Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Criticism at singarounds

Related threads:
Concert Etiquette (70)
singaround etiquette (55)
why do singers take so long to start? (174)
Folk Club / Session Etiquette (227)
Performers' showcase etiquette (7)
Session etiquette solutions please (57)
'Rules' for group singing (5)
Band Etiquette Question - Am I a prat? (69)
Singaround etiquette (64)
Singaround Etiquette (18)
Singaround etiquette ? (70)
Impromptu open mike etiquette (6)
Weird open mike etiquette (85)
Hoot Etiquette (76)
Jam Etiquette (49)
Rules of the Session (20)
Talking and other session etiquette (37)
Session Etiquette (24)
Festival workshop etiquette question (12)
Music Etiquette Thought For The Day (33)
Song Circle Etiquette for Dummies (74)
Etiquette question #2 (44)
Etiquette question (106)
Music etiquette: the answer (19)
Etiquette for slow-jams (6)


GUEST,Craigie Hill 22 Oct 13 - 07:02 PM
Jack Campin 22 Oct 13 - 07:09 PM
Leadfingers 22 Oct 13 - 07:17 PM
Steve Shaw 22 Oct 13 - 07:20 PM
Leadfingers 22 Oct 13 - 07:24 PM
Steve Shaw 22 Oct 13 - 07:25 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Oct 13 - 07:44 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Oct 13 - 08:08 PM
Amos 22 Oct 13 - 10:23 PM
GUEST,Grishka 23 Oct 13 - 03:11 AM
Keith A of Hertford 23 Oct 13 - 03:22 AM
Hesk 23 Oct 13 - 03:26 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 13 - 03:38 AM
Will Fly 23 Oct 13 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,FloraG 23 Oct 13 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 23 Oct 13 - 05:07 AM
BobKnight 23 Oct 13 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 23 Oct 13 - 05:28 AM
cooperman 23 Oct 13 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 23 Oct 13 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,johnmc 23 Oct 13 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 23 Oct 13 - 06:20 AM
Rob Naylor 23 Oct 13 - 07:35 AM
johncharles 23 Oct 13 - 09:03 AM
Will Fly 23 Oct 13 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,Gavin Atkin 23 Oct 13 - 09:14 AM
Will Fly 23 Oct 13 - 09:15 AM
Girl Friday 23 Oct 13 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 23 Oct 13 - 09:32 AM
Stringsinger 23 Oct 13 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Gavin Atkin 23 Oct 13 - 09:45 AM
GUEST 23 Oct 13 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Grishka 23 Oct 13 - 10:09 AM
cooperman 23 Oct 13 - 10:10 AM
Big Al Whittle 23 Oct 13 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Ed 23 Oct 13 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 23 Oct 13 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Ed 23 Oct 13 - 10:39 AM
Vic Smith 23 Oct 13 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Gavin Atkin 23 Oct 13 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 23 Oct 13 - 11:11 AM
kendall 23 Oct 13 - 11:17 AM
Larry The Radio Guy 23 Oct 13 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Gavin Atkin 23 Oct 13 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,theticklemister 23 Oct 13 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 23 Oct 13 - 12:11 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 13 - 12:22 PM
The Sandman 23 Oct 13 - 12:23 PM
Rob Naylor 23 Oct 13 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 23 Oct 13 - 12:40 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Oct 13 - 02:30 PM
Leadfingers 23 Oct 13 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Andiliqueur 23 Oct 13 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 23 Oct 13 - 03:51 PM
Speedwell 23 Oct 13 - 04:30 PM
Uncle Tone 23 Oct 13 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 23 Oct 13 - 05:05 PM
GUEST, Poxicat 23 Oct 13 - 05:16 PM
breezy 23 Oct 13 - 05:23 PM
Uncle Tone 23 Oct 13 - 05:51 PM
Commander Crabbe 23 Oct 13 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 23 Oct 13 - 06:58 PM
MuddleC 23 Oct 13 - 07:39 PM
Eldergirl 23 Oct 13 - 07:57 PM
dick greenhaus 23 Oct 13 - 08:34 PM
Susan of DT 23 Oct 13 - 09:07 PM
MuddleC 23 Oct 13 - 09:33 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 24 Oct 13 - 02:55 AM
Hesk 24 Oct 13 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 24 Oct 13 - 03:57 AM
Will Fly 24 Oct 13 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Psychomorris 24 Oct 13 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 24 Oct 13 - 05:04 AM
Uncle Tone 24 Oct 13 - 05:08 AM
BillE 24 Oct 13 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 24 Oct 13 - 05:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Oct 13 - 05:16 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Oct 13 - 05:31 AM
johncharles 24 Oct 13 - 05:32 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Oct 13 - 05:35 AM
Brakn 24 Oct 13 - 05:37 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Oct 13 - 05:52 AM
Brakn 24 Oct 13 - 05:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Oct 13 - 06:27 AM
Deckman 24 Oct 13 - 07:00 AM
kendall 24 Oct 13 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 24 Oct 13 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 24 Oct 13 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,Andiliqueur 24 Oct 13 - 08:42 AM
billybob 24 Oct 13 - 09:09 AM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 24 Oct 13 - 11:34 AM
Stringsinger 24 Oct 13 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Fyldeplayer 24 Oct 13 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 24 Oct 13 - 02:47 PM
Dave the Gnome 24 Oct 13 - 06:03 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 24 Oct 13 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 24 Oct 13 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 24 Oct 13 - 07:34 PM
YorkshireYankee 24 Oct 13 - 11:51 PM
Nigel Parsons 25 Oct 13 - 03:36 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Oct 13 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 25 Oct 13 - 04:12 AM
Will Fly 25 Oct 13 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 25 Oct 13 - 04:43 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Oct 13 - 04:58 AM
Uncle Tone 25 Oct 13 - 05:08 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 25 Oct 13 - 05:11 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Oct 13 - 05:11 AM
johncharles 25 Oct 13 - 05:20 AM
johncharles 25 Oct 13 - 05:32 AM
Will Fly 25 Oct 13 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 25 Oct 13 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 25 Oct 13 - 05:51 AM
cooperman 25 Oct 13 - 06:11 AM
TheSnail 25 Oct 13 - 06:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Oct 13 - 08:02 AM
johncharles 25 Oct 13 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,Andiliqueur 25 Oct 13 - 08:19 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Oct 13 - 08:20 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Oct 13 - 08:28 AM
Jack Campin 25 Oct 13 - 09:35 AM
kendall 25 Oct 13 - 09:40 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Oct 13 - 09:57 AM
Uncle Tone 25 Oct 13 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 25 Oct 13 - 11:13 AM
johncharles 25 Oct 13 - 11:46 AM
kendall 25 Oct 13 - 11:46 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Oct 13 - 12:06 PM
Jack Campin 25 Oct 13 - 12:41 PM
Phil Edwards 25 Oct 13 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 25 Oct 13 - 02:46 PM
Will Fly 25 Oct 13 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,FloraG 25 Oct 13 - 03:16 PM
MartinRyan 25 Oct 13 - 04:53 PM
Bobert 25 Oct 13 - 07:34 PM
Jack Campin 25 Oct 13 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 26 Oct 13 - 02:41 AM
Jack Blandiver 26 Oct 13 - 02:50 AM
GUEST 26 Oct 13 - 02:51 AM
Tattie Bogle 26 Oct 13 - 04:06 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Oct 13 - 05:02 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Oct 13 - 05:24 AM
GUEST,Rev Bayes 26 Oct 13 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,John Routledge 26 Oct 13 - 07:02 AM
mayomick 26 Oct 13 - 07:47 AM
Brian Peters 26 Oct 13 - 08:05 AM
Bobert 26 Oct 13 - 08:44 AM
Roger the Skiffler 26 Oct 13 - 09:24 AM
Maryrrf 26 Oct 13 - 09:55 AM
johncharles 26 Oct 13 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 26 Oct 13 - 11:11 AM
SINSULL 26 Oct 13 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 26 Oct 13 - 01:32 PM
The Sandman 26 Oct 13 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 26 Oct 13 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 26 Oct 13 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 26 Oct 13 - 05:59 PM
johncharles 26 Oct 13 - 07:19 PM
Phil Edwards 27 Oct 13 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 27 Oct 13 - 04:27 PM
johncharles 27 Oct 13 - 05:20 PM
Mysha 27 Oct 13 - 06:35 PM
Phil Edwards 27 Oct 13 - 07:08 PM
Jack Campin 27 Oct 13 - 08:21 PM
Tattie Bogle 27 Oct 13 - 09:13 PM
Richard Bridge 28 Oct 13 - 03:36 AM
Phil Edwards 28 Oct 13 - 05:33 AM
The Sandman 28 Oct 13 - 07:00 AM
Richard Bridge 28 Oct 13 - 07:19 AM
Jack Campin 28 Oct 13 - 07:54 AM
Brian Peters 28 Oct 13 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,Phil E 28 Oct 13 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 28 Oct 13 - 09:44 AM
Mysha 28 Oct 13 - 09:45 AM
johncharles 28 Oct 13 - 09:50 AM
Brian Peters 28 Oct 13 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,Sean O'Shea 28 Oct 13 - 03:45 PM
Richard Bridge 28 Oct 13 - 05:47 PM
YorkshireYankee 28 Oct 13 - 06:17 PM
Will Fly 28 Oct 13 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 29 Oct 13 - 03:41 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 13 - 04:39 AM
Uncle Tone 29 Oct 13 - 05:05 AM
The Sandman 29 Oct 13 - 05:28 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 13 - 05:41 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 13 - 05:46 AM
The Sandman 29 Oct 13 - 05:48 AM
cooperman 29 Oct 13 - 05:56 AM
Uncle Tone 29 Oct 13 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Phil E 29 Oct 13 - 07:32 AM
Acorn4 29 Oct 13 - 09:09 AM
GUEST,aCORN4 29 Oct 13 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,OldNicKilby 29 Oct 13 - 09:57 AM
Uncle Tone 29 Oct 13 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Sean O'Shea. 29 Oct 13 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,Phil E 29 Oct 13 - 02:12 PM
SPB-Cooperator 29 Oct 13 - 03:32 PM
Will Fly 29 Oct 13 - 03:37 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 13 - 03:37 PM
Uncle Tone 29 Oct 13 - 08:00 PM
GUEST,John Routledge 29 Oct 13 - 08:07 PM
JedMarum 30 Oct 13 - 12:24 AM
GUEST,CS 30 Oct 13 - 04:11 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Oct 13 - 04:32 AM
The Sandman 30 Oct 13 - 04:56 AM
Will Fly 30 Oct 13 - 05:17 AM
cooperman 30 Oct 13 - 06:17 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 13 - 06:48 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Oct 13 - 07:07 AM
The Sandman 30 Oct 13 - 10:51 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 13 - 11:00 AM
The Sandman 30 Oct 13 - 11:44 AM
Uncle Tone 30 Oct 13 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,Silas 30 Oct 13 - 11:51 AM
Uncle Tone 30 Oct 13 - 12:08 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 13 - 12:30 PM
Phil Edwards 30 Oct 13 - 12:30 PM
Phil Edwards 30 Oct 13 - 12:40 PM
Jack Campin 30 Oct 13 - 01:39 PM
The Sandman 30 Oct 13 - 02:13 PM
johncharles 30 Oct 13 - 02:39 PM
The Sandman 30 Oct 13 - 03:09 PM
The Sandman 30 Oct 13 - 03:15 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 13 - 03:51 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 13 - 04:05 PM
Eldergirl 30 Oct 13 - 08:44 PM
Phil Edwards 31 Oct 13 - 04:22 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 13 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,eldergirl on another computer 31 Oct 13 - 06:21 AM
Uncle Tone 31 Oct 13 - 07:22 AM
Phil Edwards 31 Oct 13 - 07:37 AM
Vic Smith 31 Oct 13 - 07:49 AM
johncharles 31 Oct 13 - 08:18 AM
