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Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions

Nick 03 Jun 13 - 09:06 PM
Jeri 03 Jun 13 - 09:22 PM
Nick 03 Jun 13 - 09:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jun 13 - 09:29 PM
Nick 03 Jun 13 - 09:38 PM
andrew e 03 Jun 13 - 09:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jun 13 - 11:05 PM
Nick 04 Jun 13 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,Grishka 04 Jun 13 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,wordsmith 04 Jun 13 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,Grishka 04 Jun 13 - 08:56 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jun 13 - 05:55 PM
Marje 05 Jun 13 - 03:44 AM
Nick 05 Jun 13 - 03:50 AM
GUEST,Grishka 05 Jun 13 - 05:31 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jun 13 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Wordsmith 05 Jun 13 - 01:50 PM
Jeri 05 Jun 13 - 01:53 PM
GUEST 05 Jun 13 - 03:04 PM
Jeri 05 Jun 13 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,Grishka 05 Jun 13 - 04:27 PM
GUEST 05 Jun 13 - 07:48 PM
Nick 05 Jun 13 - 08:12 PM
Jeri 05 Jun 13 - 08:24 PM
GUEST,Grishka 06 Jun 13 - 04:30 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jun 13 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Grishka 06 Jun 13 - 08:43 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jun 13 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Grishka 06 Jun 13 - 11:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jun 13 - 11:51 AM
Nick 06 Jun 13 - 12:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jun 13 - 12:35 PM
Nick 06 Jun 13 - 06:32 PM
Nick 06 Jun 13 - 06:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jun 13 - 09:01 PM
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Subject: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Nick
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 09:06 PM

A work in progress that needs finishing by Thursday morning.

A friend of ours heard my wife sing Steve Earle's 'Jerusalem' recently and asked if she'd sing it at a talk they were organising. As she can't turn up on the day we said we'd send a version.

Stuck between extremes at the moment and time running out...

Two versions - my view at the moment is the unaccompanied is the better. Whichever version has things to sort out (timing etc) but thoughts and feedback?

Jerusalem - unaccompanied

Jerusalem - accompanied


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 09:22 PM

Opinion: I think accompaniment helps that song, but either way is OK. The one thing that bugs me most is that it's a gritty, hard-hitting song, and she's singing pretty and slow. She's going to sing pretty no matter what, but I think speeding the song up a bit, like maybe a third as fast, would make it stronger.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Nick
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 09:26 PM

It's my fault - I slow it up :) It's such a great lyric that I hate rushing it.

The original is very different.

Another option... we'll try it faster as well.

Thanks for the feedback


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 09:29 PM

Both ways are powerful and very impressive.

Which to choose would depend on the people who'd be listening. With people who aren't used to unaccompanied singing the unaccompanied version might risk making them pay to much attention to the sound at the expence of the words. With others it might work the other way.

Why not send both versions, and let the organisers decide which to use?

Either way, congratulations.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Nick
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 09:38 PM

It's for a friend who is a hosting a talk about people doing good things in that difficult Israeli/Palestinian place and she didn't know the song and thought it a good sentiment.

I've sent options already earlier. :)


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: andrew e
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 09:54 PM

Because of the gaps in the melody, I feel the accompanied sounds best, but I'm not sure it needs the bass.
Speed sounds fine to me.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 11:05 PM

I've been listening to some youtube versions, which are faster. I prefer your slower approach - the words deserve to be listened to.

I love Steve Earle, but your wife gets the words and their meaning across a lot better.

Great song.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Nick
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 06:04 AM

Thank you for the comments - I'll pass them on


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 07:30 AM

Because of the gaps in the melody, as Andrew writes, and for other reasons of rhythm, the tune requires some accompaniment. However, in my ears a regularly strummed guitar has a lulling effect, counteracting the message of the lyrics. It would be even much worse if you omitted the bass.

