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Is it Ok to sing from a song book?

Nick 05 Jan 11 - 07:11 PM
Nick 05 Jan 11 - 07:06 PM
EBarnacle 05 Jan 11 - 02:09 PM
Maryrrf 05 Jan 11 - 02:02 PM
olddude 05 Jan 11 - 01:37 PM
Old Vermin 05 Jan 11 - 01:25 PM
The Sandman 05 Jan 11 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Desi C 05 Jan 11 - 12:17 PM
EBarnacle 05 Jan 11 - 01:43 AM
Joe_F 04 Jan 11 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,mg 04 Jan 11 - 03:47 PM
stallion 04 Jan 11 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 04 Jan 11 - 02:00 PM
Maryrrf 04 Jan 11 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 04 Jan 11 - 12:22 PM
EBarnacle 04 Jan 11 - 11:29 AM
Midchuck 04 Jan 11 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,PeterC 04 Jan 11 - 09:39 AM
RTim 04 Jan 11 - 08:57 AM
Jack Campin 04 Jan 11 - 07:49 AM
Old Vermin 04 Jan 11 - 07:41 AM
GUEST,Desi C 04 Jan 11 - 07:24 AM
Ron Davies 03 Jan 11 - 11:02 PM
Howard Jones 20 Jun 10 - 04:39 PM
Don Firth 20 Jun 10 - 03:59 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 20 Jun 10 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,Sedayne (Astray) 20 Jun 10 - 08:30 AM
The Sandman 20 Jun 10 - 08:10 AM
MikeL2 20 Jun 10 - 05:02 AM
Leadfingers 19 Jun 10 - 08:32 PM
GUEST,mg 19 Jun 10 - 07:16 PM
Joe Offer 19 Jun 10 - 03:53 PM
Ron Davies 19 Jun 10 - 03:37 PM
Don Firth 19 Jun 10 - 01:35 PM
MikeL2 19 Jun 10 - 12:00 PM
MikeL2 19 Jun 10 - 11:17 AM
Bupkes 18 Feb 10 - 10:52 AM
Spleen Cringe 18 Feb 10 - 02:37 AM
Soldier boy 17 Feb 10 - 09:29 PM
Genie 17 Feb 10 - 06:10 PM
Genie 17 Feb 10 - 06:08 PM
Soldier boy 17 Feb 10 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,Muppett 17 Feb 10 - 05:06 AM
Soldier boy 16 Feb 10 - 09:15 PM
TheSnail 16 Feb 10 - 08:45 PM
Soldier boy 16 Feb 10 - 08:00 PM
Dave the Gnome 16 Feb 10 - 11:23 AM
TheSnail 16 Feb 10 - 10:57 AM
Howard Jones 16 Feb 10 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe at large 16 Feb 10 - 05:49 AM
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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Nick
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 07:11 PM

Whoops didn't realise the maddest person on Mudcat had tripped in a bit earlier


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Nick
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 07:06 PM

Absolutely not in any circumstance


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 02:09 PM

In re: the questions about stands for a laptop.

At the meetup I described from last week, one of the people had a really neat looking laptop stand. When I asked him about it, he said that it was a standard base . . . for a small snare drum.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 02:02 PM

I have often been puzzled when somebody gets up and sings a song for which they obviously have to read the lyrics word by word, saying "I just heard this song for the first time yesterday, and I had to sing it...". I know sometimes when you are excited about a new song you can't wait to share it, but in most cases it would be better shared if you'd practiced it first. It's usually much better, when performing in public, to sing something you know well.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: olddude
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 01:37 PM

Not Ok to use any book, it violates the 1954 standards LOL


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Old Vermin
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 01:25 PM

Jack Campin notes a bass-player with a netbook.

Could a Kindle or similar be neatly fitted to a music-stand?


