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Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong

GUEST,Cjb 11 Feb 12 - 11:41 AM
dick greenhaus 11 Feb 12 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,grumpy 11 Feb 12 - 02:21 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Feb 12 - 02:31 PM
John MacKenzie 11 Feb 12 - 02:42 PM
Paul Burke 11 Feb 12 - 02:48 PM
George Papavgeris 11 Feb 12 - 02:55 PM
Gibb Sahib 11 Feb 12 - 03:30 PM
Jim Dixon 11 Feb 12 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Feb 12 - 09:50 PM
GUEST,Mike Mandaville 12 Feb 12 - 12:31 PM
John P 13 Feb 12 - 10:51 AM
John P 13 Feb 12 - 11:04 AM
Nigel Parsons 13 Feb 12 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,C.B. 13 Feb 12 - 11:28 AM
Acorn4 13 Feb 12 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 13 Feb 12 - 01:18 PM
Don Firth 13 Feb 12 - 02:04 PM
Dave Hanson 13 Feb 12 - 02:45 PM
Stewart 13 Feb 12 - 02:59 PM
John P 13 Feb 12 - 04:02 PM
Bernard 13 Feb 12 - 04:20 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 13 Feb 12 - 04:38 PM
Bert 13 Feb 12 - 04:46 PM
The Sandman 13 Feb 12 - 04:53 PM
John P 13 Feb 12 - 05:32 PM
TheSnail 13 Feb 12 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,olddude 13 Feb 12 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,olddude 13 Feb 12 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,SRD 13 Feb 12 - 06:23 PM
John P 13 Feb 12 - 06:33 PM
Bernard 13 Feb 12 - 06:33 PM
John P 13 Feb 12 - 07:16 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 13 Feb 12 - 07:26 PM
John P 13 Feb 12 - 10:31 PM
Bert 13 Feb 12 - 10:34 PM
John P 13 Feb 12 - 11:09 PM
Doug Chadwick 14 Feb 12 - 02:30 AM
GUEST,Mike Mandaville 14 Feb 12 - 03:49 AM
doc.tom 14 Feb 12 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Mike Mandaville 14 Feb 12 - 04:56 AM
Will Fly 14 Feb 12 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Mike Mandaville 14 Feb 12 - 05:40 AM
Will Fly 14 Feb 12 - 06:46 AM
Will Fly 14 Feb 12 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,Mike Mandaville 14 Feb 12 - 07:49 AM
Spleen Cringe 14 Feb 12 - 09:12 AM
Jim Dixon 14 Feb 12 - 09:28 AM
John P 14 Feb 12 - 09:39 AM
Will Fly 14 Feb 12 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 14 Feb 12 - 11:19 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 14 Feb 12 - 02:47 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 14 Feb 12 - 02:49 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 14 Feb 12 - 02:52 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 14 Feb 12 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Mike Mndaville 14 Feb 12 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Mike Mandaville 14 Feb 12 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 14 Feb 12 - 04:38 PM
Spleen Cringe 14 Feb 12 - 05:57 PM
Will Fly 14 Feb 12 - 06:06 PM
YorkshireYankee 14 Feb 12 - 06:07 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,Cjb
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 11:41 AM

Absolutely evil should be banned
For example if don mcclain wants to play out of tune it's his business only
Discuss


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 12:42 PM

It's one way to destroy a business, if your business is playing music for money.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,grumpy
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 02:21 PM

Who is 'don mcclain'?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 02:31 PM

Who cares?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 02:42 PM

Quality is indefinable


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Paul Burke
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 02:48 PM

One word- Margaret Barry. Ok, that's two words.

Out of tune can be just right.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 02:55 PM

Lindisfarne made a heck of a lot of dosh playing Nicely Out Of Tune.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 03:30 PM

What's "in tune"?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 03:41 PM

I don't know, but it's none of our business, I guess.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 09:50 PM

I think the critics simply never heard of alternative tunings.

You can't sing a song about hoboes, whiskey and graveyards and leave your guitar in good old EADGBE. It's simply not done.

"You might as well wear white cowboy boots."


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,Mike Mandaville
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 12:31 PM

The ubiquitous equal temper tuning system puts us all out of tune, except maybe with fan frets. Out-of-tuneness is built into the system.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: John P
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 10:51 AM

if don mcclain wants to play out of tune it's his business only

Playing out of tune in front of an audience is making it the business of others.

