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Backing Tracks at Festivals

Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 25 Sep 09 - 10:30 AM
Barry Finn 25 Sep 09 - 10:14 AM
Don Firth 24 Sep 09 - 07:03 PM
Tim Leaning 24 Sep 09 - 06:40 PM
Tim Leaning 24 Sep 09 - 06:39 PM
Don Firth 24 Sep 09 - 03:36 PM
PoppaGator 24 Sep 09 - 02:52 PM
BB 23 Sep 09 - 04:54 PM
Hamish 20 Aug 09 - 11:05 AM
BB 20 Aug 09 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 20 Aug 09 - 10:15 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 20 Aug 09 - 08:18 AM
Bernard 20 Aug 09 - 08:02 AM
Bernard 20 Aug 09 - 07:35 AM
Darowyn 20 Aug 09 - 04:21 AM
Sooz 20 Aug 09 - 03:45 AM
Hamish 20 Aug 09 - 02:38 AM
Tyke 19 Aug 09 - 09:05 PM
BB 19 Aug 09 - 03:28 PM
Nigel Parsons 19 Aug 09 - 12:06 PM
The Villan 19 Aug 09 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,Rafflesbear 19 Aug 09 - 11:25 AM
Tootler 19 Aug 09 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Mad Spaniel 19 Aug 09 - 10:54 AM
Bernard 19 Aug 09 - 10:41 AM
Bernard 19 Aug 09 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Rafflesbear 19 Aug 09 - 09:58 AM
Tim Leaning 19 Aug 09 - 08:26 AM
The Sandman 19 Aug 09 - 07:38 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Aug 09 - 07:09 AM
Leadfingers 19 Aug 09 - 05:00 AM
Bernard 19 Aug 09 - 04:58 AM
Bernard 19 Aug 09 - 04:50 AM
The Villan 19 Aug 09 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,Mad Spaniel 19 Aug 09 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Crampton 19 Aug 09 - 04:21 AM
Darowyn 19 Aug 09 - 04:02 AM
Will Fly 19 Aug 09 - 03:17 AM
Tim Leaning 19 Aug 09 - 01:58 AM
Smokey. 18 Aug 09 - 09:37 PM
Maryrrf 18 Aug 09 - 08:28 PM
Tootler 18 Aug 09 - 08:18 PM
Smokey. 18 Aug 09 - 07:35 PM
The Sandman 18 Aug 09 - 07:09 PM
Leadfingers 18 Aug 09 - 06:55 PM
Tim Leaning 18 Aug 09 - 06:32 PM
Leadfingers 18 Aug 09 - 03:04 PM
Bernard 18 Aug 09 - 12:38 PM
Tyke 18 Aug 09 - 12:26 PM
Tim Leaning 18 Aug 09 - 10:24 AM
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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 10:30 AM

It all depends on the creative resourcefulness and imagination of any given individual, as to how much of a cop out or not using prerecorded backing might be IMO. Using a taped backing at a song session, seems rather bizarre and redundant to my mind to say the least.

And yet many sounds cannot be generated by acoustic instruments - or indeed any instrument other than technology and software. In such circumstances, using a recorded backing might even be an innovative and creative leap.

As far as a song or acoustic music session is concerned, if you *want* straightforward backing but can't play, why not simply get to know those regulars who DO, and make it work that way?

I think it's taking to pee somewhat to expect anyone to pay to watch a performer sing Kareoke style though.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 10:14 AM

I can't imagine sitting on the front porch with music friends singing & someone starts off a song by winding up the player for background sound. Like going shopping at the Mall.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:03 PM

Yum!!

(But I spit out the drum machine.)

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 06:40 PM

Oh bugger missed the LOL of the end .
lOL


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 06:39 PM

Of course no one thinks you are a dinosaur mate
Now settle down and eat yer cave men.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 03:36 PM

"Backing tracks at Festivals"

It would never even occur to me to want to use backing tracks for any performance of folk music. Just me, my voice, and my guitar, all live and on the spot (and sometimes not even the guitar). The house PA system, yes, if needed. But a canned music backup?

It strikes me that someone who uses pre-recorded backing tracks is sort of missing the point.

