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does a lifted foot mean Stop?

Melissa 12 Sep 09 - 03:20 PM
Weasel 12 Sep 09 - 03:21 PM
Ebbie 12 Sep 09 - 03:23 PM
Darowyn 12 Sep 09 - 03:24 PM
phinque 12 Sep 09 - 03:24 PM
Weasel 12 Sep 09 - 03:25 PM
Alice 12 Sep 09 - 03:26 PM
john f weldon 12 Sep 09 - 03:26 PM
Melissa 12 Sep 09 - 03:34 PM
Stewart 12 Sep 09 - 03:44 PM
Lonesome EJ 12 Sep 09 - 03:54 PM
Maryrrf 12 Sep 09 - 04:00 PM
Melissa 12 Sep 09 - 04:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Sep 09 - 04:08 PM
M.Ted 12 Sep 09 - 04:19 PM
Sorcha 12 Sep 09 - 04:21 PM
Melissa 12 Sep 09 - 04:22 PM
Melissa 12 Sep 09 - 04:25 PM
Liz the Squeak 12 Sep 09 - 04:27 PM
Desert Dancer 12 Sep 09 - 04:34 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 12 Sep 09 - 04:52 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Sep 09 - 05:06 PM
Noreen 12 Sep 09 - 05:12 PM
Sorcha 12 Sep 09 - 05:16 PM
Leadfingers 12 Sep 09 - 05:16 PM
Joe Offer 12 Sep 09 - 05:28 PM
Liz the Squeak 12 Sep 09 - 05:29 PM
Melissa 12 Sep 09 - 05:33 PM
The Sandman 12 Sep 09 - 05:45 PM
Ebbie 12 Sep 09 - 06:09 PM
Melissa 12 Sep 09 - 06:15 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Sep 09 - 07:50 PM
Jack Campin 12 Sep 09 - 08:09 PM
Genie 12 Sep 09 - 08:26 PM
Cool Beans 12 Sep 09 - 09:03 PM
Joybell 12 Sep 09 - 09:24 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 12 Sep 09 - 10:04 PM
eddie1 13 Sep 09 - 06:20 AM
Jim McLean 13 Sep 09 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Clive Pownceby 13 Sep 09 - 09:53 AM
GUEST 13 Sep 09 - 02:51 PM
Marje 13 Sep 09 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Ebor_fiddler 13 Sep 09 - 05:54 PM
Allen in Oz 13 Sep 09 - 06:08 PM
open mike 13 Sep 09 - 06:08 PM
treewind 13 Sep 09 - 06:17 PM
Smokey. 13 Sep 09 - 06:30 PM
Rowan 13 Sep 09 - 06:36 PM
Tootler 13 Sep 09 - 06:43 PM
Smokey. 13 Sep 09 - 06:52 PM
Tootler 13 Sep 09 - 07:15 PM
Melissa 13 Sep 09 - 07:31 PM
Bob Bolton 14 Sep 09 - 12:39 AM
manitas_at_work 14 Sep 09 - 06:46 AM
Mr Happy 14 Sep 09 - 09:18 AM
MissouriMud 14 Sep 09 - 10:28 AM
Vic Smith 14 Sep 09 - 11:31 AM
Tug the Cox 15 Sep 09 - 07:41 AM
Rowan 29 Sep 09 - 06:40 PM
The Fooles Troupe 30 Sep 09 - 03:10 AM
Howard Jones 30 Sep 09 - 11:08 AM
Charley Noble 30 Sep 09 - 11:48 AM
Brian Swinton 30 Sep 09 - 02:25 PM
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Subject: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Melissa
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:20 PM

In my area, our way of doing music is all of us playing together.
When we get to the end of a song/tune, the way we let everybody know we're on the last round is that whoever started it will lift his foot a little bit (or shift it)

I've been wondering if this is a universal signal or whether it's a local thing and this seems like a good place to find out.

Do you all do this?

Thanks,
M


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Weasel
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:21 PM

Never heard of this in my life.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:23 PM

I once played in a band where the leader, the fiddler, would go 'round to each of us and lift his leg. I finally told him he looked like a male dog!