I don't care about the Don McLean thing, didn't see it, and don't suspect it has much to say about his skills. In general, however, I think that people who don't have decent performing skills should stay home until they achieve them. I don't like the "we should support anyone who wants to get up and sing" attitude. I strongly support everyone's desire to sing, but not to perform in front of others.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: John P
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:04 AM

By the way, I also think that people who write things on public discussion boards should learn to (or bother to) spell and punctuate. It doesn't really surprise me that the OP seems to be advocating a lowering of communication standards.

Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
Absolutely evil should be banned


Just out of curiosity, how do you propose banning a sense of aesthetics, and why would you want to?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:26 AM

From: GUEST,grumpy - PM
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 02:21 PM

Who is 'don mcclain'?


Didn't he rescue the Nakatomi Tower?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,C.B.
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:28 AM

"Just out of curiosity, how do you propose banning a sense of aesthetics, and why would you want to?"

. . .

"In general, however, I think that people who don't have decent performing skills should stay home until they achieve them."

Umm.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Acorn4
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:45 AM

The good, the bad and the ugly - love em all!!!


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 01:18 PM

It's simple, really.
Anyone who is more concerned about quality than I am is a pedant. Anyone who is less concerned is a slob.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 02:04 PM

"Folk singer" struggles to get his guitar in tune, gives up, and says, "Well, that's close enough for folk music."

That used to be a joke. But with a lot of "folk singers," it's an excuse to cover up laziness and incompetence and still aspire to fame and fortune. It is disrespectful of the music they claim to be so Holy about, and it's also disrespectful of any audience they inflict themselves on.

A quote from a well-known singer of folk songs and ballads:
"No song is ever harmed by being articulated clearly, on pitch, with sufficient control of phrase and dynamics to make the most of the poetry and melody, and with an instrumental accompaniment designed to enrich the whole effect."
He made a life-long career out of singing in clubs and concert halls all over the country, and has a couple dozen recordings out.

He did not "go commercial." He respected his audiences. And he respected the songs.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 02:45 PM

MacCain ? doesn't he make oven chips ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Stewart
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 02:59 PM

Stage patter at a concert
while the musicians were tuning...

"we tune because you care.
However, if you don't care,
it would save us a lot of time."

I think most audiences care
and the musician should respect the audience
(and the songs) as Don said above.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: John P
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:02 PM

Guest, C.B.:
Umm.

That's rather ambiguous. Would you care to elucidate?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Bernard
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:20 PM

Don, I believe the 'good enough for folk' throwaway originated as 'good enough for jazz'. Of course, I'm probably wrong (as we're no doubt going to find out soon!)...


I simply don't understand why Don McLean wasn't able to tune 'on the fly' - he wasn't playing anything particularly complex so it would have been easy enough, unless he's so reliant on electronic tuners that his ear has become lazy.


John P... people 'umm' when they don't know the words!! ;o)


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:38 PM

we dont need performer and audiences or income

We need songs and singers and players

quality is up to the autonomous participant or should be

look into field recordings

today quality seems to be too too important recently on the Sunday Folk Show last sunday - Geraldine tudor radio Shropshire should still be in archive till next sunday....

a representative from english folk music and dance society discussing the potential participation of select uk folk musicianss at next years celtic connections revealed this obsession with quality-

of course they have to have high quality of standards....meet our high standards

but also should have the apparatus to self produce at a high level, you tube presence cds recorded...essentially industry ready.

i had to laugh as I have been recently reading the philosophy of two of the founders- vaughn williams and cecil sharp- these two culturist dictators would have highly approved.

What does this say to ordinary musicians but to be discouraged and hopeless and not recognized - we must remember that the only reason we have so many traditional songs is entirely due to the roles of ordinary participants not super stars.

the performance virtuoso aspect is now a huge cancer and needs to be trimmed back to the place where it is in balance.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Bert
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:46 PM

...people who don't have decent performing skills should stay home until they achieve them...

But you don't know if you have performing skills unless you get up in front of an audience. Then, when you find out that they are not all that you would desire, the only way to hone those skills is in front of an audience.

No amount of practicing at home is going to prepare you for being on stage. At home you are just practicing your mistakes.

Any venue that doesn't cater for and encourage at least a few beginners, is doing a great disservice to the singing and listening community.

You have a choice of two options if you start singing and find that you are out of tune. Both take a courage that can only be learned on stage.

