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If a Song Moves You....

Sleepy Rosie 12 Nov 08 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 12 Nov 08 - 04:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Nov 08 - 05:27 PM
Seamus Kennedy 12 Nov 08 - 05:29 PM
skipy 12 Nov 08 - 05:30 PM
kendall 12 Nov 08 - 07:22 PM
John Routledge 12 Nov 08 - 07:30 PM
Amos 12 Nov 08 - 08:15 PM
Barry Finn 12 Nov 08 - 08:40 PM
Ebbie 12 Nov 08 - 09:06 PM
Cats 13 Nov 08 - 01:56 AM
Georgiansilver 13 Nov 08 - 02:45 AM
VirginiaTam 13 Nov 08 - 04:07 AM
Mysha 13 Nov 08 - 08:02 AM
Hawker 13 Nov 08 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,cats 13 Nov 08 - 08:51 AM
Anne Lister 13 Nov 08 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Armitage Shanks 13 Nov 08 - 11:56 AM
Hawker 13 Nov 08 - 12:27 PM
Anne Lister 13 Nov 08 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 13 Nov 08 - 01:36 PM
Roger in Baltimore 13 Nov 08 - 03:30 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Nov 08 - 03:45 PM
ClaireBear 13 Nov 08 - 04:06 PM
Cluin 13 Nov 08 - 06:16 PM
Seamus Kennedy 14 Nov 08 - 12:58 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 14 Nov 08 - 03:08 PM
olddude 14 Nov 08 - 03:29 PM
Sleepy Rosie 14 Nov 08 - 03:56 PM
skipy 14 Nov 08 - 04:50 PM
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Subject: If a Song Moves You....
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:51 PM

If a song really moves you and you are moved to sing it, err, how do you stop yourself starting to crack and crumble under a wavering voice and a spillage of salty-eyed floodings?

I'm asking 'cos the songs that move me are the same ones I'm keen to set down... And I'm having trubble with the tearyness, even when alone!


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:54 PM

I suffer terribly from this problem.
Usually those are the ones I get Mrs. Highlandman to sing, then I look down solemnly at the guitar fretboard and just wipe my eyes afterward. ;-)
Seriously, though, I find that practicing them until you begin to be sick of them does help some. Most of the time.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:27 PM

The two songs that are always liable to crack me up - and they are particularly in my thoughts this week, with the 90th anniversary of the Armistice and it seems everything on TV (everything worth watching, that is) is about the Great War - are The Whitsun Dances and Home Lads Home.

I remember one song session with that second song, someone else was singing it and at the end he said that that was the only song he knew where rather than more people joining in, there were people dropping out, choked. Which was just what had happened.

I think I'm actually more liable to crack up with those when I'm singing alone than when I'm singing to others. Or joining in the chorus for that matter.


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:29 PM

Keep singing it over and over until you become inured to it.

It takes time, but you need to do it if you're going to sing the song in public a lot.

I've had to do it with several songs over the years, e.g. Christmas in the Trenches, Christmas 1914, The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, and others.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: skipy
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:30 PM

Before someone else sayS it & I have to read it:-
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE & MORE BLOODY PRACTICE!
Skipy


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: kendall
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:22 PM

I have to think of something unpleasant like my ex wife's lawyer.


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: John Routledge
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 07:30 PM


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Amos
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 08:15 PM

Yeah, I've been there--oddly enough with one I wrote for my mother in law. I just had to drill through it until the reaction smoothed out.

I stood up to sing Finnegan's Wake at my own mother's funeral, because it was one of her favorite songs, and I was so broke up I left out a whole verse and got snot all over my guitar, God's truth...but I pummeled my way through the song anyway. It's what she would have wanted. But it wasn't the song that was getting to me, that time.



A


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Barry Finn
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 08:40 PM

I wrote a song concering disorders in children my son's included. It took me ages before I could sing it all the way through. Like others here have already said, you just need to keep singing it until you can sing through it.

BTW, what's the song?

Barry


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 09:06 PM

There seems to be another element at work. Some people seem able to set aside the emotion of the moment and sing their hearts out.

Some years back a young Australian friend fell off a Juneau mountain and died. He was a great favo(u)rite of ours and it took us a long time to come to terms with it. (For instance, we had two memorial services for him- a whole year apart - because the local shaman told us we had to let him go.)

But on the weekend of his death we gathered at his apartment home, anecdotes were recounted, and some of his favourite songs were sung.

His favorite person in town was 'Joinie'; they were very close.

Jane sang a number of songs, her voice clear and strong. In between, she wept.


