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Easier to sing alone than with a band?

Suegorgeous 31 Mar 08 - 04:34 PM
kimsky 31 Mar 08 - 04:14 PM
Suegorgeous 31 Mar 08 - 04:10 PM
kimsky 31 Mar 08 - 09:59 AM
Suegorgeous 30 Mar 08 - 05:54 PM
leftydee 26 Mar 08 - 01:11 PM
Big Mick 26 Mar 08 - 10:00 AM
Liz the Squeak 26 Mar 08 - 04:13 AM
PoppaGator 26 Mar 08 - 12:53 AM
M.Ted 25 Mar 08 - 11:54 PM
PoppaGator 25 Mar 08 - 09:54 PM
Suegorgeous 25 Mar 08 - 09:30 PM
Leadfingers 25 Mar 08 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,spb-cooperator 25 Mar 08 - 03:56 PM
GUEST 25 Mar 08 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 25 Mar 08 - 02:04 PM
leftydee 25 Mar 08 - 02:00 PM
M.Ted 25 Mar 08 - 12:20 PM
Suegorgeous 24 Mar 08 - 09:25 PM
Lowden Jameswright 22 Mar 08 - 07:23 AM
ShayVeno 21 Mar 08 - 10:05 PM
Janie 20 Mar 08 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 20 Mar 08 - 03:21 PM
Lowden Jameswright 20 Mar 08 - 03:10 PM
Suegorgeous 19 Mar 08 - 09:23 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 19 Mar 08 - 02:20 PM
Lowden Jameswright 19 Mar 08 - 02:14 PM
dwditty 19 Mar 08 - 09:51 AM
the lemonade lady 19 Mar 08 - 09:36 AM
Alaska Mike 18 Mar 08 - 10:16 AM
Grab 17 Mar 08 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 17 Mar 08 - 05:10 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Mar 08 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 17 Mar 08 - 04:39 PM
Leadfingers 17 Mar 08 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 17 Mar 08 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Roger in Baltimore 17 Mar 08 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 17 Mar 08 - 03:22 PM
Grab 17 Mar 08 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,happy tapper 17 Mar 08 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Mar 08 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 17 Mar 08 - 11:13 AM
OldFolkie 17 Mar 08 - 10:06 AM
RTim 17 Mar 08 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Mar 08 - 09:22 AM
Big Mick 16 Mar 08 - 02:19 PM
Big Mick 16 Mar 08 - 02:18 PM
M.Ted 16 Mar 08 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's plugged and unpluggedAppr 16 Mar 08 - 02:04 PM
Herga Kitty 16 Mar 08 - 01:35 PM
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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 04:34 PM

Kim
Yeh, my band (or, to be more precise, our guitarist) won't do open mics, whereas I see them as fantastic practice...
Not really performing solo yet, just doing the groundwork...

Sue


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: kimsky
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 04:14 PM

Hiya Sue,
I accompany myself on the guitar (and occasionally the recorder - but obviously not with the latter at the same time as I'm singing!)(although that could be an interesting experiment!).
The other consideration I forgot to mention is that sometimes my band are less keen to play at a gig where we won't get paid, whereas I'm prepared to be a bit more flexible, so that's another factor to bear in mind!


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 04:10 PM

Thanks Kim. Indeed I am doing both - they are such vastly different experiences, that the shortfalls of the one are compensated for by the joys of the other. Best of both worlds!

Only real problem I have with singing solo unaccompanied is that it doesn't feel right (or fair on the audience) to do more than a short set. So I'm exploring harmoniums and the like, to vary it a bit.

Is your solo performance unaccompanied?

