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Singarounds/sessions -best format

Acorn4 29 Dec 08 - 05:47 AM
The Villan 29 Dec 08 - 05:51 AM
Acorn4 29 Dec 08 - 05:51 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 29 Dec 08 - 06:17 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Dec 08 - 06:27 AM
The Villan 29 Dec 08 - 06:35 AM
Nigel Parsons 29 Dec 08 - 06:59 AM
Acorn4 29 Dec 08 - 07:11 AM
Jack Campin 29 Dec 08 - 07:25 AM
Mr Happy 29 Dec 08 - 07:38 AM
VirginiaTam 29 Dec 08 - 07:52 AM
Sooz 29 Dec 08 - 08:19 AM
BusyBee Paul 29 Dec 08 - 08:26 AM
artbrooks 29 Dec 08 - 08:30 AM
breezy 29 Dec 08 - 08:32 AM
Marje 29 Dec 08 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,Jim P 29 Dec 08 - 09:35 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Dec 08 - 10:00 AM
Leadfingers 29 Dec 08 - 10:31 AM
Hamish 29 Dec 08 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,Auldtimer 29 Dec 08 - 11:35 AM
Sooz 29 Dec 08 - 11:36 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Dec 08 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 29 Dec 08 - 01:06 PM
The Villan 29 Dec 08 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,passin'by 29 Dec 08 - 01:37 PM
Zen 29 Dec 08 - 02:07 PM
Suegorgeous 29 Dec 08 - 02:13 PM
greg stephens 29 Dec 08 - 02:23 PM
Jack Campin 29 Dec 08 - 02:59 PM
Phil Edwards 29 Dec 08 - 03:07 PM
Sooz 29 Dec 08 - 03:16 PM
Girl Friday 29 Dec 08 - 05:50 PM
Phil Edwards 29 Dec 08 - 06:18 PM
Suegorgeous 29 Dec 08 - 08:10 PM
Snuffy 30 Dec 08 - 04:20 AM
The Villan 30 Dec 08 - 04:22 AM
Acorn4 30 Dec 08 - 04:25 AM
The Villan 30 Dec 08 - 04:25 AM
Brakn 30 Dec 08 - 04:31 AM
Marje 30 Dec 08 - 04:36 AM
freda underhill 30 Dec 08 - 05:20 AM
TheSnail 30 Dec 08 - 05:25 AM
Spleen Cringe 30 Dec 08 - 06:27 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Dec 08 - 07:01 AM
Spleen Cringe 30 Dec 08 - 07:47 AM
Will Fly 30 Dec 08 - 07:55 AM
Barry Finn 30 Dec 08 - 08:56 AM
Suegorgeous 30 Dec 08 - 09:06 AM
Barry Finn 30 Dec 08 - 09:37 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Dec 08 - 10:17 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 Dec 08 - 10:33 AM
Lowden Jameswright 30 Dec 08 - 10:43 AM
Barry Finn 30 Dec 08 - 11:07 AM
Nigel Parsons 30 Dec 08 - 11:12 AM
Acorn4 30 Dec 08 - 11:25 AM
Doug Chadwick 30 Dec 08 - 01:09 PM
Ian Fyvie 30 Dec 08 - 01:58 PM
BB 30 Dec 08 - 02:12 PM
MoorleyMan 30 Dec 08 - 03:46 PM
Girl Friday 30 Dec 08 - 04:03 PM
Acorn4 30 Dec 08 - 06:29 PM
Midchuck 30 Dec 08 - 07:39 PM
Ian Fyvie 30 Dec 08 - 09:07 PM
Valmai Goodyear 31 Dec 08 - 05:51 AM
Girl Friday 31 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM
jacqui.c 31 Dec 08 - 08:26 AM
Barry Finn 31 Dec 08 - 10:13 AM
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Subject: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Acorn4
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 05:47 AM

I hope this won't turn into a "handbags at fifty paces" thread, but just a useful discussion. There are many ways to run a singaround/session, and I've suggested four formats that I've run across. It would seem each has its own "fors" and "againsts":-

Method 1: the free for all.

People just jump in when they feel like it -doesn't really need an organiser, keeps flowing and spontaneity, but reticent singers/players can feel intimidated, and favours the more "pushy" performers.

Method 2: Round the room irrespective:-

The organiser moves round the circle of chairs, irrespective of who is sitting in them. Can mean people who came in early get a bit frustrated if at the wrong end of the circle, but it is completely objective, easy to organise and won't lead to accusations of favourtism. When the circle has been completed, it starts again, the chais getting the song/tune rather than the singer/player. Easy to organise if organiser is pissed.

Method 3: Round the room, then late arrivals:-

As above, but when the orgainser has finished going round the room, he/she then goes round the circle again, but this time just taking in late arrivals. Means everyone gets a song, but encourages people to just do a song then vanish, and can frustrate early arrivals, or those staying for whole session.


Method 4: In order of arrval:-

This involves the organiser keeping some kind of list, which notes the order in which people arrive, and allocates slots in that order. It can still be a bit annoying for early arrivals who do their song in front of five people , and then the hoards arrive, but it does introduce an element of encouraging early birds. Needs a good organiser who either notes it down or can keep it in their head - runs into problems when they get canned and forget the order.

