsodizing those poems only.

How do I produce a live rhapsody?
First you need to determine whether you wish to perform solo or with a group. If you are experienced in performing solo, by all means do so.

However, if you enjoy the community feeling of performing with a group, the first step would be to gather a group of rhapsodes together and choose your set list of poems for the performance. You might organize your program around a theme, such as Nature, Life, Love, Thanksgiving, etc. or around one or more poets. Or you might simply have everyone pick their own favorites and then arrange them in some sort of logical order, hopefully with a sense of beginning, middle, and end. However, this is not absolutely necessary. A random order can be just as enjoyable. Let every rhapsode create an appropriate introduction to their poem or poems. Pay attention to the duration in time for  the entire program. It’s best not to exceed 70 minutes before giving the audience and intermission. You might even keep the entire program limited to that length.

How do I produce an audio rhapsody?
The best place to learn about producing audio rhapsodies is LibriVox. I encourage you to visit their site, browse all their links, especially their wiki, join and get involved. Once you are on the forums, many helpful volunteers will be available to answer your questions and help you record public domain texts for their wonderful project. I recommend you start with the Weekly Poetry, located in their Readers Wanted: Short Works (Poetry and Prose) forum. You may also like the poem being performed for the Fortnightly Poetry or if you wish to choose your own poem (in the public domain, of course), you should find the current Short Poetry Collection, which are both located in the same forum.

How do I produce a video rhapsody?
Producing a video rhapsody is a bit trickier than producing an audio rhapsody. I don’t recommend producing a video rhapsody right away unless you are already skilled in video production. You not only have sound to consider now, but also imagery, and moving imagery at that. You could produce very simple rhapsodies with only talking heads like many already on YouTube. I have not produced any video rhapsodies except for video recording live rhapsodies, which I encourage you to do also, if only to have a document to remember and critique yourselves and perhaps show to others. You could even simply have one static image on the screen while each poem or even the entire rhapsody played. But then, why would you make a video with so little visual imagery? As with producing audio, the better the quality of your equipment, the better the chances of technical quality in your finished video. There are many websites to guide you in buying the best equipment for your budget. I think the best is Vimeo, which also has lots of great example videos to watch as well as lots of instructions on how to make excellent videos.

Should I do a solo rhapsody or stick with group rhapsodies?
If you are comfortable performing alone and are able to carry the entire rhapsody by yourself, by all means, rhapsodize solo. But if you enjoy the camaraderie of other rhapsodes and can handle either organizing the rhapsodies yourself or cooperating with another organizer, then rhapsodize with a group. You might even like to form a specific rhapsodizing group, like musicians form a band. Give your group a catchy name. Hold rehearsals and arrange for live rhapsodies in venues such as libraries, schools, and churches. Record group rhapsodies and upload them to the Internet Archive. You may choose to do this through Rhapsodize, LibriVox, or you may do it all yourself. LibriVox welcomes all newcomers to spoken word audio recording, even those with no prior experience. It’s a wonderfully accepting and encouraging community dedicated to recording all public domain texts in audio form. Information on the site and people in the community will guide your efforts and help you improve your performance and technical audio recording skills.

Where can I learn more about performing poetry and improving as a rhapsode?
Visit our Rhapsode Resources Page.

How do I get started?
A list of things to do to begin your career as a rhapsode is available here. And please feel free to contact us to discuss your rhapsode career.

How do I join Rhapsodize Audio?
Membership in the internet audio production group of the Rhapsodize initiative is by invitation or audition only. To audition, please send an email with a self-introduction and links to your recorded works (from Internet Archive or some form of Cloud storage). An administrator will contact you confirming your request soon. If your performance is judged suitable, you will be invited to join this group. While we are interested in working with talented rhapsodes directly through Rhapsodize Audio, we are equally interested in inspiring rhapsodes to form their own groups – both live & with media (audio and video). Indeed, many other rhapsodes — whether they called themselves rhapsodes or not — are now active on the internet and in live performances all over the world.

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