Sue


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: kimsky
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 09:59 AM

Speaking as someone who had my first ever solo gig at the KFFC folk club last November (I usually perform with my band, Elowen) the sheer terror and trepidation I experienced beforehand made me wish that the rest of the gang were with me...but the time spent gigging with my band, playing around with mics etc stood me in good stead, and I had such a blast that I'm now touting around for more solo gigs (and I've been invited back, so I think I did something right!). The joy of singing in a band and being able to harmonise (which is my big thing)is fairly incomparable as we are dedicated bunch who care about the sound we make (and with 3 and 4 part harmonies we need to be 'disciplined' - with a certain amount of control, but not freakery), but trying to get everyone available for a festival gig around organising our families can be awkward - so being able to fly solo is an advantage there!
if you can - do both!


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:54 PM

The posts have strayed somewhat from the original theme. I'm selfishly refreshing it once, to see if anyone has anything to add (being a theme dear to my heart!) :)

Sue


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: leftydee
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 01:11 PM

Mick,
My 5 pc band has been using a Bose Stick for a couple of years. We use an A&H mixer with it to accomodate the 9 inputs we use. It's a great piece of technology, suitable for small and medium size audiences. It has more volume than I imagined and practically eliminates feed-back issues. Bose, of course would like to sell one for every member of the band but it's just not necessary if you add the mixer. Hello from Detroit!


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 10:00 AM

That includes you as the singer, Sue. Ego is a very necessary ingredient to evocative singing, but it can be a downfall. We always have a tendency as singers to believe we must be loudest. Never trust yourself to do sound unless you are no larger than a duo. If you are singing with a band, then good monitors are a must. Always remember that the monitor mix is not the front of the house mix. Monitors are mixed so that you can hear what you need to blend vocals, keep timing right, etc. We spend an inordinate amount of time getting the monitors right for us, and the rule is that once they are set, they can only be changed by the board operator when we tell him to. Never on his own. Conversely, the front of house mix is his and we never tell him what to do with that. He knows what we want to sound like, and it is his job to deliver that to the audience. We consider his "playing" the sound board to be every bit as important as our playing our instruments and pay him a full share. It goes without saying that you must have a sound person that you trust.

Another caution I would give you is that if you are playing with a band, in a small noisy room that you be very careful if trying to sing without some kind of sound reinforcement. There is a tendency to try and sing over the top of the instruments and the room noise. This leads to strained vocal chords and sore throats. I won't do it anymore. If the room has a lot of noise, I insist on at least a monitor speaker and a mic. We have small, easy setups for this. I am seriously considering the Bose system for solo gigs as it seems to solve most of the problems and works in a variety of setups.

all the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 04:13 AM

Never let the biggest ego near the sound system.

I once spent an excruciating evening watching a four piece band being totally ruined by the biggest ego. He was the lead guitar/singer and was next to the mixing desk. Throughout the evening he would tweak the knobs until all you could hear was his guitar and voice. The other guitar might just as well have not been there and even the drummer was having difficulty. The only good thing was he drowned out the melodeon.

Have a separate person doing the mixing, or else have the box as far away as possible so that no-one can sneak over and play with the balance.

If you play accoustically and have a showboater, then I'm afraid a gentle 'talking to' is needed or else a restructure and restrictions.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 12:53 AM

Spotlight on Otis Redding, now,
Singin' Fa-fa-fa-fa-fah-fah-fah!

What a gas! I used to "tune up" with horn section, scatting in harmony and unison with them, and learned to think about my voice more as an intrument than I ever had before.

I hate to be smug about my adopted hometown, but I truly bellieve that a public-school PTA band with that many trained and talented musicians was definitely an only-in-New-Orleans phenomenon. Only one member, the tenor saxophone, was a true "ringer," a professional musician. Everyone else had some other kind of day job. Among the most impressive: the pianist was a surgeon and faculty member at the med school, and the trombone player had to quit after he completed his night-school MBA and went to work as a "road warrior" for one of the Big Eight accounting/consulting firms.


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 11:54 PM

Spotlight on Lou Rawls, y'all--Used to play trumpet part on that tune, PG--you do get around!


