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Folk Song Sight Singing

Sleepy Rosie 10 Nov 08 - 06:31 AM
s&r 10 Nov 08 - 06:35 AM
Surreysinger 10 Nov 08 - 07:53 AM
Sleepy Rosie 10 Nov 08 - 08:48 AM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Nov 08 - 01:35 AM
DMcG 11 Nov 08 - 02:45 AM
Liz the Squeak 11 Nov 08 - 03:07 AM
Paul Burke 11 Nov 08 - 03:37 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 11 Nov 08 - 03:42 AM
Marje 11 Nov 08 - 05:08 AM
greg stephens 11 Nov 08 - 05:20 AM
Surreysinger 11 Nov 08 - 06:21 AM
Sleepy Rosie 11 Nov 08 - 06:59 AM
Sleepy Rosie 11 Nov 08 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 11 Nov 08 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 11 Nov 08 - 07:34 AM
Harmonium Hero 11 Nov 08 - 08:58 AM
Sleepy Rosie 11 Nov 08 - 10:06 AM
Marje 11 Nov 08 - 10:49 AM
Surreysinger 11 Nov 08 - 11:17 AM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Nov 08 - 07:36 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Nov 08 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 13 Nov 08 - 02:03 PM
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Subject: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 06:31 AM

(Heh, I thought I'd already posted this...!)

Can anyone here recommend this series of study texts for learning to sight read with folk music?

'Folk Song Sight Singing' by Edgar Crowe et al

Ta, Rosie


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: s&r
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 06:35 AM

First published 1934. You could say it's tested by time or outdated.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Surreysinger
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 07:53 AM

What intrigues me is why on earth you'd need a specific book on sight reading for folk song ... what is the difference between that and sight reading for anything else?? I would have thought that a good book on sight reading was all that was required ... the actual interpretation of song is something completely different, of course.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 08:48 AM

Of course, but as I'm learning folk song in particular, I'm simply interested to know if these are indeed any good for learning sight singing.

If no-one has ever heard of them or used them, I will probably plump for a sight singing book that gets lots of stars on Amazon.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 01:35 AM

I assume you mean by 'sight singing' - merely be able to read the pitch of the notes on the stave and hit the 'right ' note...

It's a skill that any instrumentalist who has learnt 'the dots' should have already...


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: DMcG
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:45 AM

... Though of course there are those, like me, who sang for some forty-odd years before we picked up any instrument.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:07 AM

I think you may need to explain 'sight singing'. Would it be the same as 'sight reading'? Singing or playing a new piece without having seen it or being familiar with it beforehand?

If that's the case, then I'd recommend some of the books that EFDSS have published via Cecil Sharp House in the UK. 'Marrowbones' is one that springs to mind, as I have it downstairs. It's clear, easy to follow and the staves are of a size that you don't have to squint at them to determine whether it's a B or a C.

If you already have some musical learning, then it's a great resource. If you're not a dot reader, then it's clear enough (melody lines only) to see where the tune goes. I'm pretty sure the first verse is printed under the staves so you can see how it should fit.

Good luck.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Paul Burke
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:37 AM

I suppose the reason this request puzzled me is that I can't understand why anyone would want to do it. Folk songs- at least "British traditional folk songs" whatever you take that as meaning- are far more story telling and interpretation than just a reproduction of words and notes, and while a facility in reading music will get you started faster, you have to toss it around in your head for a while before it becomes your own song.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:42 AM

Nic Jones could sight sing, and he would visit libraries with folk song collections and "hear" the melodies in his head. I very useful skill.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Marje
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 05:08 AM

I'd say that what you describe Nic Jones as doing in the libraries is definitely "sight reading" rather than "sight singing" - otherwise he'd have upset a lot of librarians and other users!

I can do this to some extent, and yes, it's very useful, both for songs and for instrumental tunes. Of course you need to internalise the song or tune and get it into your head, but that's true of words as well as melodies. Being able to read the melody is just as useful a skill as being able to read the words.

It's not clear from the question, Sleepy Rosie, whether you already understand staff notation to any extent? If not, you need to learn the basics of how this works, although for songs you'll only need to learn the treble clef and how to follow a melody line.

AS long as you don't actually want or intend to "sight-sing" -i.e. sing something you've never sung or heard before - in performance (not recommended!), it's well worth learning to do. I can't recommend a book myself, but others may be able to do so once they understand what exactly you need.

