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Open Session, what mean?

Mr Happy 08 Oct 12 - 05:19 AM
Les in Chorlton 08 Oct 12 - 05:24 AM
Jack Campin 08 Oct 12 - 05:39 AM
Johnny J 08 Oct 12 - 05:43 AM
Richard Bridge 08 Oct 12 - 06:55 AM
Marje 08 Oct 12 - 08:24 AM
Richard Bridge 08 Oct 12 - 09:34 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Oct 12 - 09:46 AM
Girl Friday 08 Oct 12 - 12:49 PM
Stanron 08 Oct 12 - 01:21 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Oct 12 - 01:32 PM
Leadfingers 08 Oct 12 - 01:48 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Oct 12 - 04:03 PM
foggers 08 Oct 12 - 04:08 PM
dick greenhaus 08 Oct 12 - 05:46 PM
Stanron 08 Oct 12 - 05:56 PM
Leadfingers 08 Oct 12 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Desi C 09 Oct 12 - 03:18 AM
Silas 09 Oct 12 - 03:56 AM
GUEST,SteveT 09 Oct 12 - 04:19 AM
Les in Chorlton 09 Oct 12 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,SCL 09 Oct 12 - 05:30 AM
Les in Chorlton 09 Oct 12 - 06:15 AM
Stanron 09 Oct 12 - 01:39 PM
Girl Friday 09 Oct 12 - 03:15 PM
Stanron 09 Oct 12 - 04:45 PM
dick greenhaus 09 Oct 12 - 05:10 PM
Tootler 09 Oct 12 - 05:12 PM
Commander Crabbe 09 Oct 12 - 06:34 PM
Stanron 09 Oct 12 - 06:38 PM
Leadfingers 09 Oct 12 - 06:46 PM
Joe Nicholson 10 Oct 12 - 11:53 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 12 - 05:19 AM
Johnny J 11 Oct 12 - 06:10 AM
Girl Friday 12 Oct 12 - 08:08 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 Oct 12 - 09:07 AM
Mr Happy 18 Oct 12 - 12:32 PM
Girl Friday 18 Oct 12 - 01:55 PM
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Subject: Open Session, what mean?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 05:19 AM

Me & the gang attented a festival recently in which according to the programme, an 'open session' would take place in one of the venues.

Expecting what we think of as session, we arrived to find it was a sort of hybrid of singaround & folk club with the participants all performing singly rather than all playing/singing along together.

The festival was in NW England on the Lancs/ Yorks border & I'm wondering if the concept of 'session' is generally different in that area or if it was just an idiosyncracy of that particular festival.

What think you?


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 05:24 AM

I assume a Session is mostly tunes played by most of the people at the same time. A Singaround is one or two songs each - going around the company - others joining in choruses as they choose

But sometimes a mixture happens

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 05:39 AM

Possibly the people writing the programme and those organizing the event didn't communicate very well.

I have once encountered a "session" organized by a guy who seemed unable to imagine the usual free-for-all stramash the word implies. Or maybe just disapproved of it because singer-songwriters want to be solo all the time. It ran like you describe and was pretty depressing (until it faded out from lack of interest, which didn't take long).


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Johnny J
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 05:43 AM

I think the word "session" has become almost as meaningless as the term "folk" itself.

Singers(In Scotland, anyway) frequently refer to sessions when they are really singarounds and others will frequently describe any informal gathering as such. However, I've even known organised and ticketed evebnts to be described as such.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 06:55 AM

There is a certain difficulty caused by the fact that there is no convenient word (as far as I know) for my favourite sort of thing - people do take turns to lead, or it may jump about a bit at the whim of the chair, and then they may lead a tune (or set of tunes that is about song-length) or they may lead a song, and in either case the assembled company is encouraged to join in unless the leader prefers otherwise (for example an unaccompanied singer or someone doing a slow air on a whistle).


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Marje
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 08:24 AM

I would consider what Richard descirbes above to be a "session", albeit one that's steered a bit more purposefully than most. But if people are performing singly and not encouraged to join in most of the time, then it's not am "open session" as most people understand the term, it's something else.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 09:34 AM

"Session" is often used to mean tunes only, no singers welcome.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 09:46 AM

When I ran a folk club, many years ago now [early 1970s], I would follow the normal format, of myself or a fellow 'resident singer' opening each half; then some 'floor singers'; and the final 45 minutes of each half of the evening occupied by the guest performer[s]. About every 4th week, I would book no guest, but have an evening dedicated only to 'floor singers', who thus got more time each and more of them were enabled to perform. These occasions were always called "open evenings".