1. Stop, say 'oops' and do a quick relative tune on stage.
or
2. Put down the guitar and sing A Capella.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:53 PM

the good the bad the ugly and Dick Miles.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: John P
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:32 PM

Bert, I agree that there's nothing like being on stage to learn how to be on stage. I always say I don't really know a song until I've taken it on stage. What I do know before I walk on stage, however, is the chords, the words, and the arrangement. Those are the basics that people should have ready when they go on stage. I also agree that venues should encourage beginners. Where would any of us be if that wasn't the case? However, I think that, when it comes to performing, people who don't know the words or chords and/or haven't thought about how to communicate them are not even at the beginning performer stage. I have no problem being supportive and encouraging people who are new at performing. I can also tell the difference between beginner's stage fright or inexperience at performing and not having bothered to put together a performance-quality piece of music.

People who can't sing in tune should enjoy singing at home with their friends. People who are boring performers should seek out audiences who are more interested in the song and are able to ignore the performance of it. People who can't play guitar chords fluidly should practice, practice, practice.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:55 PM

I never imagined that I would say this but, (deep breath) I agree with *#1 PEASANT*

quality is up to the autonomous participant or should be

Quality, like charity, starts at home. If you really want to raise standards, start with yourself then, once you are confident of your superior aesthetics, set a standard rather than trying to impose one.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:57 PM

but who is going to be the quality police. Some people say Dylan can't sing and is terrible. Others say he is a genius with a unique voice. Which quality police do you want?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 06:01 PM

reminds me of the story 100 years ago when I was in college. I asked to play at this assembly and the guy booking it said sure. I said don't you want to hear me play , he answered "why, if you are good, no problems, if you stick you are the one making an asshole of yourself so don't stink"

LOL true, well they invited me back so maybe I didn't stink


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,SRD
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 06:23 PM

Why is there so much emphasis on 'performing' Folk Music? Isn't folk music to be played and sung? Isn't that the point of it? Performance is for entertainers not folk singers.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: John P
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 06:33 PM

Nobody is talking about imposing any specific standards or being the quality police. In fact, the only such comment that has been made in this thread is from the other direction in the OP.

I'm just saying that people who haven't prepared themselves to perform in front of an audience probably shouldn't do so, and that I am unlikely to tell them they are doing great.

This is saying nothing about the nature of folk music or whether or not people should sing. Just whether or not they should perform in public. And it's all just my opinion, of course.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Bernard
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 06:33 PM

Unfortunately, poor quality performers are the 'public image' of folk... you only need to look at some 'Two Ronnies' and Benny Hill sketches (which can be found on YouTube) to realise that we've still got an uphill struggle against stereotypes... and those sketches aren't exactly recent!


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: John P
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 07:16 PM

Why is there so much emphasis on 'performing' Folk Music? Isn't folk music to be played and sung? Isn't that the point of it?

Yes, that is the point of folk music, for me at least. I don't put any emphasis on performing. But whatever we may think about the nature of folk music, the fact is that most people these days get their music, folk or otherwise, from performances. A bad performance is bad, no matter the style of music.

Performance is for entertainers not folk singers.

When people are performing folk music, it's about performance AND folk music. The above statement would only be true for me if nobody bought CDs or went to concerts. I would love to live in a world where music was all around without performance or recordings, and have created such a world for myself as much as possible. I work with a bunch of musicians and there is singing in the workplace throughout the day, and jamming in the lunch room during breaks. Folk music at its best, most of which would suck in a stage performance.

In my case, and that of most other performing musicians I know, I am both a folk musician and a performer. When I'm on stage, I perform folk music. When I'm not on stage, I just play it.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 07:26 PM

Yes - the quality police especially those in folk societies should ease off and responsibly balance the ordinary and for want of a better term virtuoso.

In the folk tradition the autonomy of the participant is key.

if you impose standards you then interfere with adaptation and personalization of performance. Evolution is halted.

the important thing for the participant in the oral or folk tradition is to give them security and space and especially tolerance. in the past up it was the environment of the participant that caused deterioration and "dullness" not the tradition itself. Those who were the last links in the hundreds of year old chain of custody of the songs had been relegated to the lowest possible and economic orders and were oppressed. The turn of the century revival pronounced them dead or irrelevant- "scientific" standards were imposed both for the composite collected song as well as for performance. Later Mccaull championed quality of presentation and exactness of regional style selected for performance-

This was the way virtuoso performance became important as did codification of songs. These things had never ever been so important before. The virtuoso performance class was much less dominant.