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 09:54 PM

I have almost always performed as a solo, acoustic guitar and vocals. Pretty much in private or with a small circle of friends for the first few years, then about three years as a full-time street performer during my early twenties, followed by several decades of relative musical inactivity while raising a young family, and finally, within the past couple of years, starting back as a part-time performer.

I did enjoy a brief interlude singing with a band. When my youngest was in junior high in the early 90s, his school put out a call for volunteers to form a band to perform at the annual fundraiser. I signed up, quickly realized there was no need (and no room) for an acoustic guitar, and became for the first time a straight-up, hands-free vocalist. It was a great experience and allowed me to really stretch out and improve my skills, and even to significantly extend my range (in terms of pitch, that is, and at both ends, high and low).

It was a huge ensemble, about 20 pieces including 8 vocalists. Guitar, bass, drums, piano, B-3 organ, two trombones, trumpet, tenor sax and a flute. We had a repertoire of 24 well-known rock 'n' roll "oldies," songs everyone already knew; each singer got three songs as lead vocalist, and we did plenty of backup harmonies, etc., on each other's featured numbers. For me, it was a first-ever opportunity to really stretch out as a "blues shouter"; my solos were James Brown's "I Feel Good," Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music" (aka "Do you like good music / yeah yeah"), and ? and the Mysterians' "96 Tears." None of them the kind of material I had ever been able to play on solo "folk guitar."

So for me, singing with a band ~ a particular kind of band, and perhaps the "right" band for me to develop in a direction for which I was ready at the time ~ was in a sense easier than singing alone, because it freed me from my limitations as an instrumental self-accompanyist.

Of course, performing as a solo has its own comforts: no need for a locked-in set list, no "artistic differences," etc. And I realize that my experience with that PTA-based ensemble was unique in many ways. We were able to function pertty well with limited rehearsal time (just once a month for most of each school year, then weekly for the final 5-6 weeks before our one big performance at the spring fund-raiser) because the material was so familiar, all the players were competent, and also because there was no question abut who was in charge: the bass player and bandleader was the school's music teacher and everyone else was a parent volunteer, none of whom had an overriding ego investment in the project.

I'm only sorry that the experience only lasted for two years. My son graduated to high school after the first year, but I was welcomed back the next year anyway and thought it might go on indefinitely. However, before the third school year began, the music teacher/bass player ran off with one of the moms in the band and the ensuing scandal led to the band's demise.


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 09:30 PM

Charlotte

"wheat the end of the day" - wossat mean??

Make my mind up on what matter??

*puzzled*


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 04:20 PM

A Band can only be said to 'Work' well , if the whole is a HELL of a lot greater than the sum of its parts !!


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,spb-cooperator
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 03:56 PM

When I was with a group we had 27 years of rehearsal, nearly every week.

Need to be - sensitive to what everyone else is doing/playing (listening & ba;ance), and being sure that everyone knows the material thoroughly - one person out od time or tune stands out like a sore thumb.


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 03:52 PM


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 02:04 PM

Actually, wheat the end of the day...you have to make up your own mind on this matter

Charlotte (the view from ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: leftydee
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 02:00 PM

If you are playing amplified there are a couple of things to make your vocals better. Actually, I can think of three things.

1) Learn good microphone discipline. This means staying on the mic. If you are moving left to right or back and forth you'll fade in and out and drive engineers (and the audience) crazy. In outdoor venues I keep my bottom lip attached to the mic, indoors two inches back. The only exception is that sometimes you may need to really "belt out" a line or phrase and the you need to pull back from the mic a bit. Only practice will teach you how much.

2)Good monitors that are adjusted so you can hear yourself. This eliminates the need to out shout the rest of the band. You can't sound your best when you are pushing to hear yourself. You need good info to know what you're doing.

3)Have an engineer that knows what your music should sound like . I've seen guys who work rock venues absolutely destroy other types of music. Be sure to talk to the engineer before you get on stage and tell him what you want. Good engineers are always accomodating.

Sing On!