~M~


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Girl Friday
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 12:49 PM

We (T D L) describe our Monday evening bash as a Mixed Session. It is exactly as Richard describes as a session... we tend only to go out of turn if the next person to play is not in his seat.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Stanron
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 01:21 PM

I would prefer it if the word 'Session' was used to describe a mainly tunes gathering where anyone who knows what's being played can join in.

A gathering of mainly singers is something I've always known as a 'Singaround'. People take turns at doing a piece.

Using 'Singers session' or 'Tunes session' is good and clear but to me a 'Mixed session' meaning tunes and singers or, an 'Open session' meaning the same, are really 'Singarounds' or 'Singers session' in as much as you take your turn.

In a tunes session, once you know a body of material you can play all night. In a singaround this is often not the case and can be boring to tune players.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 01:32 PM

But in what I describe you can mostly play (or sing) all night too. But it is different.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 01:48 PM

Like Jack I attended (ONCE) what was advertised as 'A Session' .
I arrived and saw that I had met the guy running it before . I asked him if it WAS a session , or a Singaround . Definately a session was his reply . The First performer put a capo on fret One of his guitar , and did a quite tasty rendition of an American Contempory song in C Shapes ! C BLOODY SHARP as a session tune ?? As a Singaround it was not upleasant , but a session it most definately was not .
I agree that 'Session' on its own would indicate Tunes , while 'Singaround' is fairly obvious .
'Mixed Session' or 'Open Sesion' would both indicate tunes AND songs , with participation being part of the mix ! .
There is a VERY Good Mixed session in The New Tavern in Sidmouth for the entirety of the Festival , by the way


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 04:03 PM

Oh really, 'fingers? And who runs taht?


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: foggers
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 04:08 PM

Yup, I agree there can be some confusion over terms; "session" implies tunes, with everyone joining in. I guess at a festival with a wide geographical catchment it might pose some challenges with regard to knowing the same body of tunes (and/or versions thereof). A sing around clearly means songs, and a mixed session means both. There have been countless threads about session etiquette and joining in sensitively and attentively.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 05:46 PM

taxonomy initiates cacophony.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Stanron
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 05:56 PM

"taxonomy initiates cacophony".
Does this mean giving sessions their own names makes them sound awful?


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 06:38 PM

Mister Bridge - It has been in the Sidmouth Programme as Gerry Milne and friends since Bill Eddy died ! I like to think I am a friend of Gerry !


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 03:18 AM

When I go to play in Ireland, a session generally means several musicians playing together, but an open session is, as you found, a mix of tuns played together but with songs and floor singers mixed in, personally I prefer the latter, though both are thoroughly enjoyable and much more informal than English sessions


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Silas
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 03:56 AM

The problem here is that 'session' did originally mean a bunch of musicians all getting together and playing tunes at the same time, it still works well for Irish sessions when most of the musicians are playing melody or lead, but too many 'sessions' these days have just one or two lead instruments and half a dozen guitars playing along and it sounds terrible. I say this as a guitarist!


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: GUEST,SteveT
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 04:19 AM

I'd assumed a session was for tunes, a singaround was for songs and a Come-all-Ye incorporated both and also allowed the occasional recitation, step dancer etc. Open, to me, suggests anyone can join in with discretion on anything join-in-able.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 05:07 AM

We have a Singaround, songs mostly but not exclusively traditional and a few tunes, on the 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month and an Improvers Tunes session, with dots on the table, on the 2nd & 4th Wednesday. If a 5th Wednesday occurs we try an integrated night. Good fun but not a lot of integration.

I know we are unusual in having a tunes sesssion with dots but it works well and draws in lots of people who can play off the dots but would not go to a session where everybody is playing from memory.

We have started having "Singing Together" on odd Sunday afternoons. At theses we practice, a bit, each others choruses - words on a sheet, and only really sing chorus songs and try out harmoies and such like. Much fun.

We also run solo Lancashire clog on Saturday mornings.

I think the variety works well. I suspect most people don't want to sing every week or play tunes every week. Every other seems OK.


Folk at The Beech M21 9EG

Cheers

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: GUEST,SCL
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 05:30 AM

Isn't an Open Session a tune session that welcomes additional musicians as opposed to a Closed session where additional musicians would not be welcomed.