If I were to arrange the song, I might try more harmony voices, human or instrumental, filling the gaps and hinting (not stomping) the basic beat. An a-cappella ensemble would be good, were it not for the problem of syllables distracting from the lyrics; thus we probably need some instruments. An oboe may convey some oriental colour and thus escape the girl scouts' camp feeling.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST,wordsmith
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 08:10 AM

The lady sings the song very well and both versions, in my opinion, would go down well anywhere. My gripe is with the song itself, it's very ungainly in its structure and extremely naive in sentiment.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 08:56 AM

Wordsmith, that was not the question, but I agree that the lady sings very well and that the lyrics are problematic. There is nothing wrong with dreaming of peace, but a song needs a more specific message. All that Steve Earle seems to offer is a compulsory sunday school, in other words a decent crusade, to thrash the bastards until they forget how to hate. After all, it has worked within the Christian world, hasn't it??

Given your nickname, you may post a better treatment of the subject. We can join forces about the music.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 05:55 PM

Can't begin to relate to your comments there Grishka, I'm afraid.

The song is not about offering a solution, it's about offering a vision and holding on to a hope. In a way echoing Martin Luther King when he said "I have a dream".


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Marje
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 03:44 AM

I think unaccompanied versions often get the lyrics across better. But there's a difference between an unaccompanied version of a song and a version that has had the accompaniment taken out - to me, the unaccompanied version of this song falls into the second category. The gaps between lines and phrases are too long, as if the singer is listing the accompaniment going on in her head. Either it needs to be speeded up somewhat, or the notes at the end of lines and phrases need to be held for longer. If that doesn't work, a bit of gentle guitar may be necessary to hold it together. There shouldn't be holes in a song.

That's just my opinion, for what it's worth. I'll refrain from comment about the message of the lyrics, which is another matter entirely.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Nick
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 03:50 AM

Marje - you are, of course, correct. The 'unaccompanied' one was not recorded as an unaccompanied song - it is the same singing with the backing taken away which is a different beast and why it has the ungainly silences and pauses rather than the flow of a song.

It was more a case of working out whether it might work that way - which I think it would - only it would then have been sung as an unaccompanied song. If that makes sense!


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 05:31 AM

Holding the notes for longer to fill the gap will not solve the problem. A song based on the pop idiom, like this one, needs some hint of a beat. If no other instruments are available, consider a plucked guitar part, radically reduced and written out precisely.

Marje is also right that we should not discuss the lyrics in detail here. Just to answer McGrath: indeed, song lyrics should convey emotions and need not offer solutions. But, like everything pronounced in public, songs have a message. This one contrasts the hatered in the Middle East with the (pretended) peacefulness of a Christian Sunday school - definitely not a sign of respect. This is only the worst of several awkward formulations. Dreaming publicly takes a lot of knowledge and thoughtfulness.

The music can also have an unintendedly fatal role. Even the most dignified lyrics can become anthems of a community, changing the meaning simply to "We are right!" - and eventually fostering hatred and warfare against other communities. (Christians are well advised to study the history and the current state of their own religious institutions before pointing at others.) Performers should try to resist this tendency by refusing any pathos that is not closely tied to the intended message.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 01:39 PM

I took it that the term "children of Abraham" was used, in it's customary sense, to include Christians, Muslims and Jews, all of whom have a record for using violence against each other.

The mention of Sunday School I read as a reminder of how basic and central teachings about loving other people and not hating them, which are shared by the three sister Abrahamic religions, get forgotten in later life. After all Sunday School as such is not a tradition shared by more than a minority among Christians.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST,Wordsmith
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 01:50 PM

I don't think the song has any great merit other than numerouse naive, harmless but well meaning statements. I would suggest the lady chooses another song for her obvious talent.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 01:53 PM

What the hell us wrong with you people that, in a thread about whether to sing a song with or without accompaniment, you feel encouraged to talk about politics?

Critiquing the songwriting is nearly as obnoxious, but Nick just wants to help his wife do her best performance of it.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 03:04 PM

One of the joys of interacting on the internet - outside of the people I have subsequently met in real life - is the diversity of view.

We're ok about the song and - yes - my wife sings that song well because she likes singing it. Part of that - I think - is that you need to need to believe in a song to want to sing it.

Outside of the recording where all the help was great.

Let me give you some context...

Lynne sang a song at a singaround because we like the song. A friend we used to play in a band with used to sing it and we nicked it because we liked it (if you know what I mean)

She was approached by someone we know who is more religious than us. We are not 'religious' people - mostly they scare the hell out of me (!note the use of Christian imagery in an ironic context!).