I'm going to put forward a "Method 5", which I don't think I've ever come across, but which might work. It's like Method 4, but with a slight difference. When a singer/player had finished their slot, they then go onto the end of the 'list' again, should they wish to stay and do another song, and anyone who comes in after them has to wait until their second turn before doing their song/tune. This would avoid the situation where someone gets in at the start, sings in front of three people, then has to wait for the whole session, and might get a second turn if they are lucky, whereas someone can come in half way through, sing r to a crowded room, then bugger off. Once again, it needs a good organiser.

This is not actually about "etiquette" or "manners" like other current thread, but about ways of organising that are fair to everybody.

I'm asking as I'm thinking of possibly getting something going at our local, so am canvassing opinions.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: The Villan
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 05:51 AM

>>Method 2: Round the room irrespective:-

The organiser moves round the circle of chairs, irrespective of who is sitting in them. Can mean people who came in early get a bit frustrated if at the wrong end of the circle, but it is completely objective, easy to organise and won't lead to accusations of favourtism. When the circle has been completed, it starts again, the chais getting the song/tune rather than the singer/player. Easy to organise if organiser is pissed.
<<

That would be my preference.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Acorn4
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 05:51 AM

... oh, and the thing about method five is that if you sing/play in front of 25 people, you would then, theoretically, end up listening to 25 people's songs/tunes - would this not seem fair?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 06:17 AM

Anything but 'Method 1: The free for all' would be my preference. I know of a singaround which uses this method. It is probably the best session in the district, with some very fine singers attending, but it is very intimidating for participants. The 2 people trying to start a song at the same time situation can happen 2 or 3 times a night.

I also think that many singarounds, these days, are 'over-populated' and it is this phenomenon which leads to the organisational questions raised above. I sometimes find myself yearning for the days when there were only between 6 and 12 people at a singaround and there was time for 2 or 3 songs per participant (at least) and chat between songs. Nowadays all I have to look forward to is claustrophobia and sensory overload!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 06:27 AM

There is of course the famous John Barden "sing - a - zed" which involves John selecting people at random, but as we all know random number theory is fair eventually. This is even easier when the host is pissed (you said it first John).

I favour "loose chairs" in which the principle is rotation, chair by chair, with the occasional intervention when the host wants one or a really good idea occurs to someone, and I am also occasionally guilty of "wandering mandolins" or "wandering harmonies" in which I and/or others follow the singing around the better to join in!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: The Villan
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 06:35 AM

Another one introduced to me by Sooz, goes as follows

Each person wanting to partake is given a number

Then identical set of numbers go in a hat.

It starts by the MC drawing the first number from the hat and then drawing a second number.

The person with the first number does the first song/tune etc.
The second person makes sure they are ready to do the next one.

Each time they finish a song another number is drwan, so that the person can be ready for their turn.

When all the numbers have been drawn, you start all over again.

The people participating keep their number all night.

It really works, but is easier than I explained LOL :-)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 06:59 AM

Not mentioned yet, but when moving around the circle, are only performers included?
Some 'Filk' sessions include the option to pass, pick, or play. This means that if you choose not to perform you can ask to hear a particular performer, or ask if anyone knows (and will perform) a particular song.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Acorn4
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 07:11 AM

There's also a thing which some organisers do which invloved trying to alternate songs and tunes, but these just involve a slight departure from the order, the underlying scheme remaining the same.
Ther is also the "two turns for duos" question which can add a further complication.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 07:25 AM

I prefer mixed tune and song sessions, and free-for-all works best for that.

Round-the-room is unbearably stuffy and formal unless the group is very small or the average standard (and corresponding size of ego) VERY, VERY high.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 07:38 AM

I prefer method 1. - but with the codicil of egging on the shy or reticent


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 07:52 AM

I'm just happy to be there, whatever the format, even if I don't get many or even any turns.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Sooz
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:19 AM

Anything but method 1!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: BusyBee Paul
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:26 AM

Sooz, you forgot to mention our "raffle" system!.

After our Method 2 (with occasional zigging and zagging to accommodate late arrivals etc), if we've been round a full circle and have say only 20 minutes left so not everyone will have another turn, we utilise the half-time raffle tickets and the winner gets to do the pick or perform option mentioned above.

Works well.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: artbrooks
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:30 AM

The group we go to uses method 2, with the "pass, pick or play" option. It works well, probably because there are rarely more than 12-15 people in attendance, and everyone gets at least two turns over the evening, even if they come in late. An advantage of this over others is that it is self-policing, so the organizer gets to participate evenly.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: breezy
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:32 AM

its the regular, very late arrival who comes and plays , plugs something and buggers of without having had the decency to listen to everyone else first

If you arrive after a certain time, hrd luck, get there earlier next time

How does sooz deal with late arrivals, detention? lines, letters home?

I believe they should hear everyone else before they take a turn

Could encourage punctuality

I only expect to be invited after I've heard everyone else, then I know how the land lies, apart from that I think it only courteous of me, and that's a rarity in itself

happy new year


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Marje
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:36 AM

I think the best format may depend on what the session is for. I'm referring here to what happens in the UK - the US has different terminology and habits.

