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Library: A young bard's tale, or how Jazz came to be

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Author: woocca
Date:Dec 20 2015

There are few more daunting tasks for a young bard-to-be than picking up his
or her first instrument. An unnamed young bard had bravely done just that
several years ago and practised rigorously. It was time to make a petition for
bardship. Having learned to say 'yes' again and again one fateful night which
we shall not discuss here, the bards quickly accepted him to their growing
order.

Years passed and the young bard eventually learned all the bardic repertoire
by heart, including the lighter numbers such as the wizards' office christmas
party classic 'A Wizard's Staff Has A Knob On End' and the incredibly saucy
'Do the Locomotive' by the Arelium Railroad Appreciation Society. Somehow he
was still not happy. "Why do we keep doing these same songs night after night?
Can't we do something different for once?", he was asking his fellow
musicians.

Months passed. One night during a performance the horn player, a certain young
bard, after perhaps a drink or two too many suddenly went berserk. He started
playing notes that were not in key, and some of them were probably not actual
notes at all. Because the audience had paid for the tickets, the band had no
choice but to try and cope with the apparent on-stage mental breakdown. They
played the rest of the songs to the best of their ability, trying to make it
seem like the spaced-out hornwork was actually part of the plan.

After the show they were concerned about the horn player but he seemed to
slowly regain his composure. "What the hell was that!? You ruined the show!
We're never going to get another gig here", the bandleader yelled at the young
bard. Before there was an answer someone knocked at the backstage door. The
concert hall owner entered and through the open door they could hear the noise
of a larger crowd. "We are so dead now", said the bandleader as he turned to
face the owner.

"Your performance was unbelievable, I loved the trippy horn parts, real edgy
stuff. So unlike the usual stuff we have here. There is a crowd of people
outside the hall who saw your performance, you know, waiting for you", said
the owner. "What do you call your music?", he asked. Stupefied, the bandleader
looked at the young bard who was their apparently demented horn player. All
the others listened intensely.

"I... I shall call this... Jizz", said the young bard. There was a short
silence. "Umm, how about something slightly different, like jazz", said
someone, trying to salvage the situation. "Yeah jazz is definitely better",
agreed someone quickly. "Fine. I shall call this... Jazz!", decided the young
bard.

The word of the crazy new thing called Jazz spread quickly and the band,
spotting their niche, put the young horn player as the new frontman. The
musicians (and the drummer!) were suddenly not playing the old songs anymore,
but this wild new stuff where the structure, and often the melody too was
suddenly more of a guideline. Some copycat bands didn't even have traditional
songs, they just went on stage and played random stuff off the top of their
head.

It took years for the bard guild to recover from the heated row between the
guildmasters concerning the status of this new fad. Was it music or not? The
young bard certainly believed so, as did a growing group of audiences all over
the BatRealm. Eventually even the guildmasters agreed with him. The young
bard? He was finally happy.

"Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny"
  -- Frank Zappa


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