Vic Smith 31 Oct 13 - 08:29 AM
GUEST 31 Oct 13 - 08:38 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 13 - 08:45 AM
Uncle Tone 31 Oct 13 - 11:37 AM
Uncle Tone 31 Oct 13 - 11:49 AM
Richard Bridge 31 Oct 13 - 12:06 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Oct 13 - 12:07 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 13 - 12:21 PM
Jack Campin 31 Oct 13 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,CS 31 Oct 13 - 01:05 PM
The Sandman 31 Oct 13 - 02:30 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 13 - 02:33 PM
The Sandman 31 Oct 13 - 03:13 PM
johncharles 31 Oct 13 - 03:23 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 13 - 04:09 PM
Phil Edwards 31 Oct 13 - 06:37 PM
Eldergirl 31 Oct 13 - 08:58 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 13 - 04:30 AM
Phil Edwards 01 Nov 13 - 06:38 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 13 - 06:45 AM
The Sandman 01 Nov 13 - 07:00 AM
The Sandman 01 Nov 13 - 07:06 AM
The Sandman 01 Nov 13 - 08:21 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 13 - 08:43 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 13 - 08:55 AM
The Sandman 01 Nov 13 - 09:00 AM
johncharles 01 Nov 13 - 10:53 AM
The Sandman 01 Nov 13 - 12:09 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 13 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 01 Nov 13 - 12:40 PM
johncharles 01 Nov 13 - 01:42 PM
The Sandman 01 Nov 13 - 02:31 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 13 - 03:46 PM
Eldergirl 01 Nov 13 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach 01 Nov 13 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 01 Nov 13 - 08:01 PM
Eldergirl 01 Nov 13 - 08:54 PM
The Sandman 02 Nov 13 - 07:42 AM
The Sandman 02 Nov 13 - 07:45 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 13 - 08:09 AM
johncharles 02 Nov 13 - 08:35 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 13 - 12:13 PM
The Sandman 02 Nov 13 - 12:13 PM
Uncle Tone 02 Nov 13 - 01:38 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 13 - 03:29 AM
Richard Mellish 03 Nov 13 - 03:45 AM
The Sandman 03 Nov 13 - 04:30 AM
The Sandman 03 Nov 13 - 04:52 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Nov 13 - 04:59 AM
stallion 03 Nov 13 - 05:24 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 13 - 06:05 AM
MikeL2 03 Nov 13 - 06:10 AM
The Sandman 03 Nov 13 - 12:22 PM
The Sandman 03 Nov 13 - 12:44 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 13 - 02:46 PM
The Sandman 03 Nov 13 - 04:14 PM
The Sandman 04 Nov 13 - 03:17 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 13 - 04:06 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 13 - 04:09 AM
GUEST,FloraG 04 Nov 13 - 05:05 AM
The Sandman 04 Nov 13 - 06:13 AM
GUEST 04 Nov 13 - 08:50 AM
Vic Smith 04 Nov 13 - 08:58 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 13 - 09:06 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 13 - 09:06 AM
Vic Smith 04 Nov 13 - 09:21 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 13 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 04 Nov 13 - 10:29 AM
Phil Edwards 04 Nov 13 - 11:07 AM
Uncle Tone 04 Nov 13 - 11:53 AM
GUEST, Poxicat 04 Nov 13 - 12:16 PM
Phil Edwards 04 Nov 13 - 12:17 PM
The Sandman 04 Nov 13 - 01:23 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 13 - 02:47 PM
Uncle Tone 04 Nov 13 - 02:49 PM
Acme 04 Nov 13 - 04:01 PM
The Sandman 04 Nov 13 - 06:55 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 13 - 02:54 AM
The Sandman 05 Nov 13 - 02:57 AM
The Sandman 05 Nov 13 - 03:11 AM
Keith A of Hertford 05 Nov 13 - 03:18 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 13 - 03:45 AM
johncharles 05 Nov 13 - 04:17 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 13 - 04:37 AM
The Sandman 05 Nov 13 - 06:23 AM
Phil Edwards 05 Nov 13 - 06:23 AM
johncharles 05 Nov 13 - 06:51 AM
The Sandman 05 Nov 13 - 07:32 AM
The Sandman 05 Nov 13 - 07:42 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 13 - 08:38 AM
The Sandman 05 Nov 13 - 08:57 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 13 - 09:42 AM
Uncle Tone 05 Nov 13 - 06:17 PM
Jack Campin 05 Nov 13 - 06:54 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 13 - 03:07 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Nov 13 - 04:05 AM
Uncle Tone 06 Nov 13 - 06:05 AM
johncharles 06 Nov 13 - 06:07 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 13 - 08:07 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Nov 13 - 08:10 AM
Uncle Tone 06 Nov 13 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 06 Nov 13 - 08:37 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 13 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 06 Nov 13 - 09:19 AM
Uncle Tone 06 Nov 13 - 10:54 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 13 - 11:21 AM
Jeri 06 Nov 13 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 06 Nov 13 - 11:39 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 13 - 11:46 AM
johncharles 06 Nov 13 - 02:08 PM
The Sandman 06 Nov 13 - 03:52 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 13 - 07:10 AM
The Sandman 07 Nov 13 - 10:50 AM
johncharles 07 Nov 13 - 12:05 PM
Taconicus 07 Nov 13 - 12:11 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 13 - 12:22 PM
johncharles 07 Nov 13 - 01:21 PM
Acme 07 Nov 13 - 01:36 PM
The Sandman 07 Nov 13 - 01:49 PM
The Sandman 07 Nov 13 - 01:57 PM
johncharles 07 Nov 13 - 02:06 PM
johncharles 07 Nov 13 - 02:31 PM
The Sandman 07 Nov 13 - 02:49 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 13 - 03:07 PM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 13 - 03:34 PM
The Sandman 07 Nov 13 - 04:07 PM
The Sandman 08 Nov 13 - 07:57 AM
Richard Bridge 08 Nov 13 - 08:06 AM
The Sandman 08 Nov 13 - 08:12 AM
johncharles 08 Nov 13 - 08:21 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Nov 13 - 04:44 AM
The Sandman 09 Nov 13 - 07:31 AM
The Sandman 09 Nov 13 - 07:50 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Nov 13 - 09:03 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Nov 13 - 10:13 AM
Acme 09 Nov 13 - 10:52 AM
Vic Smith 09 Nov 13 - 11:18 AM
johncharles 09 Nov 13 - 11:25 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Nov 13 - 01:12 PM
The Sandman 09 Nov 13 - 02:03 PM
johncharles 09 Nov 13 - 02:22 PM
The Sandman 09 Nov 13 - 08:48 PM
GUEST,eldergirl on another computer 09 Nov 13 - 09:19 PM
GUEST 09 Nov 13 - 09:26 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Nov 13 - 03:16 AM
The Sandman 10 Nov 13 - 05:41 AM
Vic Smith 10 Nov 13 - 05:56 AM
Will Fly 10 Nov 13 - 06:15 AM
The Sandman 10 Nov 13 - 06:30 AM
The Sandman 10 Nov 13 - 07:22 AM
The Sandman 10 Nov 13 - 08:47 AM
PHJim 10 Nov 13 - 08:40 PM
GUEST,johncharles 11 Nov 13 - 03:56 AM
The Sandman 11 Nov 13 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,ollaimh 11 Nov 13 - 07:16 PM
GUEST,FloraG 12 Nov 13 - 04:20 AM
Phil Edwards 12 Nov 13 - 07:01 PM
Uncle Tone 12 Nov 13 - 09:59 PM
rosma 13 Nov 13 - 08:33 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 13 - 03:18 PM
PHJim 15 Nov 13 - 02:06 AM
Phil Edwards 15 Nov 13 - 03:57 AM
Will Fly 15 Nov 13 - 05:00 AM
The Sandman 15 Nov 13 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,johncharles 16 Nov 13 - 02:50 AM
Eldergirl 16 Nov 13 - 05:01 AM
Will Fly 16 Nov 13 - 05:08 AM
Uncle Tone 16 Nov 13 - 05:17 AM
Vic Smith 16 Nov 13 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 20 Nov 13 - 07:15 PM
MartinRyan 20 Nov 13 - 07:25 PM
Jack Campin 20 Nov 13 - 07:49 PM
GUEST 20 Nov 13 - 08:54 PM
Dave Sutherland 21 Nov 13 - 03:54 AM
johncharles 21 Nov 13 - 05:51 AM
The Sandman 21 Nov 13 - 05:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Nov 13 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 21 Nov 13 - 07:52 AM
cooperman 21 Nov 13 - 09:04 AM
Vic Smith 21 Nov 13 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 21 Nov 13 - 10:29 AM
johncharles 21 Nov 13 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 21 Nov 13 - 11:47 AM
johncharles 21 Nov 13 - 12:37 PM
Jack Campin 21 Nov 13 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 21 Nov 13 - 12:53 PM
johncharles 21 Nov 13 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 21 Nov 13 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 21 Nov 13 - 07:45 PM
ollaimh 21 Nov 13 - 08:10 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 13 - 04:21 AM
The Sandman 23 Nov 13 - 08:46 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Nov 13 - 11:30 AM
Jack Campin 23 Nov 13 - 11:51 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 13 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 23 Nov 13 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,A singer 23 Nov 13 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 23 Nov 13 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,A singer 23 Nov 13 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 24 Nov 13 - 04:30 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Nov 13 - 05:08 AM
johncharles 24 Nov 13 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 24 Nov 13 - 06:01 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Nov 13 - 06:18 AM
johncharles 24 Nov 13 - 08:14 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Nov 13 - 09:07 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Nov 13 - 12:43 PM
johncharles 24 Nov 13 - 12:56 PM
The Sandman 24 Nov 13 - 01:03 PM
johncharles 24 Nov 13 - 01:13 PM
The Sandman 24 Nov 13 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Craigie Hill 24 Nov 13 - 07:40 PM
Phil Edwards 24 Nov 13 - 07:54 PM
johncharles 25 Nov 13 - 03:41 AM
The Sandman 25 Nov 13 - 04:28 AM
johncharles 25 Nov 13 - 06:31 AM
The Sandman 25 Nov 13 - 01:10 PM
johncharles 25 Nov 13 - 01:28 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Nov 13 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Nottveeverynight 23 Sep 15 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 23 Sep 15 - 12:29 PM
The Sandman 23 Sep 15 - 12:36 PM
Rumncoke 24 Sep 15 - 06:21 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Sep 15 - 07:04 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Sep 15 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 24 Sep 15 - 11:14 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Sep 15 - 11:15 AM
The Sandman 24 Sep 15 - 12:00 PM
Lonesome EJ 24 Sep 15 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,DTM 24 Sep 15 - 02:26 PM
Jack Campin 24 Sep 15 - 02:39 PM
Bert 26 Sep 15 - 03:06 AM
Joe Offer 26 Sep 15 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Ian 26 Sep 15 - 04:35 AM
Jack Blandiver 26 Sep 15 - 04:55 AM
Bert 26 Sep 15 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 26 Sep 15 - 05:43 PM
Joe Offer 26 Sep 15 - 09:02 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Sep 15 - 09:38 AM
Phil Edwards 28 Sep 15 - 03:53 AM
Joe Offer 28 Sep 15 - 04:39 AM
Jack Campin 28 Sep 15 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,David Nuttall, Wakefield 28 Sep 15 - 07:00 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Sep 15 - 08:17 AM
Ged Fox 28 Sep 15 - 01:29 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Sep 15 - 02:40 PM
The Sandman 28 Sep 15 - 04:08 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Sep 15 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,padgett 28 Sep 15 - 06:09 PM
The Sandman 29 Sep 15 - 03:58 AM
Stanron 29 Sep 15 - 04:24 AM
Ged Fox 29 Sep 15 - 05:07 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Sep 15 - 05:51 AM
The Sandman 29 Sep 15 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,padgett 30 Sep 15 - 03:44 AM
The Sandman 30 Sep 15 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge in Internet Explorer (spit) 30 Sep 15 - 06:07 AM
The Sandman 30 Sep 15 - 07:31 AM
GUEST 30 Sep 15 - 07:48 AM
Richard Bridge 30 Sep 15 - 11:57 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 22 Oct 13 - 07:02 PM