If it's mainly or entirely a tune session, probably in a public bar with a fair bit of background noise, a free-for-all is sometimes the only feasible option. It may be possible for someone to steer things a bit by inviting players or singers (particularly newcomers) to fill any gaps, but generally these sessions are run by all the participants. It tends to mean that only the louder and more confident singers get to do a song, but this may be all for the best in a crowded room. In such sessions, there's an understanding that everyone can join in if they want to, and less emphasis on solo performance, so it's not really a matter of taking turns.

If, at the other extreme, it's a singaround, mainly unaccompanied and in a separate room, some sort of turn-taking is normal and desirable. If singers don't have any notice of when their turn is coming up, it can induce a certain amount of fluster, so it's best to have a system that gives them a few minutes' notice. The round-the-room system has that advantage. Another option - even more formal but can work well - is to have a blackboard or similar list with names added as people arrive, so they perform in that order and know when their turn is due. This encourages early arrival, and discourages the showoffs who only come to perform and not to listen.

Anything that attempts to combine these two formats may work, but there will be some singers who get fed up listening to tunes and waiting for a chance to sing, and some instrumentalists who don't like songs that they can't play along with, so you may not manage to please everyone.

Oh, and you may need to have a policy on poets and storytellers. I make no recommendations here, I'm just pointing out that they may turn up.

I think anyone setting up a singaround or tunes session needs to be clear in their mind what it's for, and to make this clear to those interested in attending. Then people won't be easily misled or disappointed.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: GUEST,Jim P
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 09:35 AM

My preferred method is none of the above: we call it "Poker Chip Bardic". When everyone arrives, they get three poker chips; white, blue and red. The organizer either starts off herself, or picks someone for a "round." That person throws in their white poker chip into the middle of the room. From there on out, a white poker chip must be thrown into the center of the room to start a song; the thrower may perform himself, may pick someone else to sing, or may request a song that he wishes to hear, or may even just pass (the filk "pick, pass or play").

When all of the white chips are gone, start a new round with blue chips, then red. If someone comes in late, they get a set of chips starting with the current round's color. If you go through all three colors, redistribute chips and start over.

This keeps the spontaneity of "Method 1" alive, while ensuring that no one "hogs the mic" and everyone gets a chance to sing, even the shy ones. It does bear the slight inconvenience of making sure you have enough poker chips before you start, but this hasn't ever been an issue with us.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 10:00 AM

Jesus! You folk like things organised! Probably why I much prefer a tune session with the odd song thrown in nowadays.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Leadfingers
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 10:31 AM

Any Free For All session can risk a pushy character hogging the whole show , so some kind of Organisation IS useful .


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Hamish
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 10:39 AM

I like the allegedly random - which allows a decent MC to avoid getting the two poets/toe-curlers one after the other (or even "wasting" the two really good turns one after the other). It also allows discretion over who gets the extra goes if there are any in the offing and allows them to give preference to the early arrivals ("You only sang to five folks, why don't you have another turn now") and that can be before a late arrival has had a first go.

But it's easier and/or a cop-out to just go round the room.

All imo...

~8^)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 11:35 AM

Depends on the number of singers/players, a group of 8 has a different dinamic from a croud of 20. I much prefer singing sessions, 12 - 15 performers is about right especialy if there are some ballad singers. The perverse notion that every guitar string must be tightened/loosened/changed or tested before playing is a session killer, likewise the unasked for playing allong with a singer. Not to mention or to tollerated the dreaded BOOK of song words. If the singer can't be bothered to learn the words why? should anyone be bothered to listen to them.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Sooz
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 11:36 AM

Now then Breezy, I'm not a teacher now!

Latecomers stit where they can fit in and take their turn when it next comes around to that place in the room. It might be soon or it could be later. I might put a zig or zag in to give them a go out of turn , but then again, I might not!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 12:16 PM

"Jump in" can be a bugger at a mixed session. Naming no particular banjo player, I remember without affention a mixed session being run on "jump-in" when all of John Barden, Wee Jock, and I (none of us backward at coming forward, nor quiet) got separately played over at three different times when trying to start a song. The same banjo-player playing over 9 times is just bloody rude.

If the "chair" spots a latecomer sliding in to the nearest seat to the present song, a quick "skip" may be called for.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 01:06 PM

Our Tony makes sure everyone get to do their song or tune but as far as is possible, knowing the performers, tries to inject variety in the programme by ensuring different items follow one another. I know it can present problems but he very rarely fails.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: The Villan
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 01:08 PM

>>stit<<

Does that mean sit or tit Sooz :-)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: GUEST,passin'by
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 01:37 PM

"Not to mention or to tollerated (sic) the dreaded BOOK of song words. If the singer can't be bothered to learn the words why? should anyone be bothered to listen to them. " (Auldtimer)

Yes


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Zen
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 02:07 PM

Type 1... with light guidance if necessary and encouragement for newcomers/learners.

Zen


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 02:13 PM

Just to pick up on the thing Acorn mentioned above re two turns for duos... what do people think is fair for duos?

I ask because I go regularly to open mics (which have similar playing-turn etiquette issues) with a friend or two. Often it's the case that the organiser allocates every singer/player 2 songs per turn. Sometimes I want to sing with one or both friends as a duo/trio for one song, as well as each of us doing our own solo thing (trad in my case, own songs for the other two).