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 01:09 PM

well there is a world of difference between reading the lyrics of a a song you have been singIng for 40 year[eg George Jones]and thinking you can do justice to a song that you may have discovered in a book the previous day.
The only people likely to do justice to the latter are highly skilled actors who are used to reading words and being able to interpret them, actors are used to reading scripts that perhaps they have only seen once or twice before, but that skill is beyond most floor singers.
Songs deserve to be treated with respect.
Al is right when he says that it is better that the songs are sung than not sung but.. what is better still is that the songs are sung well than badly, it is the difference between the highest common factor and the lowest common denominator.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 12:17 PM

Much as I don't mind using a music stand, I should have added that looking down at a song book or computer screen as some have mentioned really is not a good thing, it does create bad technique and makes a nervous voice twice as bad. But copy the words onto an a-4 sheet and write then in large letters. Used with a music stand should mean little or no looking down. At our club we position the music stand for all who need it at the right ditance and level, done properly you should be able to see the words quite clearly and without any lowering of the head. With practise you can gradually learn to sing without it


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 01:43 AM

Here's another Meetup group--the New York City meetup group. They define folk music as "from the 60's Woodstock era to the present." Similar in approach to what I described earlier. Am I missing something?

http://www.meetup.com/folk-47/

I'm with you on this one, mg.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Joe_F
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 06:40 PM

A compromise that I have encountered in some recent group sings is that the leader of the song may use a cheat sheet or book, but the rest either join in on what they (more or less) know or confine themselves to the chorus.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 03:47 PM

Yes almost always if it is for your personal reference and you don't impose song sheets and books on others if that is not the culture of the group.

Yes if you have set up the event, circle, camp, party. Do it however you like it and tell people in advance so they can come for the cookies and perhaps the music will not be to their liking but they like the people etc.

No if a group has existed for some time and it is their tradition not to use books. Do not ruin a good ongoing group by imposing group songbooks on them. This has happened all up and down the west coast of USA like a terrible virus and the good groups are pretty much gone except at private functions, which you and I might never hear about. I am talking not about using a book for your own personal reference but the practice (and I won't go to these places if I know in advance) of taking out the blue book and going to some song and telling everyone the page number and suffering through it, although others could enjoy it. mg


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: stallion
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 02:06 PM

after me thirty years his nibs agrees with me, except that is what I thought thirty years ago, today i think a song should be "felt" and understood, we swopped positions!


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 02:00 PM

Quite a problem you seem to have there!
I've been to traditional English music clubs where I feel like the cheat for having learned the words. You feel like Brett Maverick at the church whist drive.

Im not sure what the answer is. I wouldn't want to be the one to dissuade anyone from singing, but an evening of it can really get on your nerves.

A song to me, is a bit like a Shakespeare speech - a soliloquoy in a play. It demands everything you've got under the bonnet, performance wise. However i think you simply have to accept that different people feel differently about it. It s a democracy and some people are content 'bawl the hymns' as Oscar wilde put it.

There is a strong feeling in English clubs that they are protecting the tradition, and as Martin carthy says - the main thing is that we sing these songs, the ultimate sin is to just neglect and ignore them.

Game of cards, anyone? Call me Brett!


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 12:39 PM

RUS = "Rise Up Singing" . It contains the lyrics to thousands of folk songs and is widely used at camp singarounds, etc. The problem is not really the book itself, but the way people use it. "Rise Up Singers" seem to have a tendency to feel that the RUS version is THE version, and no other will do. They often have made no attempt to actually learn the song, and they sing with their eyes glued to the book and with little or no personalization - i.e. they haven't made the song their own, but appear to be singing by rote. And there seems to be a compulsion to sing every single verse, no matter how long the song may be. So, instead of a singaround where you hear songs that people have actually put effort into learning, and perfecting their technique, meaning you might actually hear a new song or an interesting new version of a song, and pick up some pointers that will help your own singing, you just get a lot of people droning through selections from Rise Up Singing. Cheat sheets are okay, and as has been pointed out are widely used by professionals, but only as an aid that you can glance at to jog your memory. The best scenario is to have memorized the song and worked with it until you are comfortable with the lyrics, tempo, etc.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 12:22 PM

RUS?