A question about protocol and politeness.

Among regulars at a singaround, what do you think are the appropriate circumstances for telling another singer, in a helpful spirit, that his or her singing was flat/wandered off key/gave out on the high notes/etc?

I think my own answer would be that you shouldn't do this at all, unless the singer has started the conversation by being critical of his or her own performance - and even then you should tread carefully unless you know the person very well. I guess I don't think technical perfection at a singaround is important enough to outweigh the nasty surprises & hurt feelings that this could involve.

But is that over-protective? Might some singers benefit from being told they'd been screwing up without realising it? Has unsolicited criticism got a part to play in maintaining singaround standards?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Oct 13 - 07:09 PM

I suspect nearly all singers who screw up like that either (a) know they've done it, in which case it's up to them how to do better, or (b) have no idea, never will have any idea, and will never attempt to improve.

If somebody screws up and asks how they might have avoided it, then you have something to talk about. But it doesn't happen often.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Oct 13 - 07:17 PM

Ooops ! Singar


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Oct 13 - 07:20 PM

Well I'm a player, not a singer, but summat here applies. I didn't play in front of anyone until I was 42 (a couple of decades ago at least - don't ask...) It took a lot of balls at that age to do it at all, and I realise now, buttocks clenched, how bloody useless I was then. But I'm here now and I'm, er, welcomed wherever I show up to play these days - and no-one actually told me how crap I was all those years ago. Instead, I received a lot of encouragement. Whether that was because those who encouraged me saw that I had something going for me, I'll never know. Watch this person with patience for a little while and provide a modicum of encouragement and good advice (don't get too effusive, mind...). After a few sessions you'll find out one way or the other how they are probably going to develop/not. But do note Jack's dose of realism.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Oct 13 - 07:24 PM

My Netbook is playing silly buggers !!
What I was trying to say is that Singarounds are for practice , and criticism should be VERY carefully administered unless requested and even then , NOT Publicly


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Oct 13 - 07:25 PM

And the bloke who encouraged me the most was the Boscastle Busker, John Maughan, who ran the Tree Inn Folk Club in Bude and got all the best artists in the nation down to that little back room. How could I not mention him!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Oct 13 - 07:44 PM

well this is the trouble with English folk music....

perhaps the singer was duplicating the cracked tones of a weathered shantyman in a high wind rounding the Cape, the anguish of a displaced 18th century farmer who had suffered grievously in the land enclosures, perhaps he was trying to do a Peter Bellamy perhaps he was singing a modal progression - known only to martin Carthy.......perhaps he was just crap, you're never really sure.