My understanding was that it was a meeting about people trying to make the life for 'normal day to day people' in the Gaza strip better.

My naïve view of the song is that it is a song where the writer questions rather than accepts. It uses Christian imagery because of the context of when the song was written and -'that place' - is where the centre of religion for many people resides

Interpreting what someone meant when they wrote a song is always interesting. I have only ever written one song in my life (never performed live but on the web somewhere) and people misunderstood it :)

For what it is worth.

As in most things in life I'll attempt to get in touch with Mr Earle who wrote it rather than guess.

If he wants a crusade to wipe out something then I have misinterpreted his lyric.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 04:26 PM

Sorry. It upsets me when people try to turn every and anything into a debate, maybe because that's the only way they can contribute... which is bizarre considering the song.

It seems fairly obvious to me from the words that he thinks fighting in the "holy land" is ridiculous and the "lion and lamb" will learn to lie down together when things are right.

There's a live version of the Earle singing the song with quite a bit of explanation: Jerusalem - Live in Sydney (April 2012)


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 04:27 PM

Nick, you certainly misinterpreted my remarks. Nobody here doubts that Mr Earle is well-meaning.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 07:48 PM

GUEST,Grishka

I genuinely have no idea what you are talking about

Your musical comments I took on board


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Nick
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 08:12 PM

Jeri

Thanks for the link.

Still love the song. Great songs can always be played a million ways.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 08:24 PM

I agree, Nick. It's a great song, and I can understand why someone wanted your wife to sing it, both because of her lovely voice and the hope for peace.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 04:30 AM

Nick, I assume it was you on 05 Jun 13 - 03:04 PM and 05 Jun 13 - 07:48 PM (problems with your cookie). It happens that I am a peaceful person and certainly do not want to spoil anyone's pleasure. I simply felt obliged to inform you and any reader whose attention it may have escaped, that the lyrics, in the light of the conflict they are about, have a patronizing and self-righteous tone, against the lyricist's intentions. ("Children of Abraham" is not targeted by that particular criticism; "Jesus" and "I ... Sunday School" is.)

If you or anybody ask for more explanations, I will provide them. You may also ask the self-proclaimed Wordsmith, since I go as a musician. You are entitled to disagree, or to ignore the matter.

Summary: I am not "debating", just mentioning an issue.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 07:31 AM

Perhaps it might be helpful if there was a shared term for the various equivalents of "Sunday Schools" within the three Abrahamic religions.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 08:43 AM

McGrath, I take that for "I see what you mean". There are some Mudcat threads on the topic of improving existing lyrics - I am sceptic, in this case as in most others. Note that the lyrics have other serious rhetorical flaws.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 10:50 AM

I see what you mean, but I'm not sure you see what I mean. I'm sure at some time a thread will emerge better suited to explore issues such as how appropriate it is to use references to our own background as tokens with wider application.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 11:46 AM

Of course there is nothing wrong with using references to our own background as tokens with wider application. Just make sure the applications apply; best leave them to the listeners altogether. There is no way of making a thread out of this without mentioning any negative examples. There are many.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 11:51 AM

you could play the Gracie Fields record.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Nick
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 12:33 PM

Gracie Fields recorded Jerusalem by Steve Earle? There's a shock.

More thread drift...

By a bizarre coincidence my great uncle wrote a song called "At the End of The Day" which was recorded by Gracie Fields.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 12:35 PM

Without examples discussions tend to be a bit up in the air. No doubt there'd be negative examples, and positive examples, and disagreements about which fell into which category. That's the way the Mudcat works. We can disagree about anything.


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Nick
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 06:32 PM

McGrath of Harlow.

I regret that when I came down south I didn't stop in Harlow and say "hello"


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: Nick
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 06:46 PM

Outside of anything

It was fun making the music whether good or bad. And sharing it. And thanks for the comments.

No offences taken and - hopefully - none give

I definitely learned musical things I the process


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Subject: RE: Unacc or accomp? One song 2 versions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 09:01 PM

Al was presumably referring to Gracie Field's version of The Holy City -

Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
Lift up your gates and sing,
Hosanna in the highest!...


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