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Songbook but not the song

dilly daly of Adelaide 05 May 10 - 08:50 AM
alex s 05 May 10 - 09:20 AM
Leadfingers 05 May 10 - 09:32 AM
Rob Naylor 05 May 10 - 10:40 AM
Mr Happy 05 May 10 - 10:51 AM
Mr Happy 05 May 10 - 10:54 AM
alex s 05 May 10 - 11:02 AM
Rob Naylor 05 May 10 - 12:57 PM
Don Firth 05 May 10 - 08:50 PM
Mr Happy 10 May 10 - 06:36 AM
Leadfingers 10 May 10 - 08:04 AM
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Subject: Origins: Songbook but not the song
From: dilly daly of Adelaide
Date: 05 May 10 - 08:50 AM

Recently purchased a Songbook of a popular folk singer's songs (300) but the songs are not the same as the CD tracks of the singer.Singer uses capo and various fingerpicking techniques and different chords to what is in published book.Why are'nt the book and CDs compatable ?
Samething happened for blues songs.They are nothing like the CD.I'm focussing on solo performers which is what i want to be.How do you get music for exactly what was played on CD ? I thought that was what i was buying.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Songbook but not the song
From: alex s
Date: 05 May 10 - 09:20 AM

I know the feeling - often you'll find keys which are more suitable for piano and brass - B flat, E flat etc!

Books with tablature are a better bet as they tend to give a fair approximation of what is actually being played. Try also looking for the "tab" for songs you like on the net - not always 100% accurate but a start at least.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Songbook but not the song
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 May 10 - 09:32 AM

Even better , DONT slavishly copy what is on the CD - Do it your own way , with your own arrangement.


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Subject: RE: Songbook but not the song
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 05 May 10 - 10:40 AM

I'll turn it around and ask "why should they be identical?"

An artiste will use the music/ lyrics (s)he's written or decided to cover as a starting point and build on that for both recorded and live performances. A performer's live and recorded performances will rarely be identical. Often, there'll be more than one recording of a particular song or piece by the same artiste, and they'll sound quite different.

You also have the situation where a publisher needs to maximise potential sales of a songbook and so will tend to simplify the notation, particularly chords, so that beginners can pick up the basics of a song before they've developed enough skills to play it as per the recording.

On the plus side, you have a good starting point for your own embellishments. I've been learning guitar for a little under 2 years now and, having an indifferent singing voice and difficulty walking/ chewing gum at ther same time, I've only just started trying to sing some songs...and I *invariably* find that I adjust the song to suit the way I best sing/ play it....I'll leave difficult chords out, add embellishments in and change the phrasing significantly.

If you're desperate for something close to the recording, there are loads of tabs and notations on the web for material by well-known artistes, many of which are very accurate representations of the recorded material.

You can also (and I'm saying this as someone who, 2 years ago, wouldn't have ever dreamed that I could work out the structure of any song, even the simplest, just by listening!) start to work on tabbing songs out for yourself from the recording. I don't find it easy myself, but the fact that I've been able to do it at all for a few songs now gives me immense satisfaction. I started off by tabbing out from YouTube clips, so I could see as well as hear what was going on and have now managed a couple of songs just by listening to the CD.

but I'm with Leadfingers overall: do it your own way. To me, slavish reproductions of the original recorded performance often sound sterile.


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Subject: RE: Songbook but not the song
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 May 10 - 10:51 AM

'To me, slavish reproductions of the original recorded performance often sound sterile. '

Moi aussi, & don't rely on dots music being gospel - often they're just written down the way the writer does it


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Subject: RE: Songbook but not the song
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 May 10 - 10:54 AM

I mean that the person who wrote a version of the dots [not the composer]


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Subject: RE: Songbook but not the song
From: alex s
Date: 05 May 10 - 11:02 AM

...but if you are a beginner it is very useful to see exactly how the experts do it. I learned a great deal of finger picking technique from the tabs of Derek Brimstone and John Pearse - stuff you'd never be able to work out yourself as a novice. THEN you start to develop your own style.


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Subject: RE: Songbook but not the song
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 05 May 10 - 12:57 PM

But as a novice, would you be able to reproduce the techniques?

I know that I've struggled horribly with tabs and/or notations that faithfully reproduce some complicated (complicated to me, anyway) guitar work. For instance, I had Russ Barenberg's own tabs/ notation for "Drummers of England" which I struggled with for quite a while before coming across Will Fly's YouTube (simplified) version and picking it up from there by ear and eye in just a few minutes!

I'm now adding in a version of Russ's guitar solo part, but in no way trying to follow all the embellishments he puts in (and which are in the notation). I was actually about to give up on it before I found Will's version, but now I've got the chords and the basic melody down pat and I'm about 3/4 of the way through a version of the solo that I can actually play, rather than just puzzle over!

I think you can learn a lot from faithful tabs if you're at the "intermediate-going-on-OK" stage, but the songbooks have got to encompass variants that novices can work on.


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Subject: RE: Songbook but not the song
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 May 10 - 08:50 PM

Well—this depends on what you mean when you say that the chords / arrangements in the songbook are not the same as those on the CD.

I have two books of songs that Richard Dyer-Bennet recorded. Dyer-Bennet was a light tenor, and knowing that most people would not be able to sing the songs in the same keys he sang them in, he set them in what might be considered more accessible keys for most people—and adjusted the chords to fit. Hence, the chords are not the same as the ones he played on his records, but they are the same, relative to the keys in question.

No way can I sing the songs in the same keys he sang them in. As I say, he was a tenor and I'm a bass-baritone. So I work out my own accompaniments. And I don't always use the same (relative) chords he does. But I do take them as "suggestions."

Same with most songbooks that are collections of songs sung by a particular singer.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Songbook but not the song
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 May 10 - 06:36 AM

'Same with most songbooks that are collections of songs sung by a particular singer.'

Yes, often in our weakly sesh, there's people using song books/sheets attempting to sing in keys in which they can't hit the higher notes comfortably & end up either straining & squeaking or equally bad, dropping down to the lower octave to reach the note.

I've offered advice to these folks to choose the key themselves, to incur responses such as 'but that's the key it's written in!'


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Subject: RE: Songbook but not the song
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 May 10 - 08:04 AM

The 'Written' key is fine for a session , but Singers need to pitch to their own best vocal range - Thats why Capos are so useful for getting a 'working' arrangeent to fit the voice .
A waste of time if you are just strumming chords though !


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