Best thing is to keep schtum. Perhaps they're singing real folk music and you're not (and Jim Carrol isn't there to clarify the position)....its all a bit of a bugger.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Oct 13 - 08:08 PM

Remember at all times....you're English and you don't want to look silly!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Amos
Date: 22 Oct 13 - 10:23 PM

My experience is that any performer is probably far more critical of his/her own performance than any listener would be!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 03:11 AM

Big Al Whittle,
Remember at all times....you're English and you don't want to look silly!
Interesting remark, but not quite clear to me in the context; would you please elaborate? We may learn something for Mudcat as well, where not all Englishmen seem to be afraid of looking silly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 03:22 AM

Off topic, but a funny thing happened at our session last Thursday.
A bloke with a guitar and a lady in tow came in and looked around.
He angrily said "too crowded" and started to leave.
We all encouraged him to stay and made room, but he snapped, "I came to play not listen" and went.

Apparently he had been at the previous meeting and done two tunes.
"Adequate" someone said.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Hesk
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 03:26 AM

Do the simple comfort break test over several sessions:-
One visit, whilst you are singing, is OK.
The next time it happens, a bit of a coincidence, the third looking dodgy.
Every time and they are definitely criticizing your performance!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 03:38 AM

"My experience is that any performer is probably far more critical of his/her own performance than any listener would be!"
Would that were the case.
Depends on whether it is a regular occurrence or not.
I've been involved in fierce and often hurtful arguments on this forum about applying standards to sessions that are open to the public and have been told quite firmly that to do so is "elitist"
Everybody can have an off night, but if someone incapable of relating one note to the other, turns up week after week, what do you do?
I've know in to happen with someone who turned up week after week expecting to sing and proving she couldn't each time she opened her mouth.
She declined all offers of help and when in the end, we were forced to stop asking the particular her (difficult to do if you take it in turns around the circle) she walked out in a huff and we received a stroppy letter a couple of weeks later from her partner.
Recently we had a thread entitled "where did we go wrong?" or similar.
Among the 'Joiners in' and 'anything from Mozart to Mantovani' approach to running a club, I would put declining standards somewhere near the top.
I really think the club scene has been going long enough to have outgrown the old "near enough for folk-song" chestnut.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 04:07 AM

My experience is that any performer is probably far more critical of his/her own performance than any listener would be!

Would that were so - depends on both performer and listeners. Some performers are very self-aware, others not at all. The question is whether it's appropriate at a singaround to criticise/encourage/comment adversely on another performer.

My monthly session/singaround is very free and easy and informal, and everyone who comes along is encouraged to do whatever they want - and I should stress here that it is not a folk song singaround but an acoustic music evening. Big difference. Generally, I and those participating would never criticise anyone's performance, What does happen is that, in the chat between turns, we quite often discuss a chord sequence or a version of a song and bring up other options. And I should add, without trying to sound clever, that some people come along because they want me and others to give them a bit of help and encouragement in performing.

I've only once put my foot down and stopped someone singing - which was when a lad pulled out his iPhone to look up the words of a song he obviously didn't know at all and started singing them to no known or discernable tune. I told him quite plainly that it wasn't on to do that, and some attempt should be made to come armed with words and/or tune in future. He never came again - no loss. Sounds horrid? Well, the rest of the session fully agreed with me.

Apart from that, the purpose of my session is not to advance the cause of any particular music, but to bring people together for a live evening of music making and companionship, to which end it's been going for about 5 years.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 04:27 AM

We need to remember that often the audience is the rest of the pub - its regulars who may feel we have highjacked their space. ( + bar staff ).
With a singing morris side ( one that gets invited back each year more because of the pub entertainment rather than the dancing ) then you can not afford too many singers who are average at best or those tunes/songs in non melodeon keys that others find difficult to join in with. Nor do you want wall to wall melodeon tunes in those minor keys.
Jolly tunes, songs that non folk people know with join in bits for other singers and musicians, and funny songs seem to work best. Follow an average performance with a better one if possible. Make sure the last 15 minutes is guarenteed good - even if it means going out of order on a sing around.
Then you get invited back.
FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 05:07 AM

Interesting thread! I agree with Jack, Leadfingers & particularly Steve. Someone once said to me after a song "Your singing's really improved!". She was quite embarrassed when she realised how backhanded it sounded, but I took it as a compliment. (Apart from anything else, I knew she was right - my singing had improved.)

I didn't mention it in the OP, but what sparked this off was getting some unsolicited criticism. It was sympathetically phrased - "nice song, shame about the bum notes", kind of thing - but I hadn't mentioned any bum notes; in fact I hadn't realised there were any bum notes.

It knocked my confidence quite hard. Going back to Jack's comment, I always thought I was in group 1 - I do practice & listen to myself & try to improve. Having mistakes pointed out where I didn't think I'd made any mistakes made me wonder if I'd been in group 2 all along - maybe my pitching had been off the whole time, and I never realised it because my ear was off. Maybe the people who'd applauded me at singarounds were just being polite, maybe they were thinking "shame about the pitching but well done to remember all those words"...

When I'd calmed down a bit (some hours later) I ran through the song again, more self-critically - and OK, maybe the pitching on those particular notes wasn't dead-centre perfect. So maybe the other person was right to comment & I'm just a little too sensitive.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: BobKnight
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 05:22 AM

Sorry, I don't believe that singarounds are for practice - you should do your practice at home, and not inflict half learned songs/tunes on an unsuspecting audience. Apart from being painful to the listener it's sheer bad manners to the rest of the participants.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 05:28 AM

There is an infuriating group of singaround participants who can't be bothered to learn the words of their songs and have them written down in a notebook. Every week they mumble their way through interminable ditties with noses pressed in their notebooks. In my opinion these people SHOULD be subject to criticism - but, as a warm up exercise, they should first be taken round the back of the pub and duffed over!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: cooperman
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 05:32 AM

I only pass comment if I'm asked and then it's important to be positive. I would say something along the lines of 'if I were you, I would work on so and so'. People who ask are often just starting to play or sing in public and they are very sensitive to criticism. It's easy to put them off and you never see them again. That's a pity if they may have developed into a good live performer.
People who are consistently bad should get the vibe from the room but most can improve. Maybe encourage them to try a different song or easier tune.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 05:45 AM

"People who ask are often just starting to play or sing in public"

OTOH, I didn't ask & I've been doing it for ten years - which may be why it was so bruising; it made me wonder if I'd been doing it wrong all that time.

As far as the vibe in the room goes, the reaction to the song when I sang it was very good - not just a polite ripple ("thankyou for that applau") by any means. So I think the song overall must have gone over OK... unless they were all making allowances...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,johnmc
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 06:10 AM

An interesting aspect of all this is the issue of praising someone. Whenever I hear someone do something really good on my instrument of choice, I want to express my appreciation. However, it invariably takes the form of "great song " or "that is a nice instrument you've got" - never " Where did you learn to play that well ?"
This, I fear, is due to a competitive spirit that sometimes we can't suppress.
Curiously, one of the most talented natural musicians, Robin Williamson , has promoted the idea that everyone should be involved in music making, without necessarily having
spent years trying to get "good".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 06:20 AM

" ...Robin Williamson , has promoted the idea that everyone should be involved in music making, without necessarily having
spent years trying to get "good"."



Well then, Robin Williamson probably hasn't spent years in singarounds listening to lazy, crap singers who will never improve!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 07:35 AM

I know that my performances are often crap at singarounds and open mics.

They're better now at open mics than at singarounds as I've finally got used to having the mic there (I found it a huge distraction for months) and I go to open mics more often than acoustic singarounds.

My biggest problem is nerves...I can do a very acceptable (to my ears) performance at home, or in my office after work hours, but as soon as I have an actual audience it often turns to total crap (also to my ears). Week before last in Axminster I sat there in the "main body" just playing through "Jigsaw Puzzle Blues" while they were changing over on the mic and played note-perfect, with feeling and "tone". When I was actually on, 2 sets later, I was absolutely useless....hit bum notes all over the place and sounded terrible.

I do get decent criticism from Elijah (who runs the session), because I ask for it. He's helped my mic technique no end, and also given me other good pointers. I think in general that I try things in public before I have them "down pat" enough that I can perform them totally on auto-pilot, and I also have a tendency to try things that are too hard for whatever my current level of competence is.

