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When NOT to sing

Zimmerman 30 Apr 09 - 06:09 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Apr 09 - 06:12 AM
Marje 30 Apr 09 - 06:23 AM
Will Fly 30 Apr 09 - 06:30 AM
Acorn4 30 Apr 09 - 06:38 AM
GUEST 30 Apr 09 - 06:40 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Apr 09 - 08:31 AM
jacqui.c 30 Apr 09 - 08:43 AM
SINSULL 30 Apr 09 - 08:44 AM
The Sandman 30 Apr 09 - 08:56 AM
Bryn Pugh 30 Apr 09 - 08:57 AM
jacqui.c 30 Apr 09 - 09:06 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Apr 09 - 10:08 AM
Zen 30 Apr 09 - 10:21 AM
Stringsinger 30 Apr 09 - 10:36 AM
Marje 30 Apr 09 - 10:43 AM
MMario 30 Apr 09 - 11:12 AM
Amos 30 Apr 09 - 11:24 AM
Big Mick 30 Apr 09 - 11:33 AM
High Hopes (inactive) 30 Apr 09 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 30 Apr 09 - 12:42 PM
The Sandman 30 Apr 09 - 12:49 PM
Big Mick 30 Apr 09 - 12:52 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Apr 09 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,mg 30 Apr 09 - 01:26 PM
paula t 30 Apr 09 - 01:27 PM
dick greenhaus 30 Apr 09 - 01:30 PM
MMario 30 Apr 09 - 01:33 PM
MMario 30 Apr 09 - 01:49 PM
Surreysinger 30 Apr 09 - 02:12 PM
Marje 30 Apr 09 - 02:13 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Apr 09 - 02:27 PM
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High Hopes (inactive) 04 May 09 - 01:59 PM
Jim Carroll 04 May 09 - 02:49 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 May 09 - 03:06 PM
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Richard Bridge 04 May 09 - 04:23 PM
Bill D 04 May 09 - 05:33 PM
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Jim Carroll 04 May 09 - 08:39 PM
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GUEST 04 May 09 - 11:16 PM
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mg 18 May 09 - 12:33 AM
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Marje 18 May 09 - 04:33 AM
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Subject: When NOT to sing
From: Zimmerman
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:09 AM

Is it OK for audience members to start joining in uninvited during a song?

It's annoying enough when someone nearby starts doing it in an amplified concert setting but I've also seen it happen to session singers as to well known performers in folk clubs.

I recently saw a someone singing a reasonably familiar song but with adventurous phrasing who was completely flummoxed when someone insisted on accompanying her word for word but totally out of sync.

I suppose some people get carried away and do it without thinking but I suspect it's mostly show-offs who want everyone to notice that they know the words.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:12 AM

No
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Marje
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:23 AM

I don't usually mind if it happens when I'm singing - I can't recall it ever being at odds with how I wanted to sing the song, or drowning me out (which is not an easy thing to do). But I can imagine it could be a problem if a tactless or insensitive audience member were to bellow out their favourite version without listening to mine.

In most cases the singer makes it clear whether they welcome such participation. If I want or expect joining-in, I can usually indicate - with hands, eyebrows, eye contact or a smile - that this is welcome. If the singer is performing in a self-absorbed way, or tending to syncopate the rhythms or improvise with the melody, best leave them to it, IMO. You need to take your cue from the performer.

I find that amplification ususally has the opposite effect - the performer sometimes asks people to join in a chorus but it's not very satisfying to do so when the amplification drowns out the audience and you can't hear anyone but the soloist anyway.

Marje


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:30 AM

I usually invite audience participation when I think it's appropriate. I have been known to say, "you can join in if you want to - but I'd rather you didn't." Most people get the joke...


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:38 AM

It's normally OK and all part of the spirit. We do sometimes have a bit of a problem with Tim Laycock's tune to the "Row On" lyrics - we play it with guitar and concertina slightly faster than when it is sung unaccompanied, and on a number of occasions there has been a screech of brakes on the concertina when we,ve hit the chorus.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:40 AM

See previous thread: Concert Etiquette


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 08:31 AM

I wonder if people can answer a few questions that have always puzzeled me on this subject.
1   Why do people feel they need to joint in with a singers songs unasked?
2   Do they feel they have the right to do so automatically, if so, why?
3   Does this right aapply to all songs - if not, which songs are exempt
4   Don't they consider it the height of bad manners to put the onus on the singer to ask them not to join in?
5   Don't they think that people who 'pop their cheeks' on certain songs should have their fingers removed surgically - without anesthetic
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: jacqui.c
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 08:43 AM

Jim - from a personal point of view I do find, when listening to someone singing a song that I like, that the urge to sing along is there. Don't know why - it just is.

Mostly I resist it or sing along under my breath so not to disturb the rest of the listeners, who, in the circles I run in, are disturbed enough already.

As a singer I don't mind others joining in, so long as we're all, literally, singing off the same sheet. It does get perturbing when I am singing something with myriad versions, to have someone singing another version over mine!

Never heard of popping the cheeks - where does that come from?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: SINSULL
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 08:44 AM

I think a lot depends on the performer. At house concerts, usually, the performers welcome the harmonies. When they don't want anyone to sing along or have arranged a "different" version, they say so.

I am not a strong singer and have to admit I am thrown when a strong singer insists on guiding me to sing it their way. Doesn't happen often and I believe it is done kindly.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 08:56 AM

I dont mind,I like to see people enjoying themselves.its never been a problem for me,but then Iam easy going.
no one has ever popped their cheeks at me,a few haved popped the question.
I havent seen many streakers in folk clubs lately either.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 08:57 AM

AFAIK, the (IMO extremely rude) popping of cheeks arises where a singer in singing "Pleasant and Delightful", in particular

" A ring from his finger he instantly drew . . . "

and I suppose the popping of the cheeks is, in the minds of those who do so (which presupposes a mind) symbolic of your man "popping the question".

Childish - about as childish as those who insist on improvising in the Manchester Rambler

" . . . but I am a free man on Sunday",

and you'll always get one fool or more giving it

"and Saturday and sometimes Friday night".


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: jacqui.c
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 09:06 AM

It's worse, when singing The Ash Grove, to have idiots sniggering and singing the alternative words, loud eonough to be heard.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 10:08 AM

No answers so far -
A supplementary question - just in case somebody has the bottle to answer the first ones.
If Alistair Anderson or Tony Hall turned up at your club would you feel free to take out your guitars, concertinas, euphoniums..... whatever, and accompany them - if not, why not?
Jacqui, with resect - you might not mind people joining in - others do.
Should it not be a case of not doing so unless you are invited to?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Zen
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 10:21 AM

It's worse, when singing The Ash Grove, to have idiots sniggering and singing the alternative words, loud eonough to be heard.

Or even when playing it as a rather good tune.

Zen


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Stringsinger
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 10:36 AM

Yes. It means they like the song and want to be involved. Why be precious about it?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Marje
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 10:43 AM

I think we're talking about a range of settings and situations which vary quite a bit. At one end there's the large, formal concert with a Big Name who will in most cases be amplified, and thus less likely to invite or encourage joining in, and it's less likely to happen anyway. At the other end of the continuum, there are informal singarounds and house parties where a number of people get together to sing. In these circumstances, one person may lead a song, but joining-in is expected and encouraged - it's a very natural form of human social activity, and more or less the vocal equivalent of the open music session in a pub.

In between these extremes there are all sorts of other situations where singing occurs - folk clubs, festivals, singing days or weekends, private parties, etc. It's in these in-between situations that people may not share the same expectations, and misunderstandings may occur. Some events are set up with the expectation that everyone may sing if they wish (you try telling 'em not to join in at the Anchor Middle bar at Sidmouth!), while others may consist of a succession of mini-performances or party-pieces by individuals or small groups, and attentive silence is expected.

I really don't see how either of the extreme positions ("no one has a right to join in a song with another person unless explicitly invited"; or "anyone should feel free to join in with another singer unless asked not to") could be made to apply to all situations. People just have to use sensitivity and common sense, and not get too upset if others don't interpret the "rules" in the same way.

Marje


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: MMario
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 11:12 AM

You know - people do tend to object if others join in singing; but there are a GREAT many musicians who will start chording along to a singer without asking....and most are shocked if you mention it may not be desired or desirable.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Amos
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 11:24 AM

Chacun a son mauvais gout, mate; if they're tiddly, they may be oblivious to the nuances of good conduct. In the long run, more singing is better in sum total, I am sure of that!



A


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 11:33 AM

You know, Jim, I get where you are coming from on this. I do find your tone a bit strident, but I figure that is because it irritates you. I will give a couple of examples both ways.

Where it really bothers me is when folks don't pay attention to the arrangement the singer is singing. My phrasing is such that enunciate in ways that bring out what I think the song is trying to say. It is my arrangement, not necessarily the one most folks are familiar with. A savvy audience, if they feel the need to sing along, would listen to what I am doing and then try to fit in. Another thing that is a bit bothersome is when singing a ballad, and someone in the audience sings the verses. I sure don't mind when they join in on the chorus, provided they listened and understand my version, but common courtesy would be to leave the verses to the singer. It is, after all, his/her performance.

The other pet peeve is when someone is so insistent that theirs is the "right way" to sing a song, and insist on singing over the top of the performer the "right way". This really is just a variation of what I have already mentioned, but it is incredibly rude.

The opposite of this is when you are performing for a very savvy bunch of talented folkies (such as the FSGW, or the FSNY), and they listen, and then fill in just the right harmonies and actually complement what you are doing. I know that when I do a mini concert at one of these gatherings, and this special moment occurs it just reduces me to goosebumps. You ever seen mass goosebumps on a fine doorful of a fella like meself? That is somthing to write home about....***chuckle***.

So I get what you are on about, and for the most part I agree. If you are listening to a singer, remember the performance is theirs, and have a bit of courtesy.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 12:40 PM

Some people have problem with audience participation I don't. That's my answer


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 12:42 PM

I started singing a ballad the other night and someone joined in and started singing the same ballad word for word. I had to stop and ask him who was singing - him or me? I happen to think that ballad performances, especially, are very personal in terms of phrasing, pace, ornamentation etc., etc. - and I would never dream of joining in on anyone elses performance.

I also get irritated by chorus singing - particularly 'harmonisers' - all that dreary bellowing - why must everything be slowed down to a horrible dirge?

I also think that people must learn to distinguish between choruses and refrains. Just because a line or phrase repeats isn't, in my opinion, an invitation for the whole audience to jump in and 'harmonise' it! Many ballads have refrains (and NOT choruses) - it's the repitition which can give the ballad an incantatory feel and the spell can be broken by insensitive 'harmonisation'.

I sometimes think that many habitual 'harmonisers' don't actually 'get' folk song. They seem to think that it is about the overall 'sound' (as in much pop or even classical music) whereas folk song is about narrative and melody. If you add too many voices (or instruments) you can lose the story and 'fill in' all of the, often very beautiful intervals, in the tunes.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 12:49 PM

marje,thankyou for an excellent post.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 12:52 PM

I had one happen to me at The Getaway last year. I sang a song that I often sing, during a song circle. Another of the participants (a good friend of mine) apparently felt like the song was his. He has a powerful voice, and he insisted on singing over the top of me, even though his version and mine have differences. It was so annoying, and really bothered me. I have a distinctive way of doing the song, and felt the effect I was after was ruined by this. He's a good enough friend that I didn't say anything, but I really felt that this was a dramatic lack of courtesy.

Mick


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 01:19 PM

Sorry folks,
People are welcome to join in with my singing uninvited when they and I are jarred - which would certainly not be at a club - o/w wait till you're asked.
Where do you draw the line - I've had Shimrod's experience of an egotistical turd making a ballad a singalong on a number of occasions.
You're either running a singers club or a Palace of Varieties where everybody joins in.
Most of the residents I was involved with made it a practice to include chorus songs; where these were not straightforward we even taught them to encourage audiences.
It's not just a case of exhibitionists showing us they know the words; it's the audiences who don't listen to what and how the singer is singing - also a regular occurrence.
Walter Pardon was forced to drop several songs from his repertoire because of audiences who sang loud harmonies and dragged the speed out - which totally threw him - arrogant bad manners.
The fact that nobody has even attempted to answer the questions I asked is proof enough for me that this is a bad practice - clubs who allow it should come with a health warning.
The logic is that singers have to demand the right to sing solo and (Marje) the idea that there is one rule for a named guest and another for a rank-and-file resident is elitism run mad.
Bloody right it annoys me Mick
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 01:26 PM

I think there are cultural differences...the more or less American way that I am familiar with is to have group singing, let's sing something we all know etc. Other traditions listen respectfully to one singer. Perhaps you are from that tradition.

You are the singer. Set your rules and don't expect others to know what they are in advance. I expect people to sing along with me if they know the words, but to let me set the rhythm, melody, words etc. The singer alongs should be subservient except in cases where the person singing absolutely can not carry the tune and needs lots of help.

Just announce your preference, preferably in advance of people paying money to see you, if they pay, so they can make an informed choice.

They are not being rude, etc. They are following a different set of rules that they go by. mg


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: paula t
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 01:27 PM

I like to hear people enjoying themselves.We usually invite people to join in whenever they like. I can't remember having a problem with anyone being antisocial for long - because there's usually some communication from the rest of the audience if it happens.
I tend to find that people don't join in the softer ballads.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 01:30 PM

There's a difference between a sing and a performance---one that too many "performers" don't recognize. I, personally, don't tend to do singalong-type material, but if someone knows the words to what I'm singing and wants to join in, fine.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: MMario
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 01:33 PM

1   Why do people feel they need to joint in with a singers songs unasked?

Because they enjoy doing it and that is useually what they are present for, entertainment

2   Do they feel they have the right to do so automatically, if so, why?

Obviously they do feel the right; why? I think it's culture since so many people grow up singing to radios, tv, record players, and now ipods, etc, etc.


3   Does this right aapply to all songs - if not, which songs are exempt

one they like, sure.

4   Don't they consider it the height of bad manners to put the onus on the singer to ask them not to join in?

nope.

5   Don't they think that people who 'pop their cheeks' on certain songs should have their fingers removed surgically - without anesthetic

have no idea what you mean by this.