The radio interview already cited indicates that nothing has changed. if the folk police are not happy you don't get access to promotion stages recording contracts festivals- one can not even be average or slightly above average.... (even the young performer category at folk awards featured individuals who were already professionalized)

This is simple discrimination and detrimental to the tradition as a whole.

No one has to be good. they have to have songs keep songs and adapt and make songs.

Practice for the folk, oral tradition participant is defined by the participant and no other. If they meet their own standards great if not fine too-

Participants in the oral/folk traditions should be protected, assisted, praised funded and recognized.

This way their ranks will grow and as individuals can only hold so many songs in their heads more songs will then reside in the shared folk inventory. If they are discouraged we will be left with only the "good" and the few and that's not helpful

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: John P
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 10:31 PM

Fortunately, "real" folk music happens all over, all the time. Most participants aren't performers and don't want to be. They sing and play with friends and family in living rooms, at song circles, at pub sessions, around the campfires at festivals. Yes, let's celebrate that and do what we can to foster and continue it. Although it doesn't seem in much danger of dying.

Maybe one of the differences here is the difference between a musician and someone who likes to participate in folk music. People who play music all the time -- people for whom it is a driving passion in their lives -- eventually get to where they want the notes to be in the right place, the instruments in tune, and enjoy the expression of skill. Just look at how much more musical the early punk bands became over the years. However, there is nothing about having achieved high-level skills that keeps anyone from also being a folk musician in any way we could define it. But, like a jeweler who wants the stone cut just right or the administrator who wants every detail nailed down, many musicians want to play really well-played music. I like to think that the folk music world can handle both ends of the skill and practice spectrum just fine.

Canrad, you seem to be railing against folk music being identified as performances and CDs, and then you rail against many folk musicians not getting recording contracts and prime performance slots. You seem a bit confused in your message. Can you straighten out this apparent inconsistency? It would be more palatable if you could so without reference to the folk police, though.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Bert
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 10:34 PM

...is the chords, the words, and the arrangement... You are right on the money there John P.

I do occasionally get request for songs that I haven't practiced. I always know the words and the presentation, but if I don't know the chords I have no hesitation in putting down the guitar and getting on with the song.

Times have changed, particularly for the performer. Gone are the days of the sing around in the pub where individuals were known for their one and only party piece. We are expected to get up on stage and hold and entertain an audience and to have a little variety.

In every performance I try to introduce at least one folk song that the audience may not have heard before.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: John P
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:09 PM

One of the most rewarding things in my life is sharing my love of traditional folk music with others. Almost every year when I play at the Folklife Festival, someone comes up after the show and bubbles over about how they never heard music like that before, where can they find more of it, how it spoke to their soul, what albums should they buy, etc. etc. I doubt I would get that reaction from non-folkies if I had poor musical skills. Just think how they would have felt about the music if the festival put non-musicians on stage to sing folk songs badly. Would they have stayed for the end of the first song?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 02:30 AM

I think that people who don't have decent performing skills should stay home until they achieve them.

All the practice in the world at home won't take account of stage-fright nerves. The only way to get over that is to go out and do it. There are bound to be a few fluffs on the way.

Also, it depends on who the audience are, their expectations and whether the performer is getting paid or not. Someone just starting out, playing at an open-mic night for the fun of it, mainly to friends, should be cut a little slack. If the kids in the local school were putting on a show then I would expect maximum effort but I would forgive a few technical imperfections. If I had paid a king's ransom for tickets to the Albert Hall, I wouldn't be satisfied with anything less than top class

DC


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,Mike Mandaville
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 03:49 AM

Folk music is not art music, art music is not folk music, and everyone should agree with me, or else shut yur yap. This is just my opinion, of course. Now do as you're told!


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: doc.tom
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 04:42 AM

And art music is?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,Mike Mandaville
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 04:56 AM

Well, according to Cecil Sharp, art music is the bad music which is played by professional musicians, and folk music is the good music which is played by amateurs. Since Cecil Sharp is The Father Of Folk Music, I think that his opinion counts more heavily than mine. That Cecil feller was One Okay Cowboy!


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 05:11 AM

All music is art - why should one genre be different in this respect than any other? Where one chooses to exercise that art and to what standard is up to the individual but as John P says - like a jeweler who wants the stone cut just right or the administrator who wants every detail nailed down, many musicians want to play really well-played music.