But the organiser often seems to feel that this joint turn should mean that each of us should give up one of our 2 songs to the joint turn - which seems to me very unfair. I'm generally happy to give up one of my solo songs (in exchange I get the rare pleasure of being accompanied) so the other two can have their 2 solo songs, but even this sometimes seems frowned upon.

What do others do in this situation, or think is fair?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 02:23 PM

I favour the complete free-for-all, with a little discreet light-touch organising from an eminence grise or two, to bring out the best, or the shyest.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 02:59 PM

In many of the singarounds I've been to, the singer using a book was consistently the most interesting. A lot of club singers have VERY small repertoires, and if you're listening to them as a regular, the same 5 songs get a bit old after a year or so.

I'm thinking in particular of one very strong singer who specialized in Victorian music hall ballads, a different one every week. He could really give them welly, and they weren't designed for memorization in the first place. I presume he practiced, but a good singer can virtually sight-read songs in an idiom they know well.

There was a reason why cheap songbooks and broadsides sold like they did. Don't expect me to believe that the people who bought them regarded it as a moral duty never to sing anything from one until they'd memorized it word-perfect.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 03:07 PM

I'm not too keen on the free-for-all; I'm not big on singing over other people, and as an unaccompanied singer I can't start strumming by way of an advance warning. (The 'poker chip' idea would get round this, although I'd imagine it would need to be a fairly small group.) Plus a free-for-all session can be blighted by a single performer whose self-confidence greatly exceeds their ability.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Sooz
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 03:16 PM

I'm half of a duo and we usually decline to do a second song if we are offered one in a singaround. We wait until our turn comes round again.
The matter of occasional duos and trios can be a difficult one but generally there shouldn't be a problem with you joining in with your mate's song and vice versa.
Some good singers have to have their words in front of them but the opposite is much less common. I don't mind singers having the words in a singaround (although I'd prefer them not to) but it drives me mad when they have to shuffle through the book to decide which song to sing when it is their go.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Girl Friday
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 05:50 PM

Our singarounds in Orpington work much like method 5. We choose the first performer and which direction we go in. Usually, they wait to be invited, but when there are just a handful they know when to play. We have one persistantly late individual who has to wait until everyone has done two songs, unless he arrives before the last member does their first song. Singarounds at our other club (Fox And Hounds Kent) works much the same, though noone arrives late.
It can get confusing if people move seats, but I deal with that one by changing the order completely. I'm half a duo too, and we are quite content with one song between us, but are happy to do two, if asked. We have been at singarounds where there has been a band of 6 or more people who have taken one song each. That, I think is totally out of order.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 06:18 PM

We have been at singarounds where there has been a band of 6 or more people who have taken one song each.

What, with the rest joining in each time? That'd be forgivable if their names were John, Paul, George and... well, John, Paul and George (or David, Stephen and Graham) but for ordinary mortals that's so far out of order it's practically coming back.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:10 PM

Sorry, I'm obviously missing something here... if a different person leads on each song, what is wrong with 6 taking one song each? how is that not fair?

Happy to be corrected, but I just don't see it... :)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Snuffy
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 04:20 AM

If each leads on one song that is fair, but if one sings and one accompanies both simes that is one "act" getting two turns.

Should the Treorchy Male Voice Choir get 83 goes, or 20 (1 for each soloist) or one for the whole choir?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: The Villan
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 04:22 AM

I suppose it depends on whether they are classed as individuals or a group.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 04:25 AM

That's a tricky one isn't it. If a six piece band decide they want to be treated as individuals, then I suppose an organiser has to do that, even if the others join in with the songs. The problem comes when they aren't particularly exciting and the assembled throng start to switch off.

They are actually doing six ensemble performances - one way is to let them do two, then let a couple of other performers have a turn then come back to them.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: The Villan
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 04:25 AM

1 for the whole choir.

Anyway you probably wouldn't be able to get 83 in a back room folk club.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Brakn
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 04:31 AM

I did recently see a group of three people get up do three songs (chart hits - not that it matters) with crib sheets. How good was that?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Marje
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 04:36 AM

It's not just about fairness to the singers, it's about fairness to the rest of the company. A duo/trio/quartet doing 2/3/4 times the usual quota of songs (together) will get to sound a bit samey, while the aim of most singarounds is to have variety.
I have to say, though, that groups like this are likely to be better rehearsed and presented than some club singers, and this may be the reason that MCs sometimes give them what seems like more time than their due. It also depends on how many other singers are there - on a thinly-attended night, the arrival of a half-decent duo or group will be very welcome.
I think most groups appreciate that arriving mob-handed does upset the balance of the session, and are happy to be given whatever time can be allocated to them without upsetting the rest.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: freda underhill
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 05:20 AM

I've found different venues and groups of people take on their own style, basically bonding as a group according to the pace of the venue.
I have sessions at my place regularly. It's round the room and everyone gets heard, unless they just want to join in in the background. It's important to have someone keeping an eye on who's next, because there's occasionally someone who tries to sing more than others.

when there are outstanding singers there, I try to make sure they don't do too many requests but get to do their own choices as well. otherwise the session can change from a musical sharing to an on-demand performance.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 05:25 AM

Snuffy

Should the Treorchy Male Voice Choir get 83 goes

How are you going to stop them?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 06:27 AM

How are you going to stop them?

