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Yes I do agree the bard is performing, but not using the perform skills unless called for.
This just opens another can of worms - now a bard can do their 'whisper performance' if they only want to effect their adjacent comrades (which can get louder later). They now have an ability that's better than a spell (a partial Silent Spell), since spells need to be in a normal spoken voice. Maybe they can start with a visual performance (since it's quiet and allows you to sneak up on the bad guy) and switch to an audible one when people start to spread out during battle (it doesn't say you can't switch, only that you choose a mode when starting).And I thought the conclusion is that it is using the perform skill (as it says so), but not requiring a check?
You just gave m,e a wicked idea to blow a vein of my GM.
Message + audible bard performance. Now he can use it at 100'+'/level while whispering.
LOL, I don't think he will allow that.