As far as your supplementary question - those people who do so will do so usually no matter who is performing. I wouldn't - but I can't play an instrument.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: MMario
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 01:49 PM

I was going to say; I tend to mouth words along with a performer when I am enjoying a song; and have actually been surprised at the number of performers who have noticed and encouraged me to sing out.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Surreysinger
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 02:12 PM

Before I actually started singing solo in public myself I was given to understand that it was polite practice to listen to the verses, and join in with the choruses ... but no more than that. A practice I normally adhere to, unless invited to "join in if you know it" by the singer.

Since I have started singing out myself I can see why it is rude to do otherwise. I have invested a fair bit of time (usually) in coming to grips with a song, it's meaning, it's emotional content, and the way best to present it (obviously that particular aspect is always going to be a subjective and very personal thing). The song has become very personal to me, and when I sing it I am concentrating on many facets of it - meaning, content, breathing, phrasing, best way of delivering it. I had an experience some months ago of standing up to present a serious and sad ballad, and had got half way through it... arriving at a very emotional point I was suddenly beset by what I can only describe as a strident mooing from the front row. One of the audience had decided to join in with me . Firstly, it threw me, and I promptly forgot my next line; secondly, it ruined the mood for me and chucked me out of the song (so to speak), and I spent the next three verses listening to the lowing and mooing getting noisier. It added nothing to my presentation, but it certainly added to my irritation levels! On yet another occasion I was delivering a slightly more well known song, which hopefully I had crafted and made my own, only to find an experienced singer, relatively well known in the area as a semi-pro, suddenly joining in with me - with bad harmonies. Again, irritation city... I had worked hard to make the song (not a chorus item) mine, and the delivery of it had been carefully thought out. Her insertion into it completely broke it's mood.

As far as I am concerned, it's a very rude thing to do and an absolute no no ... and there should be absolutely no need for the singer to tell people not to join in ! Good manners should tell them that.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Marje
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 02:13 PM

When the Young Coppers performed on stage at Dartmoor Folk Festival last year, they were visibly moved and delighted to see and hear many of the the audience joining in their songs and knowing all the words, and afterwards they said how much they'd enjoyed hearing the songs come back to them from the crowd. It obviously meant a lot to them to see that these songs that they'd learned within the family were known and loved by so many other people hundreds of miles from their home ground.

It's be a sad old state of affairs we'd reached if every time anyone started to sing, even in an informal setting, nobody else joined in unless specifically asked. Singing together (and yes, in harmony sometimes) is older than civilisation and happens all over the world wherever people gather to work, march, dance or just enjoy themselves.

And Jim, it's not a mattter of elitism, it's about the formality or informality of the occasion. I have sometimes taken part in informal sessions at a bigger event where eminent singers and musicians were present, and where everyone joined in songs or tunes as it seemed appropriate, but when those same performers got up on a different occasion to give a concert performance or a guest spot, we would listen in respectful silence unless given some cue that we should join in.

Marje


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 02:27 PM

Mario
1   Don't people enjoy listening to other singers - or is their only enjoment in listening to themselves?
2   What right does a performer have?
3   So if I decide to sing Lord Gregory I can expect a roomful of people joining in?
4   Sorry - we have conflicting ideas on good manners as well as performances.
5   See Bryn Pugh's posting - or is it the bit about 'without anesthetic' you don't understand?
Supplementary   I live in a town that is bristling with magnificent fiddlers, pipers, concertina players, flute players.... you name it - you can't throw a stone without hitting a skilled musician - please feel free to stay away, and I promise not to trespass on your Brave New World.
Mick
"but I really felt that this was a dramatic lack of courtesy."
Why - he's only doind what you appear to elieve is acceptible
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: PoppaGator
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 02:40 PM

I love to sing along, but I realize that every situation is different. Sometimes I sense that audience participation would be out of the question; other times I feel that it would be OK, and proceed as the spirit moves me.

I'm sure I've been wrong on occasion, and sung when unwelcome. I don't think that's happened too often, though ~ I believe that I usually read the mood correctly, and stifle myself unless I'm pretty confident that my input will be welcome.

When I'm the one performing, I always welcome participation (although I might not always say so explicitly). I have absolutely no worries that my voice would be drowned out: I was born loud, and I learned to project effectively during several years of full-time street performance. So, I'm confident that I can out-sing just about anybody ~ especially when I'm the only one armed with a microphone!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 02:53 PM

1   Don't people enjoy listening to other singers - or is their only enjoment in listening to themselves?

There are not that many singers that many times that I want to hear solo. I far prefer a group or trio or audience etc. This is not an either/or question. Another answer could be do they enjoy multiple voices or solo voices.

2   What right does a performer have?

The right to his/her own preferences, clearly stated, preferably in advance, if it doesn't conflict mightily with a group that has already evolved into a different set of expectations, in which case, don't join the group if you are too distant to their standard practices.

3   So if I decide to sing Lord Gregory I can expect a roomful of people joining in?

My rule of thumb is if I know the song I will sing along. I sing quietly so hopefully it isn't a problem. If you want to stump the band, pick something really really obscure and hope it is my bad hair day.

4   Sorry - we have conflicting ideas on good manners as well as performances.

of course. That is what cultural differences are. It is like saying, those awful Brits, driving on the wrong side of the road. Don't they know better?

5   See Bryn Pugh's posting - or is it the bit about 'without anesthetic' you don't understand?

No idea what this means either but it could hurt.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: MMario
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 02:55 PM

Jim - you seem to believe I answered the question in a personal manner - I answered them in the generic, as you asked them.

In response to your response:

1   Don't people enjoy listening to other singers - or is their only enjoment in listening to themselves?

they enjoy SINGING; and they enjoy singing w/ others.


2   What right does a performer have?

practically none in the eyes of the public. The public doesn't respect a performers private life, why would you expect it of the performers public life?

3   So if I decide to sing Lord Gregory I can expect a roomful of people joining in?

If people know it and enjoy it, yes.

4   Sorry - we have conflicting ideas on good manners as well as performances.

see above. as I said, I answered for "them" not me. If they considered it the height of bad manners they wouldn't do it, now would they?


5   See Bryn Pugh's posting - or is it the bit about 'without anesthetic' you don't understand?

I don't understand what you mean by "popping cheeks" I don't think I;'ve ever seen a behaviour that could be described that way.


Supplementary   I live in a town that is bristling with magnificent fiddlers, pipers, concertina players, flute players.... you name it - you can't throw a stone without hitting a skilled musician - please feel free to stay away, and I promise not to trespass on your Brave New World.


Again - I was answering in the generic, not the individaul ; You DON'T Think that people who habitually exhibit certain behaviors will continue to exhibit them?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 03:45 PM

If a song is well known, it may be perceived as the common property of some or all of the people present and therefore legitimate to join in with.

I prefer to sing songs that otherwise won't be heard because either they are not sung at all (as far as I know) by anyone else in that particular place or they are only sung in completely different versions. Despite that, I sometimes notice that someone else knows the song and is joining in. I find that disconcerting, but not because it affects my singing: only because I realise that it is better known than I thought it was.

Richard


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 03:53 PM

Reading the above reminds me why we don't go to folk clubs and sessions - we might meet the people who have posted above!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Musket
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 04:01 PM

If I get up and sing, I acknowledge I am trying to entertain them, so they are in the driving seat.

If I want things my way, I could always sing to the plants at home.

Yeah, it is a bit of a bummer playing a complicated jig on a mandolin and the clapping in time drowning out the sound, but if they wanted to hear the tune, they wouldn't clap. Hence, their enjoyment is providing a clapping sound, not the technical merit of a jig.

their night, not mine.

An interesting analogy being when I was a t school, the music teacher gave us a score to follow whilst he played the piece on a record player, we had to follow the score with our finger. If we were not on the correct bit when he came walking round, we were in trouble.

Took me years to start actually appreciating Mozart and Beethoven. Not until I could appreciate them on my terms.

Hence, I always accept I am only providing entertainment on my audience's terms, not my own.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 04:02 PM

This whole conversation seems to flow around the fundamental idea that folk music is divided between performers and listeners. Somehow, the community aspect of music seems to be forgotten. Not that people have to sing along on every song, but unless the singer is singing at the top of their lungs, I am always pleased to see it.
(Besides, if I forget somw words, I know who to ask.)

Over the years, I've seen performers who resent people singing along on the chorus. Hey, dummy, that's why they're called choruses. The only problem I've ever had is in a health care center where I sing once a month. There is a woman there in a wheel chair who used to sing leads in her church choir, and when I do He Knows How Much We Can Bear, she sings along at the top of her lungs, with prhasing very different than mine. At first, I found it very distracting, but Now I see how completely engrossed she is in singing the song with her head tilted back and her eyes closed. She is transported back to a more joyful time in her life and her face lights up. Who am I to begrudge her singing along, even if it is distracting?

Other than that one situation, I see people singing along on songs they know that don't have a chorus. They're singing along softly, and I ma happy to see it.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 04:08 PM

One good rule some groups have is to not follow a regular song with a parody of it.

I think we are far too polite in some of these situations and not forthright enough about our preferences. There are situations I want to avoid on the very few per year musical events I can attend.generally a music camp or two. I don't want the blue books, I don't want the long dreary solo songs, I don't want silly songs or parodies. So I try to be very honest now at camps etc...at such and such a time some of us will be in such and such a place (and not hiding in some obscure building) doing this sort of stuff. We won't go around in a circle and it is survival of the fittest. We won't chit chat and we won't turn to a page in a book at anyone's request. Sometimes you get the best music of a weekend that way, sometimes no one comes at all, but it is based on honesty as opposed to being polite and then sneaking away with like-minded people. And I am definitely in the chorus in these situations and not a leader in any way. mg


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 04:27 PM

Best not come to our club Jim, we positively encourage it! If performers aren't happy with it ,and I have never met one yet who has objected, then that's ok, I wont' book them again . We have some of the finest singers around in our audience, performers come by invitation to our club and not the other way round. Talking during the songs however, is a definitely no no.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 04:42 PM

I am with mg, Rasmussen, and MMario on this. The best feeling in the world is the wall of sound on a song that all will do with you. Sure, it needs to be your version, but musicians listen, don't they?

As for the rest, I am grossly envious. I am acutely aware of my limitations. It must be wonderful to be so aware of your superiority that the rest cannot and must not join in with you.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: curmudgeon
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 04:49 PM

The best time not to sing is when it's not your turn, usually.

There are many songs, from my experience mostly American, that call for group singing - mostly hymns, gospel and spirituals, and play-party, and some union songs/anthems. These are not the songs I sing.

If I'm doing a song with a chorus, I encourage participation. Otherwise, no help wanted. There are exceptions. Linn knows many of my songs, and how I sing them, and can join in tastefully with me. Jeri also can do this with a few.

Essentially, I'm with Jim Carroll on this one. Excessive voices and instruments can easily ruin a song, especially if the me-too group doesn't know what they're singing or what they're singing about. And don't let me get started on percussion "things."

It's one thing if you're sitting around with good friends at someone's home, but another if you're at a session where there are people paying for drinks who have come to listen.

Now if those who have to, sing along, and the singer and the listeners can't hear them, is there any harm done?

Just my opinion - Tom


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 05:14 PM

So let's see what we've got:
We no longer have the choice of the music we wish to listen to because organisers have allowed folk clubs to become dustbins for whatever people now choose to call folk.
Whatever is performed there is no loger guaranteed to be of a listenable standard because they have accepted that clubs are now a place were singers and non-singers are allowed to practice in public.
Even if you, by the slimmest chance, happen to find a club presenting the music you want at a reasonanle standard, you're not allowed to listen to it in peace because of the droning of a bunch of self-obsessed pratts who haven't got the good manners to listen to a performer without feeling the urge to show how clever they are.
Nice to know our music is in safe hands!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,CupOfTea, no cookies
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 05:46 PM

It's uncomfortable straddling the fence on this issue. I'm right up there with Marje's comment:

"I really don't see how either of the extreme positions ("no one has a right to join in a song with another person unless explicitly invited"; or "anyone should feel free to join in with another singer unless asked not to") could be made to apply to all situations."

Perzactly. And I tend to love most of all the performers and groups who mix it up in a concert, so that in a set there might be the entire gamut of:--Hush up and listen to this hair raising ballad--sing along on this old chestnut everyone knows --join in on this chorus--tap your feet to this jig, but we might change time signature on you--Song you know, but played in a whole different way. Perhaps these are performers for a sophisticated audience who can take a hint about when to sing and when to not?

I think of other audiences whose previous concert experiences were in the vein of Pete Seeger or Clancy & Makem, where singing along was nigh onto mandatory. Or they're rabid fans of a particular artist and know every word and nuance - of the original - and think their love of the song necessitates their joining in, even when it's another performer doing the song, in a different style or phrasing. I've BEEN these people. And then been sensible enough to pick up the cues from the audience of what is appropriate to THAT concert. Folk music tends to draw a fair number of people whose social skills will never attain that, and sometimes need to be told, repeately. Kindly, but repeatedly. A good performer can do that telling in a subtle way. I truly wonder how much of the rudeness of singing along inappropriately springs from the current culture of uninhibited cellphone conversations in vastly inappropriate places and situations?

In non concert singing sessions I find myself vastly annoyed by the trend toward sessions where every song is expected to be something every one can sing and play on, precluding learning new songs, (or not doing anything that isn't in the "blue book" ) I want to smack the dorks who don't understand the concept of acapella "but, I can tell what the chords are!" I so miss being part of sessions that were a mix of singing along, singing choruses, listening, being bored and wandering off for a drink, being astonished at someone's brilliance or enraptured by a new song.

I figure you cherish the times when you are in a singing or listening situation where everyone is on the same wavelength about who is singing and why & do what you can to make those happen more often than not.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Ref
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 05:54 PM

Depends on the situation, of course, but normally I'd avoid it unless the performer says it's OK. If I were in a club where it appeared the practice was to join in, I would. I presume we're talking about paid performers here.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 05:59 PM

"We have some of the finest singers around in our audience ..."

Yes, we've got some fine singers at the club I go to as well. But, generally speaking they also have good manners, and moderately sized egos, and let everyone have their turn.