I suppose in some people's minds, that makes me some kind of dinosaur.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: PoppaGator
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 02:52 PM

The first time I encountered a singer carrying his little boom box onstage to provide accompaniment, I was very dismayed and taken aback. The artist was a favorite or mine, and a truly great vocalist: Aaron Neville, who normally performs with a band including his three brothers and a few additional musicians.

Aaron can play some piano, reporetedly, but does not do so onstage; he is a vocalist who relies on accompaniment. The event was a benefit of some kind and I believe that Aaron wanted to contribute his services without having to coerce anyone else into appearing to back him up.

The set was fine, of course, if a little strange.

I agree that "canned" accompaniment is inappropriate for most any kind of folk festival or concert, and that in almost any context, it carries a whiff of unprofessionalism.

Now, "looping" to achieve some kind of one-man-band performance ~ that's much more OK with me. One very talented guitarist who performs at our local mostly-acoustic coffeehouse does a solo electric-guitar act wherein he plays a few measures, or even an entire verse, while recording it, and then (immediately and seamlessly) allows it to repeat while he plays over the recording as it replays.

And then, taking it several steps farther, there is the incomparable Theresa Andersson:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8Li-DaJny4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8xx6xKKJ6A&feature=channel

May not be "folk," but it sure is music!


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: BB
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:54 PM

Rafflesbear, I would like to contact you privately about this (as you started the thread), but it looks as though you're not a Mudcat member. It would be useful if you were, especially as you post quite frequently.

Otherwise, I'd be grateful if you could e-mail me at tomandbarbara at umbermusic dot co dot uk.

Thanks.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Hamish
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 11:05 AM

Au contraire: very welcoming. Barbara.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: BB
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 10:51 AM

A round sounds like a good idea to me, Hamish! Yes, I did realise it was you when you said your name (sorry I didn't realise earlier), and I'm glad you enjoyed the chorus singing - a standard cultivated over many years! Bearing in mind the title of your song, and the way it was received, it doesn't sound as though we're 'narrow and exclusive', does it? ;-)

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 10:15 AM

Deplorable.

But one has to say it is representative of the wider culture. Buskers do it and if that isn't folk - what is? The concept rather than the fare.
And to get attention buskers amplify loudly - usually.

I would probably leave smartly. Or ask them to join a session - they would have to play acoustically or risk a severe drubbing.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 08:18 AM

"any thoughts?" (Rafflesbear)...I agree with you.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 08:02 AM

Dave, I'm sorry - having re-read my post it looks as if I'm suggesting you cannot read your audience, and that is NOT what I intended to say. Please don't take offence!


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 07:35 AM

Yes, we understand a performer's need for an audience - but in the appropriate setting, please. The art of being a performer is understanding the needs of your audience, and deriving your pleasure from satisfying those needs. A performer who does not have this basic understanding quickly loses the interest of most audiences.

What we're attempting to establish here is whether people think a folk festival environment (and even a folk club) is indeed the right sort of setting for performances relying upon backing tracks, and so far most people seem to agree that it isn't.

If you are such a performer, you have a vested interest in putting forward your opinion; feeling sorry for someone who hasn't the expected skills isn't really an argument in favour of the case, either. You might just as well argue that someone who cannot sing a note in tune has every right to expect festival bookings... well, it's fine if they are a skilled instrumentalist, but not if they intend to sing!

There's a suggestion, though, of a worrying trend which may result in it not being a novelty exception for very much longer, despite the wishes of many.

We're not being 'party-poopers', trying to deny people a chance to perform in front of an audience... but it's 'horses for courses'... what does the audience want? The general consensus on backing tracks seems to be 'no thanks'... for reasons already eloquently given.

There was a lot of opposition to 'folk rock' during its infancy, but it found its niche. It doesn't suit all audiences, though. Unaccompanied trad singing doesn't suit all audiences, either. It's a healthy thing that there are diverse interests to suit all tastes. As Bill Cosby once said 'I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone'.

Sadly, though, we've found yet another example of something that people seem to want to dump into the 'folk' category because (perhaps?!) nobody else wants it...!! But that's a completely different debate!