The licensing laws might have a role to play here...


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 07:01 AM

if a different person leads on each song, what is wrong with 6 taking one song each?

It's fair to them as individuals, but for the rest of the room it's effectively a lengthy set by a group with six different lead singers. I reckon they should have dealt with the turn-taking thing by splitting up and dotting themselves around the room - if they're that good at singing together it shouldn't give them any trouble.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 07:47 AM

As it's just a bunch of people sat in a room singing and/or playing I don't suppose the fine details of the format really matters as long as everyone's happy and no-one's getting hurt.

Personally I would add thumbscrews, a rack and a scold's bridle to the proceedings to liven things up a bit. Nothing like the threat of medieval-style torture to keep people on their toes.

Must check the viability of this approach with Les in Chorlton for next month's singaround at the Beech on 7th January...


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 07:55 AM

At the session I organise - not a singaround, incidentally - people are free to start something off as they feel like it, but I make sure that I always start the evening off and that nobody who wants to start a tune gets missed out. A sort of benevolent uncle is how I see myself (I also keep an open tab at the bar for the performers!). The point is that, unless a tune or song is obviously a solo piece and best performed as such, everyone can join in everything. It's a great way of learning tunes.

What is amazing is how a boisterous public bar will suddenly go absolutely quiet when a shy, female voice pipes up unaccompanied. Common sense and kindness always seems to prevail.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 08:56 AM

I prefere the free for all. The bugger that's a hog usually gets the shit thrown at themm if they persist & they either back off or get the cold shoulder skip, the natural consiquience is that they get shunned in time (we have 1 or 2 at my local & they usually get called on when they overdo it. 1 who's a singer/songwriter, not a bad writer either but not a pleasant voice to hear to often but he's been limited because he'll sing the same 5 or 6 night after night if given a free hand, so his hand gets slapped quite often, have to say he takes it in good stride). If run be the group the group or the MC should support & call on any that are shy or have trouble getting in when they haven't been heard from. It's interesting to see how it's handled outside of one's known area, most here seem to be posting from the UK. In the US it seems to be done by most of the methods post above with the exception of the 'poker chip' way, which I'd love to see in action.
As far as tune sessions, here from where I've been it's almost always run by either one or a small core of strong musicians & they usually lead but anyone with the ability is more than welcomed to take the lead role over & pass it around or called on to lead if they haven't & they're good. Singing is generally not encouraged but it does happen.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 09:06 AM

Snuffy - umm, yes, I do see your point! not sure I'd want to listen to 83 (or even 6) solos from same group...

And I do see that other factors must come into it - like how many people in the room, etc.

But the thing is, that I and the particular friend that I go with sing totally different material, and we aren't a duo for most of the time - just at the odd open mic. If we are allowed just one song between us, it doesn't really work - because if it's my song, he's supporting me by accompanying me on a song he'd never otherwise sing, as trad folk isn't his thing, but then he wouldn't get his separate turn to do his own thing (he's a singer-songwriter). As I don't feel it's fair to ask him to sacrifice doing what he loves doing just to accompany me, this therefore means in theory my only option is to always sing alone, in order for us to get separate turns. Which is annoying because it's fun to sometimes be accompanied!

Do you see what I mean?

(This isn't so much of a problem if everyone's getting 2 or 3 songs each; then things tend to be more flexible.)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 09:37 AM

Suegorgeous, I'd say that you're being treated unfairly from the way you lay it out. My wife & I don't normally sing together but I do back her up on some of the songs she does but neither of us ever gets treated as a duo. Because she doesn't sing near as much as I do I'd defere to her if that were the case but it's never happened.
6 poeple in the same group & all of them sing lead I'd have to say they should be handled not as individuals & not as a group but hit each one at different times & spread them out a bit rather than one following right after the other & they should be heard accomanying each other otherwise what's the sense if the whole is better than the seperate parts.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 10:17 AM

scold's bridle to the proceedings to liven things up a bit.

That would be The Clarence then: http://www.myspace.com/scoldsbridleuk - the lovely lasses of The Fylde...

Otherwise...

My favourite sing right now is unsupervised, jump in when you want, but the context wouldn't allow for anything else and it gives our Ross a chance to roll, so who's complaining? Horses for courses! But then again, the whole pub is in on it too. Our local folk club very often employs a roulette wheel policy which I despise; I find I can neither relax or get my shit in order & consequently turn in shite performances and don't enjoy the other singers and come home vowing never to go again. But hey - it is our local folk club & we do live on the same street... A good singaround is both spontaneous and communal (no room for bands; no need of bands) though a good gaffa can be a boon - such as Ron Baxter, who in his legendary sings at The Fylde & Glasson etc. facilitates, and inspires, to perfection! Also, as a Traddy I like Traditional Songs; good choruses; a smallish room to magnify the voices; a half decent beer doesn't hurt, likewise a fine old pub with few concessions to the 21st century. The Beech in Chorlton, The Colpitts in Durham, The Moorbrook in Preston, The Cumberland Arms in Byker...

Actually, in the New Year I'm hoping to set up a monthly / quarterly traditional singaround in Fleetwood once I find a suitable venue. Any ideas??


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 10:33 AM

"Is there a singaround at the Beech next Wednesday? If so, maybe Rachel & Sean will be along with a song or two - weather permitting!"