I enjoy the Ditchling Bull sessions that Will also attends....but I'm very conscious of being probably the weakest there musically and really go more to "watch and learn" and "listen and enjoy" in the hope that one day I'll improve enough not to feel a total fraud when sitting in the circle. I *hope* that I'm gradually improving but I don't really know whether I'm progressing sufficiently well or whether I should just accept that playing in public isn't really for me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:03 AM

I have seen some of the participants in this thread; Will Fly, and Al Whittle on youtube. They are clearly skilled performers and I would trust their judgement.
However, I have no knowledge about the abilities of some of the more critical commentators on this thread. Having seen people, who themselves are unable to hold a tune be critical of other performers, I am wary of self-appointed critics.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:14 AM

Rob - time for another "watch and learn" session this coming Sunday... :-) We'll be with you!

Thanks for the kind words, John. I rarely offer advice to performers at sessions unless I'm asked for it. My fingers (or tongue, if you will) were burned some years ago when, in a floor spot at a folk club, a chap played "Buck Dancer's Dream" in a fairly hit and miss way. Chatting to him in the interval I said, casually, "That version of "Nuck Dancer's Dream is coming along nicely - you'll soon get it."

To which he replied, in a rather frosty voice, "It's fine right now." I could have sunk through the floor... Just shows how the foot will creep inexorably into the mouth if it's wide enough.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Gavin Atkin
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:14 AM

I think if someone is going to all the effort of running a singaround, session or club, they're entitled to have a view about what kind of thing is acceptable, and what isn't, and to make it known if they feel it has become necessary.

In my view, using a music stand to help you sing a song you haven't bothered to learn is really only ok if it's an occasional one-off... But for us at the Frittenden sessions (http://singdanceandplay.net) it happens so rarely, I've never needed to mention it.

I do at time feel that I'd like to try to help someone get over problems with their intonation, delivery or some other thing - often they're caused by little things the person perhas just doesn't realise about. But I rarely feel quite brave enough to do it - yet I'm sure it was something organisers did back in the days when the folk scene was great. How was it done, and how did people take it? And what would work now? Any ideas?

Gavin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:15 AM

And, of course, "Nuck" = "Buck".

That's me typing in a fairly hit and miss way!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Girl Friday
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:20 AM

One of the regulars at our Monday session is fond of telling people they are flat, out of time etc. It does not go down well. Singarounds are for enjoyment , and if there is an appreciative audience as well - then that's a bonus .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:32 AM

My own critic wasn't an organiser, just a fellow singer.

Turning it round: how would you feel? You've learnt a song, worked on it, practised it, worked out where to pitch it, thought about which bits to ornament or not, where to speed it up or slow it down, etc, etc. You take it to a singaround where you sing it just as well as you did at home, and it goes down well. You feel pretty good about it. Then the (unsolicited) helpful comment - "lovely song, such a shame you messed up that bit..." How would you react?

My own reaction was to assume my critic was 100% right, which must mean that I was 100% wrong and couldn't trust my own ear, which in turn must mean I'd been unwittingly embarrassing myself & everyone else for the last ten years of singarounds and floor spots. It didn't exactly make my evening. On reflection I think I should have reacted more like Will's Duck Dancer approximator.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:38 AM

I think the best thing to do is encourage people by complimenting them on the points about their singing that are good. Saying nothing about their shortcomings is the best message. The more advanced a performer is the more they want to know how to improve and sometimes will judiciously ask certain people who are constructive in their attitude
what they think, honestly. Singarounds can be a helpful laboratory for those interested in pursuing a performance career. Sensitivity to gauging audience reaction is very helpful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Gavin Atkin
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:45 AM

'You've learnt a song, worked on it, practised it, worked out where to pitch it, thought about which bits to ornament or not, where to speed it up or slow it down, etc, etc.'

Part of the problem is that's what too many people don't do!

Nevertheless I'm still very glad I don't find it needs to be said, at least not at our sessions.

It may just be that if there are enough singers and players in the room who do practice and don't need cribsheets - the folks who would use them up their game a little without the need for anything to be said...

People do want to learn from those they respect - the success of workshops at festivals and at Lewes etc shows this clearly.

Gavin

Gavin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:55 AM

It's homemade music at the end of the day and people should accept it for it is,community making music. The old guys from whom songs were collected weren't great on production values and fine voice but we still listen to those old recordings with reverence. IT should all be an exercise in tolerance because there are many people who have soemthing to sing but never do because they fear criticism.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 10:09 AM

All public performers, pro or amateur, should ensure that each of their performances is recorded - excellent pocket sound recorders are very affordable nowadays. You can then be your own crit - listen to the recording as if of strangers. Or ask your mother-in-law.

"How good was it, in absolute terms?" is one question, "Is that good enough for the event?" is the other, obviously depending on the character of the event and how it is advertised and announced.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: cooperman
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 10:10 AM

Everyone makes mistakes...if you don't worry about it so much you will probably make less. If someone told me I played something wrong I would just laugh and say it was the jazz version! Different if it's a paid gig and the person paying you is critical(time to grovel!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 10:18 AM

Rob is that Elijah Wolf at Axminster - when is it and where. it would be nice to meet up


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 10:20 AM

I think the best thing to do is encourage people... saying nothing about their shortcomings is the best message.

I couldn't disagree more. I no longer bother to attend singarounds, as I have better things to do with my spare time than listen to drivel.

I recognise that I'm, at best, a fairly average singer, so I don't inflict my voice on other people. If only others felt the same...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 10:30 AM

Different if it's a paid gig and the person paying you is critical

Everyone knows Billy Connolly's story about "Needle of Death", I take it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 10:39 AM

Everyone knows Billy Connolly's story about "Needle of Death"

I don't think that everyone in the entire world knows that story. I personally know the Bert Jansch song, but not much more. Could you elucidate please?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 10:50 AM

Keith A quotes someone as saying " "I came to play not listen"
Now, there speaks someone who is not likely to improve

Rob Naylor wrote "I'm very conscious of being probably the weakest there musically and really go more to "watch and learn" and "listen and enjoy" in the hope that one day I'll improve enough not to feel a total fraud when sitting in the circle.
Now there speaks someone who is almost bound to improve.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Gavin Atkin
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 11:05 AM

It can't be wrong to aim to create an environment that's entertaining, welcoming and encouraging.

None of us mind having beginners try their teeth on us, no-one objects to improvers who are working on improving, and no-one is upset about someone who has clearly made the effort making a mistake or two - particularly if it's through nerves.

What the folks who haven't bothered to learn their stuff and don't see any need to do so don't perhaps realise is that their approach is unkind to the audience, and is perhaps a key reason why audiences are often small and also why the folk scene has such a terrible reputation in many quarters.

I'm pretty sure many folks would not disagree. My question's this: how can organisers tackle the issue effectively, and kindly?

Gavin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 11:11 AM

The "Needle of Death" story: googling to check the details I find it's already been told here on Mudcat. Combining the earlier poster's retelling with my recollection, here it is:

Back when he was a working folkie, Billy Connolly was doing a gig. It was going fine, except that somebody kept calling for "Needle of Death". The trouble was, not only was this song not in his setlist, he didn't actually know it. The first couple of times, he ignored the guy and just did the next song he was planning to do. "Needle of Deeeath!" So he paused, looked round the room, located the guy, looked him in the eye and said "Sorry, pal, I don't know Needle of Death". Then he went into the next song. At the end of it: "Needle of Deeeath! Play Neeeeedle of Deeeeeath!" "Look, pal, I'm really sorry to disappoint you, but I don't actually know Needle of Death, OK?" End of next song: "Neeeedle of Deeeath!" He tried making a joke of it, he tried taking the piss, but nothing worked: all the way through the gig, after every single song, the cry would go up from the back of the room: "Neeeedle of Deeeath! Play Neeeeedle of Deeeeeath!"

So, he got through the set, then he got off stage and went to seek out this idiot who'd done his best to ruin his act. Being quite a large bloke, he got the guy pinned against the back wall and explained his position forcefully: "Look, pal. I don't know what your problem is, but you have just ruined my act asking for Needle Of Death. Like I told you, I wasn't going to play Needle Of F*cking Death, because I don't know the f*cking song! So please, from now, keep out of my way and DON'T ASK ME FOR NEEDLE OF F*CKING DEATH. OK?"

It turned out it was the promoter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: kendall
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 11:17 AM

Sing arounds are for sharing, not performing.

It's hard to listen to someone who can't carry a note with a co signer, but what is gained by hurting their feelings?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 11:41 AM

I'm actually in this situation right now, where a song/guitar circle I go to includes one very nice fellow who cannot sing on pitch.....and sings the songs in totally different keys from what he's playing. It makes singing along and playing along difficult.....and occasionally he stops the song because nobody's jamming with him.