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Darowyn
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 04:21 AM

"Why not record the vocals & guitar as well. You could have sent the recording in and stayed home to play with your Hi-Tec toys!"
Because I like playing live.
Because music is a social thing, it needs to have a performer and a listener.
I'm surprised that you need to ask!
I have, of course, recorded the vocals and guitar as well. Those of us who understand all this high-tech stuff call that a CD track.
This was a live performance.
Got it now?
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Sooz
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 03:45 AM

We weren't impressed when we saw Jacqui McShee's Pentangle playing to backing tracks a few years ago - especially when they were not on top of the technology!


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Hamish
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 02:38 AM

Barbara: I did do one song in one of your singarounds. Late on Thursday in fact. It was unaccompanied - except on the refrains where folks joined with particularly enthusiasm. (Dave Taylor's "Through Pissheads and through Bikers"). I have also sometimes followed the high-tech looping with "of course, there's the traditional way of achieving the same thing" and we've sung a round. :-)


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Tyke
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 09:05 PM

Reminds me of the Leeds University Lecturer who left a tape recording of his lecture for his students. When he returned he found a lecture theatre full of tape recorder's listening to his lecture.

KEEP MUSIC LIVE!


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: BB
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 03:28 PM

"I just wanted to say why pick on the unfortunate person(s) who didn't have their own band when you allow all the other stuff that is also not strictly acoustic."

As far as the Broadstairs Singaround was concerned, the person in question could, and did on occasions, play guitar - fairly basic but acceptable, and could and did sing unaccompanied. She WAS singing to a TAPE recording of her son, made at home, because he didn't want to come to the festival, and it was played through an ordinary portable tape player. No other non-acoustic, non-live performance is acceptable in this particular context - it just isn't appropriate. It's nothing to do with being a Luddite or not, although I did express my view on what I am "not keen on" and why. Hamish, I'm prepared to be converted - but not in a singaround please! :-)

I don't have anything against PA in an appropriate situation - I too have heard Mike Silver in a club situation where normally PA wouldn't have been necessary, and it wasn't a problem. I've even used it in a club I've run as the acoustics of the room were so lousy (we've moved now, thank goodness!). I can see that sometimes it's a matter of balance between musicians, and providing it's no louder than normal acoustic sound, I don't have a problem with it.

ONE of the things that attracted me to folk music, and has kept me attracted to it almost to the exclusion of all else, was it's essentially acoustic nature, and artificial volume. Even in my youth when I was into pop music, I hated the high volume levels - I suspect this applies to many people.

So I don't have a problem with PA, nor experimentation with loops or pre-recorded backing tracks in appropriate circumstances - perhaps the concert stage, although whether or not I could be persuaded to actually enjoy it remains to be seen.

Oh, and we do NOT have a narrow, exclusive attitude in the Singaround or at our club - rather a very open accepting attitude - any kind of music, song, poetry, recitation, story, dance, or whatever - but essentially acoustic!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 12:06 PM

DarowynI played at a Halloween night, and decided that a few sound effects would help the song along. So I compiled them on my laptop. Then I needed to make sure that that they came in at the right time in the song, so I added a rhythm track so I could be sure I was playing at the right tempo. A scary synth pad seemed to add a bit of atmosphere too, so that went on as well, and made it easier to keep up with the chord changes, then a few violin fills...
So I played to a backing track with live vocals and guitar. The Mic, the guitar and the laptop were all plugged into the PA.
So what?,

Why not record the vocals & guitar as well. You could have sent the recording in and stayed home to play with your Hi-Tec toys!


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 11:52 AM

To be fair I did put on Dave Sealey with his one man show "Stanley Holloway - With a little bit of luck".
This in my opinion is the exception to the rule.

Dave brought all his own props and didn't want PA. He set it all up and explained to me that he used background music to support his singing and to keep as near to the Stanley Holloway story as possible.

I wasn't really sure what to expect, but was totally amazed at the sheer professionalism of Dave. He told the story of Stanley Holloway in a way that was so refreshing and he drew the audience of about 60 people into his performance. When he started singing the songs, he played background music and I was absolutely gobsmacked at the power and quality of his voice. This was indeed a very top professional one man show of the highest order.