I sometimes get the impression that people who perform in public don't question or really understand their own motives in doing so. My guess is that most people start off performing in public with a high degree of (probably unconscious) narcissism. They want to be looked at, recognised and, briefly, in the spotlight. Nothing wrong with that. I still remember the very first time I sang and played in public (1965 if you're interested), and the ringing of the applause, sympathetic or otherwise, in my ears was a real rush. I was hooked. It was only much later that I realised that my real motive for performing in public should be to engage with and entertain the public - not my own ego. To do this, I had to know my stuff perfectly, think about what I played, how I played it, how I presented it - and I had to take in honest feedback about how it all went down.

If I'm sitting at home, strumming for myself, or family or a few friends, I can bugger about to my heart's content - it doesn't matter. (Actually, I work even harder at it at home - playing the same piece perhaps 50 or 60 times in a day to start getting it right). If I go out and engage with people, it's the engagement with those people - club, pub, singaround, session, paid, unpaid - that matters. The better I and the others engage, the more collective fun we have. You don't have to be a great performer to be a great entertainer but, no matter what, it's the moment that matters, not you or me or any of us. Getting it right - as far as you can - is a huge asset.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,Mike Mandaville
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 05:40 AM

Will, the first time I wrote a song, I got it right the first time. I gave that song away, and it came back to me with a full orchestra. To me, practicing something fifty or sixty times to "get it right" means that you "thought" you had it wrong that many times. I think that you underestimate the intelligence of your audience. I don't think that your audience wants you to be "perfect".


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 06:46 AM

Well, Mike - not quite. There's a huge difference between knowing something informally at home and going out in front of anything from 50 to 500 - or even 5,000 people - with all the extra tension and pressure and getting it so that it comes across absolutely tension-free and natural. To the point where the audience forgets you and gets right into the music. It's a different environment altogether - the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd, etc... I need to be relaxed - and to be so, I have to have complete confidence in my ability not to screw up, falter, forget the words - no matter what happens.

I don't think I ever make any estimate whatsoever of an audience's intelligence or knowledge of what they want - I just want to feel that I'm putting the piece across to them in the way that I intend. Of course, I generally know who my audience is - and choose material that I hope they'll like (and sometimes choose stuff which I might provoke!).


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 07:26 AM

Mike, forgot to say - which might make my attitude a little clearer - that the greater part (not all, but a large part) of what I play relies very much on improvisation. To do this regularly and without repeating and making overmuch of hackneyed musical clichés - in front of a shedload of people, on the spot - takes a lot of practice. To be able to do this even adequately, you have to have a bedrock knowledge of the structure of a piece from the inside out. I don't think I've ever been totally satisfied with an improvised performance yet. Some have been not bad and some OK - but the search to create something fresh and spontaneous all the time is almost an impossibility. We try our best - and that's all anyone can do - but the hard, basic work is away from the audience.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,Mike Mandaville
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 07:49 AM

Will, I don't yet perform in public, so you got that right. I will be sending away this week for a new fingerboard, to get my guitar to where I can play it. I like a fingerboard which is flat, wide, and scalloped.

I am amused that you have used the phrase "the roar of the greasepaint, and the smell of the crowd", because I myself have used that phrase more than once.

It sounds to me like you are not playing folk, but that you are playing jazz. Do you consider yourself to be a jazz playwer?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 09:12 AM

"My guess is that most people start off performing in public with a high degree of (probably unconscious) narcissism."

Or in my case, the buggers at the Beech are so damned inclusive that they go out of their way to encourage you to have a go - against all your own instincts and better judgement. And no-one wants to feel like a spoilsport... Which is why I'm learning a couple of songs to groan out tomorrow. Why, oh why?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 09:28 AM

The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd - title of a 1965 musical.

Maybe they didn't invent the phrase, but they popularized it.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: John P
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 09:39 AM

To me, practicing something fifty or sixty times to "get it right" means that you "thought" you had it wrong that many times.

If you hire a carpenter to work on your house, are you happy with him only "thinking" he got it right? Nobody ever gets good at anything without having a strong self-critical facility. This is not the same as beating yourself up over mistakes. But it does mean being aware of your mistakes and figuring out what to do about them. For me, when I'm learning a piece of music, there's a goal, a ideal of what I think that piece of music should sound like. And yes, it often requires playing the same song fifty times in a row. Or even the same four-measure passage over and over.