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 11:29 AM

Last Thursday, Lady Hillary and I went to an acoustic music Meetup. We came away with totally different experiences. The only exception was that the people there had a good, sociable, time.

Everyone there [except us] had all of the preposted repertoire either printed out or posted on their laptops. No nonposted music allowed or at least performed. There were several electrified instruments, including one bass, in a relatively small room. They were turned up. It took about 2 or 3 minutes to set up between each song. Everyone was performing lead, often badly.

As can be seen from my observations, while I participated, I did not particularly enjoy the evening. I enjoyed the sociablity of the evening. Full stop. Lady Hillary, on the other hand, saw this as a useful opportunity to learn guitar technique. There is value to both outlooks.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Midchuck
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 10:02 AM

In '07, George Jones came to the Rutland (Vermont) State Fair. It was the first time in 40+ years living in the vicinity that I'd paid to get into a grandstand event at the fair.

Mr. Jones is well over 70, and his liver is probably twice that age; but he still has it, in terms of voice, phrasing, etc. But I did notice that there were two large video monitors set up at floor level at the edge of the stage. I'm sure they gave him an ongoing display of his lyrics, even the ones he'd been singing for well over 50 years.

I still disapprove of singing in public from printed or displayed lyrics. I think most people can't get the hang of singing out at the audience while looking down at the book or screen, rather than singing down as well, and killing your projection. But if George can do it, then I guess we'll have to call it OK after a certain age.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 09:39 AM

So if he can do it, why not anyone else?
Why can't everybody else play like Richard Thompson?

Performing from a score is a specific skill which some people have and most don't.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: RTim
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 08:57 AM

I recently saw a video of Richard Thompson - OBE!! - reading a song on stage!!
So if he can do it, why not anyone else?

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 07:49 AM

I have once seen the bass player in a jazz lineup headlined by a world-famous performer using an electronic display (a netbook of some sort, I think) for his score. It worked fine.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Old Vermin
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 07:41 AM

I am belatedly responding to Leadfingers 'singing to the book' in particular. No names, no pack drill, so I shan't say where this happened, and I have quite forgotten who it was.

Reading from an electronic notebook with a small screen can be pretty crippling to a performance. The man in question was seated - not a good start - bent over this infernal machine. He was leaning over to see the content - presumably a small font and to frequently hit the page down button for the shallow screen. You may imagine what this did to his singing voice, breath control, phrasing and audience rapport.

As a memory, very funny. Rather a bore at the time, though.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 07:24 AM

I host a club that has Singarounds and full P.A nights alternative weeks. Certainly for a singaround singing from a book or songsheet is fine, I would reccomend it for beginners. I had/have the same problem and still perform new songs from a song sheet. You'd be amazed how many experienced and pro performers forget the words of songs they can normally remember by heart. And at our singers nights we don't frown on it at all, but you're right, the odd club or performer can be a bit snobby about it. If you use a music stand I suggest, each time you sing, move it a little to the side each time, until it's there if you need it, and finally try not using it at all. Don't worry about forgetting it happens and the audience will often shout out the right line, if not make a joke of it and do the c horus again. Good luck

Desi C
The Circle Folk Club
Coselet w.m, club
Ivyhouse Lane, Coseley
W.Mid's WV14 9JH
Every Wed night
Newcomers welcome


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 11:02 PM

Not that it should be necessary, but here is another indication of why RUS has no place at a vibrant music party (or song circle).    For New Years Eve Jan and I again went to a music party.   We brought a bottle of wine, Christmas crackers, and spanakopita.   The hostess provided all sorts of other comestibles, including chocolate fondue with fruit.   And drinks.


Then the music started. One couple started with a song called "Christmas in the Islands", I think.   Jan and I did "I Want Eddie Fisher for Christmas" , which I'd recently picked up from "Hot Jazz Saturday Night"--though the song, by a lot, is more a bobby-soxer's heartfelt plea than hot jazz.   This was followed by "Christmas in Jail", by a guy who did a great job on it.   From there I did "I Wish I Could Sprechen Sie Deutsch" (jail connection), and "Fraulein."    And so on.    There was a wonderful, lilting, rendition of "Christmas on Christmas Island".   As well as "Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian".   And "Riding Down the Canyon" since the topic of that song came up, and "Am I Blue?" (with the 2 verses), And others. With very few exceptions, every singer knew his or her songs cold with no crib sheets of any kind.   