Dave is a top man who knows his own skills and uses props appropriately.

Here are a few pictures of the show.
http://www.faldingworthlive.co.uk/faldingworth_music_weekend_june_2007.htm You need to scroll down until you come to Dave Sealey.

Great man.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: GUEST,Rafflesbear
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 11:25 AM

I have tried to put this as a general discussion rather than specific but it may help if I mention that the duo at Broadstairs consisted of a guitarist/banjo player/vocalist and a pipe player

The backing track featured drums, guitars and much more and was operated by foot pedal

I was informed by no less a person than Dave Goulder that he had heard the banjo player at a session and considered him very good but to me (an unqualified non-player) the performance with backing track seemed like very basic one note at a time banjo picking with all the slack taken up by the backing track


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 11:03 AM

Looking back at the thread it started out as a gripe against backing tracks, which I assume means an instrumental accompaniment to a singer who might or might not be playing an instrument themselves.

Recent posts seem to have drifted into the issue of "lip syncing" ie miming to a totally prerecorded performance.

I have no fundamental objection to the former and as I said earlier I can see a place for it but If I went to a concert - even if it was a major pop act where more of this goes on - and the whole performance was lip synced (or not depending how good they are) I would feel cheated. Even so lip syncing has a place, for example promoting your latest single on Breakfast TV and though I don't particularly like it I can understand why they do it.

On the other hand I have attended performances by solo artists who have sung to backing tracks and it has been effective and they have put on a good performance.

Finally backing tracks are probably not appropriate at your local folk club singaround, though I expect they will appear there eventually.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: GUEST,Mad Spaniel
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 10:54 AM

"At times the tracks were so loud and comprehensive that I couldn't hear the instruments they were actually playing (if they were actually playing and not miming)"
Did we ever establish if they were actually playing?


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 10:41 AM

Sorry, cross-post...!

I'd expect any festival director to have done their homework properly and not be caught out in this way. Moreover, any performer inending to play should also have done their homework and checked if such practice was considered acceptable.

In other words, for a mistake like this to be allowed to happen suggests some blame on both sides. It also suggests some assumptions have been made on both sides.

Let's be fair. We know that Strawhead, the Mrs. Ackroyd Band and Doc Harvey and the Philistans all use MIDI in addition to Chris Harvey's live performance, and audiences aren't warned in advance that this is to be expected. However, I'm sure we all agree that these are somewhat theatrical 'specialist acts', not in any way comparable with someone singing a song with a backing track.

Chris is in control (usually!!) of what is playing, and it really counts as part of his mastery of the instrument.

The line is very fine, though, and I would hate to see people turning up at clubs and festivals expecting to perform to a backing track as the norm. It's not what the genre is about.

Fairport, Steeleye Span et al are 'folk rock', and not to everyone's taste. Some even claim they 'aren't folk'. Fortunately the folk idiom is a wide enough church to embrace extremes... finger-in-the-ear trad right through to folk rock... but I still feel the performers abilities are a vital part of this.

Yes, I do feel sorry for those who cannot play - especially if they could play and have now some form of disability which has taken that ability away, for example Ted Edwards. However, permitting one person to use backing tracks then creates a dangerous precedent.

If they were presented as a novelty act (such as the hilarious John Shuttleworth) in a folk environment, then maybe backing tracks could be valid up to a point. It's still a dangerous precedent, though.

Someone who cannot play themselves, and who cannot find an accompanist, should already be aware that they are expected to sing unaccompanied or not at all. It's really that simple. Let's be reasonable... there's usually someone around who can pitch in and accompany them - I frequently do it myself (but only when asked!!).

Then there's turning up at a singaround without an instrument and expecting to borrow one... maybe I should carry a recording of me playing in my mobile phone, and sing to that...!!


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 10:02 AM

Quite so - but this should not be after the audience has arrived, or even worse, when the performer takes to the stage! That would be nearly as bad as finding that the person who is performing is only a lookalike/soundalike...!!

Fortunately (or is that unfortunately?!) you'd be hard pushed to find someone who looked and sounded like me... erm... Micca?!