But yes, lifting or shifting a leg/foot or knee to signal imminent ending is standard here.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Darowyn
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:24 PM

It is reported that Ray Charles used to signal to his orchestra using signals made with his left foot.
I did not take notice to see if there was any particular code- it was just that you got fired if you missed a cue!
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: phinque
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:24 PM

Either lift foot, raised guitar neck or some other "sign."


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Weasel
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:25 PM

Might it be useful in this thread to indicate where "here" is? I'm in Manchester, England


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Alice
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:26 PM

Yup, lift the foot at the last part of the tune to show you're ending.
Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: john f weldon
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:26 PM

Seen it a zillion times, esp with old-time bands. Stop end of chorus.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Melissa
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:34 PM

I'm in the middle of the US (rural Missouri)

thanks all..
Ebbie, that drop of hilarity is funny to picture (and I'm wondering if I could get one of our fiddlers to demonstrate so I can see it in action)


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Stewart
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:44 PM

There are many ways of signaling the end of a tune in a session.
Making eye contact with the other players is one way.
That's the way the pro players in performing groups do it.
But in a session where nobody is paying much attention
to the other players that doesn't work. So when most heads and eys
are glued to the floor, the raised foot seems best.

Or as someone told me, a raised foot is to indicate that the
guitar player finally got the right chords
and it's time to move on to the next tune or stop.

Another way to signal is to call out "last time"
or make some such audible signal. Some of us, myself included,
can't talk and play at the same time, so that's a problem.

I really think more subtle signals are best,
but everyone has to be attentive (not a bad thing).
At many sessions I've played at in Ireland,
where the level of playing seems much better,
this seems to be the way it's done.
At times when I've started a tune there,
and I get to the third time around,
I find that everyone is looking at me
to make the signal - a nod of the head
or returning eye contact. Raising my foot
seems sort of gauche under those circumstances.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:54 PM

Universal, at least among Bluegrass players to indicate "get ready for the end of the song." I have even seen videos of Tony Rice and John Hartford and other notables doing it.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:00 PM

Here in Virginia, lifting a foot to signal the end of a tune seems to be standard in all the sessions I've been to - bluegrass, old timey and Irish.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Melissa
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:02 PM

we use eye contact/nod (or saying a name) to give someone a break so that would be kind of a confusing way for us to wrap it up.

I'm glad to know it's not a Made Up thing..it kind of makes me nervous when people laugh at us for signalling that way and it's reassuring to know we're not letting our elders (and selves) fall into consistently doing something silly.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:08 PM

Normal practice in the British Isles.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:19 PM

Signaling of one kind or another is necessary if you're playing with others, different types of music have different types of signals. --people who laugh are betraying their ignorance--Think about this--orchestras have a conductor, whose only job is to signal.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Sorcha
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:21 PM

Wyoming....we use it....usually foot is lifted to the rear, but sometimes a front kick...very small.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Melissa
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:22 PM

and..
I grew up understanding that a 'jam session' was when the musicians fed off each other and the next song/tune would be started by whoever started it..it might be somebody beside you, might be someone across the clump.

What do you all call the kind where everybody plays together but the play goes around the circle in order?
My name for it isn't very ladylike and I don't like calling it a 'jam'. It would be kind of handy to have another appropriate term to use.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Melissa
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:25 PM

M.Ted,
The ones who laugh are generally bluegrassers that are used to playing with people who are more 'bandlike'..and structured. The same song for most of the laughers is almost always the same length. If they want it longer, they play it again.
Different frame of reference more than ignorance, I think.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:27 PM

I have a photograph of my granpop at my aunt's wedding, where the family are standing in a row in the church porch. Granpop has his left leg raised. When asked why, he replied 'Well I dursn't let un go in church, 'twould've rattled down the pew.'

The raised leg may indeed be an indication of musical cessation, but not always...

LTS


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:34 PM

When calling a dance (and usually after having failed to clearly give the "two more times through the tune" signal, or having changed my mind after the fact) I've been known to step in front of the band and raise my leg to nearly horizontal, just to be sure the signal is "heard", especially if it's a large group.

