The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128145   Message #2881644
Posted By: buddhuu
07-Apr-10 - 05:15 PM
Thread Name: Finger in Ear - what's all that about?
Subject: RE: Finger in Ear - what's all that about?
Barney McKenna sometimes cups his ear when he sings. Anyone who wants to call Barney a prat has to go through me first - one of my few heroes and even fewer surviving heroes.

At 50, my long-dodgy hearing is deteriorating even more. If I were to sing at our session I would have to cup my ear unless it was dead quiet. It DOES work. I cannot filter background noise. Even in conversation in a pub my side of the exchange is equal parts lip-reading, guesswork, nodding and pretending I heard, and going "eh?" or "pardon?"

I am pretty shy of the metaphorical spotlight. I'm a joiner-in, not so much a star turn. I'd love to sing a song or two, even with my crap voice, but I am too self-conscious of doing the cupped ear thing... And without it I simply cannot hear myself. So, I don't sing.

"I still maintain that if your voice is good enough to hold a tune, you can do it with or without the "finger in ear", so perhaps it's more about a feeling of insecurity."

Perhaps in some cases that is true. According to your theory, my voice is clearly not "good enough". But you know what? I'd like to have a go anyway, if that's ok with you. Even with a "not good enough" voice I'd like to sing a couple of songs, and to do that I'd have to do the ear cupping thing.

I'm going to build up my nerve until I have the bottle to have a go.

Seems to me that the prat aspect in folk music is displayed by those who rip the piss out of a technique used by people trying to do the best job of singing with whatever voice and hearing they have.