Above all, no RUS ever reared its head.

So the party was a smashing success.   Sure it was a bunch of friends getting together but the musical success was also due to the fact that nobody had brought that book and insisted on ploughing through every blessed verse.   People there actually knew what they were doing.   Either you can do your songs or you can't. Bringing the Blue Book of Death is a very good indication that you can't.

Was the music there "folk music"? Probably not.   Who cares?


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 04:39 PM

What Don says is right. But why should it only be expected of a professional musician? Why shouldn't an amateur who also intends to stand up in front of an audience (and a UK folk club audience is usually a paying one) also be expected to put in the effort?

Of course there are some who appear to believe that the purpose of a folk club is to allow people to do their rehearsing in public. There does seem to have been an increase in this type of club, but is it coincidence that folk clubs as a whole have declined over the same period?


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 03:59 PM

Joe's observation is correct. In "The Three Tenors" program (Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and José Carreras), there was a music stand in front of each of the three of them. But—each of these singers has sung perhaps hundreds of full-length opera performances out of sight of sheet music and they normally did concerts and recitals without sheet music in evidence. The music stands on "The Three Tenors" were a precautionary measure. In a solo recital, more often than not, if a singer of, say, Pavarotti's experience has a lapse of memory, he can cover it and most people in the audience won't even notice.

On one occasion, I saw Andrés Segovia blow a passage and quickly cover it without a break. I spotted it because I was very familiar with the piece (having tried to play it myself), but out of an audience of around 1,500, I'll wager that not more than half a dozen spotted the goof and they were all guitarists themselves.

But in a live concert which is being televised for repeated broadcasts on PBS stations, the music stands were a precautionary measure. I've seen the program a number of times and there were no more than half-a-dozen times when one of the singers glanced at the music, and these occasions were mostly between songs, as in, "What's next?"

Doing a program like that is similar to making a recording. If you goof in a concert, even if you goof badly, it's done, and it's gone forever. But if you goof on a recording and don't do a retake, it's there forever. When you are recording a live concert for an indefinite number of plays on national television, (à la "The Three Tenors"), it's pretty messy to do retakes in front of a large live audience, so to forestall the possibility, the crib sheets were there in front of them. Which they didn't use all that much, if at all.

As far as church choirs are concerned, they are generally made up of members of the congregation rather than professional singers, and more often than not, they rarely have more than one or two rehearsals before they perform a hymn or some such during a service. Not sufficient time to memorize something all that well. So using music is customary.

The question is, what is your ambition? If you just want to sing for fun, then do it however you want, and in whatever manner is acceptable or customary for those you sing with / for. But if you aspire to performing professionally, concerts, clubs (other than folk clubs), recitals, and such, there are certain standards that one needs to meet. And this holds for singers of folk songs as well as any other kind of music performance. One of those standards is to know your material well enough so you don't need to read it out of a song book while you're singing before a paying audience.

This takes practice and rehearsal. Which is expected of a professional musician.

Or in the words of a political figure who has become prominent within the last few years, "Drill, baby, drill!"

Don Firth

P. S. For recording (doing the home studio thing), I would definitely have my song sheets (I keep a large three-ring book of the songs I sing, for reference and occasional refreshers if I need them) within sight. I would not try to record a song that I didn't know, but I would have the song sheet handy just in case I felt a glitch coming on, mainly to avoid having to do a retake on a song that has gone quite well up to then.

But what gets up my nose is the person who comes to a song fest of any kind and stands there with a song book or song sheet in their hands, struggling with a song that they obviously have little acquaintance with and keep everybody waiting (and rolling their eyes) while they stumble around with it.

P. P. S. Keeping a song book or sheet in front of you all the time is like using a crutch. The more you use it, the more you get to depending on it. Take a chance! Try working without a net!