:-)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:52 PM

We have developed a sophisticated system of foot lift based communication down here in Floribama. One person lifting a foot means "Last time around." A second person lifting his foot cancels out the first person's lift and can mean either "Whaddaya mean 'Last time'? Can't you count to three?" or "Now wait a minute, dammit! I just now figured out the chords! We've gotta play it one more time!" If a third person lifts his foot, it cancels out the second lift and usually means "Jim Bob is an idiot and needs to learn the tunes on his own practice time! We've played this damned tune enough already!"

Then there's also the matter of lifting intensity. A foot tentatively lifted is interpreted as "I think it would be a good idea if we stopped after this time around." A more emphatic foot lift usually means "This has gotten boring. We really need to stop because the bass player just fell asleep and if that bass fiddle hits the floor it's gonna make one helluva racket!" Lifting an entire leg generally means "If we don't quit so I can go to the restroom, someone's gonna have to get a mop!"


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 05:06 PM

The first (and most usual) photo I ever saw of the great Grand Ole Opry banjo player Uncle Dave Macon shows just him, seated,playing his banjo, but his right leg kicked up almost to the level of his right shoulder.

For years I just thought it was quaint high spirits, in connection with a wild banjo rendition. Then I learned the "end of tune" meaning, and was greatly disappointed at losing a cherished illusion. Oh, well!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Noreen
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 05:12 PM

:0)


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Sorcha
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 05:16 PM

We just call it a session....sometimes it's who ever has a tune ready, sometimes it's a round the circle thing. Doesn't matter


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 05:16 PM

Most sessons I attend , its the Raised Foot' , but one mate tends to use a Quite Loud "HUP" as a finish signal !


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 05:28 PM

I can't help myself, I have to tell you this. The "lifted foot" makes me think of my dog Ralph whenever he encounters a bush, and of the senator when he encountered a men's restroom....

Sorry.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 05:29 PM

It is very hard to 'hup' when you're a wind player... the leg is the least used limb in sessions... particularly in the case of some people when it's their turn to go to the bar!

LTS


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Melissa
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 05:33 PM

all these high-hoistings sound exhausting!

ha..if I Hupped, everybody would probably think I was either just hollering or that I wanted to go faster.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 05:45 PM

its time to start worrying when the lifted foot,is lifted and put in your mouth,it means, stop,your music is crap,and you have no teeth left.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 06:09 PM

"Ebbie, that drop of hilarity is funny to picture (and I'm wondering if I could get one of our fiddlers to demonstrate so I can see it in action)"

Make sure he lifts his whole leg, Melissa! And kind of sideways.
***********
Understanding the lifted foot is sometimes tricky. I used to play with a guy who rocked from side to side, lifting his foot each time. You had to use your sixth sense.
**********
I've watched an Irish band in Juneau signaling the ending by just a tensed muscle in the thigh that lifted the bended leg very slightly. But that works only if you are all seated, I imagine.
****************
"One person lifting a foot means "Last time around." A second person lifting his foot cancels out the first person's lift and can mean either "Whaddaya mean 'Last time'? Can't you count to three?" or "Now wait a minute, dammit! I just now figured out the chords! We've gotta play it one more time!" If a third person lifts his foot, it cancels out the second lift and usually means "Jim Bob is an idiot and needs to learn the tunes on his own practice time! We've played this damned tune enough already!" Beedub

That seems awfully wordy to me. :) Here in Juneau, in a large group when one sees the leader give the 'stop' signal, that person shows a lifted foot to the rest of the band, or sometimes just back to the leader to indicate understanding.

Regarding the go-around -the-circle thing, I was used to it in Oregon so when I came to Alaska I instituted it in my group. They called it the "Ebbie" rule', which rather took me aback.

The rule was that you could either do your thing or you could pass or you could make a request of someone else in the group. It was a pretty good way to get a shy person involved.