Isn't a Singaround were people go to take turns singing songs (accompanied and unaccompanied) while other singers listen and wait their turn unless encouraged to join in.

Isn't a Mixed Session mostly a Singaround format with the some instrumental interludes.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 06:15 AM

Spot on Ms/MrSCL

L


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Stanron
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 01:39 PM

I'll go along with SCL.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Girl Friday
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 03:15 PM

"In a tunes session, once you know a body of material you can play all night. In a singaround this is often not the case and can be boring to tune players. "

Boring to tune players? You tune players have your own sessions.
At the risk of upsetting people.... many tunes sound much the same.
Surely that can be just as boring to singers....? but we are a generous lot and are very happy to accomodate tune players into our circle of singers. Therefore it is not a Singaround, nor a tunes session- but

A Mixed Session !


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Stanron
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 04:45 PM

Girl Friday
The words you quoted were mine. I agree that singers can find tunes boring in the same way that tuners can find songs boring. All the more reason to clearly state what kind of gathering it is.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 05:10 PM

THe cacophny I referred to is not the music,; it's the resulting threads.
In the states, the proble of what you cll a musical gathering was pretty much resolved by calling it a Hootennany (a vernacular equivalent of a Whatyoumay callit.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 05:12 PM

My understanding of a mixed session is that it is a mixture of singaround and tune session with joining in encouraged - singers are encouraged to sing in keys so that players can join in, especially with well known songs.

I think the person described above who sang in C# was somewhat discourteous, given the type of session it was supposed to be. Surely he could have sung in either C or D. I find much of the time the key I can sing a song in is not critical. There are many songs where I can quite comfortably go up or down a tone to make it possible/easy for people with instruments to join in.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 06:34 PM

Open

1.        Free from limitations, boundaries, or restrictions.

Session

1.        A meeting of a group of people to pursue an activity.

There are many different definitions but this would seem to suggest anything goes, so if it was restricted to tunes or songs it should specify.

As opposed to "Dinner Time Session" (DTS): Gathering of sailors in a pub at lunchtime in order to scupper a few beers (wets).

Happy days!

CC


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Stanron
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 06:38 PM


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 06:46 PM

Tootler - We are in agreement there ! IF I am at a mixed session , I try to do any songs in a key that WILL permit participation - I save the Bflat and Eflat stuff for 'Showing Off' ! LOL . And any tunes ARE in G or D for the Melodeon players !


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Joe Nicholson
Date: 10 Oct 12 - 11:53 AM

As a Singer I know that if the term session is used then I know that it is not for me

Joe N


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 12 - 05:19 AM

Joe N - Should you ever get to Sidmouth Festival , the New Tavern session is MOSTLY songs of ALL Genres with occasional tunes


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Johnny J
Date: 11 Oct 12 - 06:10 AM

Well, all this just goes to show that the term is now meaningless.

The "open" description can also mean all things to all people. Some think it means a "mixture" of instruments, songs and tunes, a variety of genres and so on. Others see it as similar to an "Open Mic" or a "Come All YE".

However, a "session" was originally a few friends getting together to play tunes although there was(Probably more so in the early days) a few songs encouraged too. The "Open" adjective, in my view, just means that the session isn't private or closed and that visitors are welcome as long as they can "fit in" to the proceedings. Of course, sessions and repertoires will vary and some are more easy going than others. However, it's not necessarily a licence to come along and just do what you like.

Of course, we have very little control over how language develops but when seemingly simple terms such as "open session" can be open to so many different interpretaions we should probably make an effort to provide a fuller and more detailed description of what we mean.... e.g. tune session, Irish session, Singaround, Singing session and so on.


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Girl Friday
Date: 12 Oct 12 - 08:08 AM

In today's world, when most of us have a website, we can, and I do, explain exactly what our mixed session consists of.

Welcome to Crayside Folk Club


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Oct 12 - 09:07 AM

Spot on Ms Friday:


Folk at The Beech M21 9EG

Best wishes

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 12:32 PM

L in C,

The mystery guest at our 'open' session last night was a guy from up your way, with Irish plumbing kit, guitar & various whistles high & low, know who I mean?


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Subject: RE: Open Session, what mean?
From: Girl Friday
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 01:55 PM

Thanks Les. I've bookmarked your site, so if we are ever up your way we can drop in.


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