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: GUEST,Rafflesbear
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 09:58 AM

So was Kim aware when she hired them that this was the act they were proposing to perform and should a duo wanting to appear at a folk music festival feel duty bound to inform the artistic director if they intend to use backing tracks?


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 08:26 AM

I think its only dishonest when it isn't made clear or there is an attempt to deceive.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 07:38 AM

I agree, I think it is dishonest.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 07:09 AM

I can accept that a singer may not have ready access to an accompanist, or that a band may need FX or instruments that they would not normally have available (and might prefer not to use MIDI). I would not oppose such things. It is the essence of folk that while the folk song or tune is preserved and handed on, the interpretation and versioning of it may change.

However, a singer who mimes to a recording of their voice, or an instrumentalist whose own playing of an instrument is not heard, is not able to be evaluated as a singer or performer, deprives the audience of the thrill of the moment (the very reason why bands sometimes make live recordings for commercial issue) and is essentially dishonest about thier capability.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 05:00 AM

Any one who does regular 'Pub Entertainment' and DOESNT use P A is heading straight for either Bankruptcy or a SERIOUS throat problem !

My first experience of (Excellent) P A use in a Folk Club was the seventies band Decameron . Five guys using ten microphones and a HUGE (for the time) Sound system , but at the back of the room were no louder than if the had been hammering the instruments ! Sound man kept everybody balanced , and the volume was perfect .


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 04:58 AM

Sorry, I should have clarified further... 'lip sync' and 'mime' are not the same thing. 'Mime' is a different type of performance altogether!

A 'lip sync' performance is usually performed 'live' by the chorus members to lend some ambience, even though it is also on the pre-rec.

We used to do this with the 'Childrens Pageant' at the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales because of the difficulties of miking up a large number of children who were often on stage for a very short time. The children did perform 'live', but lip sync was used to ensure the audience could hear! I don't know about the current practice, because we haven't been involved with it for a number of years.

The tapes were recorded like 'radiogram stereo' - the accompaniment on one track and the vocals on the other, so it could be properly balanced in the live mix.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 04:50 AM

In the trade it has always been called 'lip syncing'...

We are ONLY talking here about FOLK festivals and the like, NOT pop concerts. I don't know of anyone going to a folk concert who would expect lip sync performances!! Yes, it does happen at pop concerts, but is by no means the norm - hence the fuss in the press when someone is 'found out'.

The long defunct 'Black and White Minstrel Show' was always lip sync... two open reel machines running in tandem, one there in case the other failed. A mate of mine was the SM, and still has copies of some of the tapes.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 04:47 AM

I would never put anybody on at Faldingworth who used backing tracks and I wouldn't bother to listen to anybody that did that thing, wherever.

There are many reasons for using PA.
Balancing of instruments and voices in a band is very important in a concert venue. People who sing professionally like to have the PA so that they do not have to damage their vocal chords etc.
I have seen lots of people who's voice is not strong enough to carry and the PA helps to get their voice to the extremities of the audience.
Likewise there are many guitarists for example, that play very intricate tunes in a soft way and amplification helps in the same way.
At the end of the day, it really depends on the size of the room, size of audience, how much people are paying to get in, what type of event it is and where it is located.

It really is up to organisers to decide how they best want to promote their venue. People who like that particular style will come along, the rest will find other venues that suit their taste.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: GUEST,Mad Spaniel
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 04:43 AM

Darowyn,

You are the voice of reason in a sea of luddites


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: GUEST,Crampton
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 04:21 AM

From a few posts back -

"Backing tracks could then lead to 'lip sync' (miming), which is not what audiences pay to hear."

But they do. Most shows by 'big' artists and girl/boy bands, especially those that involve vigorous dancing from the artist(s) are mimed (when did it become 'lip syncing'?).