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Cats
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 01:56 AM

On Saturday Jon sang his song about Percy Carhart and going to Passchendaele, taking with him the cuttings of Myrtle from Percy's beloved garden at Heligan and planting them at the plaque where Percys name is at Tyne Cot. He sang the somng at Heligan in front of Percy's great neice and completed it with him and Mike O'Connor playing the tune as a light infantry march which he has called Percy Carhart's. Jon had played it over and over again, making sure he did his very best for Percy's family and only just didn't crack. Meanwhile, the rest of us on stage were standing there with tears streaming down, just like most of the audience. Somehow you do get through it. It is just in between or when someone else is doing it that is the problem! My answer, always take tissues with you.


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 02:45 AM

I find that the songs that move me most are the ones that appear easier to sing.... perhaps something to do with the 'ministering to our inner self'


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 04:07 AM

I'm with skipy.

Practice desensitises you. Or better... helps you push the feelings deeper down so they won't show on the surface but can be felt in the music.   

I had this problem with a number of songs I sang to or with my daughter. After she passed away I would choke up. I still do on some. And sometimes that is not a bad thing.

The way I sing Summertime and Motherless Child now has so much more impact than they did when she was alive. There is an underlying current of experience that (I hope) enriches the song coming out of me and is noticed by audience.


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Mysha
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 08:02 AM

Hi Rosie,

I see you've several pieces of advice already, but I'd say: Sing out to the audience. That helps in several ways:
- When you're practising, there's just you and the meaning of the song, like thoughts late at night. But when daylight comes, the world isn't as desperate, and when shared with the audience feelings aren't as overwhelming.
- Singing to the audience will require part of your attention, which you'll take away from interpreting the song. Not that you won't interpret it at all, but it won't be as heartbreaking at the time.
- Singing out to the audience requires using your singing technique, however little or much you have, which will support your voice, and will keep it from cracking. You may feel like you'll crumble as soon as you stop singing, as the others said, but keep singing well while you can. Some songs may have a final twist that does makes your voice tremble, but usually a tremble is fitting for the end of such a song: Don't fight it, but do keep singing.

(And immediately aftterwards, a handkerchief can appear, plus there's no harm in admitting to the audience, then, that the song always gets to you.)

Practising a song a lot, to some is a way to diminish its effect, but to others it'll flatten or kill the song for them, and audiences will pick that up. You'll have to find out for yourself, I guess.

And if you ever do feel overwhelmed, remember: Gam ze ja'avor.

                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Hawker
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 08:35 AM

Often these kind of songs are telling a sad story, and we all know that the best stories are those that are well told, so practise is I agree very important, but I dont think it is good to totally disassociate yourself from the emotion, and indeed there are times when the fact that the song has clearly moved the singer, has a profound effect on the listener. In Unsung Heroes, the Lost Gardeners Of Heligan, I had to sing two very sad, emotion packed songs, which I had written myself, At the first performance, I disolved in tears at the pure emotion of the thing, which we were performing at Heligan itself. No-one thought this was unprofessional, but more that it was appropriate. I can now sing the song with less of an outburst of sorrow, but still pour emotion into it, to make it felt by the audience if you get my drift.
I was once asked to sing at a sing-around and Pete Collins shouted across the room, Dont ask her to sing, she'll make you cry. I took it as a compliment. Though there are those who have almost made me cry by their choice of a totally inappropriate song or more inappropriate way of singing an emotion packed song. Sensitivity, is I think as important as self control.
I hope you understand what I am trying to say!
Cheers,Lucy


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: GUEST,cats
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 08:51 AM

Pete is right. Hawker makes you weep every time!


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Anne Lister
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 10:38 AM

There are a few aspects to this question. First and foremost, though, if you're concerned about your reaction you need to consider why you're singing the song. If it's for you, to help you work through something, then do you need to sing it to an audience? If the answer to that is still "yes", then consider which audience you need. Do you need an audience of strangers or friends? Are you doing this as a professional (ie are you being paid for it) or as an amateur? I'd suggest that if you're being paid for it, you then need to ask yourself why you would want to move yourself to tears in front of a paying audience and in that case probably the song needs more work (which you might call practice, but I'd call work in this case as you need to go through the embedded issues in the song). If you're not being paid for it, and you're with an audience of friends, by all means allow yourself to be moved. Spontaneous moments can still break through, as Lucy says in her post, even in a professional setting, but if it happens predictably you probably need to look at what's going on.

I've been there, bought the t shirt, participated in and run the workshop and I've spent a lot of time dealing with this particular question! Many of my songs will move members of the audience to tears, but if I'm on as the paid guest I will avoid singing songs that will reduce ME to tears as I don't think the audience should be expected to watch me dealing with my own "stuff" - a bit like doing therapy in public. I find now my reaction to hitting a critical moment in a particular song is a sudden attack of amnesia - which isn't to say that every time I forget my own lyrics is due to that, but I can remember a few times when I have been totally unable to sing "Icarus", for example. And I knew why.