Occasionally, when they've been particularly moved by a performance of a well known song, they might join in - but joining in (muscling in?) on every song is not a habit.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Ebor_fiddler
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:02 PM

Re Jim's comment above - "they have accepted that clubs are now a place were singers and non-singers are allowed to practice in public". That's why we started the clubs in the first place, back in the 60's - we were pleasantly surprised when people came just to listen!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: curmudgeon
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:12 PM

Don't get too worked up, Jim. At least eleven of those posting here are American, or living here; no threat to British Folk Clubs. And having sung with most of them, I know they're a good lot.

I really wish that you could cross the pond for one of our sessions. You'd get to hear songs with great choruses sung by all, other songs without, but which allowed tasteful participation by the instrumentalists, and ballads, with a semi-quiet room of listeners (it is in a pub) - Tom Hall


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:16 PM

I think there are cultural differences...the more or less American way that I am familiar with is to have group singing, let's sing something we all know etc. Other traditions listen respectfully to one singer. Perhaps you are from that tradition.
mg; 30 Apr 09 - 01:26 PM

Given that Mudcat is an international discussion forum, it's not surprising that people sometimes are speaking from different cultural traditions. Setting aside the fact that my African American traditions values singing along more than many other traditions,it seems that Americans (from the USA and from Canada?) are more open to people singing along with a performer at more "informal" concerts than are people from the UK. Is that a fair statement?

I'm more interested in the differences in points of view about this question within the same country (for point of reference I'm talking about Great Britain)

If for instance both Jim Carroll and Linda Kelly are in the same nation, what then accounts for their different takes on this question? Is it just differences in personality? Assuming that both of these members are British (sorry i don't know that), is it possible that Linda's folk club's position on audience participation in the singing is the result of their adhering to an old tradition within that nation and Jim is adhering to another old tradition within the same nation? Or is Linda's folk club adopting a more American way of audience etiquette? Or is this difference because of age, or because of the differences in the region of the country?

Or is none of this central to the discussion?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: skipy
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:54 PM

When not to sing?
Perhaps in any venue where everyone is better than you & can't wait to point out the fact that they are! e.g. anywhere where "folkies" gather!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 08:54 PM

Azizi

it seems that Americans (from the USA and from Canada?) are more open to people singing along with a performer at more "informal" concerts than are people from the UK. Is that a fair statement?

No it isn't. It should be born in mind that Jim lives in the Republic of Ireland which is not only a separate nation but is culturally different from the UK. Linda is actively involved in the UK folk scene as, in fact, am I whereas Jim rarely goes to UK clubs and gains most of his information at second hand, quite a lot of it by a highly selective reading of Mudcat posts filtered through his own prejudices.

I wouldn't bother were it not for two things. First, I believe that folk clubs and associated sessions and singarounds represent the core of what English folk music is now about (I'll leave others to speak for Scotland, Ireland and Wales) so it hurts me when a strange unholy alliance between Sinister Supository on one hand and Jim on the other seem determined to destroy its reputation and undermine the work of the many folk club organisers who give up their time purely for the love of the music. Second, Jim is a significant figure in the British folk revival. We would all be the poorer without the work he has done with the travellers and with Walter Pardon, whose songs I hear on a weekly basis. It is desperately sad to see him so blinded by his own intransigent attitude to all the good music that is going on these days.

Earlier CupOfTea said "Hush up and listen to this hair raising ballad--sing along on this old chestnut everyone knows".

I've just come away from an excellent evening where both of those happened from one performer. Everybody sat transfixed by the ballad and then joined in the "old chestnut".


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Ron Davies
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 10:05 PM

As Marje has pointed out, there's no catch-all rule which governs this--except common sense and courtesy.

I'd certainly agree that in the US the general feeling is to encourage, not discourage, community singing.   Of course we do want to avoid falling into the dread Blue Book syndrome ("Rise Up Singing"), in which every listener insists on singing every word out of the same book as the leader. To try to strike a balance, many of us just tell the others in the room what we intend. I try to pick almost entirely songs with good choruses, which I expect and invite the audience to sing. I do not expect and invite the audience to sing the verses. I think that is reasonable. If they do, I live with it, and don't complain. But for me, neither the "Blue Book" approach nor the book itself is acceptable. Of course we've beaten that issue to death already on Mudcat.

But, as Jacqui has noted, there is a strong desire to sing on a song you know.   I figure singing on the chorus should satisfy this. (That's all I expect to be able to do as a listener.) Or on a ballad, the audience will sing on the refrain.   If there is no chorus or refrain you are living dangerously--unless the audience knows this in advance, you are advised to not sing two songs of this sort in a row. The group will sing if given a chance, and unless you tell them in advance not to, it is eminently reasonable they would do so.

It is in fact up to the performer to set the guidelines out in advance--or not complain when the result is not to his or her liking.   At FSGW events even the paid performers know this, and often invite us to sing along.   Even if they don't, we will sing the chorus, and probably harmonize. As Mick has pointed out, our contributions are often very appreciated., since we do know how harmony works.   I sometimes think we latch on to the simplest harmony too fast--and it's not always the best.   But you can't fight it.

Part of the reason we sing so much at concerts is that it is self-selection---that is in fact one of the main reasons some of us come to concerts.   If we were discouraged from singing, some might well not attend. And there are often people in the audience who have been on CD's, have their own groups, etc. And love to blend with other voices.

Another element might be that this area (DC area) is a hotbed of singing. I could name 5 excellent 150 voice-plus choruses.   Lots of bluegrass. Sea chantey groups. Balkan. Sacred Harp.   All sorts of duos, trios etc. A lot of us are passionate about singing.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 01 May 09 - 02:34 AM

Surreysinger: "I had an experience some months ago of standing up to present a serious and sad ballad, and had got half way through it... arriving at a very emotional point I was suddenly beset by what I can only describe as a strident mooing from the front row. One of the audience had decided to join in with me . Firstly, it threw me, and I promptly forgot my next line; secondly, it ruined the mood for me and chucked me out of the song (so to speak), and I spent the next three verses listening to the lowing and mooing getting noisier. It added nothing to my presentation,"

This made me laugh! I know the exact sound you mean, well I think near enough! Though not from life experience, only from having seen recordings of Folk performances and wondering "what on earth's that weird echoing rumble?" - "Ah!" realises I, as it gradually builds momentum, "it's members of the audience joining in.."
Genuinely, it sounded like a feild of sheep being herded (sans bleating, mostly). Horrible.

As far as others joining in when I'm singing, can't say I've noticed it happening much thus far. Thouhg I think it would depend on the type of song and how much thought I'd tried to put into such things as timing, ornamentation and phrasing as to whether it spoiled my own delivery. I do think I could get put off of a tragic ballad in particular if someone decided to join in.

As a *listener*, having heard some very fine 'light' singing, with beautifully delicate ornamentation, there are also times when others joining in someone else's singing would make me feel very unhappy. I love to hear the delicate artistry in a solo voice, and that would be lost with multiple joiners in. Also as a listener, I wouldn't join in for the most part, unless invited, or everyone else was already doing so. Though it also might depend on how intimately I personally knew the singer and their own rendition of the song in question. I did hear a performance of a song recently where the carefully crafted (and very important to the delivery of the song) timing was unfortunatly regularised by another member joining in and unwittingly controlling the tempo. So sensitivity is essential and respect for the efforts that others have put into their music really matters I think.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 01 May 09 - 03:06 AM

Without going into personal experiences just let me say that I'm 100% on the side of Jim, Shimrod and Surreysinger.
Join in with the chorus.......please, but leave the verses to the person singing the song.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Musket
Date: 01 May 09 - 03:08 AM

Jim Carrol wrote;"So let's see what we've got:
We no longer have the choice of the music we wish to listen to because organisers have allowed folk clubs to become dustbins for whatever people now choose to call folk."

Bums on seats and nothing else determines success. Music is an abstract and therefore follows no rules other than harmonic etiquette. Who are "we" Jim? As protest songs are PART (note only part) of the folk tradition, a musical disdain for "us & them" in society is what many people recognise as folk. In a wider tradition, folk means inclusive, not me and my little clique attitudes.

I suggest you start a new club called the rules club and to be fair, from what I read, you may get a few people who are comfortable reading your rules and judging others by their adherence to them.

A bit like when my local pub runs a beer festival. The ones drinking halves whilst writing notes in a book. Whatever floats your boat, but my mates and I are the ones with pint pots and no note books. Nobody ever tried telling me beer festivals had rules either.

It is a folk club because I recognise it as such and that makes it as much a folk club as your interpretation, just that I don't get so hung up..


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on works PC
Date: 01 May 09 - 03:24 AM

Folk clubs are just that – clubs.
People have 'clubbed' together to sing & play songs they all love. So it is natural that they expect to join in & sing together.
A concert is a different situation & I find that audiences at such events don't join in unless invited.
In a club, if I sing an unfamiliar (to the audience) song & over a period of time the audience start joining in, then I know they have listened & enjoyed the song.
Very gratifying.
The occasional 'egotist' who has to show off can always be silenced by pausing & asking if they mind listening to your version!

As for the differences between cultures – a well known Canadian singer appeared at my local club recently & said it was great to hear everybody joining in because 'back in Canada people sit like dummys'. (his words, NOT mine).


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 May 09 - 03:44 AM

I have to admit I had believed that the club scene had deteriorated since I attended them regularly (up to ten years ago Snail), but I hadn't quite realised how far this had gone.
Ebor-fiddler
"That's why we started the clubs in the first place"
No it wasn't - I was round in the early days too. Sure we had The Clancys and The Dubliners, and we sang our heads off to them - when we were invited to. But we also had the sense - sorry - the desire to listen to singers like Jeannie Robertson, Joe Heaney, MacColl, Lloyd, Killen - you could hear a pin drop when they sang their ballads and songs, not just out of respect, but out of a desire to hear what THEY were singing.
I started off in the Spinners Club in Liverpool forty-odd years ago, great chorus club, but when a solo song came up it was listened to in complete silence, and if any brain-dead ego-tripper (usually with 'the drink taken') tried to join in they were shushed into silence. If they persisted, which I can't remember ever happening, they would have been bounced out of the club and into the street in two seconds flat - great days, great singing.
This was the case pretty well throughout the thirty-odd years I was involved in the clubs, at The Spinners, The Singers Club, The Waggon and Horses in Manchester, and the dozen or so others I sang at and helped run, also at Festivals like Keele and Poynton..... everywhere, pretty well right up to ten years ago.
Coincidently, I am just indexing some of the hundred-odd interviews we carried out with Norfolk singer Walter Pardon. He talked about singing at home, at the harvest suppers in the local farm barn. Crammed with people, lashing of food and drink, yet complete silence for the non-chorus songs: Van Deiman's Land, Lord Lovell, Broomfield Hill..... even though everybody present had heard them a thousand times and knew them backwards - you could hear a pin drop. "We had too much respect for the singers and for the songs" - wonder where all that respect went?
Richard:
Since when was singing a compulsory singalong activity and what's it got to do with how good or bad a singer is?
Snail,
"Jim on the other seem determined to destroy its reputation and undermine the work of the many folk club organisers"
Your posts get nastier and more dishonest every time you make them - was it something I said?
With respect, I suggest that it is the club organisers who have renaged on their responsibilities, allow their club nights to be practice sessions for non-singers and openly advocate that no standards are necessary for singing at a club - even the ability to hold a tune, who are the ones set on undermining the club scene - wonder who that could be? I suppose after having made these proposals, and having played down the existence of SSs "Blues, Shanties, Kipling, Cicely Fox Smith, Musical Hall, George Formby, Pop, County, Dylan, Cohen, Cash, Medieval Latin, Beatles, Irish Jigs and Reels, Scottish Strathspeys, Gospel, Rock, Classical Guitar, Native American Chants, Operatic Arias and even the occasional Traditional Song and Ballad" all performed "irrespective of ability"" clubs, you are now going to tell us that the Singalongamax clubs of this thread don't exist either? Perhaps, now you're here, you could give us your opinion on the theme of this thread.
Yes, things are different here in Ireland. People who go to singing sessions do so to listen to the singing and the singers, not to show the world that they know all the songs, the result being that, just as the fortunes of the music have been changed for the better to the extent that you can be pretty sure that it will be listened to and played by at least the next couple of generations, singing seems to be on the up with excellent new young singers taking up the songs – and being listened to with rapt attention – can you say the same or are all the good people contributing to this thead making it up?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 01 May 09 - 04:05 AM

I like to harmonise quietly and preferably well away from the actual performer. Is that wrong? I will sing along if all are invited to.

However, I do think it ill-mannered to compete with the performer.

Have to say when I am performing, I usually like people to join in, unless it is a piece that is still new to me and espeically if I am accompanying myself on guitar. I can get thrown off quite easily. I never could walk and chew gum at the same time.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,AW
Date: 01 May 09 - 04:09 AM

Thank you, Crow Sister, for your last paragraph. Exactly what I would wish to say, but put much more eloquently.

At the 2 clubs I go to there are a very small number of persistent 'offenders'. Curiously, it is more mindless humming along the entire length of a ballad that annoys me more than singing all the words, although both are, to my mind, ignorant. When it is my turn to sing, I can live with it. It's annoying and distracting, but I can vary tempos, volume and expression sufficiently to (I hope) continue to put the song across in the way I wish. But when I am listening to other people, expecially some of the fine singers we have in this area, it drives me mad. I have seen some excellent singers completely thrown when they have taken great care with a particular phrase, have almost all the audience in rapt silence following the song with them, and then realise the tune is being fed to them at a slightly different tempo and slightly in advance by someone reading a book at the back of the room. Mood lost. Story lost. Sometimes words lost too. Nightmare. I feel so cross that the performer should have that level of interference, and so annoyed to have been robbed of what would otherwise have been a special moment.