The bottom line is that there is so much money and prestige tied up in a big show now that artists and organisers can't risk an out of tune, or out of time performance.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Darowyn
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 04:02 AM

I agree with Tootler- the basic argument, which boils down to not much more than a Cold Comfort Farm cry of "It be flying in the face of Nature" is very reminiscent of the shout of "Judas" to Bob Dylan.
I played at a Halloween night, and decided that a few sound effects would help the song along. So I compiled them on my laptop. Then I needed to make sure that that they came in at the right time in the song, so I added a rhythm track so I could be sure I was playing at the right tempo. A scary synth pad seemed to add a bit of atmosphere too, so that went on as well, and made it easier to keep up with the chord changes, then a few violin fills...
So I played to a backing track with live vocals and guitar. The Mic, the guitar and the laptop were all plugged into the PA.
So what?
The underlying luddite-ism of the people who regard this as some kind of offence to the Folk gods is shown by the use of the phrase 'backing tapes'.
I've not recorded anything on tape for more than ten years.
If it enhances the performance, and it's done with artistry and skill, the studio is perfectly relevant as a creative tool- for any genre of music- by whatever means the resulting music is performed.
Karaoke, by contrast, is based on commercially produced tracks, and can be a pleasant experience- but not often. When these tracks are used by talented pub singers and suchlike entertainers, it can be good, and is a way in which people can actually make money from performing.
Once again the Mudcat divides between those who have a narrow and exclusive attitude, and those who feel that 'anything goes, though I reserve the personal right not to like it'
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 03:17 AM

I've played in amplified bands and sung through PA systems (sorry, but me and my mates have called them PA systems for the last 30+ years) from when Pontius was a Pilot. Nothing wrong with it whatsoever but - and it's a big but - I actually prefer totally acoustic sound in a club/session/singaround context. I know of two folk clubs near me that use a house PA for performers. One is very good, with a guy on the desk all evening, but there's still a bloody palaver before every performance as various people need sound balancing for the mix. The other club's PA is dire, but the organisers insist that performers use it because people "round the corner" can hear. Trouble is, it makes everyone sound terrible. I refuse to use it and use my foghorn voice to "reach round the corner"...

As for looping, if you ever get the chance to hear classical guitarist Richard Durrant looping Bach, jump at it - superb.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 01:58 AM

Well no never have played in a three piece band,am not competent enough to do more than hack at guitar and shout . but heard plenty who pick their instruments well and then play them in away to maintain the balance.
But I was really making the point that some of us are a little loose about what is OK re tapes ,gizmo's and P.A.
If you want to ban pre recorded music, ban the P.A they are mostly played through.
If an acoustic instrument cant produce the same effects as an electric one the get an electric one,but don't pretend its an acoustic performance.
If the audience soaks up too much sound then have a smaller audience and more gigs.
I just wanted to say why pick on the unfortunate person(s) who didn't have their own band when you allow all the other stuff that is also not strictly acoustic.
Personally I would probably have enjoyed listening to all the above mentioned artistes doing what they do best entertaining.
As long as it wasn't too loud!!!!


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Smokey.
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 09:37 PM

It puts musicians out of work.
Much the same as the introduction of dancing to recorded music did.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Maryrrf
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 08:28 PM

I think backing tracks could be a useful tool for a solo singer, but not at a folk concert or a folk club. Tim wrote "Seems a shame to bar someone from singing just because they don't have any one willing, able, available to play on the night." It didn't sound like the person in question was barred from singing, just advised by the organizer of the singaround that it wasn't appropriate to sing with a back up track in that particular venue.   Frankly I think that was a good piece of advice because I don't think most folk clubs would think it appropriate. It's entirely possible to sing unaccompanied (use a pitch pipe if you need a note to start on). As for PA systems, yes I think they have a place depending on the venue, the acoustics and size of the audience. You can still keep the sound natural while amplifying and improving the mix.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 08:18 PM

I read this thread with a certain sense of deja vu.

I remember the cries of "Traitor" and "He's sold out" when Bob Dylan went electric.

Yet now we accept amplification - it is the norm in most concert halls - and even electrified instruments - though there are those who dislike them.

I think there is probably a place for the use of backing tracks if used with sensitivity and I am sure it will be seen more often in the future.

My daughter, when she was a girl, had a friend whose mother made her living singing in local clubs. She used backing tracks as she was not part of a band and almost certainly could not afford to pay accompanying musicians on what she earned from her gigs. I don't know what she got paid but I suspect her fees were not all that great as they did not have all that much money.