The other thing is as Mysha said above - remember you're singing to an audience. Look at them and keep remembering where you are and what you're doing. Don't do the folkie thing and close your eyes. Give them your best attempt at your song, make sure they hear the words and hear the story in the song. Make the effect on the audience more important than your concern about the song's effect on you.

My own guide to all of this is that if a song is still making me cry it's not ready to go in front of anyone else yet. Once I've worked through the emotions in the song I can put all of that into my singing of it - until I've done that the song is only half-cooked. And of course having a tremble in your voice or having tears in your eyes is no bad thing - like stage fright it's only a bad thing if it stops you from singing.

Anne


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: GUEST,Armitage Shanks
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 11:56 AM

There is one song in particular that moves me. It is "Cool, Cool Water". I am obliged to visit the gents half-way through every time we do it.


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Hawker
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 12:27 PM

Anne, you put it so much better than me!
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Anne Lister
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 01:09 PM

It probably takes one to know one, Lucy! (high fives)

Anne


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 01:36 PM

Sometimes I get in the mood when singing a particular song will bring me close to tears when I'm on my own. Sometimes I get very sensitive to the point that listening to, or just thinking about some songs is bad enough..

It's less of an issue when performing, partly because I tend to go into "autopilot" mode, and partly because I go easy on songs that are likely to bring myself (or anyone else) to tears unless the time is right.


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 03:30 PM

Rosie,

If you cannot sing it to yourself without tears, then the likelihood is that you won't succeed in front of an audience. Also, I would recommend that you limit how many of this type song you sing in one set. Guy Clark says he limits himself to one "wrist-slitter" per night.

Others have suggested practice, practice, practice. Tabster's advice is very applicable. I would add that repeated listening to the song will help in many ways: it helps you learn the song; it should help you identify what it is that makes it special to you; and it will help to inure you to the consequences.

The other day I brought home Richard Thompson's "Vincent Black Lightening". My wife saw them and found the content odd. I tried to sing it acapella for her, and I could not finish the song. And I can tell you why the song makes me so sad since it is far from my personal experience. Maybe one day I'll find out. Until then it won't be on my set list.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 03:45 PM

I would hope that a good song would never cease to move you. You do need to step back enough so that you can sing the song, but not the point where you are no longer moved by it.

There are a couple of gospel songs that choke me up, without warning.
Sometimes I'm fine, but at others I get a catch in my throat and may have to pause for a moment before going on. So far, no one has complained or said, "Get over it!" I hope that they never will. I hope I never "get over" a song that moves me.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: ClaireBear
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 04:06 PM

I'm relieved to hear that someone else (McGrath) can't get through "Dancing at Whitsun." Been trying for about 20 years, but it does me in, every time! I've never tried to put it in a performance set, which is perhaps just as well, but I cherish the emotional catharsis it never fails to bring.

Claire


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Cluin
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 06:16 PM

A song I can't sing for this very reason:

Puff the Magic Dragon.

There! I said it!


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 14 Nov 08 - 12:58 AM

Oh yes, Dancing at Whitsun, and How Great Thou Art always bring a tear.

Don't become so emotionally detached from a song that you lose feeling for it when you sing.

But keeping the emotions in check so that you can get through it and move an audience is important too.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 14 Nov 08 - 03:08 PM

>Puff the Magic Dragon.
Ahh, ha ha ha ha...
Oh, wait, that's one of mine too.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: olddude
Date: 14 Nov 08 - 03:29 PM

Oh my gosh,
the song I wrote for my daughters wedding. I still cannot get through it. I had to burn it on a CD and play it for her, couldn's sing it

I even tried to play it over and over to get use to it. This is a problem for me with many songs not just one's I did but songs that touch something inside.

I never did find an answer, if someone does please share


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 14 Nov 08 - 03:56 PM

Well at least I know I'm not a lone sentimentalist! The stuff that makes me crack up, is cheesy really. But it's family related. My recently dead Mother in particular, and her Irish familiy - my dead Grandparents before her. Genuinely tragic tales contained in all of these loved-ones limited lives. And because of the Irish blood and my own Mothers deep love of music, anything Irish and romantic and a little tragic bends me up. Oh dear.... Not alot of hope for me then, better find some nice rollocking sea shanties I like....!


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Subject: RE: If a Song Moves You....
From: skipy
Date: 14 Nov 08 - 04:50 PM

It's just "us lot", I made the mistake many years ago of saying in conversation at work "I've been working on a song all weekend but when I get to verse 5 I am so choked & so close to tears I can't carry on" or words to effect! People looked at me as though I was mad (fair comment) but "they" have been touched by a song, they just listen to the crap the radio feeds them, just a form of pigswill.
Skipy


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