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 12:20 PM

It really sounds like you're doing OK, Sue--maybe just a matter of getting used to a few new things, which is always true of working in any new situation. On thing I'd keep in mind--be careful that the things you are feeling aren't related to straining your voice--a band is louder than a single voice, and if you if you have to push to be heard, your voice can suffer--


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 09:25 PM

Thanks all very much for your comments/suggestions.

Liz/Skarpi/others: Yeh, I'm aware the only way forward with it is through rehearsal, and I think through consciously aiming to bring some of that freedom I feel singing unaccompanied into the band space, to balance the constrictedness I experience there sometimes.

M.Ted: of the difficulties you list, the closest is "the fullness and character of your voice doesn't come through". It's not a problem of beats or pitch – more that the slight tension I feel of having to "fit in" with the instrumentalists constrains my voice, I don't feel as free and able to really let go into my singing. Thus I can wobble slightly on notes, volume can be less, my expression not so full, etc, etc. It's very frustrating! but I can see it'll probably get easier with practice.

Big Mick: you summarize it very well, thanks.

Old Folkie: does the perfect band exist, I wonder! I wouldn't say mine do love the songs in the same way I do, but they are mostly a sensitive lot and broadly respect the way I want to sing/interpret them, as well as providing some great arrangements (which isn't my strong point). Mostly I enjoy it very much, especially since we've become a 6-piece. Though even if I didn't, I wouldn't give up my band easily… took me ages to get this one together! and I really like the contrast between solo and band singing, very challenging! Thanks for your good wishes.

Roger/Richard: agree about the "wow" factor, and to me it's a real high with, yes, a spiritual quality. Experienced it recently in a practice or two – we were really cooking at the end, and that was some buzz! and to a lesser degree at our first gig as a 6-piece last week – we did it, hooray! somehow all that chaos came together.

There are pros and cons of singing solo or with a band. I wouldn't want to just sing solo again, though I do that as well, so I can get the best of both. And it's hard to carry off a full set as an unaccompanied singer (unless you're June Tabor or whoever) – plus it gets lonely!

Sue


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 07:23 AM

"I realized quickly that I had to take charge and lead them"
"I settled on very simple songs"
"If needed I announce an unexpected chord coming up"
"If you keep it simple and take charge"
"when you are front and center...well, it is the best seat in the house"

I don't play in a band, but if I did I'd hope to achieve something with others that I couldn't achieve on my own - a special quality that evolved from working with talented musicians who were open to the knowledge, skills and ideas of everyone. The emphasis would have to be on the "we" and the concept of "I" would have to be relegated to the bottom of the creative priorities list. I could not settle for any notion of "keep it simple" or any desire on the part of anyone to "take charge". Now someone (no doubt) will post that democracy doesn't work - but I know exactly where they'll be coming from.....


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: ShayVeno
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 10:05 PM

This is something I've been thinking about alot since the band busted up. Playing with others in a totally different animal. That's the beauty of it. The OP mentioned comfort. True, you don't have to rely on anyone else, or be subject to the personalities or idiosyncrasies of other players. There are alot of pro's and con's.

Pro: One can change keys and songs at a whim. No fear of "train-wreck".

Pro: Generally, you can make a bit more solo on a gig. At least in the short-run.

Con: Some folks see a solo act and instantly tune you out. No matter how good you are, you're still one person with an instrument.

Con: It can be a bit boring, even for yourself. There's no report, no ability to play off an odd, musical moment, no on-stage kinship.

Cheers,

Shay


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Janie
Date: 20 Mar 08 - 07:26 PM

I don't have anything to add, but I am learning a lot.

Just want to say thanks to the many fine musicians and performers who share their experience and knowledge with respect for one another, kindness and encouragement on this and other threads. It is why I love Mudcat.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 20 Mar 08 - 03:21 PM

'Wonder what, Charlotte? just sounds to me like they've experienced it.'

or been responsible for it, you just never know.