I've decided to stay silent.......because I don't think it's something he can change easily, and he really does enjoy singing and playing.

If there were some small 'tips' I could give him, I probably would. Or if he asked for feedback, then I'd probably need to be (politely) honest. But I don't want to discourage him.......and I really don't mind playing and singing with him most of the time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Gavin Atkin
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 11:56 AM

He does at least bother to learn his stuff, right?

Gavin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,theticklemister
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 12:05 PM

I believe the session is there for enjoyment and to share. Not everyone is going to be gifted as other people.just grin and bear it people, maybe it took a lot of courage for this person to perform and what is there to gain by criticising them? i'm sure when the said person goes ye could all chat and say 'did ye see yer man?' but in his prescence I think it would be quite cruel.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 12:11 PM

"It's hard to listen to someone who can't carry a note with a co signer"

I think you're going for the low-hanging fruit there, kendall! Question is, when (if ever) would you think it appropriate to go up to somebody who sings reasonably well and say "shame about the way you screwed up that second chorus"? Assume that they haven't shown any sign of thinking that they did screw up the second chorus.

Actually an even more interesting question, from my perspective, is how you'd feel if somebody else sprung this on you - assuming, again, that you'd thought the second chorus was fine.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 12:22 PM

Anywhere were the public have access, club, recital, concert or singaround, is committed to establishing, where possible, that the standard doesn't fall below an established (by the organisers) level.
"No matter how good the best, visitors, non aficionados, relatives, friends, well-wishers... always go away with the memory of the worst" - near-enough-for-folk-song-law.
Every club we've been involved with had has attempted to offer some sort of assistance ranging from personal help by willing individuals to fully-fledged workshops (London Singers Workshop ran for nearly twenty years).
Some clubs set up private singarounds, either in members' homes or in booked rooms, where less experienced singers got a chance to develop out of the glare of the footlights.
There is 'criticism and criticism' of course; "that was crap" isn't either, it's condemnation - the English folk scene is plagued by not being able to tell the difference.
Of all the art or entertainment form I love and have ever been involved in, Folk song is the only one that considers itself above criticism and has developed an immune system against it - terms like "folk-police" and "elitist" spring to mind.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 12:23 PM

Constructive criticism should only be given if it is asked for, and preferably in private.
That was what The Critics group was about, wasnt it? helping each other


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 12:32 PM

Al Whittle: Yes,it is Elijah Wolf at Axminster.He runs an open mic at the Axminster Inn every Wednesday from 9pm to midnight. Quite variable....some very good performers and some mediocre and it varies from week to week. Some nights are absolutely magic and go on into the small hours when the amp plug's pulled, with people jamming, teaching each other bits and pieces etc. Other nights seem to struggle on until midnight.

Elijah's a great guy. He runs other "Howl Open Mic" sessions around the area too. Bridport, Tytherleigh and other places. His band "The Gravity Drive" seems on the verge of a bit of success now.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 12:40 PM

I don't know who first brought in the "minimum standards"/"what to do with people who don't make an effort"/"GEFF" red herring, but to my mind it really is a red herring - at least, we've* done it to death on the Cat before now & I wanted to talk about something a bit different. See my reply to kendall.

*Confession time: I'm a regular with a misplaced cookie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 02:30 PM

I suppose I was lucky - from being about eight years old - I went to quaker prayer meetings and I got used to being tolerant of all kinds of people giving their testimony. it was only when I got to be a snotty teenager, I stopped listening and tolerating,

To Jim Carroll - the saying that sustained me through many a dull sunday morning in Spalding quaker meeting house was from the sermon on the mount = matthew 6 judge not less ye be judged.

in the final analysis - what bloody difference can it possibly make if a person sings well or badly. people need to sing. sometimes a really technically lousy singer can teach you how a song should be sung.

when you get down to it. that's why hardly any people listen to folk music. they hear Carthy or one of his disciples and they are intolerant of something that doesn't sound like the x factor army. when we make so many demands on the public to adjust their ears to our music - we must lead by example, and try to tolerate those that come by chance into our tent.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 03:10 PM

When I said Singarounds are for practice , I really meant singing a song 'out' a few times before a paid gig situation . Apologies for not making that clear


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Andiliqueur
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 03:16 PM

Thanks Al Whittle, I've been reading this thread with interest and kept trying to reply but I couldn't find the right words but you've said it for me.We all have the need and the right to sing but people are too shy or embarrassed. If you can't say anything good then don't say anything. Ours is the music of ordinary,working,thinking,caring,people and we all have something to contribute.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 03:51 PM

I'll go along with Al, as well.

Though it does irk me when those who should know better settle for less... but then they also don't seem to want to change/improve.

There is no pleasing everyone on this... not going to happen, but I'd rather be inclusive than exclusive... cause that's how things die out, otherwise.

I try to support "singing for non-singers" type workshops... help rather than ostracize ... not always easy

which reminds me... how'd it go with your pupil, Bobert?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Speedwell
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 04:30 PM

Yes I think Al has said many of the right things. Some singarounds can be a lot about tolerance, which may well be a good reminder for us all from time to time.
If a singer sings with a good heart and tries to do their best with the song who are we to judge?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 04:39 PM

I love singarounds. I don't care how bad any performer is. The fact that they are willing to stand/sit in front of others and give it a go is enough to get my attention.

Singarounds take me back to the old pre TV weekend evenings in the local pub, when Uncle Charlie would sing his war songs when pissed, Bert would do his Al Johnson impression, Annie would do her card trick, and Wally would sing his remarkable song about the depression in the 30s... if pressed with a couple of glasses of scotch.

Singarounds are about community. Who cares how good or bad the performances are?

I attend six singaround clubs in Yorkshire. Two I don't often miss. Two more I get to occasionally, and two I get to rarely, but they are all good because we all appreciate the effort of performing.

OK, so some of us have memory problems because we're getting old now, and we read the words. Others do the same old stuff over and over again. One or two give up half way through because it is all too much, but nevertheless they are damned good evenings that everyone enjoys.

Now and again a young person will get up and do something that they have been plucking up courage to do for weeks. It might be alien to us, but that is a real bonus. The concept goes on.

Singarounds serve a great function. They keep up the interest in performing song live.

To go back to the OP's question, I would suggest that 'criticism' should be interpreted as 'giving friendly advice'. Those of us who think we have achieved greatness can feel free and worthy of helping those who would achieve it, but on the other hand, why don't we all just relax and enjoy each others' efforts, no matter how unaccomplished?

Tone (Just starting another singaround in York, Tap & Spile, 2nd and 4th Sundays).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 05:05 PM

"To go back to the OP's question, I would suggest that 'criticism' should be interpreted as 'giving friendly advice'"

Is it, though? If somebody's sailed through a song and got a good reception, is it 'friendly advice' to say "shame about that bit you screwed up"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST, Poxicat
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 05:16 PM

Part of the problem is soi-disant experts who are themselves abysmal and prefer the bad to the better. At least one person above is an excellent example.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: breezy
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 05:23 PM

Well saidc anal wheeler, couldn t agree

more

We should all be humbled and descend from our positions of high self esteem

So we'll all give York a miss as well.

Whatever became of the Lowther ?

Love to all

John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 05:51 PM

"So we'll all give York a miss as well."

At least York welcomes buskers..................... as long as they buy a licence.

Unlike Camden.

Tune it in and weld it John.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 06:16 PM

Critics are like eunuchs in a harem. They know how it's done. They see it done every day. But they are unable to do it themselves. (Brendan Behan)

CC


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 06:58 PM

Has nobody else had the experience of being told (supportively) that they'd screwed up something they thought had gone fine? Is it just me? Well, me and the bloke in Will's session.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: MuddleC
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 07:39 PM

The think that got me singing was hearing a bloke 'marmalize' a favourite song of mine... I thought to myself...'hell, I could do better that that...' and the search for singarounds began.
I think that anyone who gets up and sings should be encouraged, ..if it is that bad... there is a reason singarounds are held in a pub..so youse can go to the bar!!
Sometimes I change key or time on purpose in order to stop an instrument accompanying me .. as I want my version unaccompanied in my style . However, If people want to join in any chorus, I will slow/follow their 'lead'. As I do not expect to get paid for my performance, I view the 'singaround' as a social event and not a concert, so if people want crib sheets/music/words then that's OK (Even Orchestras use sheet music), but it does have 'courtesy' rules though. I won't even attempt 'quiet' songs if people insist on talking through or if the overall noise level is too high as I don't get the enjoyment of singing them. Singing-out a song for the first time is fine to0, the acoustics of the bathroom are not the same as a pub, and you often find that the scan of the lines somehow changes before an audience, allowing tweaks before dragging it out again.#
Sometimes us singers have to sit through some pretty bad instrumental stuff too! -and not say a word!!! e.g. 'jazz'.............. I'll get my coat............