(Pertinent to this discussion, a Russian once told me that in his country it is considered very rude if you don't do something when it's your turn, whether it's to sing or play or recite a poem. )

Nowadays we have a modified method- we just do it any ol' way we want.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Melissa
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 06:15 PM

ah..so I can call it an Ebbie Jam!


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 07:50 PM

Is there any kind of consensus emerging yet as to what regions and genres this is specific to?

I understand the lifted foot signal, but I'd say I've only experienced it with Old Timey musicians in America (and maybe with the Irish dance tunes, sure, but as played by Americans whose repertoire blends that and Old Time seamlessly).

As for me, I'd usually just shout out "YO!" during the last chorus, to wake everyone up!


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 08:09 PM

Bluegrass sessions in Edinburgh. I may have encountered it in other genres but that's the main one I've seen it in.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Genie
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 08:26 PM

I think the significance of a lifted foot may depend on what's on the bottom of your shoe.











But, Bee-dubya-ell, I think you summed it up quite nicely!. LOL


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Cool Beans
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 09:03 PM

It's standard wherever I've played..Rhode Island, Michigan, West Virginia, Florida...


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Joybell
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 09:24 PM

Several bush bands here in Australia used a whistle to signal "last time around". I believe I noticed a whistle on recordings of at least one of the Irish groups playing during the 60s. Can't remember who.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 10:04 PM

I played bluegrass for a number of years before getting more into old-time and Celtic music, and I don't remember the foot lift being used as a signal in bluegrass circles. But bluegrassers usually use those "shave and a haircut" type endings, and anyone who's paying attention will quickly recognize the initial notes of that sort of ending lick and know the end's coming up fast. Since old-time and Celtic players don't usually incorporate any sort of ending, but just "chop it off", it's more important that everyone knows ahead of time that the end's coming up.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: eddie1
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 06:20 AM

The Fourth Commandment would appear to indicate use of the lifted foot as mandatory although the Fifth Commandment would appear to allow for varistions on this (Presumably the origin of the expression, "I'll take the Fifth!)
So shall it be, unless it isn't in which case allowing for frailty, or even clawhammerty, all will end in chaos.

Ten Commandments For Old-Time Music Sessions

I. Thou shalt not ever forsake the beat.

II. Thou shalt arrange thyselves in a small circle so that thou mayest hear and see the other musicians. Thou shalt listen with thine ears to the songs and attempt to play in accord with the group; also, open thine eyes betimes to look about thee, lest there be some visual sign someone is endeavoring to send thee. Thou shalt play softly when someone lifteth his voice in song, when playing harmony, and when thou knowest not what thou is doing.

III. Thou shalt play in tune. Tune thine instrument well, and tune it often with thine electric tuner, lest the sounds emanating from thine instrument be unclean.

IV. Thou shalt commence and cease playing each tune together as one, so that the noise ye make be a joyful noise, and not a heinous tinkling that goeth in fits and starts, for that is unclean, and is an abomination. Whensoever a musician sticketh forth his foot as though he were afflicted with a cramp in the fatted calf, thou must complete the rest of that verse, and then cease.

V. Thou shalt stick out thine own foot or else lift up thy voice crying "This is it !", or "Last time !" if thou hast been the one to begin the song, and it has been played sufficient times over. If the one who began a tune endeth it not by one of these signs, then the tune will just go on and on, like the Old Testament, until the listeners say, "Hark ! It all soundeth the same."

VI. Thou shalt concentrate and thou shalt not confound the music by mixing up the A part and the B part. Most songs, but not all, proceedeth according to the ancient law "AABB". But if thou sinneth in this regard, or make any mistake that is unclean, thou may atone - not by ceasing to play - but by re-entering the tune in the proper place and playing on.

VII. Thou shalt be ever mindful of the key the banjo is tuned in, and play many tunes in that key, for the banjo is but a lowly instrument, which must needs be retuned each time there is a key change.

VIII. Thou shalt not speed up or slow down accidentally when playing a tune, for it is an abomination. (See commandment I)

IX. Thou shalt not, by thine own self, commence noodling off on a tune the other musicians know not, unless asked or unless thou art teaching that tune, for it is an abomination, and the other musicians will not hold thee guiltless, and shall take thee off their computer lists, yea, even unto the third and the fourth generation.