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 12:23 PM

""surely it is wrong to be dogmatic about this ,does it not depend upon the circumstances.""

I couldn't agree more Dick, and I hope you don't get the same shitstorm of mockery and abuse which I had when I made the point some 450 posts back.

I know three or four people with very fine voices and rotten memories. I would be gutted if I were attending a club and they were debarred from singing on the grounds that they hadn't the right to sing if they couldn't remember the words, and that would definitely be my last visit to that club.

There are also a few clubs for which I have rung ahead to ask for a floor spot (more than fifty miles from home). In all but one, I peformed and was well received.

In the exception, I was told that nobody performs whom they have not heard sing, and that I should send a demo, and visit at a later date.

Needless to say it will be a much later date, about the time that Hell freezes.

Their audience must get sick of the same few singers every week.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: GUEST,Sedayne (Astray)
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 08:30 AM

Odd how the brain works with respect of definitive versions on one hand & spontaneous variants thereof on the other. This makes it awkward when Rapunzel & I are singing a song together because our a) versions are invariably different and b) I'm more likely to alter things as I sing that she is. So I'll use a crib sheet just so I know I'm singing the same words as she is. Also, when we edit a song for a particular performance we'll use words just so we know which verses we aren't singing.

I might add that as I get older it takes me ages to learn new songs although following our wee session with Crow Sister a few weeks back I found I'd learned Childe Owlet by osmosis. How's that for traditional process? Either that or just wanton pilfering on my part, however so unwitting; in recent singarounds I've sang it to three different tunes, one of which I made up on the spot...


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 08:10 AM

surely it is wrong to be dogmatic about this ,does it not depend upon the circumstances.
i recently saw two singers put on a good performance they were singing in harmony[which they did well] but they had words in front of them, the harmonies were not written out in front of them, but they were occasionally peeping at words, i agree it would have been better without words, but they were good, if they hadnt done a spot the evening would have been poorer.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: MikeL2
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 05:02 AM

hi don

I agree entirely with you....my posting of the link was utterly tongue deeply inserted into cheek.

Like you I am sure the Marty knew the words and this was just a show.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 08:32 PM

I will repeat what I said earlier - Having the words as a reference is vastly different to holding an open A4 or Foolscap book between you and your audience , so that rather than singing FROM the book , you are singing TO the book !


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 07:16 PM

I think it is generally OK for a person to use a book, hopefully not the blue book, for his or her own reference. It is OK always to use any book, like blue book, if the group is organized around doing so.

It is not OK to hijack a group that does not like them and insist on using them and passing them out and shouting out page numbers. On the other hand, it serves the group right for being so passive about the whole business. mg


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 03:53 PM

I thought for sure that the Three Tenors used sheet music on music stands, but maybe I'm wrong. I've noticed that most of the operatic vocalists and instrumental soloists that play with our local symphony, do so without sheet music.
In choir, I usually look over somebody's shoulder to see the first word or two of a verse. The rest I sing from memory. I man the microphone mixer, and it's nice not to have a hymnal in my hands.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 03:37 PM

Don is right. Obviously Marty is taking this approach for fun--and may possibly not intend to answer our question.

I think most people don't seem to object to a visual aid to a singer.    I certainly don't--except for Rise Up Singing (AKA the Blue Book of Death)--which has just too much potential for abuse--and has been abused--to welcome it to any singaround.

Unless it's billed beforehand as a Rise Up Singing singaround. In which case the rest of us should be warned of this. And we will make the appropriate decision.

As I've noted before, you folks in the UK should count yourselves lucky-- you will never have to deal with this problem.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 01:35 PM

No, I don't think that really makes a case for using a song book while performing. Marty Robbins makes a bit of a gag out of the routine, and the way he sings the song tends to indicate that he knew the words a whole lot better than he let on.