Once you understand staff notation a bit, you can practice by getting the written score of a song you already know, and following it to see how the written notes correspond to the tune in your head. Then perhaps try one you don't know so well, and see if you can figure out how it goes. Checking it out on a piano or keyboard, if you can play one at all, would help to keep you right.

Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 05:20 AM

The world is alrerady infested with people at sessions singing songs with their heads buried in their ring-binders full of words down-loaded from the internet. I dread to think what will happen if people all learn to sing at sight and start singing straight off the dotrs in public!
Having got that grumpy old man bit off my chest, sight reading is an invaluable skill, and well worth acquiring.I dont think you need special books. Start off with any song book, pick a song you know the tune of(hopefully what you remember will be more or less the same as the tune in the book...these are folksongs and may well vary). Sing it, and watch the notes go up and down . See how the process works.After you get the idea, progress to a tune you've heard, but only vaguely remember. And so. Pretty soon, you will be able do it from scratch on a tune you dont know. Some, especially with accidentals or long leaps, are harder than others. Tunes that progress by single scale steps are the easy ones, cut your teeth on those.
When you've done it, check that you have it right by playing it on the piano or guitar or whatever you are familiar with. Does it sound the same?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Surreysinger
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:21 AM

I'm not sure from Rosie's comments that she intended to sing out from the dots Greg! I got the impression that it was more the normal learning something by sight ... which I do myself a fair bit. The basic advice that my choir's conductor - very experienced, and good choral trainer and brilliant conductor with many recordings under his belt - usually gives to newbies who are nervous about sight reading is "When the dots get blacker you go faster; when they go up, you go up; when they go down, you go down" ... fairly basic, but to a large degree it sums those basics up pretty well. OK, there obviously is quite a bit more to it than that ... most of the theory of which I wouldn't be qualified to spout about. I discovered more than a few years ago that my route to sight reading music for singing was not that of others. I started in my teens, but was not taught by the use of intervals/sol fa etc; my sight reading seems to have filtered through by osmosis, so that I judge things by the spatial relationships of what I see on the page, tinged by the introduction of marked accidentals ...ask me to pitch a fifth, and I'd usually be lost, but I can usually do it if I see it printed!! All of which probably doesn't make sense here ... sorry!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:59 AM

There isn't strictly any difference between sight reading and sight singing. Sight singing simply means sight reading specifically for singers: i.e. the ability to read the music and sing it straight off the page.

For those who question the 'why' of it, the reason I'd like to be able to sight read, is so that I can pick up any book anywhere with songs in them (in particular folk song, because I'm trying to lay down a repertiore of folk songs for my own pleasure), and know at a glance in my head, what that song will sound like if I were to sing it.

I'd like to learn to be able to know how a song will sound, and be able to sing it off the page, 'cos it's gonna be both useful and fun for me to be able to do that. Either just for myself, or when with friends who play music. I don't have perfect pitch as far as I'm aware, and there's going to be the learning of story and interpretation involved, so of course it's never going to be perfect first time, but even so, it's still going to make my hobby more interesting for me.

I began to learn a little sight singing, while doing a bit of choral a couple of years back. It's a skill I never mastered because I ceased choral singing, but it interested me enough to recognise that it is very clearly an extremely useful skill once mastered. And indeed, anyone who's heard someone who can properly sight sing (as for example an experienced choral singer), do so, will know that there isn't generally any 'fumbling through it' whatever to be heard.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 07:07 AM

BTW, cheers for the suggestions given above, I'll be sure to follow them up. I'm also aware that there's probably quite a lot of music theory I'm going to have to get under my belt too 'cos I'm not well studied in the area at all! But hey ho, I got enough books on music hanging around to rebuild my houses foundations, so there's no excuse not to start getting on with it!