Yet perversly there is a tradition locally of not only joining in with choruses with gusto - and I heartily applaud that. It's a wonderful experience - but also of 'adopting' certain traditional songs and ballads and singing the last line of each verse with the singer. And this works just as well, is just as enjoyable to listen to and just and fulfilling to lead when it happens. But the difference between this tradition and that of the individual hummer or mouther of verses is that has evolved with the collective agreement of all the people in the room, and is done in sympathy with the singer, not contrary to their interpretation. I would hate to see this practice quashed and as a consequence do not tackle the people who are joining in inappropropriatly because I'm not sure I am tactful enough to make the distinction bewteen 'good' and 'bad' without causing offence.

It has been suggested that performers could say 'join in' or 'please don't join in' with songs if it was important to them. This may perhaps work for a guest artiste - If they are unhappy with joining in on an song early in the evening, they may risk asking for a little mor respect on the next ballad - but other than 'Shhhh' how can an audience member ask?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 01 May 09 - 04:40 AM

I have posted on this previously, but I think it worth a reprise.

There used to be (might still be, for all I know) a brilliant sesiun in the Ducie, just behind the University Theatre, in Manchester.

I was asked to give a song one Sunday lunchtime, a rare privilege in a predominantly instrumental sesiun.

I sang "The Rambling Ulsterman", and some cretin, with a square bodhran - it's as true as I am writing this - joined in, giving a rhythmic (?) accompaniment to my unacompanied singing.

Just what I wanted - how did I ever sing "The Rambling Ulsterman" without it ?

Then one of the musicians said "If you don't stop playing that fucking bodhran while Bryn is singing the song I asked hom to sing, I shall take it and shove it up your arsehole !".

The pillock asked me afterwards "You didn't mind me playing whiule you were singing, did you, Bryn ?"

I just looked at him, and those who know me personally will understand that the look I gave him spoke louder than words can.

Onew of the reasons Erica and I don't go to folk club any more is that good manners, which was one thing which distinguished our music from other forms, has gone to fuck in the past 10 years.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 May 09 - 05:36 AM

last month[april 2009] I played in seven different clubs,not once did I encounter bad manners, or people joining in songs uninvited,or anyone making popping noises. ,or anything else that as a performer I couldnt handle .Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 May 09 - 05:46 AM

The one that annoys me - someone actually said it last week "Don't do that, it's too long".


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 May 09 - 06:13 AM

Jim Carroll

Your posts get nastier and more dishonest every time you make them - was it something I said?

Well, comparing me to Goebbels didn't exactly endear me to you but mainly it's your refusal to believe what I tell you about the good things happening in UK folk clubs that really anoys me.

With respect, I suggest that it is the club organisers who have renaged on their responsibilities, allow their club nights to be practice sessions for non-singers and openly advocate that no standards are necessary for singing at a club - even the ability to hold a tune, who are the ones set on undermining the club scene - wonder who that could be?

I have no idea, Jim. It certainly isn't me. If you have any specific accusations to make, make them. (And stop accusing ME of being snide.)

I suppose after having made these proposals [who has done that?] , and having played down the existence of SSs "Blues, Shanties, Kipling, Cicely Fox Smith, Musical Hall, George Formby, Pop, County, Dylan, Cohen, Cash, Medieval Latin, Beatles, Irish Jigs and Reels, Scottish Strathspeys, Gospel, Rock, Classical Guitar, Native American Chants, Operatic Arias and even the occasional Traditional Song and Ballad" all performed "irrespective of ability"" clubs, you are now going to tell us that the Singalongamax clubs of this thread don't exist either?

I'm sure they must exist although I never go to any of them myself. I have no need to, there are plenty of good ones to keep me busy. What I do contest is that the bad ones are representative of the whole.
Your reliance on SS's claims clearly illustrates my point about seletive reading. You conveniently ignore the criticism he received from others on that thread. You also discard this post from another member of the same club because it doesn't suit your agenda.

Perhaps, now you're here, you could give us your opinion on the theme of this thread.

No simple answer. Insensitive joining in can be very annoying but sitting in neat, silent, attentive rows not even daring to tap your feet isn't folk music for me. Many performers I know find it disconcerting to perform to an audience who appear to be clinically dead. If a singer doesn't have the power to capture the audience's attention and make the song their own, perhaps they don't deserve that attention. I have known some magical moments when the concentration has been such that it seemed that everybody in the room really had stopped breathing. I have known others where we really did seem to "shake the plaster from the walls" often at the same session.

Yes, things are different here in Ireland. People who go to singing sessions do so to listen to the singing and the singers, not to show the world that they know all the songs, the result being that, just as the fortunes of the music have been changed for the better to the extent that you can be pretty sure that it will be listened to and played by at least the next couple of generations, singing seems to be on the up with excellent new young singers taking up the songs – and being listened to with rapt attention – can you say the same

It is true that we are not attracting many young people although things are beginning to look up, otherwise, yes.

or are all the good people contributing to this thead making it up?

The trouble is that you don't listen to ALL the people contributing to this thead and others, just those that fit your argument. Are you saying that I am making it up?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 May 09 - 06:43 AM

well I live in Ireland ,I visit folk clubs in England more often than Jim Carroll,so Iam fairly well qualified to pontificate.
firstly sessions in Ireland can vary as they do every where,recently at a session, a persistent pain in the arse who tried to howl or sing during a set of tunes had to be told to desist.,the same had to be said to A Djembe drum basher,who had his own rhythym.
secondly rudeness at folk events is nothing new,but to put it in perspective is fairly rare,with respect to every other contributor,I have played many[thousands of folk events] over the last thirty five years,and the worst rudeness occurred to me at Crewe and Nantwich folk festival in 1985,the mc were Garside and Gough[ now smooth ops]they allowed three drunken yobs,to get up and harass my ex wife Sue Miles,asking for stranger on the shore,and wanting to play her clarinet,.and were completely ineffectual as mcs.
that was 24 years ago,and to be honest is the only rudeness that I can remember,so must represent about oo5 per cent,there may have been one otr two others but I cant remember them now..
try playing working mens clubs ,then you get the treatment,most folk clubs are very polite,some here have argued that they are too polite allowing sub standard performers to sing.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 May 09 - 06:48 AM

yes,Iremember,now Sheffield Grapes mid eighties,a man used to appear with an imaginary dog on a lead ,and bark ,at the end of songs when everyone else was clapping,not really rude but a bit off putting.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,AW
Date: 01 May 09 - 07:36 AM

Sorry to have to contradict you, cap'n, but perhaps this may illustrate why inappropriate joining in can spoil things for audience members rather than professionals.

I was at one of your recent bookings. It was a great evening - in many ways just like folk clubs used to be with your own informed choice of songs containing many of my (and many other people's) favourites and also several less well known songs which were thought provoking, stimulating and very enjoyable. The chorus singing was mighty. The floor singers seemed to raise their game a level in recognition that they were part of something special. The room was packed. I had a great time. But a few songs were, for me at least, marred by just a couple of people who insisted on humming/singing along with the verses. You might not have even been aware of it. You have a strong voice and you concentrate totally on your delivery of the song, and that may mean that some of the distractions pass you by. The interference certainly did not make me think less of you - in fact I was impressed by how unaffected you were by it - but it did mean that I lost the thread of the story of one ballad because my mind was busy cursing the person a couple of seats away.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 01 May 09 - 08:13 AM

Hey, Mick: If he was a good enough friend, maybe you should have said something. Good friend or not, there is a courteous way to say something that most people can accept without getting all riled up about it. Especially friends.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 May 09 - 08:50 AM

fair comment, AW.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:08 AM

Jerry, if you knew the person (and you do) then you would know that it would not have worked. I just let him finish the song, as to do anything else would have damaged the good feelings of the circle for all involved. I could not do that. This is a song that I work on creating a whole feeling for the story. Phrasing, timing, timbre..... all very important. This person just walked all over the top of that, so I just backed off and let him finish it. To say anything would have embarassed him and put a damper on the whole gathering. You would think that my just stopping singing would have gave the clue, but the other singer was either oblivious, or had achieved what he wanted.

But I don't think I would let it go again.........

Mick


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Bert
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:13 AM

When NOT to sing - when what YOU are singing differs from what the performer is singing.

Not only different words or tune but different timing or singing a harmony can throw off a performer.

And if you are one of those performers who hates people singing along the answer is very simple. Sing something that they don't know.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Marje
Date: 01 May 09 - 11:58 AM

I think Azizi has a good point about cultural differences.

In the US it seems to be common to sing from "The Book". I can see how, if people can open up and see the words in front of them, it seems natural to sing them all together, like singing hymns in church, regardless of who started off the song.

It also seems to be more common in the US for an uninvited musician to accompany a singer, perhaps because unaccompanied solo singing is not such a big part of US tradition and sounds a bit incomplete to many people.

Neither of these situations arises so often in the UK (or Ireland, I imagine). But in the UK, especially in England, there's still a great tradition of chorus and harmony singing, which has links with church music and the amateur choral tradtion. It seems natural to many people to join in and to harmonise with others, and there are plenty of singing events where this is expected and encouraged. There are, on the other hand, more formal, performance-based events where most people wouldn't think it appropriate to join in unless invited to; there are also some types of songs, such as ballads, where it's generally recognised that it's best just to sit and listen.

The Irish singing tradition makes far less use of harmony. Instead, Irish singers often use inflection and ornamentation to indicate the harmonic context of the melody, so it's not so common or appropriate for others to join in or harmonise.

So although our various cultures overlap in all sorts of ways, they're still distinct, and sometimes our expectations differ because of this. There's no point in getting into a sulk or a strop because other people have different tastes or habits - if you feel strongly, you can simply say, "I'd like to do this one completely by myself, please," or (alternatively) "Please join in and don't leave me singing the chorus on my own - and some harmony would be great!" That's all that's needed if you are not sure how other people are going to respond.

Marje


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: paula t
Date: 01 May 09 - 12:13 PM

We love to hear the audience joining in. In fact, we remind them if they are a bit too shy or quiet. As I said earlier, most people read the situation and know when joining in mind wind up the rest of the audience.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 May 09 - 01:08 PM

" ... but mainly it's your refusal to believe what I tell you about the good things happening in UK folk clubs that really anoys me."

Sorry to butt in on a good row, 'Snail' but we don't normally hear about what's happening in ALL UK folk clubs from you. We hear what is happening in YOUR particular club in Lewes, Sussex. I've not been to your club (I would guess it would be approx. a 500 mile round trip for me) but I'm sure it's as excellent as you say it is - I completely take your word for it! But it does not represent ALL UK folk clubs now, does it? Even you can't draw conclusions about the whole population by extrapolating from a single sample.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 May 09 - 01:39 PM

with respect,this[joining in uninvited and making popping noises] does not happen in all folk clubs,but [in my experience] a very small minority.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 May 09 - 02:09 PM

One of the glorious memories I have is of sitting in the audience at a Getaway and hearing voices all around me rise in harmony in the choruses of performers on stage. It filled my pores, saturated my being, like being in an airplane looking down at a dense cloud bank below- firm enough to rest on. To say that I absolutely loved it is a gross understatement.

I like ballads too and other songs that tell a story or develop a theme to an inexorable climax. When a chorus exists in a song like that I think that an audience is absorbed enough to mute the chorus or to rise in triumphant crescendo as indicated, especially if guided by the perormer. When I'm absorbed in the development of story however,I don't require a chorus. A skillfully written song tends to indicate which it should be.

But to object that some audiences seem to think that the sound of a song is more important than the lyrics is missing something important. Of course, the sound is more important - why else sing, instead of recite? I love beautiful opera, especially if I don't know the language. Waves of sound and the harmonies within transport me - and I'm sure that I'm not alone - to a much different place.

On the other hand, there are songs where harmonies are not actually appropriate, imo. A raw tale recounting a human tragedy or other failing shouldn't be adorned, I think.

To me, a great deal of responsibility for the audience's response rests with the performer. If the performer is skilled, he or she will get across to the listener(s) what is appropriate.

Performers who say upfront their preferences are wise. Irish Tommy Sands, for instance, invites the audience to sing along in the chorus - and with harmonies - but to listen to the verses.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 May 09 - 02:53 PM

Ebbie just said it all for me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 01 May 09 - 03:06 PM

To me it is almost entirely the sound. I am really not into nuances etc. And if we are just talking about UK...well, does that not include Wales? Certainly some of them would expect to sing along, at least this bunch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMI5wpwXTCY&feature=related

It also includes many immigrants. We know of the great singing cultures in Africa..New Zealand..Estonia..Hawaii..

Anyone can have any preference they want but they shouldn't assume everyone knows what the local practices are, and be in a huff about it. Just explain what it is. And don't assume they come to specifically hear the performer. Sometimes they are dragged along by a spouse etc. Sometimes it is a social night out. Sometimes they might have just sort of stumbled in, so say up front what you want. If they don't like that rule they can leave. But don't look down your nose at them either for trying to show off by knowing all the words. That is sheer nonsense for someone who likes to sing. Some of us quite happily will sing along and leave great gaps in the words anyway.

People tend to assume that others see things and hear things as they do. This is just not so. Nothing wrong with liking things a certain way, and acting to make it happen how you like it. Seek like-minded people. Put locks on the doors or have secret passwords if you need to keep certain types out...I have no complaints with that...but the level of disdain for those who do not see things like you do is too high for my taste. mg


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 May 09 - 03:49 PM

"People tend to assume that others see things and hear things as they do. This is just not so. Nothing wrong with liking things a certain way, and acting to make it happen how you like it. Seek like-minded people. Put locks on the doors or have secret passwords if you need to keep certain types out...I have no complaints with that...but the level of disdain for those who do not see things like you do is too high for my taste. mg"

Ahah! This is the point where those of us who question whether it's right or proper for members of the audience to 'muscle-in' on a singer's performance are accused of having 'moral failings'. As with the 'definition' debates this is generally the point where the opposition demonstrates that it has run out of arguments: "I disagree with you but I can't argue with you so I've decided to find what you say morally offensive!"