X. Thou shalt have fun and play well.

Eddie


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 07:44 AM

In a pipe band, the big drum sounds a double beat to signal the last refrain.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: GUEST,Clive Pownceby
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 09:53 AM

The first person I ever saw do this - over 30 years ago was John Kirkpatrick when playing for country dances with Dingles Chillybom Band.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 02:51 PM

Is there a jazz equivalent to indicate the end of solos and back to the theme? Seems to me Krupa used a cowbell, though it might have been merely a coincidence (and he'd have been cued I presume by the bandleader). Raised feet and 'hup's' are common enough here on the Left Coast in all the sessions I've seen (but I'm not a player so don't know).

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Marje
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 03:02 PM

It's certainly common in areas where I've lived (southern England) to raise the foot to signal the end of the tune. Eye contact sometimes works, but only if there's a small number of musicians and they're all paying attention. The foot is more likely to be noticed by the inattentive player.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: GUEST,Ebor_fiddler
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 05:54 PM

I live in the frozen north (Yorkshire). Right foot raised is "Stop" and Left is "Change to the next tune" when playing for dancing. Just like you use the feet for when driving - right is brake and left is clutch!


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Allen in Oz
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 06:08 PM

Standard practice in my folk club experience here in Australia ( as with Alice in Montana )

AD


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: open mike
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 06:08 PM

when playing for (contra) dances, the next tune in the medley is usually signalled during the "b" part of the tune before it...
and the changes usually co-incide with particular dancers reaching
a certain position on the floor for progressive dances...if the band
expects to play 4 tunes, they (we) will change tunes when the head couple gets 1/2 way down the line, and again when they reach the bottom of the set. If the band has pre-agreed upon set of tunes,
the next tune will be designated by the title, or a nick name for it
for instance for the tune "smash the windows" the band member might just call out "smash"


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: treewind
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 06:17 PM

I supect Clive's right about John Kirkpatrick having some thing to do with this in England at any rate. Kevin is right when he says it's standard practice in much of Britain. I imagine it started with musicians not being able to speak while playing: some certainly have that problem.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Smokey.
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 06:30 PM

In more professional circles the lifting of one leg whilst playing in a seated position is generally taken as an indication that the expulsion of extraneous bodily gasses is currently in progress.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Rowan
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 06:36 PM

Sessions in Oz (well, Victoria, NSW and the ACT; even the Top End, when I was there) mostly just kept going until everyone decided they needed a drink, when I first got into instrumental music. Most of the music was British Isles and some US Old Time stuff and most of the players ended up in dance bands. Bands tended to use brackets of tunes so there was no need for such signals.

To counter the omnipresence of Irish music several of us started The Old Empire Band almost 30 years ago, under the leadership of an Adelaide bloke. The tunes were of the New Victory Band genre with similar instrumentation; the difference was that we all came from different parts of the country and had limited rehearsal. opportunity. There was also an open invitation for any instrumentalist to join in, so long as it wasn't a guitar or percussion.

The Adelaide contingent introduced the leg-raising to the rest of us, as the signal that we would stop at the end of that tune. With up to 40-odd players on-stage it was very useful and the use of the signal spread to other situations with similar scratch band performances.

Sessions usually (in my experience) still just play on, with enquiring glances to whoever started the most recent outbreak about whether they were going to change tune or relinquish initiation. Some sessions play tunes twice through while other play thrice through; in Oz, only those familiar with US Old Time practices tend to repeat tunes through many iterations and I never saw the leg raised signal when I played in South Carolina.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 06:43 PM

In most sessions I go to, the feet are usually firmly placed under a table (essential equipment for standing pints of beer on), so a raised foot would not be seen. The usual practice is either to agree the number of times through each tune in advance or for a fiddler or box player to call "Out" or "Change". Those of us with things in our mouths usually have difficulty signalling changes or endings


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Smokey.
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 06:52 PM