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 07:32 AM

There's a big difference between sight reading and sight singing. Sight singing involves looking at a piece of music and being able to reproduce the notes - either out loud, or in your head! I can sight read on the piano and guitar but the instrument produces the notes. One can be tone deaf and still be a good sight reader - but that is not true with sight singing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 07:34 AM

On second thoughts, what I've just written doesn't make sense!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 08:58 AM

Tunesmith: yes - it makes perfect sense. Some people - not necessarily tone deaf - can't learn a tune by playing it from dots, even when (or possibly more likely when) they are good sight readers. I've known people like that; they could be playing the same tunes for months or even years, but only from the dots, yet could learn a tune by ear. As you implied, sight reading with an instrument doesn't necessarily mean that you know what note you are about to play; you've just learned where that note is on the instrument. Singing it means that you know how to pitch your voice right to get the note. Which means that you have to be able to 'hear' the tune when you look at the dots. Some people might find it easier to play the tune a few times and learn it from listening to what they are playing, but, as I said, some people don't seem to be able to do this. I knew one bloke who played the recorder, but reckoned that he'd learned to read music as a singer, so had to 'hear' the notes in his head, and then play them, as it were by ear on the recorder. Now that DOESN'T make sense!
Johhn Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 10:06 AM

Sure, I think I worded myself rather clumsily there!
And I do agree, 'sight singing' is certainly going be more tricky than 'sight playing' with an instrument. When I was a kiddy used to be able to do all kinds of things in my head, including flying and drawing the most amazing pictures. I was always confused by why I couldn't actually do them outside of my head, even though in my head these things were dead simple... ;-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Marje
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 10:49 AM

What your friend says (John above) is roughly how I play folk music. I can read the tune from the page, but I have to hear it in my head and then play it - by ear I suppose - on the instrument. Sounds a bit clumsy but that's how it works for me. If you ask me whether the first note in the second bar is an E or a G, I'd have to think and work it out even though I could play it without thinking.

I've just been learning a new tune from the dots that someone gave me. I did learn to play it off the page, rather falteringly, by the process described, but then I had to re-learn it in a different way to get it into my head. Having done that, I was able to play it up to speed and with a bit more expresssion, which I simply couldn't do while looking at the page. I use the dots just to show me how the tune goes. It does mean that I can transpose quite easily, as I'm not locked into playing the notes I see on the page.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: Surreysinger
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 11:17 AM

Singing ain't easy anyway, is it? Too many people fail to realise that it's not something you can just take up "like that". it involves muscular control, posture,mental control etc of your instrument... and what's more your instrument is going to suffer if your health is "down" ... which adds to the stress, which makes it more difficult to sing etc etc. So adding sight reading to all the other things which you have to do when you're singing means a lot of mental agility ... but it's obviously worth it in the end.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:36 AM

"I can't understand why anyone would want to do it"

Well those trained in the 'classical' way on any instrument or even just vocals learn it as part of the process, and frankly, it just makes life easier... but being able to pass the exams where you have to just glance at a new piece than play it correctly, with proper expression, pace, etc, is a bit harder, but worthwhile suffering... :- 0


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 05:55 AM

The most amazing thing is the way most of us can sing anyway, adjusting our throat and our mouth to produce the appropriate sound. And mostly without having any idea of what the name of that note might be.

I can just about pick out an unfamiliar tune from a book with a guitar, and a lot of effort. But I can play the tune immediately, once I've heard it, and the same goes for singing it, and transpose it to the other keys.

It's a drag not being able to read music properly - but it'd be much worse to be one of those people who can read and play proficiently with the notes in front of them, but can't do a thing without the dots.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song Sight Singing
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 02:03 PM

I'm a reasonably competent sight singer, and I can tell you that the skills needed for sight singing 'classical' music (in the broad sense) and for 'folk' music (likewise) are not equivalent. Folk is generally much less demanding on the reader, both rhythmically and melodically.
Well, at least the way it is usually written out, with the ornamentations and syncopations ironed out of it. If you try to sight read some of the tunes in, say, "A Bonnie Bunch Of Roses," which purport to notate the interpretation in strict mathematical precision, you will find it quite demanding (and, I think, silly at that).
The basics of reading both, though, are identical. You have to understand the mechanics of the notation first of all, and a bit about scales and intervals. Then you have to internalize the sound of the intervals so you can make the jumps unerringly without an instrument to give you the cues. Reading the rhythms is not as hard to learn.
The biggest thing you have going for you in the folk genre is that the music is generally less chromatic and sticks with the more standardized, consonant intervals -- which are both easier to hear and more familiar to most people anyhow.
The bottom line is, you can use pretty much any book with melody lines written out to learn this. But getting advanced sight singing books (like Dvorak exercises and that type of thing) is way, way more than you need.
-Glenn


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