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 01 May 09 - 04:34 PM

I don't think muscling in on a singer's performance is a moral question, unless and until they have been told in a very straightforward manner that this is not the local practice, or is not what the performer wishes etc. They don't know. Just like people don't know exactly the way obsessive people like to load the dishwasher, but will always get it wrong unless they are told the preferred way. We are talking about personal preferences, which are not universal, cultural differences in a time of great cultural diversity even in out of the way enclaves, and wierd assumptions that strangers to an event are somehow supposed to know what the unspoken rules are. Just say what you prefer and kick them out if they don't comply. They don't, the poor simpletons, know that it is not right or proper to do certain things. They probably eat peas on their knives besides and blow their noses on their shirtsleeves, which is why Napoleon supposedly came up with buttons on sleeves, but that is another story altogether. mg


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: mandotim
Date: 01 May 09 - 04:52 PM

A competent performer should be able to find a way of indicating their preferences to the audience. There is no 'morality' about this, it's just a question of simple, open communication. Most audiences are not telepathic, so just let them know what you want. If you want to be asked to perform again, find a way that isn't rude or offensive, and make sure that you understand the customs of your venue/audience properly before doing so. If it's a session, rather than a performance, this is doubly important, as the other participants are not technically an audience at all, but co-musicians. Some venues expect to sing along, others expect to sit and listen in silence, and all points in between. Knowing your audience is a big part of performance.
An example of getting this wrong; I was at a weekend gathering recently, where everyone had more or less joined in to make some very good music, when one person got up with his expensive guitar to sing a version of a very well known and frankly over-performed song. He was doing an adequate job of this, no more, when another musician (not me!) added a very quiet and tasteful accompaniment, playing with great sublety and paying close attention to rhythm and dynamics. The singer immediately stopped, glared at the person concerned and said aggressively 'Who's playing this, you or me?' The erstwhile accompanist was embarrassed and upset, and the way this was done cast a real damper over the rest of the evening. All the singer had to say (in advance) was 'I'd like to do this one on my own, please', and the unpleasantness could have been avoided. In this case, I felt the singer was in the wrong; he hadn't grasped the nature of the event, and hadn't communicated properly in advance. It would have been different if the format was solo performances; he could then have expected to be free of accompaniment unless he specifically asked for it. All he succeeded in doing was alienating the whole gathering, who pointedly ignored his next contribution. The next singer then made an unsubtle point of inviting people to join in.
I don't think there is a right and wrong here; it all depends on context, and context can be changed by communicating properly if necessary.
Tim


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 09 - 05:24 PM

As a singer songwriter of songs that are I hope good to join in with I find it absolutely wonderful if people join in with me when I am singing, and sometimes it happens


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 01 May 09 - 07:15 PM

Try to keep these people from singing along..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgHX7bu-TWk&feature=related

I am ashamed to say I had never heard tell of this. mg


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 May 09 - 08:23 PM

Shimrod, try reading what I actually said.

Even you can't draw conclusions about the whole population by extrapolating from a single sample.

Don't tell me, tell Jim. He's the one that is condemning all UK folk clubs on the basis of very little evidence indeed.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Ref
Date: 01 May 09 - 09:19 PM

Now when doing a sing-along, and someone sings along but just "off" enough to hang you up, can anyone suggest a positive way to address the (unintending) malefactor?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 May 09 - 09:44 PM

If you can catch his or her eye, raising your hand, palm side down, and lowering it slowly (and significantly) should be enough to indicate to the 'malefactor' to sing more quietly. S/He will never know why :)


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:18 PM

When NOT to sing -

1. Just before the judge passes sentence
2. During a two minute silence
3. While stalking a grizly bear

As to the rest of the stuff that is going on here. Looks like the usual imaginary treading on toes, rattling of rusty sabres and low blood sugars to me. But what do I know?

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:56 PM

When NOT to sing -

1. Just before the judge passes sentence
2. During a two minute silence
3. While stalking a grizly bear

el Gnomo, singing just before the judge passes sentence might pan out very well for you. Might even garner you a new trial.

Not that I can say I have tried it.

As for bears and song- some years ago I stopped to rest on a steep winding mountain trail and lingered when I heard a man's voice in fullthroated song some distance down below me. When he and his companion came into view, I called out to him. "Nice voice," I said.

"Just keeping the bears away" he responded, and as they disappeared around the next turn, again his song rose into the air.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 09 - 02:37 AM

For me, this thread is a peep into the contempt in which the individual singer is held as a creative or interpretive performer.
M. Mario put it fairly clearly when he said that the performer has "practically no rights in the eyes of the public". And that apparently is how it stands nowadays.
If I go to Linda Kelly's club I will be faced with her 'massed choirs of (whatever they call themselves)" because they "positively encourage" the audience to join in - no matter what a visiting singer might want. How bloody arrogantly repressive can you get?
As far as I am concerned it is the singers who make the running in terms of their own performances - not some tasteless organiser. It is they who should decide whether they want the audience to join in and are perfectly capable of indicating their wishes in the matter; they should not have to cope with some crass decision made beforehand on their behalf.
Of course, they can always go cap-in-hand and request permission to be allowed to perform their songs solo. But then they would have to contend with Richard Bridge's superb:
"It must be wonderful to be so aware of your superiority that the rest cannot and must not join in with you. " Or M Mario and his friends who have somehow voted themselves the right to join in with whatever they choose, giving the performer no say in the matter whatever.
This is treating the singers as little more than performing animals with no choice whatever in how their songs are performed or received.
Contrary to Bryan Creer's 'fence sitting' act, it is the job of the club organisers to present the visiting singer with as much freedom as possible within the policy of the club to perform their songs as they wish without having to fight an audience desperately trying to sound (at best) like The Humming Chorus from Madam Butterfly.
I think I was given the most unnecessary piece of advice I have ever recieved on this thread when Linda Kelly said "Best not come to our club Jim," - I wouldn't go within a hundred miles of a club that imposes such a repressive and restrictive policy on visiting singers. Somebody explain to me what these legendary 'folk police' I keep hearing about are - on second thoughts, don't bother - I think I get the message.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Barry Finn
Date: 02 May 09 - 02:57 AM

"In the US it seems to be common to sing from "The Book"'.
Not true Marje, only in certain circles where they can't get away from singing without a book! On the whole there are far more places in the US where singing from "the book" just doesn't happen.

"When in Rome do as the Romans"

It's been over 25 yrs since I've been to any music clubs/sessions overseas & that was only when I was in Ireland. I'm extremely excited to have been invited to perform at a festival in the UK in July & I'm dying to finally get to see & hear what your clubs & sessions are like. Not to worry, I make it a habit to see what's the norn before I embrass myself.

Here in the US we don't have the equalivent of your folk clubs in the UK or Ireland. We have club societies that run concerts & house concerts, bars & pubs that get used as venues & put on folk performers or have sessions but from your discriptions we don't really have folk clubs with regulars & their own floor singers where every so often hey put on "Guest" & have a few floor singers inbetween & after sets. There may be a few places that come somewhat close to that but it's not at all common.
However we do have some places were singers * musicians gather to play together & loads of sessions where there's hardly any singing, though as Tom mentioned above there are a few but they are not the norm buy any means. Then there are many Getaways, the best I've seen are the DC Getaway which many east coast muddcatters have been to & the West Coast's end of the yr Lark just north of San Francisco which I last attend almost 30 yrs ago but cna still taste.
Here in the US I do believe it's much more common for us to join
in.

When I perform, I do mostly worksongs & shanties. Songs that were meant to have others sing along with. I love people singing, I do care that they sing what I'm singing, tune & words but I want them to enjoy what they come out to do & that's sing, so when they're singing I'm happiest. If don't often sing ballads but I do love to sing them, I don't because mostly people want to sing. When I'm at an after hours "fringe" (sing session? not sure it's your word) at a festival & it's all singers pulling the "rare & uncommon" tricks out of their hats & it's just keeps getting better & better & the ballads are getting darker & longer, you can bet that a pin drop can be heard & that no one would brake the trance,,,,or sing along that's also true here.
It's different everywhere.
My opinion, first if you're the singer let everyone know straight out beforehand if you don't want them to sing or if you want them to join in, give them that respect & you will get it in return. If you're gonna sing a chorus song or something with a refrain here then expect that you'll get folks to sing along weither or not you ask. I always encourage folks to join & & if they sing the whole way through it their song to sing with I never owned it in the 1st place. I dont have much of a problem with others trying to lead me or sing over me or doing whatever they do, I have mostly found that before the song ahs gone to far they're right in set & in tune with me.
When I'm over there I'll do as you do but hopefully I'll be able to enjoy a song or 2 while I'm there

Captain Birdseye, I'll be looking forward to meeting up with you. I'm told that you're also on the bill at the Scarborough Seafest, yes??

Barry


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Barry Finn
Date: 02 May 09 - 03:06 AM

Ref
"Now when doing a sing-along, and someone sings along but just "off" enough to hang you up, can anyone suggest a positive way to address the (unintending) malefactor?"

Yes, stop & say that someone's singing off & name them if you know who. Sometimes it doesn't help though & please try to do it with some sensitivity. Hah, hah

Barry


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 02 May 09 - 05:56 AM

''If I go to Linda Kelly's club I will be faced with her 'massed choirs of (whatever they call themselves)" because they "positively encourage" the audience to join in - no matter what a visiting singer might want. How bloody arrogantly repressive can you get?
As far as I am concerned it is the singers who make the running in terms of their own performances - not some tasteless organiser.''

I think your statement is about as bloody arrogantly repressive as it gets Jim. Calm down dear, its not good for your health. We don't have massed choirs we have an attentive and friendly audience who delight in the performance of professionals, buy their CD's pay for them to perform. Don't humiliate them and treat them like morons who can't string a tune together. I am also a professional performer, and I am delighted if people join in with my songs, it seems to me the most natural thing in the world to want to sing along and we at the club never outsing the performer. I take it as read on Mudcat that there are some folk who see club organisers as some vile underclass going by other threads that I have seen. Clubs would run without us the only difference being that no one would be booking professional performers doing publicity running websites balancing the books and dealing with all the other stuff -we would have sessions only. Thanks for delivering my first personal attack in all my years on Mudcat-as they say on the telly -'Am I bovvered?'


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 May 09 - 06:59 AM

yes,Barry.I am booked atScarboro sea fest 2009 looking forward to meeting you too .


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 09 - 07:41 AM

No Linda, I don't consider club organisers as a 'vile underclass', having been one myself for a long time - I consider some, particularly those who ecourage their audiences to sing along with the performer, thereby depriving them of the right to perform solo, as irresponsible, and the audience members who prefer to hear the singers interpretation of the song rather than that of the person's in the next seat.
Are you bovvered - I'm sure you're not.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 02 May 09 - 10:08 AM

Am I bovver'ed about your insults -no not really. Am I bothered about growing a successful club and allowing people to enjoy themselves to participate in live music and to be part of something really special week in week out -yes I am -very much so. Dont come to our club Jim, because I am sure you wouldn't enjoy it -it wouldn't be your style -but the peole who come each week do, and the artistes I book have nothing but praise for the club and it's atmosphere. I have never once have an act say to me 'I love the club but the singing really annoyed me' but lots say 'When can I come back?' You have your opinion and I have mine -don't be disrespectful of people's differences.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 09 - 10:48 AM

Linda,
I apologise for my knee-jerk reaction.
For me, the right of any performer to perform unhindered is a basic one which you, by deciding in advance that the audience automatically be encouraged to join in, infringe.
I described ealier how Walter Pardon, an elderly field singer, was forced to drop songs from his repertoire because of insensitive audiences.
Walter was far too polite a man to make rules when he sang at clubs, so presumably, were he booked at your club, he would be subjected to the same treatment you apparently subject all your guest singers to.
Had Walter objected in any way he would then, presumably be given the Richard Bridge treatment "he thinks he is better than us".
Surely it is the singer, not the club who should decide on something as basic as whether or not an audience sings along with the songs?
I may have been wrong, but I detected no attempt on your part to explain your policy - rather, a tone of 'this is what we do - so there!!'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Ron Davies
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:02 AM

Certainly the singer decides whether he or she wants the audience to sing along. Nobody denies that.   The only point, as many of us have already stated, is that it's reasonable for the singer to tell the audience--before he or she starts singing-- whether or not singing along is desirable.

It's a rare member of the audience who will blatantly disregard the singer's wishes after that.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:22 AM

Well to a certain extent Jim, it is what we do, because it is what we do-but not in an arrogant or disrespectful way, but because we all love to sing and we chose performers who will enjoy us as much as we enjoy them. Club members would be mortified if they felt they had made a singer or musician feel uncomfortable. It's just the way we choose to enjoy our music and I don't think any one should criticise us for it.   There would be no problem if a singer said choruses only and the best of them can silence the room anyway. The joy of music lives in our club and I can't apologise for that I'm afraid. I will apologise however for the incident with the farting dog, but that's a whole different story!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:42 AM

rather, a tone of 'this is what we do - so there!!'

I know more than a few musicians with this self-same attitude.

Ron Davies is right, it's ultimately the musician that makes the decision as to whether there is audience participation or not, during her/his performance.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 May 09 - 12:06 PM

An audience is a precious commodity, easily lost. I'd think that what the audience wants should tend to influence the dynamics from the front-and-center folks..... How DARE they presume to enjoy the singing so much that, inspired by a fine singer, they might think to so much as open their throats and join in!!!

When I think of the money I've spent on folk music over many years-- never realizing how many of the "performers" were watching for any opportunity to wring resentment out of my pleasure-- it really pisses me off.

(If one is singing not for one's own joy but to control others and flatter one's own ego, well, that would sure explain a lot!)

Look, no one likes to be controlled by someone else. If YOU Love the song enough to sing it, is it really a surprise others also may love it that much as well? DAMN them for not being mindreaders! Why not just line 'em up and shoot 'em. But be sure to pick their pockets first. :~)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 09 - 12:27 PM

The onus should never be put on the singer to ask an audience not to join in; Richard Bridge and Mario (who told us a singer has no rights) have made it perfectly clear why. I know singers who would hate the practice but would be far too polite to object. It happens very occasionally over here, usually when the culprit is drunk. They are usually deal with by a member of the audience calling out "One singer - one song", which invariably does the trick.
Can I ask - would anybody go to say a poetry reading at the local library and join in with the reader if they happened to know the poem - or likewise to a play by an amature dramatic society. It's not just confined to music - it's a simple case of good manners and courtesy as far as I'm concerned.
Somebody earlier mentioned mouthing through a song they knew along with the singer - why not confine your responses to that?
You didn't respond to my Walter Pardon example, so presumably you would be prepared to discomfort a nice old singer at one of your club nights.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 02 May 09 - 12:55 PM

I was going to leave this (yet another) going nowhere threads, but Carroll`'s attempt at guilt tripping:

"You didn't respond to my Walter Pardon example, so presumably you would be prepared to discomfort a nice old singer at one of your club nights"

This quite simply beyond the pale, though why I sould be surprised by this response, I don't know, it' typical!