It strikes me as a useful tool for a solo singer.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Smokey.
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 07:35 PM

clearly should be locked in a cell,with 24 hours of non stop Daniel O Donnell.

Aye, 'anging's too good for 'em :-)

I for one would be very sad to see backing tapes infiltrate folk music. Some things have to be held sacred. I don't mind innovation, but I like my music to be real.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 07:09 PM

Tom and Barbara deserve a medal.
here is what that festival used to be like,100 per cent dance orientated.
in 1979,I was booked at that festival,there was not one song concert,singers spots were exclusively at DANCES ,To give the dancers a breather.
so I,Jez Lowe,Ged Foley and Sue Weir,and possibly Bob Lewis organised our own concert,in a small hall,which was packed out.
that was pre Tom and Barbaras singaround, they have done a great job.
that idiot with the backing track is clueless,and clearly should be locked in a cell,with 24 hours of non stop Daniel O Donnell.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 06:55 PM

Tim - Have you ever been in a Three Piece Multi Instrument band ? SOME instruments are a LOT quieter than others in the same way that some voices are quieter than others !
And IF a Pro Artist can use Amplification in a Satisfactory way in a small club , why shouldnt he ??


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 06:32 PM

"Backing tracks, on the other hand, are not provided to help the audience hear"
Really? I thought the objection was that they help the audience hear things that are not really there!
A group should surely be competent enough to play in a balanced way?
as in an orchestra.
Surely effects on guitar that wont work acoustically shouldn't be there for that very reason?


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 03:04 PM

Power Amplification in a Folk and Folk Club environment CAN be very useful ! Especially in a group , to get a good sound balance and , in the case of Artistes like Mike Silver , effects on guitar wont work acoustically , and he DOES keep the overall volume at Acoustic level


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 12:38 PM

Sound Reinforcement Systems (P.A. is strictly incorrect, as it refers to a paging system, sometimes called a 'Tannoy' after the manufacturer who used to service railway stations) permit the audience to hear. Okay, the standard varies, but that's another thread, perhaps.

An audience, no matter how well-behaved, generates ambient noise. Some rooms are acoustically better than others. Enabling the audience to hear properly is not always within the control of the performer... I prefer to work without a sound system, because sound systems are my day job. However, where necessary, I can and do use a sound system.

Maybe there is a case for limiting the size of an audience to enable a truly acoustic performance, but in reality there is the problem of making it pay. I doubt that a small, select audience would agree to paying a high ticket price... so it's something of a trade-off.

Backing tracks, on the other hand, are not provided to help the audience hear. It would not matter if the audience was two or two thousand! It's simply a matter of etiquette, and what the audience expects.

If a performer is intending to sing in front of an audience they should show respect for what the audience is expecting of them, either by using an instrument played live (with an accompanist playing if they cannot themselves) or putting together a set of unaccompanied material.

I'm sorry, but there are plenty of capable people around, so let's not pander to those who either cannot or will not accept the etiquette of a LIVE performance. Backing tracks could then lead to 'lip sync' (miming), which is not what audiences pay to hear.

By 'pay to hear' I also include people who are paying with their time, not necessarily with cash.

Once a trend has started, it's very difficult to reverse it!


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Tyke
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 12:26 PM

The one and only time I witnessed a backing tape I'll not mention the name of the guy doing the Floor Spot. I walked up to him and stuck a KEEP MUSIC LIVE sticker on him. Mind you he was smaller than me and he must have taken it on board because I've never seen him do it again.


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Subject: RE: Backing Tracks at Festivals
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 10:24 AM

Seems a shame to bar someone from singing just because they don't have any one willing, able, available to play on the night.
Must be a drag for someone who's voice is their instrument to be censured for trying to make the most of it.
What's the POV on people who cant sing without a P.A?
Maybe if the excuse is that the audience is too large there should be a reduction in the size of the audience to allow a proper acoustic set to be played?
Lastly and even more tongue in cheek what does the 195? commandment have to say on the matter of folk and amplification/backing tapes etc?
If there is no opinion given maybe neither should be allowed.


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