Indeed their is, Wednesday 7 January in the newly decorated and reupholstered Beech! All welcome.

Also Tuesday 27 January a Beginners Tune Session at the said Beech - more details shortly -Last Chuesday, Chunes at the Beech or some such nonsense

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 10:43 AM

Ah yes - Method 1 and the "pushy performer":

In the presence of some of the best performers in South Yorkshire - viz.. Dave Burland, John Leonard, John Squires, Tom McConville, Dave Deighton, Roy Machin.... one very ordinary singer/guitarist (talent in approx opposite proportion to size of ego) took the opportunity at a singaround session yesterday to sing 10 times as many songs as anyone else (ie - approx 20 to 2) without any regard to any form of folk etiquette or fairness. His attitude - well if there's more than a two second gap after a song then I'm in like flint mate - sod what anybody might think, even to the extent of ignoring anyone else in the process of playing some opening chords and simply carrying on as if it's his concert gig. Folk are too polite - prats like this should be slapped down.

Any session needs an organiser - if they don't get it perfect then so what? At least it avoids the ego-trip trap.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 11:07 AM

Lowden, if he needs a slap then by all means give him what he's got coimng, of course in a verbal & in an appropreate way, he'll ajust if itt comes to him from a few different directions,,,,,and at the same time.


Barry


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 11:12 AM

If a group of 6 'invade' a singaround then (as others have said)it's either 1 group, or six solo singers. If it's one group then 1 or 2 songs should do.
If it's 6 individuals, and the other 5 join them every time, then surely that's a sign that they want to be accompanied. Get out the shakey eggs, the banjos & the kazoos & join in. They might take a hint!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 11:25 AM

I find that I can cope with all the types of singaround/session and usually adopt the "when in Rome" philosophy, but at the "jump in" type, I'm conscious of not wanting to take too many turns so I always tend to jump in after the same performer that I did last time around. I don't know if other people tend to do this, in which case there would seem to be some kind of underlying scheme of organisation under the apparently free flowing format.

Cows always go in to be milked in the same order without being prompted, so do us folkies tend to want some kind of system?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 01:09 PM

Some 'Filk' sessions include the option to pass, pick, or play. This means that if you choose not to perform you can ask to hear a particular performer, or ask if anyone knows (and will perform) a particular song.

Although not at a session, I have seen people arrive at open-mic nights with an entourage who whoop and holler and shout for more from their particular act and then pay no great attention to the rest of the acts. If a few people arrive along with Mum, Aunty Mabel, girlfriends, boyfriends, and several other mates, and each of the groupies takes the opportunity to pick someone from their own crowd then cliques quickly form and fairness goes out of the window.



I like the allegedly random - which allows a decent MC to avoid getting the two poets/toe-curlers one after the other (or even "wasting" the two really good turns one after the other). It also allows discretion over who gets the extra goes if there are any in the offing and allows them to give preference to the early arrivals ("You only sang to five folks, why don't you have another turn now") and that can be before a late arrival has had a first go.

……..or it allows a bad MC discretion to give extra goes to his cronies.



I find that going round the room, with a quick check to see if anyone has been missed out before starting round again, works pretty well.

I like the idea, mentioned above, of drawing numbers from a hat as there is less chance of having to follow on every time from someone who is either so good that it makes you look weak or so bad that the audience has given up and started chatting amongst themselves.

DC


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 01:58 PM

Just off to the singaround - will start the session off then see who next to me - left or right - is ready first. It's they who determine the direction of the circle for the evening.

We now do a once-round with singers there by the 9pm start - then add in later singers in circuit number 2. Eveyone knows the pattern so everyone should know when to be ready for their song.

Duos, by the way get two - as do trios. Bigger than that is by discreson - some groups have the variety - others are best left at two - bringing them in for a third later in the circle for contrast can be better if you still want to be scrupulously fair; ie one song from everyone. We don't generally do play or pick as this can lead to favouritism and resentment.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: BB
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 02:12 PM

As the two parts of a duo and as two solo singers, if we do a song which involves both of us in singing, I would reckon that as one between the two of us in a singaround, but if I'm instrumentally accompanied by my partner on a song, then I would expect him to get a song in the same 'round'.

On one occasion at our club, the MC for the evening used the raffle ticket way of doing it - it made for a very interesting and entertaining evening, although I think the idea of a 'one-song warning' is a good one.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 03:46 PM

The whole question started by this thread is very much a "horses for courses" one, but the ensuing debate has quite rightly highlighted some of the potential pitfalls and inequalities of whichever method (or combination) is adopted.