I have no idea which part of " it's ultimately the musician that makes the decision as to whether there is audience participation or not, during her/his performance" Carroll doesn't understand


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 02 May 09 - 01:52 PM

Because he's old? We are not an insensitive audience Jim, I didnt think it applied to us.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 09 - 02:49 PM

No, because he was a nice man who wouldn't dream of asking somebody not to sing - yet on numerous occasions it threw him - on at least three he dropped songs from his repertoire because of harmonised choruses taken at half speed by audiences.
Sorry to keep on with this, but it is fairly basic.
I have sat in the audience next to the neighbour from hell who thought she could hold a tune, but couldn't.
I have heard of 'singers from the audience' who insisted on singing their own versions of songs; or ones who would sing, say, every other line, or speak the words.
Are there any rules to the practice of encouraging audiences to sing or can everyone have a go?
"I have no idea which part of......."
I'm really not addressing you - please speak when you're spoken to.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 02 May 09 - 03:15 PM

This gentleman is not the typical example of someone I would book at the club. Normally, we have pa'd singers with instruments who are more contemporary than Walter Pardon. A comparison between him and the type of act we have would be flawed.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie
Date: 02 May 09 - 03:23 PM

I agree with Marje, it's a community entertainment thing, grow up and accept it you bunch of tossers and don't be so bleeding precious!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 09 - 04:06 PM

........grow up and accept it you bunch of tossers and don't be so bleeding precious!"
Have you met our marksman friend? He's a bad-mannered lout too - you should find you have a lot in common.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 02 May 09 - 04:21 PM

Me a lout, simply because I see you as a defficet to the "folk" communities at large, rather an asset, as some appear to do? I see your last couple of postings a desparation born of knowing you've been sussed.

Your credibility appears to be close to zero. Stay in your archives and let those of us who actually want to participate in performance and in the clubs,do so. As I believe I've said before, you talk a good gig, and that's about all.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 02 May 09 - 04:37 PM

One last thing, and I'm leaving this alone. I can't recommend highly enough Colin Irwin's book Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited Legendary Sessions. The Chapter on the last desperate stand by the old guard at the Newport Folk Festival, is most instructive.

This is what the old guard tried to stand against.

Newport 1965


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 02 May 09 - 04:39 PM

Clearly there are differences of opinion as to what's reasonable and where the onus lies for defining what's expected on a particular occasion. I can live with differences of opinion, and I can usually respect even those that I strongly disagree with.

However I find GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie's "grow up and accept it you bunch of tossers and don't be so bleeding precious!" seriously offensive. Regardless of who holds what opinion, insults and name-calling won't help anyone.

Richard


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 02 May 09 - 04:56 PM

I was wondering what this concentrated cacophony reminded me of, and Rifleman's introduction of Bob Dylan into the debate brought it home to me.

The first verse and chorus of Dylan's Desolation Row.

They're selling postcards of the hanging
They're painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They've got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they're restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row.

That's how I see it, anyway!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 May 09 - 05:18 PM

Seems to me like Linda and her friends have built a community with its own ideas of what constitutes politeness and having a good time. For an outsider to storm in there and insist on their right to perform solo come what may would be just plain boorish.

On the other hand, maybe the club might also decide to book somebody who operated that way simply for a change. So long as everybody knows what to expect there need not be any bad feeling. I can't imagine there'd be a lot of singing along if they booked Adam McNaughtan, for example (though he does have a few chorus songs).

I can see Azizi's point. Growing up in New Zealand I got to see a bit of the Maori/Polynesian way of doing things. It would be just about unimaginable for a Polynesian singer to insist on unaccompanied solo performance, in a Polynesian cultural context.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 02 May 09 - 10:48 PM

When not to sing? What would be your impressions on this? Everybody in
the audience knowing the words to the song, and purposely singing loud enough that they couldn't hear the performer. I was backstage at a show
once in a small town, and a girl sang the national anthem. Most of
the people in the audience knew her, but they didn't like her, and
it had nothing to do with her singing. They just sang so loud to drown
her out. She was a good singer to those backstage who could hear
her. But wouldn't that be a reason not to sing?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Kampervan
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:43 AM

This is, of course, yet another of those threads that doesn't have a right/wrong answer.

Many songers, myself included, are only too happy when people recognise a song for them to join in the chorus:and I accpet that repeated lines in ballads do not always constitute a chorus and should usually be left alone.

As a solo singer, I don't mind if anyone with a good harmony tags along on the verses. I will admit that, very occasionally,an auduence can highjack a chorus cos the version that they sing locally is different from mine and that can throw you a bit, but overall I'd rather have the buzz of an audience singing along.

Now that won't suit everyone, so maybe the answer is for people like me to invite participation rather than for the audience to assume that its ok. But if it does happen to you, it's fairly safe to assume that the audience is singing along out of pleasure with your performance and your choice of song, and accept the compliment.

P.S. Jim, L.K. is one of the most nicest singers that you could wish to meet, and no visiting singer would anything less than total respect at her club.

K/van


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 09 - 03:06 AM

In the end, both from the point of view of the singer who, hopefully, is trying to interpret the words and not just repeat them, and the audience, who may not want to listen to his or her neighbour sing the (maybe or not same set of) words in or out of tune, loudly or softly, whatever takes their fancy, it has to be a decision of the performer and no-one else. Otherwise you either have to set ground rules, for which you obtain the individual performer's permission beforehand, or abandon solo singing altogether and adopt what Maple Leaf Boy has just amply described - community singing.
A number of people who have tentatively supported the practice (like Big Mick), have also accompanied their support with descriptions of what can go wrong.
Personally, if I go to a club to hear Gordeanna McCulloch sing ballads, and come away having had to listen to the person sitting next to me singalong with everything she does (whether in a quiet mutter or a full-throated roar, as above), I am left with the feeling of being cheated of a good night out - would any club organiser out there feel they have given me my money's worth?
Wyatt:
"simply because I see you as a defficet to the "folk"
I think you mean deficit - don't you? I'm beginning to be a little bored at being cyber-stalked by somebody who can't spell - please go away.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Kampervan
Date: 03 May 09 - 04:01 AM

This is such a difficult question. I agree with you totally Jim about Gordeanna McCulloch, no way would I join in with her cos it would be wrong.
And I think that most people would know that and not join in; but I couldn't lay down rules as to when you should or shouldn't join in.
But it would still be a sad day if audiences never again spontaneously joined in with a singer.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 03 May 09 - 04:47 AM

So, we've moved on from the, "I find your view that it is rude for members of the audience to sing along with a singer uninvited to be morally offensive" ploy to insults now, have we? Surely, a sign of real desperation!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 09 - 06:33 AM

Kampervan,
By "encouraging the audience to join in" the club has already circumvented any 'rules' by making it common practice to sing along with Gordeanna, or anybody who turns up (I could add Kevin Mitchell, Len Graham, Sheila Stewart....... and dozens more, but that would be just my personal preferences).
It really is far safer to (if you are to have it at all) leave the decision to the main singer, though personally, I'm always perfectly satisfied if there are enough chorus/refrain songs.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Ref
Date: 03 May 09 - 09:00 AM

Maple Leaf Boy raises an interesting tangent. Is it the Canadian tradition to LISTEN to the National Anthem, or to The Mary Ellen Carter? As a boy during the sixties (In USA) I remember hearing the anthem at public events and the crowd always sang along. Now it's become a performance piece and everyone listens as the performer shows off range and melismatic skills. Perhaps in my youth I just was around more WWII vets who had considerable investment in being Americans, or maybe it's just because my parents were fine singers, but I miss those days and the feeling that we were all Americans together, despite our many differences.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Azizi
Date: 03 May 09 - 09:40 AM

This is, of course, yet another of those threads that doesn't have a right/wrong answer.
-Kampervan


I hope I'm not the only person who would find it more interesting to discuss different culture's traditions regarding singing along with a solo performer and how & why those traditions change within particular groups (such as the points that Jack Campin made about New Zealand and the point that Ref made about Canada). But I suppose that is a whole 'nuther thread.

It seems clear that with regard to this subject that there is never going to be total agreement about what is proper to do in particular settings and what is not.

That said, I've found it interesting reading this thread and observing the group dynamics and seeing how people choose to make (or not make) their points. But at some point-to quote a well known American children's song-"the wheels of the bus [keep going] round and round".


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:09 PM

I have never yet found it a problem.
guest AW,who recently went to one of my gigs,stated that he found someone else singing along with me annoying,this is a fair comment.
every audience member who is at a club or a concert does need to consider the other people present.
I was at a seated concert some months ago [cinema type seating],and had my concert disturbed by someone who needed to go out for a smoke every 20 minutes,so I had to stand up and let them pass four times.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:18 PM

I don,t care much for either Jim Carroll's or Rifleman's opinions but that's neither here nor there. We're all subject to speeling mistakes...I know I am!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:54 PM

"We're all subject to speeling mistakes"
Me too - but I'm not particularly happy at being stalked from thread to thread (I think this is the fourth) by somebody with a somewhat large personal problem - anything to get rid of the pratt will suffice.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:59 PM

personal problems??

Having read through most of Rifleman's and your postings, I see it as a vastly different opinion to the music, trad or otherwise than you have. I'm leaving it at that, as I've no personal wish to get into slanging matches with either of you.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Kampervan
Date: 03 May 09 - 04:23 PM

Well I'm sorry Jim, but I have to continue to disagree with you for two reasons.

Firstly, I've been going to various clubs and festivals for over 40 years and none of the ones that I've attended on a regular basis has had any RULE about joining in. But I can't recall any instance of the audience joining in at an inappropriate moment.
If there has been any offence caused to a visiting singer then it has not been obvious and has been so infrequent that it does not merit the creation of a RULE.

Which leads to the second reason, namely that much of our traditional music exists in an informal world and the fewer rules that there are the better. The more regulated that it becomes then, I believe, the fewer people will join us.

Rely on the audience,they may not be always right, but they're not often wrong.

K/van


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Ron Davies
Date: 03 May 09 - 07:06 PM

It's still unclear to me just why it is a terrible outrage perpetrated against a singer to suggest that he or she tell the audience, before starting to sing, whether or not singing along--on the chorus or refrain, if there is one-- is desirable. It is of course obvious that if there is no chorus or refrain, there is no singing along.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:38 AM

As a performer it appears simple to me:
if you don't want the audience to sing along, sing songs they don't know; if you do want them to sing along, sing songs they know.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Barry Finn
Date: 04 May 09 - 02:09 AM

Let's just not sing anymore. Let's just listen to one person sing at a time & let's all let the lights go out while we're at it. Pete's day is over, why in the world would anyone want to lift their voices & be heard when some one else can do it for us???

Barry


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 May 09 - 02:57 AM

"if you don't want the audience to sing along, sing songs they don't know; if you do want them to sing along, sing songs they know."
And so allow the audience (or club organisers) to dictate what you can and what you can't sing - is this what you are suggesting Seamus?
"Let's just not sing anymore. Let's just listen to one person sing at a time & let's all let the lights go out while we're at it."
On the other hand, let's ban solo singing in clubs and just accept that audiences will join in whether the singers wish them to or not. As much as I have loved Pete Seeger's singing down the years, if his style of performance was the ony one folk music would be so much the poorer.
Roll over Joe Heaney, Texas Gladden, Dillard Chandler, Sheila Stewart, Jeannie Robertson... and all the old solo singers - your singing is no longer wanted on voyage!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 04 May 09 - 03:28 AM

Jim, I was being facetious.
I know, it's hard to tell in print.

I don't have any trouble getting my audiences to sing along, or not, depending on the song.
If I want them to join in, I'll encourage them to do so, and if I don't want them to join in, I'll say something along the lines of: 'Listen to the words of this one."

I find that a bit more diplomatic than saying: "Now, don't sing along with this song."

And occasionally it's fun to try to get them to sing along with an instrumental piece like Dueling Banjos or the Teetotaller's Reel.

Really!

Seamus


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Kampervan
Date: 04 May 09 - 03:36 AM

Spot on Seamus


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 May 09 - 05:16 AM

"Jim, I was being facetious."
Sorry Seamus - I really shouldn't post just after I've got out of bed.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 04 May 09 - 06:36 AM

After fifty years of performing at, and organising, folk, clubs, singarounds, and sessions, I have long advocated that joining in with a singer who is out front, concert style, should be by his/her invitation only, except for choruses.

Singarounds are somewhat different, and I tend to join in with others who I KNOW will not mind.

Sessions are by definition joining in events, and anybody wishing to perform without others' input should so indicate at the start of his/her song.

IMHO, of course.


Jim Carroll said....""Your posts get nastier and more dishonest every time you make them - was it something I said?""........

Pot and kettle Jim! You have hardly posted two polite comments in the last year, so to accuse those you despise and denigrate at every opportunity of treating YOU badly is, frankly, laughable.

So, YES, it was pretty near everything you said.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 May 09 - 08:24 AM

Don,
I have strong opinions on some subjects which I try to express honestly - sometimes vehemently, as I would expect of any other contributor.
If this comes across in the way you describe - I cannot see that I can possibly have anything to offer to this forum - so perhaps I should leave you all to it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:22 PM

The party's over
dim the lights,
Empty the ash trays
of redundant claims,
The ghosts of voices
in the night
Discuss another set
of party games

- The Party's Over. Phil Beer & Ashley Hutchings


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:51 PM

""If this comes across in the way you describe - I cannot see that I can possibly have anything to offer to this forum - so perhaps I should leave you all to it
Jim Carroll""


There is absolutely no need to react in that fashion, Jim, especially as, had those whom you have addressed in the way I described reacted similarly, there would now be no forum for you to post to.