Tootler - I always found, when playing recorders and the like, that raising the blunt end of the instrument serves as an effective signal when necessary.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 07:15 PM

Yes we do that in a recorder group, but I've not seen it done in a session.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Melissa
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 07:31 PM

thanks everybody..you broadened my world (and set me wondering whether foot-up started as a putting-on-the-brakes signal)

I learned a made-up term to use in answer to "what kind of gathering do you all have?"
I learned about professional gas expulsion.
I learned about various abominations (thanks Eddie, my mother will want to post that at our local gathering spot)

You guys sure are handy to have around!
Take care,
M


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 12:39 AM

G'day Mellisa ... and all following ...,

Allen in Oz (who often plays in the same groupings as I do - for Bush [Australian rural area-style] dances), in his par about 9 above ... then Rowan of renown in areas both south and north of my stretch of 'Big Smoke' attest to the current Australian dance band (if not "Session" practice of visibly swing the (usually right) leg out to signal to the rest that a dance is ending.

As Rowan states, a lot of dances have fairly fixed sets ... or specified set lengths ... so the signal isn't needed. Some other, less specific sets go until the caller makes threatening gestures with the lagerphone (bottle-top 'rattler' ... with definite descent on at least one side of the sheets from the German Teufelsgeige).


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 06:46 AM

When playing in Irish sessions sometimes the person who started the set will make eye contact with the other musicians and shrug their shoulders. This means "I normally finish here, but carry on if you can think of something to follow with".


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 09:18 AM

Yep, that's how its done round our way - Cheshire, UK


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: MissouriMud
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 10:28 AM

In Missouri Old time fiddle/dance music the foot (typically given by the lead fiddler or whoever by the group's conventions has control of the tune) is one well accepted way of terminating a tune, particularly in a jam where one may not know all the other players tendencies and predelictions. With the repetitiousness of Old time music and the varying length of the play there is usually a need for a signal of some type. The fact that in Old time music the players are often seated and facing each other makes the foot a fairly simple and visible thing to do. A modest kick motion rather than a full leg raise is the norm. One would only keep the foot up or otherwise exaggerate the motion if some one had missed the signal on a previous tune.

A vocal signal such as "last time" or "going home", is also a common method in Old Time, but sometimes be problematic if the other players aren't accustomed to the particular application - ie saying "one more time" at the start of the A part of a tune can be misleading. In some quiet settings an audible signal may not not desired, but in others situations it's just part of the music, which can have a certain amount of whooping and commenting going on. Alternatively a good fiddler will often make a break in his play toward the end of the last time through the tune to let players, particularly experienced ones, know that the end is coming. When the members of the group are familiar with each other the eye contact, nod or other more subtle, signal can be used. Most experienced players have a general a sense as to when a tune should end and start looking at the lead fiddler for the sign. Often in jams we see a combination of a number of these methods used - such as "last time" at the start of the A part and a kick during the final B part - just to be sure. Since Old Time Music is frequently not done as a "performance", many players dont care whether the sign looks or sounds odd, as long as it does the job. At a dance the caller will typically signal one more time or two more times with his fingers (or off mike statement), making further signs by the band less critical so long as they are all awake.

The foot is used a little less in bluegrass here due to the more vocal or performance orientation and more regular structure of much of bluegrass music. Also since many bluegrass groups perform standing the foot is often less in the line of sight than in Old Time. If it is a song, the verses then often provide the structure to the song, often with a repeat of the first verse or chorus signaling the end. Also typically a bluegrass group will go around the group doing their solo breaks so they typically wont want to end a song before every one who wants to has had a chance to play one or more breaks. Usually once the breaks have circulated back to the lead or controlling player's turn then it is just a questions of going around again or ending it here - so the players are alert to the possibility at that juncture. A good bluegrassy ending to a song or tune at a time when the other players are expecting it is often all that is needed. As noted by others previously the eye contact or head nods often are used to signal the breaks.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 11:31 AM

I liked Eddie's Ten Commandments For Old-Time Music Sessions above and feel that they are appropriate for all music sessions. However, the Commandments should not stop at ten; how about:-

XI. Thou shalt never try to dominate the session by always being the one to start off tunes, even if it is clear that thou art the best musician there.