There's a difference between singing at a folk club or at a song circle and performing, in the sense of doing a concert or recital for a paying audience. Over the years, I have attended concerts by such well-known singers as Pete Seeger, Richard Dyer-Bennet, Theodore Bikel, Joan Baez, Gordon Bok, Guy Carawan, Judy Collins, Peter Paul and Mary, the Weavers, the Gateway Singers, the Smothers Brothers, Peggy Seeger, Ewan MacColl, Sam Hinton, Jean Redpath, Lightnin' Hopkins, Marais and Miranda, Mississippi John Hurt—and on for at least a dozen more. In addition, concerts and recitals by singers in other fields of music, such as opera, art song, early music groups such as the New York Pro Musica, the Baltimore Consort, etc. . . .

Nary a song book or piece of sheet music in sight.

I have been singing for audiences since the mid-1950s in coffeehouses, clubs, concerts (without song books or song sheets), and television (with neither song books nor song sheets nor cue-cards).

So—what do you want to do? Sing purely for fun? Or sing professionally, i.e., for paying audiences?

There are different standards, and a paying audience is not going to respond well to a singer who comes out on stage and sings from a song book.

Don Firth

P. S. If you're singing in a folk club or song circle, find out what the standards of the group are and abide by that.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: MikeL2
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 12:00 PM

Hi Joe

Thanks for fixing the clicky thing...I must learn how to do it...previous tries have failed....I must not be holding my mouth right....lol

cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: MikeL2
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 11:17 AM

hi

Some time ago we discussed here whether it is OK to use song books while performing and there were several different opinions.

In searching for a song I found this clip that might answer whether or not books should be used for words as prompts....

Click here

Sorry but I have yet mastered producing blue clicky things yet.

Cheers

-------------Link fixed. JoeClone----------

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Bupkes
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 10:52 AM

One funny result: After following this long discussion, last night at the Irish session in Newburyport, I found myself so self-conscious that I couldn't remember any of my songs! So, I sang all three of my contributions from word sheets. No one seemed to mind. Granted, this is a mostly instrumental session, with only every third or fourth number being a song; none of the instrumentalists play from sheet music. So I suppose they're pretty easygoing about the singing.

And for one of my songs, a rather difficult one to memorize that we don't often sing, Robert Burns's "Westlin Winds", a couple of the other singers came to look over my shoulder, and they appreciated having the words out so they could sing along! Afterwards we chatted about what versions they knew, and about what it meant to them, but I was sensitized to this issue of reading words at a session, and I couldn't detect any critical eyebrow-raising or anything else, far as that goes.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 02:37 AM

Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 09:29 PM

Wow - 500 !!

Never thought this thread would rumble on anywhere near so long when I first posted it.

Well done folks for all your very fine contributions. You've been marvellous and I have learnt so much from you.

I suspect that this thread has reached it's pinnacle and will now lose steam and fall off the page.

So guess what folks; I am now going to take a break and go off into the sunset to learn a song from memory so I will not need the song book.

Wish me luck.

Bless.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Genie
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 06:10 PM

Oh, and one more thing:

LIVE FROM THE WEST COAST IT's POST # 500!!


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Genie
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 06:08 PM

Well said, Muppet.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 11:40 AM

Thank you Muppett. Are you on yer good behaviour tablets today?!

Chris


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: GUEST,Muppett
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 05:06 AM

I'd rather go to a pub or session and see folk singing live from a book or crib sheet then have no music at all. Come on live and let live.
There are places in the world where getting together for a sing around or to see live performers is still prohibited.

So if some of you have to get high and mighty about what should or shouldn't be aloud make it something worth having a grumble about.

In the meantime Chris use yer book where and when you like.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 09:15 PM

It's OK The Snail.

The best ground for battle is always the 'high' ground (definately favoured by the Romans!).

P.S I love that quote from Henry Van Dyke. So very appropriate and I believe, so very true.

Thanks again.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 08:45 PM

Sorry about that Chris but it seems that I can't stick my head above the parapet without atracting an awful lot of hostile fire. I posted a rather whimsical quotation which I thought was apposite and immediately came under an extraordinary level of attack. I didn't choose the ground on which I had to defend myself.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 08:00 PM

Come on fellas, I thought that this inter-folk club constant warfare and personal bickering had finished and that you had gone off to start your own thread! Or at least that is what you promised you would do earlier in this thread. So why come back and just carry it on?