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Eldergirl
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 07:57 PM

I've often felt I hadn't sung a song as well as I could or should have, but on saying as much, have been told No, it was fine..
I'm my father's daughter; he was one of THE most critical people in the known universe when it came to musical competence, but he was a full time professional musician for most of his life. So I grew up being very much aware of the fact that we can all do better, not because he thought he was the best - he didn't - but because the MUSIC deserved better. (Although there was some music he'd cheerfully tear up for bog paper, but personal taste in music is up to the individual..)
So I might think critical thoughts about the bloke whose pitch goes lurching all round the houses, but I won't usually mention it, unless he does first, and sometimes not even then.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 08:34 PM

A singaround, IMO), is just that---not a rehearsal, not a pwerformance, juist people who like to sing singing. If anyone's offended by a perceived lack of quality, he can either live with it or just congregate elsewhere


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Susan of DT
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:07 PM

I find that selective praise can work well. Some years ago there was a new woman in a circle we attend, who sang unexciting songs in one narrow genre. Whenever she sang songs out of that genre I told her how much I had enjoyed them. She is now a REALLY good singer with a wide repertoire (the credit goes to her, of course).

And someone else in that circle has been using the technique on me to encourage something...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: MuddleC
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 09:33 PM

yes, Sue dt
There's a girl at my local session who can only be heard by bats (and fast ones at that), and after cajoling by me eventually sang it an octave or some large chunk of one lower... and slower. I explained that the notes were now more discernable and held better... the song became more melodious and pleasing to the ear as a result. We all try to get our songs over too quickly when unsure, and I find I sometimes start in the wrong key when trying to 'punch out' over the ambient noise. The Confidence to relax and start lower and slower only comes with practice in friendly sessions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 02:55 AM

I've got several people who do feel comfortable enough to occassionally criticise aspects of my performance and I welcome it as I know they are trying to help and more often than not they are in praising mode. Don't have an issue with pitch but when playing and singing alone in public I tended to speed up during a song. Simply nerves. I've basically ironed that out now but if no-one had said anything or helped me!! Likewise I have a young female friend who has only been playing for about a couple of years. Wonderful voice but with some songs had real problems with the rhythm/time signatures. I helped her out with that getting her to listen to waht she was playing etc. She seemed to really appreciate it and she lets me know where she thinks my songs can be improved etc. I agree though that it is easy with friends. You'd expect friends to help you out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Hesk
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 03:21 AM

CanalWheeler seems to sum up the spirit of the singaround, and at the same time capture that great feeling of friendship that makes the hobby so interesting.
Sometimes the comments on Mudcat seem to be about another pastime altogether, full of angst, and disrespect for the efforts of others.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 03:57 AM

"Ours is the music of ordinary,working,thinking,caring,people and we all have something to contribute."

Hhhhhmmmm! Where have I heard that before? Trouble is that that sort of platitude too often translates into low quality, "it's good enough for folk" music. And at far too many singarounds it's far too often the music of ordinary, lazy, unthinking people who couldn't give a shit about their fellow singaround attendees. And, no, I'm not talking about beginners or improvers or people with nerves or people who have occasional problems with pitching or forgetting the words. I'm talking about the oaf who turns up week after week after week, clutching his tattered notebook, and insists on droning and mumbling his way through an interminable 90 verse ballad!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 04:28 AM

I think the "scene" is more tolerant these days - from what I can see of it - than it was 50 years ago when I first performed at a folk club. If my memory isn't playing me false, there was fairly intense competition to get a floor spot and, if you weren't of a reasonable standard, you weren't given one again.

I recall playing as a comparative beginner at Leeds University Folk Club around 1964 or 1965. I didn't play very well. I thought I'd pulled it off and got by, only to be told in no uncertain terms by the club organiser at the end of the evening that I was "very lucky" - i.e. I had to up my game if I wanted another spot there at some future date. Some years later, when I ran the BBC Folk Club ("Clanfolk") for a spell, I certainly wasn't as in-your-face as the Leeds MC, but there was still a glut of floor-singers and the poorer performers got fewer chances to play, on the whole. I recall one evening, one of my fellow Clanfolk MCs introducing each floor spot with the words, "And now, ladies and gentlemen - yet another white, male, right-handed guitarist..." to the amusement of all concerned!

I think we're a little gentler now, though at the monthly Bull session in Ditchling referred to by Rob in his post above, if I'm called upon to sing something, Ian Chisholm (co-host) usually introduces me by saying, "Now for something entirely inappropriate." But we're old mates from Clanfolk days!

The best place to get good, honest criticism is to get together with one or two really good musicians and play together - either in a band situation or in the home - where you can be fairly free and open with each other and not get embarrassed. A singaround is probably not the ideal environment for that kind of critical exchange.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Psychomorris
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 04:42 AM

'Say kind words you will here kind echoes' It is obvious from the comments of some on this thread that they have never heard kind echoes.
It was kind words and encouragement from others that got me singing in the fist place and continues to encouraged me even now. My nerves get the better of me at times and forgetfulness goes with the nerves, hence the safety crib sheet. I enjoy all types of singers and muscians who 'give it a go'.I believe there is room for all levels. Reading here I believe some people maybe need to review why they go to a folk session at all. Allan C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:04 AM

Allan - in my case, I was approached by somebody I don't know well (I've met them three or four times), after a song which I thought had gone well & which had been well received, and told I'd screwed it up. True, there was a recommendation with the criticism, but (assuming there was a problem) I don't believe it would actually have helped.

Part of what's bugging me about the whole episode is that I was too taken aback to say any of this at the time. Another part of it has to do with what Heck says. As it happens, I was feeling tired & low that evening, & I'd been in two minds about going out at all; I decided it would do me good because I'd enjoy the singing, but most of all because in a singaround you feel you're among friends - they're happy to see (and listen to) you and you're happy to see (and listen to) them.

Anyway, I've moaned on about this long enough. In future I'll do a Desiderata and find somebody else to sit next to.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:08 AM

@Will Fly "Now for something entirely inappropriate."

That caused me a titter.

One of our club hosts introduces me by saying, "And now for something very different."

I'm never quite sure what he means by that.

I play autoharp, not white right-handed guitar.

I sing songs from the 60s that nobody else sings any more, including my own.

I'm a generation older than most there.

People tell me that I still have a good voice, but they could be just being polite!

I sing in a southern accent, in Yorkshire.

I'm old and hairy and fat.

I quite often forget, not just the words, but what I'm singing and where I am.

And I have been known to take a hurried toilet break in the middle of one of my songs. (Soddin' prostate!) I've even written a song about that!

But nobody seems to mind.

I have occasionally woken up in the middle of a verse and thought, "My Gawd, it's quiet out there!" because everybody is listening. I guess that is the greatest accolade.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: BillE
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:14 AM

Breezy....

In the 1970's the Lowther in York became the York Folk Centre, and later ceased to be. The celebrated Black Swan Folk Club took up the slack and is still going strong.

Several Lowther residents are still active in the York area - Eborfiddler (Chris) and myself for example. Canalwheeler is an occasional visitor to our session at the Thompsons Arms at Flaxton.

Thoroughly support his take on the question, too.

Bill


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:15 AM

Shimrod - as I said above, I'm not interested in trotting out the "GEFF" hobbyhorse yet again; I think there are more useful discussions we could be having.

For example: if somebody's singing off-key, do you think it's a good idea for another singer in the singaround to go up to them and say "it's a shame you were singing off-key"?

Personally I think the shuffle & yawn, the polite ripple of applause and the mass exodus to the bar send all the signals that are needed - backed up, if it's absolutely necessary, by a quiet word from the organiser.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:16 AM

sorry to be dumb, but what's a soi disant expert, Poxicat? am I one?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:31 AM

You are if you say you are, Al!

One of our club hosts introduces me by saying, "And now for something very different."

A regular at Chorlton Folk Club used to read his own poems. For the club's second birthday he wrote a poem celebrating the club and its regulars, all of whom got a verse. It was a nice gesture, but as bad luck would have it hardly any of the people he namechecked had turned up that night. I was one of the few that heard 'their' verse. I was deeply flattered and never forgot it; here it is (for background, I had my hair in a plait down my back at the time.)

"And here's another unaccompanist,
Our old friend Pigtail Phil
If unusual music is your choice
Phil will fit the bill."

I was in a bit of a boundary-pushing phase at the time, doing unaccompanied versions of songs by Peter Blegvad and Robyn Hitchcock.

I'll reach your lungs like smoke in the orchard -
Scattered in bushes, the firemen laughing -
I'll wrap your hands in personal signals:
Don't come to me later. Come to me now.