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 20 Mar 08 - 03:10 PM

....and I tend to wonder about folks calling themselves "The Mole catcher's Unplugged Apprentice" (but I'm only joking).


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 09:23 PM

Wonder what, Charlotte? just sounds to me like they've experienced it.

(Will respond more fully to points made here soon, just up to me ears this week! have enjoyed reading it all very much).

Sue


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 02:20 PM

'If joining a band, beware of control freakery'

I tend to wonder about people who make remarks like this.

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 02:14 PM

If joining a band, beware of control freakery


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: dwditty
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 09:51 AM

I always played and sang solo. This continued as I ventured out to open mics. I finally started playing at an open mic where there is a house band to play with others, if desired. STill, I went solo, but over time, guys asked if they could sit in with me. Drums, bass, guitar, etc. I realized quickly that I had to take charge and lead them as I have a strict policy of NOT sing, for example, Brown Eyed Girl...opting for more out of the way stuff. AFter a few train wrecks, I settled on very simple songs...12 bar blues, etc, that the others could grasp quickly. If needed I announce an unexpected chord coming up. Now it is rare that I play there without a band...and then, it can range from a few pieces to, one night, a 12 piece band behind me. If you keep it simple and take charge, it can really work well, and when you are front and center...well, it is the best seat in the house.

dw


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 09:36 AM

I was browsing irish singers and came up with these two examples of mic techie stuff... such a difference!

Mary Black

and

Corrs

Hope I got you the right way round, ladies.

Sal (just come back from a lovely walk in the sunshine)


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 10:16 AM

I have performed solo for many, many years. I like contracting my own gigs and negotiating my own fees without having to meet with "the band" and make sure everyone is in agreement. That being said, I have many talented musician friends who, on occasion, perform with me on stage. I truly enjoy having another instrument or voice adding to the show.

But my job requires me to travel quite a lot and sometimes I must leave town on short notice and be gone for several weeks. This makes it difficult to be in a band. I look forward to retirement in a couple more years so I may have the time to sing with a group. Anyone out there looking for a deep voice to fill out the lower harmonies, give me a jingle in 2010.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Grab
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 06:53 PM

Me: This is more likely when you're trying to get the vocals audible past a full band though - rarely in a folk venue.

Charlotte: so "full" bands don't play at "folk-venues" in your part of the world?

Full bands (by which I'd say a minimum of three members) *are* less common at folk clubs than singletons or pairs. And my point was that the soundman doesn't often have to crank the vocals up to feeding-back levels to compete with the other instruments in a folk venue - even for a folk band, that's rare.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 05:10 PM

When I was young, and much more self-absorbed (yet insecure), I had mostly performed solo. Occasionally, I would work with one or two others, but not for extended periods. When I found myself in a trio doing regular gigs in the early 1960's, my greatest difficulty was subordinating my ego and my need to "do it my way" to the needs of the group and its sound. It was, sometimes, a bitter lesson. I was not always easy to work with and was sometimes a bit petty, I suppose. The payoff was the audience reaction, when everything worked well for us - the feeling was electric. We were producing something that was truly more than the sum of its parts.

When I read "artistic differences" in stories of bands breaking up, I remember myself in those days. Ego can really be a cancer when you forget the bigger picture. If you truly NEED to do it solo, be true to yourself.


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 05:07 PM

No, there is a difference between "works" and "wow".


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 04:39 PM

"Charlotte - If you have never experienced what Roger is describing , then you've really missed out ! "

I don't get that spiritual about it. If it works it works, if it doesn't you figure out what you did wrong and try harder next time.

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 04:22 PM

Charlotte - If you have never experienced what Roger is describing , then you've really missed out !


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 04:07 PM

"However, when all is going right, there are periods of transcendence; a time when you feel as if all of the individuals are connected and are a part of something bigger"

I don't get that spiritual about it. If it works it works, if it doesn't you figure out what you did wrong and try harder next time.