David el Gnomo has said it all above when he said "In other words - We will never agree on a standard standard:-)None of them are right or wrong - just different."

In other words you are enlessly repeating yourselves, chasing your own tails in endless circles and getting nowhere fast because you will never come to any consensus.....and it's getting really boring!

Can I please ask you very politely to have some respect to the fundamental basic etiquette of Mudcat - and that is to try your best to keep to the original subject of the thread and not stray off into semi-related subjects which then turn into very personal and hostile interrogations between just a few people who seem to have some kind of history of conflict and disagreement between them.

Many thanks.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 11:23 AM

I am not going to ressurect any old arguments, Brian, as I think that you have never been to our folk club and I know I have never been to yours. Let us just say that as we both have many years experience in running and arranging folk events we have had slightly different experiences. It is only slight, we are talking a tiny proportion of floor singers, but it is enough for us to come to different conclusion on certain things.

To come back to using books, one of the consistantly poor performers at our club (not seen him for ages funnily enough - maybe our clubs are now the same:-) ) does all the things mentioned above. Looses the page. Does not know the song. Looses the tunes. Does not know what he is going to do next etc. He is a prime example of how to not sing from a book! He would have no qualms whatsover about singing anywhere yet, based on past discussions, I would be very reluctant to perform at your club. I do not consider myself particularly bad but I am afraid that I would make mistakes and somehow let down the high standards you have achieved.

I know it is me, not you, that is at fault here but, I could not help but feel I was under pressure to a) Perform and b) be good! Something I could not promise:-(

I can see how singing from books got into a disagreement about standards but can we not just agree that standards are measured in different ways, by different people, in different parts of the country, depending what colour underwear we have chosen that day? In other words - We will never agree on a standard standard:-) None of them are right or wrong - just different.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 10:57 AM

Jim, your constant theme is that allowing people to sing because they want to will inevitably lead to a catastrophic decline in standards. The only way that makes sense is if people who want to sing are incapable of doing so.

Therefore you are giving your club over to anybody who walks through your door,

Yes.

even after they have proven themselves incapable of singing

You have said yourself, several times, that hardly anyone is incapable of singing.

- and you have no facility for helping them because they are too few in number (I paraphrase").

Perfectly acceptable paraphrase.

Once someone has shown shown themself unable to sing, but willing to do so, you offer them help,...... That is what any club I have been involved in has always done - that is what your club does not do.

Are those the same clubs that collapsed in the eighties because they'd been taken over by non-singers? In around forty years of going to folk clubs, I have never encountered that. We are a folk club not a school.

You have moved from your original position of saying that poor or non singers DON'T turn up at your club asking to sing [I don't think I have.] to admitting they 'occasionally' turn up. What did you do when they did?

We gave them a flloorspot. You really do seem to have trouble grasping that basic truth.

You sound far luckier than many of the clubs mentioned on this forum who do have problems

Lucky or....?

- wonder if you overawe them into silence; you apparemntly offer them no assistance to improve - or have you been hiding your light under a bushel.

Perhaps we just inspire them to give their best.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 06:42 AM

Jack, I'm not suggesting that all singers should aim to become paid professionals. I'm saying they should aspire to the highest standards, even if they fall short. Most professionals, if they are to earn a living, have achieved those standards (I agree there are a few who make you wonder how they do earn a living, but I've never come across any with the limited repertoire you describe). You've sort of made my point by pointing out that a great many amateurs do achieve the highest standards.

What I am trying to say is that anyone who puts themselves forward to sing in public should strive to do that to the very best of their ability. At the very least that means taking the trouble to learn the song, of which memorising the words is simply a part.

What really pisses me off is when someone gets up, with folder and music stand, and says "Here's a song I learned this afternoon" (or worse, "Here's a song I wrote this afternoon") when they're clearly not ready to perform it out in public.


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Subject: RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe at large
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 05:49 AM

Sorry, me above


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