XII. Thou shalt encourage the quieter, apparently timid musicians to take their turn in starting tunes, particularly young women, for shyness and apparent diffidence does not mean that they are not excellent musicians with a good repertoire.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 07:41 AM

Agree with Clive above that the first person in the Uk that i was aware of using the 'foot up' method was John K in the early seventies. It is now universally understood, but is not the only method. A 'hup' works if you play an instrument that leaves your mouth free, or on a loud instrument, a subtle change in the arrangement, e.g. a slowing down, or a extended embellishment, works. Session players are suprisingly good at reading each other's signals.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Rowan
Date: 29 Sep 09 - 06:40 PM

Session players are suprisingly good at reading each other's signals.

While true, this reminded me of an occasion where disaster was only narrowly avoided.

Tony Suttor (now in Darwin and a 'catter), Mike Jackson (not to be confused with the late Michael Jackson) and I were part of Higgins Municipal Bush Band (yes, there is a story behind the name) performing at the Festival of Sydney in 1979 or '80. The three of us were the only ones available for a stint in the Domain.

We organised our material, and decided to conclude with a bracket of what bush bands in Oz regard as reels; many are Irish polkas, some are Scottish reels and some are US reels but they have been part of the Oz repertoire since before Federation. Everything went swimmingly until the last bracket; unfortunately I cannot now remember the particular tunes.

Those who have played with Mike in sessions will know that he could get a fair head of steam up and when this happened, everyone else just "coped" as well as they could. In the last bracket of our performance that day, Tony (on ADG button accordion) and I (on Anglo) could tell that Mike (also on ADG button accordion) was well on the way to winding up, and not in the "preparing to finish" sense. Half way through the last B part we were starting to panic, as a polished performance was our aim and a ragged finish wouldn't help at all.

At the last bar of the last B part we looked a Mike and he yelled out "D!"

Now, just try to recall how many tunes you know that are in the key of D and that fit the aforementioned set of time signatures; between us we knew several hundred and it could have been any one of them that we hadn't already played in the set. Consternation! What do we do?

Someone high up must have smiled on us because, in perfect unison, we all started into "Soldiers' Joy"; this tune wound us up perfectly. But I don't think either of us ever forgave Mike.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 03:10 AM

An old shoelace around the throat is a universal signal to the banjo player that he should cease forthwith...


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 11:08 AM

In the UK I've found a raised leg to be recognised in both English and Irish sessions pretty much everywhere. It usually means "finish", but can also signal a change of tune. In these genres it is not usual for people to take solo breaks, so we don't need a signal for this.

In a large session, making eye-contact with everyone in the room can be next to impossible. A clearly visible signal or call is preferable. Most players have both hands occupied and not all instruments are appropriate for signalling with, so a raised leg is easy and widely understood.

In a smaller session, especially where the musicians are used to playing together, eye-contact or other more subtle signals may work.

On stage, my band usually relies on eye-contact or sometimes a call.


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 11:48 AM

A single raised foot is typical for the contradance bands and sessions I've worked with, to indicate the beginning of the final verse, full A and B parts. Raising both feet at once was generally frowned upon.

Nautical A capela groups in my experience have their own set of signals, having access to other body parts such as hands. A circular motion with outstretched first finger generally means repeat this chorus as the final. This should not be confused with the middle finger being raised without a circular motion. The slitting of the throat motion with pointed first finger generally indicates "no repeat chorus." First and forth fingers upraised generally indicates infidelity.

Scratching of head could indicate many things but generally indicates confusion. Scratching of other body parts is best left to one's imagination.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: does a lifted foot mean Stop?
From: Brian Swinton
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 02:25 PM

Most of the Irish sessions I've played in happen in crowded pub rooms where it's impossible to see each others feet, probably a good thing. I've encountered the raised leg in Old Time sessions. I think eye contact is more reliable especially since I've seen old time players desperately looking round to see if anyone has spotted the raised limb.


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