All that is needed, is perhaps to consider the feelings you would experience, had you spent your whole life trying to do the best for something you believe in, only to have someone categorise your efforts as hopelessly inefficient, and detrimental to what you have been trying to protect.

You come across as superior, patronising, grumpy and irrascible by turns, though this may not be how you intend to sound.

Many of us have been involved in folk clubs for longer than we care to remember, and it isn't nice to have someone telling us that we know nothing about running individual clubs which that person hasn't visited, and knows absolutely nothing about.

I don't wish to chase you away from this, or any other forum, and I do think you often have valid and important points to make. I simply question whether getting your point across can only be achieved by drawing blood, or whether some slightly softer option might be more effective?

Were you to show to those who have different ways of working, the respect for their expertise that you would wish to receive, it would, IMO, be a very good start.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:59 PM

It isn't nice to suggest that some of us who have been performing for more years than we care to remember, that we have absolutely no idea what we're doing, and that I do resent. I'm beginning to think that Rifleman may not be too far off the mark.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 May 09 - 02:49 PM

"You come across as superior, patronising, grumpy and irrascible by turns,"
Thank you Don - you've convinced me I have no place in here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 May 09 - 03:06 PM

For the record, most of Jim Carroll's posts seem perfectly reasonable to me. In my opinion a lot of the things that he says NEED to be said.For far too long the British folk scene has been collapsing into a lazy, pop-tinged mush and it needs shaking up. I can't help noticing that his detractors don't seem to have many counter-arguments and seem to rely either on accusing him of some, vaguely defined 'moral turpitude' (nonsense!) or in insulting him.

There are a few good clubs still out there (particularly that outstandingly brilliant one in Lewes!) and there are some great singers. I've heard two excellent young singers recently who have blown me away - and they both seem to have discovered the folk scene for themselves. But will they get the support and appreciation that they deserve or will they be driven away by a surfeit of the 'I-haven't-rehearsed-this-I'm-reading it-from-an-exercise-book' brigade or drowned out by members of the audience joining in uninvited?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 09 - 03:49 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVQ8NIGyHIM&feature=related

Better make the no singing along rules really clear to this crowd too (and it is totally fine to have whatever rules you want but I bet it would require great restraing for them not to sing along) mg


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 May 09 - 04:23 PM

I would liek to point out that at the Good Intent at Rochester Sweep's fest this weekend, PJ (of PJ's Music) came in from the garden (where there was a tunes session going on which he was chairing). He came in to the John Barden singing session in the bar. We had been roaring our heads off in harmony. The pub had a beer festival on - 48 barrels of ale gone in one weekend. An unruly crowd?

PJ nailed us to our seats with one bad salad. He just offered us a choice of a melodeon tune or the ballad. We opted. He sang. No-one moved or uttered a sound. He didn't need to make rules. He just did it so well that he held us rapt.

Locally we are used to the excellent Marian Button, who won the nats (best unaccompanied traditional song) not long ago. But I think PJ's rendition of the song and the power of his narrative and his dynamic use of his voice made it best unaccompanied traditional song I have ever heard live.

You want us to shut up and listen? Now you know what you truly need to do.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Bill D
Date: 04 May 09 - 05:33 PM

hmmm..I'd say that a 'bad salad' is an unusual way to keep an unruly audience in line.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 04 May 09 - 07:08 PM

""I can't help noticing that his detractors don't seem to have many counter-arguments and seem to rely either on accusing him of some, vaguely defined 'moral turpitude' (nonsense!) or in insulting him.""

Do you then feel, Shimrod, that Jim has the right to insult folk club organisers and make assumptions as to the nature, efficiency, and probable shortcomings of clubs he has never visited, and knows nothing about.

It is not my purpose to insult him, but merely to question the basis of his assessment of the English folk scene from the far side of the Irish sea. He has stated on this thread that for ten years he has hardly spent any time over here, and a lot happens in ten years.

A couple of months ago, Dick Miles was kind enough, on another thread to compliment me on my methods of running a folk club, having guested there several times, albeit many years ago. Had HE said of that club, that I was doing a bad job, and needed to change the organisation, I would have taken note, because HE would have been speaking from personal experience.

As to the generalised nature of Jim's comments, well, each club is unique. The only thing they share is the kind of music they offer, and even that has its variants. If a club is pulling in good numbers then it is being effectively run, and the person best equipped to decide on the style and format is the one who knows the audience and performers, and that would be the organiser.


Jim Carroll wrote:-

""We no longer have the choice of the music we wish to listen to because organisers have allowed folk clubs to become dustbins for whatever people now choose to call folk.
Whatever is performed there is no loger guaranteed to be of a listenable standard because they have accepted that clubs are now a place were singers and non-singers are allowed to practice in public.
Even if you, by the slimmest chance, happen to find a club presenting the music you want at a reasonanle standard, you're not allowed to listen to it in peace because of the droning of a bunch of self-obsessed pratts who haven't got the good manners to listen to a performer without feeling the urge to show how clever they are.
Nice to know our music is in safe hands!!
Jim Carroll""

I have bad news Jim. Most folk club organisers don't run their clubs, or choose the performers, on the off chance that YOU might pop in out of the blue.

Generally speaking clubs seem to have better attendances if the organisers pay some heed to what their REGULARS require, which can be different at different clubs, or even on different nights (e.g. Guest or Singers) at the same club.

It's not an exact science, but the one sure way to kill it stone dead is to try to force all of them into a "one size fits all" mould.

Don T


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 May 09 - 08:39 PM

Perhaps we might put some of this 'insulting' in context.
Personally I find this insulting:
"You have hardly posted two polite comments in the last year";
particucilarly as it is patently untrue.
My "was it something I said" comment was aimed at someone who had once again raised a point of difference which has now been going on for many months and is proving unresolvable, yet the poster has dragged it up on numerous unrelated threads despite my requesting that we agree to differ or deal with it off-line in order not to inflict it on other members of this forum.
Again, I find "You come across as superior, patronising, grumpy and irrascible by turns," somewhat insulting as I don't believe they are descriptive of how I am - though you will have to ask my friends if that's the case.
In an odd way I find:
"The party's over
dim the lights,
Empty the ash trays
of redundant claims,
The ghosts of voices
in the night
Discuss another set
of party games";
rather childishly insulting, not because of what it says (it says nothing), but rather because it is one of a number of hostile and personal postings from this individual spread over several threads irrespective of topic.
Which in its turn makes;
"I'm beginning to think that Rifleman may not be too far off the mark." - rather insulting to be compared to somebody who indulges in such childish invective.
It is one of the unfortunate features of folk song - as it stands today, is that it seems to attract insults like horshit attracts flies.
Perhaps you would like to run your finger down this forum and count the number of times those of us who don't readily fall into line with what happens in folk clubs have been referred to as 'folk police' or ' folk fascists' or 'finger in ear' or, as I got recently 'woolly jumpers' (this last being accompanied by something like "sit down, shut up, and take what you're given").
My late friend and mentor for a couple of decades, Ewan MacColl, despite his being dead for around 20 years, is still the target of vituperative abuse from certain quarters - must earn him a place in the Guinness Book of Records for a performing artist, surely?
High hopes said:
"It isn't nice to suggest that some of us who have been performing for more years than we care to remember"
No it isn't - but some of us have got used to it. I calculated recently - to my horror - that in a couple of years time I will have been involved in folk song for half a century, yet I'm still being spoken to as if I had just dropped into a folk club on the off-chance. Whatever length of time you've been involved, it doesn't make any of us automatically right about anything.
Don; re my quotes in your previous posting - all of them are long term arguments which are related to specific statements and have been hammersed out ad-nauseum.
One of my favourite responses to something I found unnecessary or arduous used to be "life's too short", but as I will reach my 67th birthday this year - it really is too short.
I spent thirty odd years benefiting from and enjoying the generosity of traditional singers - as well as coming away with a large number of songs and a great deal of information, I also was left with a feeling that I owed those people a great debt - an obligation to make the best use of what they so generously gave.
I don't know whether I wish to remain a member of this forum. As much as I have enjoyed and benefited from it and have learned a great deal from it, I really don't see the point of continuing if the impression I am making is the one Don described. I have a great many things I still wish to do - and to repeat - life really is too short.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 May 09 - 10:07 PM

Perhaps you all should stop debating about Jim's perceived faults and get back to the subject. I get so tired of this.......


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 09 - 11:16 PM

*If* you are an instumentalist (e.g. a fiddler) and you happen to be playing for a contra or square dance....no matter how good a singer you are....kindly refrain.
We contra dancers like to hear the caller!
(Can't really speak for the English country folks; my wife and I haven't gotten into ECD).


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 05 May 09 - 02:03 AM

Don T: "I have long advocated that joining in with a singer who is out front, concert style, should be by his/her invitation only, except for choruses.

Singarounds are somewhat different, and I tend to join in with others who I KNOW will not mind.

Sessions are by definition joining in events, and anybody wishing to perform without others' input should so indicate at the start of his/her song."

I think your brief summary here, makes a good deal of sense Don.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 05 May 09 - 03:01 AM

I can understand Mr. Carroll's concern that folk session is potentially muddied by introduction of non folk song.

But unfortunately this is time we are in. Singers age and die away, taking the traditional songs with them. New people come along that have not been indoctrinated as others have been, changing what may have once been a totally traditional song session into something else. This is not necessarily bad.

If rendering a pop song in a session draws a youngster into the room and that young one stays and discovers the next traditional song a wonderful revelation and goes on to find out more, invite friends, etc., then that "muddying" of the session has served a positive purpose. The above is not a judgement of the quality any song brought into a session, only a statement of how things are and can be.

Getting back to the original question when should singers not sing. It will always be a matter of consideration from both performer and audience. The performer can and should invite participation or indicate not. The audience (there is always the potential for beer soaked exceptions) should follow that lead.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 09 - 03:26 AM

"The performer can and should invite participation or indicate not"
Circular argument Virginia; If a singer makes such a request for an audience not to join in, Richard, and those who think like him will be there to tell he or she that they consider themselves better than the rest of us. Where do you go from here? Surely the practice should be 'only join in when you are invited to do so'.
For the record (and off topic) I have never advocated that the introduction of non folk songs muddy the water - only that what goes on in folk song clubs should fall within recognisable parameters of the definition - ie they should sound like folk songs. Does the rendition of a pop song draw in youngsters? Most youngsters I know are fairly discriminating as to the quality of the music and virtually all the pop songs I have heard done at folk clubs have been executed fairly diabolically.
Jim (I prefer Jim - Mr Carroll makes me sound like my father) Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 May 09 - 07:05 AM

Jim, the way to shut the room up is actually to be better - as PJ was on that rowdy night at Sweeps this weekend.

I've also heard Marian Button silence an entire bar in a chavvy dive in the middle of Maidstone - we were unable to use the usual club room that night and were singing away tucked into a corner of the downstairs bar. She started - and a ripple of silence and attention spread out across the room.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 09 - 07:43 AM

Sorry Richard - I understood that you were an advocating 'the room' joinging in, therefore shutting them up would be a bad thing, no matter how it was acheived?
I'm confused, it seems
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 05 May 09 - 10:22 AM

From Virginia Tam's post"
"Singers age and die away, taking the traditional songs with them."

I have asked the following question on several threads and never received a satisfactory response:

When a source singer dies, taking his repertoire with him, does a revival singer or collector (an obvious repository or source of the old songs) then become a source singer?
And if not, why not?

It stands to (my) reason that the surviving source of the songs would be the 'source singer', n'est-ce pas?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 05 May 09 - 11:17 AM

Good question Seamus.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 05 May 09 - 12:15 PM

Ultimately nothing matters except the music, all the harping and carping melts away. I LOVE people joining in, we (the band and I) performed The Partys Over a couple of weeks ago, and we avidly encouraged the audience to join in on the chorus, in the end there were a number of people who were familiar with the song, and sang the whole song right along with us, it was wonderful.

I wonder if John Tams would have offered his services to a song (the Albion Band Recording)that "says nothing". I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Musket
Date: 07 May 09 - 11:29 AM

Just had a thought, (possibly without Mr Carroll reminding us of whatever it is he reminds us of, I tend to forget..)

Every song ever sung in a folk club is a folk song. ergo...

Perhaps somebody could remind me, who did the parody of Bright Lights, the chorus I believe went, appropriately;

Meet me at the folk club, don't be late
I need to sing some Richard and it just won't wait!
Blow out the candles and turn on the lights,
I don't want to hear "The Bright Lights" tonight.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:07 PM

"(possibly without Mr Carroll reminding us of whatever it is he reminds us of, I tend to forget.",
Bit more nastiness to add to the list
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:18 PM

I think that the question posed by the thread title has been answered, some people don't mind when the audience joins in, some people do mind. The rest of you, back in your prams!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Kampervan
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:33 PM

I've disagreed with Jim Carroll throughout this thread and I'm getting a little tired with the personal attacks on someone who is obviously committed to supporting traditional music

This is a valid thread, raising an important question, and deserves to be debated properly, In order to do that, people need to feel free to post their opinions and ideas, and others should feel free to disagree with these.

But personal insults and snide remarks do not add to the debate. Indeed, they deter many from getting involved.

If you can't add constructive thoughts, ideas, opinions or argument then don't bother coming on with the insults.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:38 PM

I `ad that Jim Carroll in my cab the other day, `e looked well discombobulated.
I said, " What`s up Jim? Ryan Air put their prices up or something?
`e said, "Nah, I was at a singaround and session last night in Dulwich at "The Dog" ( or "The Crown and Greyhound" as the nouveaux still `ave it) and without a "by your leave" they joined in singing with everything."
I said, "That`s a bit out of order `ennit? What did you do then".
`e said, "Well, when it was my turn I thought I`ll just play a tune.But would you Adam and Eve it? They all started `umming!!"

Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Kampervan
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:45 PM

O.K., nice one Jim ;-)

Nothing like keeping things in perspective.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 07 May 09 - 01:04 PM

Surely the best thing is to have the screaming abdabs at whoever has the temerity to join in, embarrass them to within an inch of their life, resume whatever song of the people you were singing, then moan on Mudcat?