The duos/etc matter, especially, is an interesting one, and it is especially prone to malpractice.
From experience, how I would see it operating at its fairest is by determining whether those performing are defined as an "act" in its (their) own right:
Assume there's a (fictitious) duo, let's call them John and Jane. Jane's a singer-songwriter, always sings her own songs or a few covers, whatever, but always with John accompanying, John not being a singer or solo performer in his own right. So surely it's fairest to regard the duo as one named "act" on the bill, and thus they get one song per turn round the room, just like each other named "act".
Otherwise, too, if it's one of the familiar situations where there are so many participants that it takes two hours just to get round the room once, it's blatantly unfair on the patient solo performer who may not get to sing again at all...
Sometimes John and Jane are augmented by a fiddle player, Steve. But again that is essentially the same "act". Now if Steve, who happens also to be a gifted session musician, decides to play a set of tunes solo in his own right, then that would legitimately count as a separate "act" with his own "turn" at the singaround or session.
If, however, John and Jane are each solo singers with a different repertoire of an individual or contrasted nature (Tom & Barbara's particular scenario is relevant here), then the case can be made for "one song each" per turn round.
Similarly with a harmony-based singing trio (let's think of one like Craig Morgan Robson, each member of which is a superb solo singer anyway), who might in a singaround situation choose to sing together as an "act" or else choose to sing one song each as a solo - but they wouldn't expect to get to perform two or three songs each "turn" as an automatic right.
Any "act" worth their salt would take a similarly professional and relatively self-effacing attitude, I feel sure.

IMHO, and increasingly, too many "organised" events that are billed as singarounds or singing sessions or "big sings" are being turned into a succession of glorified "guest spots", whether by accident or design (or just plain inefficient MC-ing) - but that's another debate...

Generally I'd agree with previous correspondents on this thread, ie. that the problem lies with the "acts" (or groups of mates) who come in mob-handed, armed with four or five instrument cases (say), they may undertake excessive tuning/getting ready, and then (quite arrogantly) fully expect to be allocated more than one song per "round"... those who use the singaround situation as a strategic "play, then cut and run" and/or a means of getting an easy booking (!)... those who are not prepared to stay and listen to anyone else...

Parity is a wonderful thing. And so is the serendipity of a friendly, well-run and non-competitive singaround.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Girl Friday
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 04:03 PM

Moorley Man- you have taken the trouble to set up a brilliant scenario. It's good when a group drop in to a Festival Singaround, unbooked. It's at the discretion of the MC how many songs/tunes they get.It's even nicer when you haven't been booked to be recognised and given the same number of songs, but it should always be discretionary.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 06:29 PM

Excellent constructive comments so far with no handbags!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Midchuck
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 07:39 PM

Interesting discussion for me, because most of my PERFORMING is done as a member of a trio. And the three members of the trio often show up at the same song circles. (Naturally enough, in the case of the two of us who have been married to one another for 40+ years.) But we all have our own songs that we do; and in trio performances we switch off singing leads. When I go to a song circle, I expect the same number of turns as the others there; not one-third as many simply because I'm thought of in terms of the trio. If one of the other trio members sings, I may play along or sing harmony on the choruses. But it's still that other person's song. We actually try to sit apart from one another in the circle, to make that point more clear.

There are about three groups that regularly go to our twice-monthly circle, and the rule is that we go right around the circle, and every person gets a turn. One of the groups has one member who is very definitely the leader, and does almost all of the lead singing. The other members, when their turn comes up, tend to call songs that that one individual leads, so he may sing three in a row. I can see others getting annoyed by that. I sometimes am myself. But that's something of a different case.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 09:07 PM

Just got back from the singaround (well... a can at a mates on the way home delayed 'Getting Back' a little!!)

Read MorleyMan's new comments and think these say it all - excellent! This certainly would make the basis for an excellent HOW TO RUN A SINGAROUND guide.

Our singaround, by the way, ran smoothly despite many of the regular crew still away doing festives.

We had one (excellent) duo along with seven - eight solo singers and quite a few listerners. Everyone had a song as the circle swept around with no problems/animosity/aggro whatsoever. All listeners were asked if they'de like to contribute - and a brilliant time was had by all.


Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 05:51 AM

On Saturday 17th. January the Lewes Saturday Folk Club runs the long-standing Sussex All-Day singaround at the Royal Oak, Barcombe, East Sussex BN8 5BA, details below. We generally start off with about thirty people in the room and finish with over a hundred.

First we have an hour of informal tunes while people arrive. Then the singing starts, finishing with a good hour of glorious choruses. Ballads & the occasional instrumental party piece are very welcome too.

From noon until 6.00 pm, when we have an hour's break, the format is strict singaround. We have pairs of MCs working 90-minute shifts. One MC announces while the MC's mate moves discreetly round the room gathering names, writing them down and passing them to the MC. This means that names get announced clearly before and after each singer performs, and that people know where they are on the list and when they've got time to have a wee, fag, meal, etc.

After the break we continue the singaround format but make an effort to put on anyone who hasn't sung in the afternoon; the seating order has generally got disrupted by the break. For the final hour or so, the MC(Peter Collins)selects singers who will produce good chorus songs.

The atmosphere is always terrific and everyone's performance is enhanced by the day. It may be that we all get properly warmed up through joining in with choruses and are therefore less likely to hawk and scratch when it's our turn. There is also surprisingly little repetition, although people are coming and going through the day.

SUSSEX All-day SINGAROUND
Saturday 17th. January 2009
11.00 a.m. – 11.00 p.m.
The Royal Oak, High Street, Barcombe (near Lewes)
East Sussex BN8 5BA
http://royaloakbarcombe.co.uk/
Free admission – good pub food on sale all day.
First an hour of informal tunes while people arrive. Then the singing starts, finishing with a good hour of glorious choruses. Ballads & the occasional instrumental party piece will be very welcome too.