I think that you underestimate the intelligence of your audience. I don't think that your audience wants you to be "perfect".

Out of curiosity, what are you passionate about? Do you put up with half measures in your primary area of endeavor? What do you do for a living? Does your boss expect you to be able to fulfill the basic requirements of your job without making a lot of mistakes? Would a stamp collector say, "Oh, I'm missing two stamps from that series, but that's OK, I'll call it good anyway."?

Also, as a audience member, I am put off by experienced professional musicians who make bonehead beginner mistakes - especially ones that indicate a lack of practice. I can put up with it all day from a beginner, as long as it's obvious the beginner is trying to get past that stage.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 09:57 AM

It sounds to me like you are not playing folk, but that you are playing jazz.

I've played jazz for many years - but I try and bring an element of improvisation into most things that I play. Here are two examples of tunes from the folk idiom played with various degrees of improv:

Staten Island Steps

Freight Train - Variations

I like mixing musical styles and genres - as you can probably see...


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 11:19 AM

"...practicing something fifty or sixty times to "get it right" means that you "thought" you had it wrong that many times."

If I'm "buggering about at home" I might practice something until I can get it right.

If I'm preparing for a public performance (the definition of which can be debated) I try to practice until I can't get it wrong.Big difference.

Will F, I like that you understand that improvisation and practice are not mutually exclusive!

-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 02:47 PM

ok john p if they are everywhere why aren't they recognized- assisted rewarded drawn attention to as models for others....

it is an illusion their numbers are in serious decline

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 02:49 PM

there should be no stages- no high overhead costs- no promotion

conrad


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 02:52 PM

musical skills dont matter to quote chumbawumba- "the music matters" thats it

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 02:59 PM

In folk music no one need pay anyone-= so then why should anyone "get it right" for someone else

totally irrelevant

you possess music you play music easy

The autonomous performer- no boday bothers me or should

if not the tradition can not function at all

and no the tradition can not die it is a bunch of principals processes and variables and relationships cant kill them but you can turn the volume way way down and persecute the people who arent good enough.

deny them stages, funding.....recognition and encouragement.....

you make them worse than slaves

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,Mike Mndaville
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 03:11 PM

Fellers, I would have posted sooner, but my oomputer was so shocked by Wills playin' that it gave me a Blue Screen, and then it took me several hours to learn how to Restore According To Last Good Configuration. I am going to make me some tea, and then I will be right back to post about Will's World Class Playin'.


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,Mike Mandaville
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 03:44 PM

Okay, got my tea now. Will, I am as impressed by your unassuming psychological profile as I am by your playing, and in this regard, you remind me of Doc Watson. Of course, an unassuming profile is expected of all country performers, but with you I think that it comes quite naturally. And I don't mean to undercut John's point of view either, which I take to be that we owe it to ourselves to be the best that we can be at whatever it is that we decide to do. And then, of course, there is the furtherance of the tradition. These are all valid points of view, and of course it is the dialogfue itself which counts.

Will, I am still tryin' to catch my breath after your performance of "Freight Train", but I am going to go back now and listen to "Staten Island Steps", and then click on your links. Again, I think that there is an abundance of good will in this thread, and I am as much interested in the furtherance of the folk tradition as I think that we all are. And now I am off to appreciate more of Will's playin. Will,you're an okay cowboy!


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 04:38 PM

Peas, if the tradition cannot die then what the &*% are you so worried about?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 05:57 PM

Mike M - Will's a bit good, isn't he?


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 06:06 PM

Glad you liked the playing. Mike. The point of the links was merely to show how I try and bring improvisation into folk stuff - which you don't often see these days. Davy Graham was an early and powerful influence on me and, by that, I don't mean the repertoire but the approach to the music, which I thought was unique. Doesn't always work for me, mind you, but I tries! :-)

I'm just back from an open mic where I've been playing jazz duets with my old mate Chris Wolferstan ("Wolfie") from Brighton and a double bass player. We had a ball and I got to try out my latest acquisition - a German Otwin guitar built in 1960...

How High The Moon

This is far more conventional stuff!


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Subject: RE: Inflicting quality onfolk anything wrong
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 06:07 PM

Will, clicked on your links and really enjoyed the music you made; love the way you literally "play" with the music -- like it is a toy you love to play with...


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