On Crackerjack there used to be a bouncing ball over the words or Peter Glaze pointing to the lines of the song. Why can't we go back to simpler times?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 May 09 - 01:13 PM

Kampervan

I'm getting a little tired with the personal attacks on someone who is obviously committed to supporting traditional music

There's the dilemma. Jim is an important figure in the folk revival and has done invaluable work for which we all owe him an enormous debt. The trouble is that, now, his contribution is overwhelmingly negative. He talks about "nastiness" but pours abuse on any folk club organiser who dares to poke their head above the parapet.

If he genuinely wishes to promote the music he loves, he is going to need allies. It makes no sense to alienate the very people who could help him.

Must get ready to go and see Con"Fada" O'Drisceoil at the Royal Oak.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Big Mick
Date: 07 May 09 - 02:12 PM

Dear Piginapoke, Mick in moderator mode here. Your comment has been deleted because you used an anon identity. If you are going to be critical in the manner in which you were, you will have to have the stones to use your own ID. Otherwise that would be trolling or flaming.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 May 09 - 02:57 PM

"He talks about "nastiness" but pours abuse on any folk club organiser who dares to poke their head above the parapet"
Sorry Bryan, this, and much similar in the past is your own particular (extremely inaccurate) interpretation of my position based largely on fundamental disagreements between us. The fact that I do not see how advocating allowing club platforms to be used as rehearsals for non singers can be in any way beneficial to their future; this is the basis for that disagreement, and it is the reason why we have yet again been plunged into another head-to-head about something that bears no relation whatever to the subject of this thread.
I do not pour abuse on folk club organisers - I have an apparently irreconcilable disagreement with YOU on the question of standards of performance. I have suggested that we agree to disagree, I have also suggested that our argument should be taken off-line, yet once again you have insisted on dragging our differences onto another unrelated thread.
As you, and others have pointed out, I have not been a regular at a folk club for ten years, so to some degree I use threads like this as a guage of what is now happening on the scene (not the only one - I still manage occasionalvisits and I have friends who perform regularly). I use the information I receive here and on other threads to fill in what I can no longer find out first hand and I respond when I feel inclined to do so. Contrary to how you have interpreted my views on the clubs, I still hold them to be an extremely important part of the passing on of our music. They were my introduction to folk music and I hope that will continue to be the case for others.
This thread should not be about me and my attitude; it shoud be about whether joining in with singers is desirable - please allow it to be so.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 07 May 09 - 03:34 PM

Much of what passes for debate hereabouts falls into a few categories. There are considered judgements based on long experience, personal opinion with the usual smattering of prejudices all humans are prone to and simple caprice - right now in this mood I think x.

The danger is mixing a, expertise, and assuming every other observation we make falls under the same category. I fail to see any objective method for deciding whether people should join in or not that is arrived at beyond capriciousness.

Arguments usually begin from a sense of humour bypass, not a misunderstanding of the available facts.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,some random lurker
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:13 AM

I came across this video of a heavy metal concert in France on YouTube and it made me think of this thread. The song is one of the best known of the band (Rammstein) involved, and the lead singer encourages the the audience to just sing the chorus to him for large sections of the song. At one point he even sort of conducts.

My point is that it isn't just folk audiences who want to sing along if the know the song. People just like to sing along.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLp63WBV-Ic


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:47 AM

"It stands to (my) reason that the surviving source of the songs would be the 'source singer', n'est-ce pas?"

I'm no singer, but if I ever poke my head over the parapet at my local sinaround (the Beech, Chorlton, 1st & 3rd Wednesdays), my source is my record collection... Luckily it contains stuff like VOTP and various Veteran and Musical Traditions CDs. I would suggest that this is the problem of calling "traditional" singers "source" singers...

I usually find it fairly obvious which are chorus songs and which aren't. Comments like "please join in on the chorus provide handy clues, too"...


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 May 09 - 07:15 AM

Just back from a wonderful weekend of cakes, ale and song (both human and avian). Everything from Child ballads to nightingales.

There seems little point in responding in detail to Jim Carroll's tirade; everybody is all too well aware of what he has said. For the record, I would just like to make it clear that I have never advocated "allowing club platforms to be used as rehearsals for non singers" nor do I think that standards do not matter as has been said elsewhere.

Jim did indeed try to take our discussion off-line but he was far less inhibited in his abuse there and no better at listening to what I was actually saying so I said that I preferred to be assaulted in front of witnesses. In particular, he accused me of "encouraging people to sing in public if they are incapable of handling the basics of singing". Something which bears no resemblance to anything I have ever said.

Jim, you continue to make slanderous attacks on me and use every thread to do your best to sully the reputation of the current UK folk scene and those who dedicate themselves to making it work.

Agreeing to disagree is not an option.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:20 AM

As I said, put my tirade of abuse up for all to judge if you wish to continue this harangue from thread to thread.
I've become very bored with it all.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:31 AM

Just after a stotty stuffed with chips.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 May 09 - 01:51 PM

Jim Carroll

I've become very bored with it all.

Then stop doing it. If you insist on attacking me for things I haven't said and opinions I don't hold and accusing me of being crass, of dumbing down and of promoting crap standards, I think I'm entitled to defend myself.

More generally, posts like this need to be countered as they are damaging the reputation of UK folk clubs on an international forum.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Aeola
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:46 PM

I remember Keith Donnelly saying to me at a festival that he only performed 1 song whilst on stage because the audience all joined in with the others and so he left them to it!
Most people know when to join in or not.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:55 PM

Lomax has made the case that the African-American influences in music stress participation as opposed to the Anglo penchant for solo singing. Growing up in jazz,
I like the idea of participation in music. I also see that sometimes it gets in the way of
an individual expressing themselves for an audience.

The question is not when "not" to sing but when to sing. I think that if you went to a Shakespeare play, even if you knew it from the beginning to the end you would not mumble along unless you were Winston Churchill. (See Burton's Hamlet and the backstage appearance of Churchill). On the other hand, how can you not want to participate in a rousing spiritual that everyone knows?

"To everything there is a season....a time to sing and a time to not sing" to paraphrase Pete and Ecclesiastes.

Frank


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 12 May 09 - 03:46 PM

they are damaging the reputation of UK folk clubs on an international forum.

You've got that right, just reading that linked post caused my blood pressure to rise. Alot of people put alot into making a folk club, or a session or a singaround work. I swear some belittle others simply to make themselves look good.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Janice now in Western NY State
Date: 13 May 09 - 01:41 PM

There are no absolutes, but there are preferences. If you don't want people to sing along, then say so. If you want them to join you only on the choruses or refrians, then tell them that. And if it's okay to join in singing throught the song, then that's what you should say. Most audiences will respect your wishes.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Diva
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:39 PM

It is wonderful to have a group of singers belting a chorus along with you especially with harmonies.....what is not wonderful is, as has been mentioned earlier,is when it gets taken over.

I found myself in that situation recently and found it a bit distracting. All was going well but one person sitting near me was about three words ahead in the refrain and doing their own thing and it was putting me off. My initial reaction was to put up a hand and stop them......but......I was there as a guest singer and in some fine company and thought it better not to resort to diva-ish behaviour. However, I found a way of dealing with it without making too much of a fuss. I just played about with the refrain, stretching notes putting in ornamentation etc til the culprit was keeping up with me and not the other way around.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:47 PM

When NOT to sing

When you have a mouthful of dry cornflakes, makes a hell of a mess on the stage and in the first 3 or 4 rows of the audience. The gig promotor(s) are generally not impressed.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST
Date: 17 May 09 - 10:47 AM

Yes. It means they like the song and want to be involved. Why be precious about it?





couldnt have put it better myself .


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 May 09 - 03:42 PM

Just listen to any Gregson/Collister live recording and you will hear a chorus in the audience singing all the time - mainly girls!!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Zimmerman
Date: 17 May 09 - 11:12 PM

Having posed the original question in this thread it has been an eye-opener to sit ringside while blows have been exchanged and tears have been shed as egos have been confronted.

My inchoate response would be to ask another question: is it the singer or the song?

Social anthropologists have observed that in communities where music is integral to social occasions, the paradox arises that, although the song may be treasured, it is the singer who holds sway, even where there is a tradition of group singing.

As an example I would cite my own experience in Irish clubs and bars here in England. There may have been a professional band or singer booked but during their break, or especially at the end of the evening, it is common for an audience member to launch into a song and be heard in respectful silence. Drink-fuelled maudlin sentimentalty may play its part but the message is clear - respect the singer.

And I say Amen to that.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: mg
Date: 18 May 09 - 12:33 AM

Yon social anthropologists need to broaden their scope of research. l;mg


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 09 - 02:44 AM

Zimmerman
"respect the singer."
You have that right.
Have just been listening to an interview of the great Sean Nós singer Joe Heaney where he is asked precisely the same question you asked - his reply "One singer, one song".
Our folk songs, by and large, are constructed as solo pieces which are made for individual interpretation. Joining in wherever and whenever an audience feels like is an infringement on the right of the singer to give that individual interpretation - how could it possibly be anything else?
Silence on the part of the audience is an indication of respect for the singer and an interest in the song being sung.
Some songs are obviously made for joining in - they come with choruses and refrains; but even these should be treated with sensitivity - don't turn gentle refrains into belted out choruses - let the singer make the running - at the moment of singing it's his or her song.
If audience members want their five minutes of fame, let them go and get their own songs - not being precious - it's good manners apart from anything else.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Marje
Date: 18 May 09 - 04:33 AM

The last couple of examples relate particularly to Irish tradition:
"Irish clubs and bars here in England" and "the great Sean Nós singer Joe Heaney".

Please bear in mind that "our folk songs" (Jim) are not a single entity, and the social settings where they're sung are very varied. This forum includes members in England, Scotland and the US, as well as elsewhere. It's perfectly obvious from the discussions above that the traditions and customs around singing are not the same in all these regions. There are places (and songs) where you show respect by listening attentively, and there are also those where you show your appreciation and engagement with the song and the singer by joining in.

The song/singer focus is an interesting point: in England (at least) many well-respected "song-carriers" will tell you that for them it's the song that matters, every time. And paradoxically, it's often this respect for the song that makes them compelling and convincing singers. But I accept that this isn't how singing is perceived by everyone, everywhere.

By all means describe what you see in a particular area or setting; by all means say that's what you prefer; but please don't generalise and say this must apply everywhere and in all circumstances.

Marje


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 09 - 05:06 AM

Marge
I come with nearly forty years of being involved in Engish clubs. Up to ten-fifteen years ago it would have been unheard of for an audience to join in with a singer on a non-chorus song without being invited to do so BY THE SINGER. Nowadays it now seems to be the case of "It's my party and I'll sing if I want to".
It has to be the singer who decides, and he/she should NEVER be put in the humiliating situation of having to request that an audience don't join in.
There is no precedents (apart from family gatherings like the Coppers) of joining in with what are obviously non-chorus/refrain songs, or if there are, I would be interested to hear of them. In thirty years of collecting from source singers (English, Irish and Scots) we never encountered the phenomenon. Some of them, whenn we asked, expressed an abhorrence of the practice (into the microphone).
I've already given a couple of horror stories of Walter Pardon's experiences of such bad manners at the hands of club audiences - I could give plenty more.
Must go - session in Mayo where, if a bodhran player joins in without invitation, he or she could find themself swimming to America with their instrument inserted in a very inconvenient part of their anatomy.
jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Diva
Date: 18 May 09 - 01:26 PM

Basically what Jim Carroll said...manners...it is a question of manners


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 May 09 - 04:42 PM

I think it boils down to horses for courses. If the singer and/or the song is an obvious solo performance then it would be very rude of the audience to join in without permission. On the other hand if I was to sing a shanty and no-one joined in I would be a bit put out! What we need is a modicum of common sense. Something that does not seem too common unfortunately:-(

Something did just spring to mind as I mentioned shanties - At Lancaster some years back a fellow mudcatter upset quite a few people by joining in with not only the choruses and refrains but the verses as well! The general concensus (sp?) was that the audience had paid to listen to Johnny Collins (as it was) NOT an unknown and very loud participant! Common sense again. Join in when appropriate and listen when it isn't!

What is difficult about that?

DeG


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Songster Bob
Date: 18 May 09 - 10:36 PM

I hope I'm not in the "sings when he shouldn't" category, and in particular, that I'm not the singer Big Mick mentioned, a friend who sang over you at a Getaway. If so, I'm sorry. I did notice myself a few weekends ago, when my enthusiasm for "Old Bill Bailey Played the Ukulele," got to me and I sang along with another friend, when it wasn't called for at all. There are times, even at my age, when enthusiasm overcomes taste and sense.

Me culpa.

I'm both a singer and musician, and one of my curious desires is to be an accompanist, when one can help the song, rather than a member of the chorus, so my chance to join in depends on a specific kind of session, and when I encounter that kind (essentially, country/bluegrass song-swaps, or blues sessions, or, as it were, "accompanied singarounds"), I have to be careful to not overdo it. If I'm the third or fourth guitarist in such a session, I'll pick up the mandolin or banjo or harmonica, or sit it out.

I could see doing it the same way if I were an accomplished harmony singer, I might make the same sing/don't-sing decision if I was not likely to help the sound by adding my voice -- if they didn't need another tenor or baritone, or if the harmony I could add was 'skew' to the kind of song being sung. To me, to sing or not to sing depends on what I can add with my voice or instrument, and how well that would fit the song & singer. In DC, we tend to sing a lot, when an opportunity presents itself. If it's a house concert or singaround, even more than a formal concert, but even then we're compelled by something inside, so have to almost artificially pull back if it seems like the wrong situation.

My contribution here seems to reinforce the "use your sensibilities" faction here. Unfortunately, that faction seems a little small, or at least not as outspoken as "some people here." Speak up for good sense, folks!


Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 May 09 - 12:23 PM

If there is an understanding that the singer doesn't want you to sing along, then this should be respected of course.

Manners and sensitivity do play a role here.

But the best communication for most people is a sense of participation which if encouraged by the performer enhances that performance.

I have been bored to tears by some long-winded, pretentious, self-important singers
who insist on a "concert platform" for their "precious" offerings.

Folk song academia is a disease which is not limited to information but a great deal
of attitude.


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