Charlotte (the view from ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,Roger in Baltimore
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 04:03 PM

I don't perform in a band because it is easier. I have performed with groups and one thing no one has mentioned is one very important one. In a group, there is a lot of give and take. However, when all is going right, there are periods of transcendence; a time when you feel as if all of the individuals are connected and are a part of something bigger. I find it difficult to explain, but it is a "high" that is very rewarding. Afterwards, you just stand there and say, "Wow." Sometimes that happens in a jam, but usually it happens in a group that has done a lot of work.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 03:22 PM

"This is more likely when you're trying to get the vocals audible past a full band though - rarely in a folk venue."

so "full" bands don't play at "folk-venues" in your part of the world?

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Grab
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 02:34 PM

What OF said. :-)

Especially #2. The other weekend, a woman at the gig I was doing sound for said when we were setting up, "Please can you make sure that the vocals are louder than the piano?" I laughed and said that I tried to make that happen, and she laughed too. But thinking about it, the fact that she felt she needed to mention it is probably a clue to the quality of sound engineer she's worked with. And if you don't have a soundman and your vocals are just going through a little amp for sound reinforcement, station someone trustworthy in the audience to tell you to turn it up/down.

In defence of soundmen, some rooms are acoustically evil, so the soundman just can't turn the vocals up far enough without feedback. This is more likely when you're trying to get the vocals audible past a full band though - rarely in a folk venue.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,happy tapper
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 01:41 PM

some mics absorb your voice, and some enhance it. using a monitor is a good thing to do. when singing into a mic just pretend you are singing into your lover's ear. works for me!

HT


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 01:14 PM

Sorry, 'Molecatcher's whatever', you've lost me!

I can't see the connection between understanding that something is technically difficult (but not being moved by it) and short attention spans.

I could quite happily sit through a good singer's performance of a 10 minute ballad and be totally bored by a 3 minute 'virtuoso' performance by a four part harmony group accompanying themselves on violins, bongoes and nose flutes (some evil little gremlin would be muttering in my ear, "just because you can, doesn't mean you should!").


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 11:13 AM

"It seems to me that such 'collectives' are only interested in their overall 'sound' and not very interested in the content"

That's not the idea I get, but to each their own.

"It may be that what they are attempting to do is difficult and/or demanding technically"

which, of course, would be totally lost on those used to the soundbite approach to music. The same complaint about being too long, was said by many people when the length of a 45 rpm went from the two and a half minute format to five or six minutes in length (The Animals, The Byrds, Don Mclean's two sides of a single, American Pie)Someone once asked Kevin Costner why the European version of his film, Dances With Wolves, was longer that the American version, his answer was quite simple.....attention span, the same, I think, can be said for music and for sound in general.

Charlotte (all ears on Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: OldFolkie
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 10:06 AM

Hi Sue

Firstly thanks for your contributions to my thread re helping a friend singing in time!

Re your thread, FWIW, in addition to the other contributors, my thoughts are:

1. You really must feel 'at one' with the band you are singing with. They and you must have a deep love of the type of songs YOU like. If not, they'll not really have the feeling to express what you want out of the song, and it will fall flat if they aren't genuinely enjoying doing the song. Make sure the band understand how YOU want YOUR song interpreted.

2. The vocals are the most important. The instrumentalists are subordinate to you. Don't let the instrumentalists drown you out volume-wise, or showcase their greased lightning fingers prima-donna guitar or whatever instrument skills (and I'm writing this as a guitarist!!!) at they expense of the vocals going inheard or the subtleties of your feelings in your singing not getting across to the audience. Get someone else independant to listen to the rehearsals and tell you if they think the balance is right. It can sound different from the audience side from the way it sounds to the performers...

3. Although the technicalities of the song and the music, and rehearsals are important, sometimes those non-verbal messages between you and the band / audience during the song can make the difference in the atmosphere. E.g. the grin to the other musicians or at the audience to show that you're really enjoying it.. It can also work the other way - the lead guitarist looking directly at you to remind you to be ready to come back in with the vocals as he nears the end of his instrumental break or the intro... etc etc.