ENGLISH TUNES SESSION
Sunday 18th. January 2009
noon - 3.00 p.m.
Elephant & Castle, White Hill, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2DJ
www.elephantandcastlelewes.co.uk
Free admission – good pub food on sale.
Bryan Creer, Dave Earl, Sandra Goddard,
Valmai Goodyear, Suzanne Higgins,
Robert O'Mahony, Diane & Steve Nevill,
George Oakley, Derek Seed.
(01273) 476757 e-mail: valmaigoodyear@aol.com
www.lewesarmsfolkclub.org/

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Girl Friday
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM

Ian's point of asking everyone if they wish to do something is one I overlooked in my posting. Yes, always ask everyone, someone may have been wanting to do something, but not had the nerve to ask, and it's often well worth listening to.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: jacqui.c
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 08:26 AM

We were favouring the round the room method but it led, in a small group, to a lot of chat between numbers, about the song just sung or just general chat.

After one evening when only about five songs were sung in total and since we get little chance for a lot of our preferred music in this area we changed to the jump in method. It works quite well, again in a small group, and if there is too much of a gap SINSULL starts singing 'Mexicalli rose', which soon persuades someone to begin a song.

It also means that anyone who tends to want to tune up an instrument before they start their next song, or wade through a book deciding what to sing, has to change their ways a bit as the pauses between songs that might arise from the round the room method just ain't there!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Barry Finn
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 10:13 AM

I've a question, please bare with me & I'm sorry if this might be a bit 'off thread'.

Most in this thread seem to be from the European side of the ocean & there's another thread about the use of books, in perticular "Rise Up Singing", in sings that's mostly posing bu us in the US. My question is (& please answer to this thread if you'd prefere) Hommage to Rise Up Singing, do you at your sings/singaround/singing clubs have a lot of folks that sing from notes & books & if you do is it a problem or deteremental to your sings?
thanks

Now please don't let me interrupt, go back to your interesting topic.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: melodeonboy
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 10:32 AM

I'm for the round the room irrespective format. It's easy to run without having to take tally of who arrived when and how many songs they've each sung since. It means that all who wish to perform (even the ones I might not paricularly like!) get a fair crack of the whip.

Regarding the issue of duos, trios etc., this shouldn't really be a problem. I attend some singarounds with my folk band, which is a trio. We generally get one go each. Each go can be taken as an individual (solo or chorus), as a full band, employing only two members of the band or one or more members of the band performing with other performers not in the band. The possibilities are endless! On particularly busy singarounds we often limit ourselves to two or even one to avoid others waiting for ages or even missing out.

As for Marje's comment: "A duo/trio/quartet doing 2/3/4 times the usual quota of songs (together) will get to sound a bit samey", this shouldn't really be the case (note that I said "shouldn't" rather than "isn't"!). If a band can't manage two or three songs without sounding "samey", how would they handle a half/full gig?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: MickyMan
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 10:55 AM

I'm toying with starting up a singaround type session in my area (it would be my 3rd try in doing this over the last dozen years or so!) We're kind of out of the way in the suburbs of CT-USA and so our issue has generally been a lack of contributing regulars. All of this discussion is very helpful to me as I contemplate what would be the best format.
   Looking over the original five methods and then reading the subsequent entries ... I'm still sort of gravitating to method 5 (see the following copy/paste in brackets)

[I'm going to put forward a "Method 5", which I don't think I've ever come across, but which might work. It's like Method 4, but with a slight difference. When a singer/player had finished their slot, they then go onto the end of the 'list' again, should they wish to stay and do another song, and anyone who comes in after them has to wait until their second turn before doing their song/tune. This would avoid the situation where someone gets in at the start, sings in front of three people, then has to wait for the whole session, and might get a second turn if they are lucky, whereas someone can come in half way through, sing r to a crowded room, then bugger off. Once again, it needs a good organiser.]

   Around here at non-traditional "Open-mics" lists are generally kept and adhered to. People often play and then leave soon after - which makes me partial to the re-sign up idea stated above.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds/sessions -best format
From: Stringsinger
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 06:04 PM

In Los Angeles, Calif in the 1970's, a format was chosen that was very successful and
was instituted by an organization called "Songmakers". There were several different
sessions across the city at the time. This is the strategy that they employed.

A participant would do a solo and the lead a song. When the song was lead, the option
was to join in instrumentally or vocally being guided by the leader.

Every person that evening who wanted to could lead one song and sing one song solo.
The meetings were every week and a great source of entertainment. Some of the performers were quite good but everyone had a chance to participate. A solo could be
prepared for each week and the reaction noted.

Being limited in this fashion was an antidote to run-away egos that are so often not
easily regulated by the aforementioned methods.

I have been in situations however where a singer has taken a lot of time to the exclusion of others. In this situation, a "set" is not required and after a series of weeks a "set" program can be ascertained by the audience reaction to songs that are tried out. It's kind
of like a workshop without any formal critique.

It's interesting that this organization of singers/players is analogous to the way in which
different systems of governing function. Some are more arbitrary than others.

My view has always been that of a jazz player. I tend to live for the musical inspiration of
the moment rather than be in an overly structured environment with those who are not
on a frame of reference of music making. Oddly, this each-one-sing-one-lead-one served to unite the "songmakers" in the room.

Frank Hamilton

Frank Hamilton


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