4. Above all enjoy yourself. If you don't find yourself really and deeply enjoying it for whatever reason you need to find out why you're not enjoying it. If the worst really does come to the worst which hjopefully it won't, you may have to think about searching around for another band who are more in tune with what you want. And that can be a challenge!

Good luck, hope it works out for you and very best wishes.

Old Folkie


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: RTim
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 09:40 AM

The situation I always used to found myself in was that depending on the time of day, the Key I would use or prefer, can be different each time, and musicians don't like that unless they are very very good!
There is also the fact that solo I sing in a more "conversational" style, and some musician again have problems following this. There are the need for more breaks in the action when you are accompanied, and that can sometime affect your rhythm and even the story.
If you are going to have musicians play with you it is best to really arrange and practice what you are going to do before hand - OR - If you are recording, add the music later!!
I know it can be classed as cheating, but sometimes it is necessary!!!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 09:22 AM

My most favourite performers are those who either sing unaccompanied or accompany themselves. Next are those who work with a sensitive accompanist who can support and follow the singer.

My least favourite performers are various 'bands' and 'folk choirs'. It seems to me that such 'collectives' are only interested in their overall 'sound' and not very interested in the content of what they are doing. It may be that what they are attempting to do is difficult and/or demanding technically - but I rarely find it very interesting.


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Mar 08 - 02:19 PM

I walked away from my computer in the midst of typing that last. I see where my friend M. Ted and I have said much of the same thing.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Mar 08 - 02:18 PM

What it comes down to Sue, is that when one sings solo, there is a lot of room outside of time signatures, key, timing, etc for interpretation. When all I am worried about is myself, and I don't have to be concerned with any sound except what I put out, I can be very interpretive.

When I am playing with a band, or jambing with others, I have to be concerned about consistency of time, chord voicings and progressions, total sound of arrangement. I can still be interpretive, but only insofar as I stay within the friendly walls of the arrangement, so I don't throw off the other performers, hence mucking up the sound of the arrangement.

Once one has played with a given set of performers for a goodly amount of time, then they become used to your peculiarities of style and can move with you, restoring a bit of your ability to be innovative.

Judging from what I have read of your style, it is my guess you are an interpretive singer. I would guess it will take you a bit to get used to a band, but it can be done. But practicing singing with a metronome, and staying within that time and tempo would go a long way towards preparing you for singing with others.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Mar 08 - 02:07 PM

Without hearing you, it is difficult to know what your problem is, or even if you have a problem.

You should ask the people who've told you you sound better alone to tell you what is different--Is it an issue of volume, or are you not together on the beats, is there a "pitch problem", is there a conflict in styles, or is it simple that the fullness and character of your voice doesn't come through with a band.

Each of these has a different solution.   

The worst case scenario, which people are hinting around, but haven't spelled out, is that you've learned to sing unaccompanied, and have to learn some basic musical skills in order to follow a band or accompanist.

This is a problem because it means that you have to learn a lot of stuff, particularly related to following a beat, counting and phrasing, and similar things, and to unlearn a lot of habits, before you are going to be able to work well with a band.

The thing is, there is no way for us to tell which situation is the one that you have to deal with.

A simple place to start would be to try singing along with a metronome, to see if you can follow the beat.


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's plugged and unpluggedAppr
Date: 16 Mar 08 - 02:04 PM

I'm comfortable with both solo and with a band

Charlotte (the view from ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Easier to sing alone than with a band?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 16 Mar 08 - 01:35 PM

Linn - that's ok if you can take the incredibly good sound engineers (who should be conspicuous by their apparent absence) with you! But you absolutely do need PA if you're going to be singing with accompaniment from melodeons. Once you sing with a band, you have to work out how to get the sound balanced.

Kitty


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