Oddly enough nobody ever complained.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:32 AM

Al, it means self-appointed, e.g. Big Al Whittle is the soi disant wild child of English folk.
Cheers John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:35 AM

soi-di•sant (swa diˈzɑ̃)

adj. French.
1. calling oneself thus; self-styled.
2. so-called or pretended.

Adj.        1.        soi-disant - as claimed by and for yourself often without justification; "the self-styled `doctor' has no degree of any kind"

Seek and ye shall find google... :-)

I think you are pretty self-styled, Al, but not pretend at all so you are only part way there!

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Brakn
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:37 AM

I love watching and listening to "not so experienced" singers/players who have taken the time to learn the tune, chords and words of a song. People who give it a go. The most important thing is that they have made an EFFORT. It takes a lot of nerve to get up - I still get nervous.

What gets on my nerves are those that roll up week after week with their 6 inch thick folders that they've had for years. They never know beforehand what song they will sing; they just lay it on a music stand and let it flip open - voila! They've never bothered to actually learn one song but they have the cheek to ask you to join in the chorus! In the future I see a laptop with backing music and lyrics - karaoke.

Then there are the ones who take 5 minutes to tell everyone about their week/day/kids/journey/past life before they actually talk about the song they've written; fell in love, fell out of love, then fallen in love again. FFS. Then the tune up. Open tuned, very expensive, guitar - two fingers anywhere will give you a chord or a pleasant sounding dischord - five minute intro (which bares no relation to the "tune") - and then the lyrics. (Mountains, oceans, rivers, eternity) They ask you to join in the chorus, but there isn't one or even a discernable air. I won't go on.

The wise ones, the ones who know, have headed for the bar minutes earlier for they knew what was coming. The more polite ones sit and cringe and visitors are wondering is it worth coming back.

What positve criticism could you give? I like people who have made some effort. The guy with the book has taken the time to Google, cut and paste his chords/lyrics and the songwriter has taken the time to write his song. Maybe it's not all about effort hmmmm.
Am I too critical?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:52 AM

What positve criticism could you give?

"I love it when you feel people really know their songs, don't you?"

"What was that one you did last week - the one that had a tune?"

"I did like the bit where you SHUT UP AND GOT ON WITH THE F*CKING SONG..."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Brakn
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:53 AM

LOL


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 06:27 AM

its a bit like that folksong - we hope for something better by and by...was it Peggy and Ewan? or Ian and Lorna? used to sing it?

I think the key to it, is that you have to enjoy these people as people - rather than expert folksingers. I suppose if they are horrible offensive buggers - then you're in a bit of a mess. but as Winnie the Pooh said, most people are all right.

The anal retentive with his guitar tunings, the fussy old woman with his enormous ringbinder, the squeezebox merchant who takes off every summer to Brittany and Albania to bore the locals shitless with dance tunes no one dances to........the list is endless. they are there to be enjoyed....abit like the Pickwick club.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Deckman
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 07:00 AM

Even though I'm a million miles away from you across the pond, in the NW corner of America (Seattle area)I'm enjoying this thread greatly. I have two thoughts:

If it was my gig, hoot, jam, house, class, whatever ... sometime during a break,I might get that person to one side and say something like: "I really like that song you sang. How about if we get together next Sunday afternoon and I can teach you some more words." That might give me the opportunity to work with the person on other things, such as pitch, or whatever?

This thread reminds me of a situation that happened many years ago when I was teaching a guitar class at my local commuinity college. I sometimes would let a student or two end the class by performing a song. This one night, the fellow who performed was beyong awful ... he was simply terrible. After his presentation, being the teacher and trying to be postive, I spoke postive things about his song. I don't remember anything that I said, but the next week, I got many private compliments about how I handled it.

People are people ... we're NOT all perfect ... but it's fun when we try ... eh?! ... CHEERS ... bob(deckman)nelson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: kendall
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 08:18 AM

All I said was "It's hard to listen to someone who can't carry a note with a co signer". That was an "I" comment, no more, no less.
I did not say, nor did I imply that someone should spoil their day by telling them what they probably already know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 08:29 AM

"Allan - in my case......." Quite so there is a big difference between friends genuinely helping each other out and those who just criticise. I met a young guy after one session who had been in the bar and he said "were you singing in the pub tonight" and after I confirmed that I was he said "aye I thought so - you were crap".

Water of a duck's back and I just laughed it off. It depends on who is criticising (or perhaps giving advice) and in what manner they are doing it. Personally I would only ever say something to a friend - if at all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 08:36 AM

"Reading here I believe some people maybe need to review why they go to a folk session at all. Allan C"

Sorry but I'm a bit baffled by that. All I said was friends will help each other out. Nothing negative about that. I go to enjoy the music but I also want to sing/play as well as I can - as do some others. I did receive help from various people who did encourage me but offered advice on how I could improve things too. I welcomed the advice. Didn't agree with every bit of advice but much of it did help.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Andiliqueur
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 08:42 AM

I sang a Stan Rogers song with all my heart and soul. I felt that I'd sung it as well as I possibly could. I needed a darkened room to recover. Then someone said "Who is it who does a REALLY good version of that song"? I collapsed into hysterical laughter. It was so funny. How can anyone get a big head in a singaround?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: billybob
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 09:09 AM

When ever we see Dick Miles he always says" Wendy knew me when I couldn't sing" so its a good job we never told him 40 years ago,look at him now,
lots of love Dick x


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 11:34 AM

when I started singing, I knew I was,nt much good, and there were some [not at singarounds] who told me I should give up. I chose rather to work at it, and though it took years, I think I am in the position where no-one is critical [so far as I know] of my vocal.
maybe that's why I prefer to be charitable of others performance, hoping that they too are working on it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 11:53 AM

I agree with Dick Greehaus. The purpose of a singaround is to share music not be a topflight performer. I admire anyone who has the nerve to sing in front of people because I personally know how hard it is. First of all, one who studies this kind of thing is usually their own harsh critic. It doesn't have to be amplified by some half-knowledgeable outsider. Any criticism I've received from someone who is not actively engaged in music or singing has never been valuable.

Only those with an ego-driven agenda would offer gratuitous criticism to anyone attempting to sing in public.

There are those other ego-driven amateurs that are pushy not knowing what they don't know who are hard to tolerate but any helpful criticism would be lost on them anyway.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 12:08 PM

Couple of years ago I attended interesting 'talk' by Brian Peters illustrated by a succession of 'old' recordings of source singers most of whom were poor singers (subjective opinion), but clearly had made a contribution to the 'folk' world. Listen to Justin Hayward drifting off the note in Nights in White Satin - still sold zillions!

Isn't it part of the folk charm? I find super sweet note perfect voices boring (SO).

Pitch is clearly not heard by everyone - witness the need for those damn digital tuners everwhere ( read Roger Bucknalls article on tuning on the Fylde site, very interesting. )

Sori - my point, don't make any comments.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 02:47 PM

"Only those with an ego-driven agenda would offer gratuitous criticism to anyone attempting to sing in public."

Just what the truth is I can't say any more... but I think this isn't far off!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 06:03 PM

Hmmm. I'm not so sure. Not saying you are wrong Craigie but maybe it is those with an ego-driven agenda that cannot accept honest criticism? I was not there. I don't know either of the protagonists but a good case can be made for both interpretations can it not?

Cheers

DtG
(AKA Devils advocate!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 06:13 PM

" ... maybe it is those with an ego-driven agenda that cannot accept honest criticism?"

There's a great deal of truth in that!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 06:38 PM

I've come up with a fair and just solution to this whole dilemma:

A new singer turns up at a singaround, right? After three months the organiser, after discussing the matter with the rest of the group, takes him (or her) to one side and gives him a fair appraisal of his singing . The newby is then warned that he must improve or else. After six months the process is repeated. If, after nine months, there is still insufficient improvement he is frog-marched out into the car park and duffed-over. At the end of a year if the newcomer is still boring everyone shitless, reads his songs from an old note-book, is excessively irritating, can't sing in tune, or has not built up an interesting repertoire etc., etc. he is duffed-over again and then expelled from the singaround.

What do you think? I think that my scheme should do wonders for the general standard of singarounds!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 07:34 PM

Dave - the point is, I did accept it; I agonised over it & seriously considered leaving at half time rather than risk inflicting another out-of-tune horror on the room. I also thought seriously about going around the people I knew in the room, taking them each on one side and saying "My singing... is it, you know, is it OK?" or words to that effect. This wasn't practical, which is probably just as well.

This may sound like an over-reaction, but think it through. I've been doing this stuff at singarounds & the like for many years. If I think I've done fine and somebody tells me straight out that I was just that bit out of tune, to me this says that my ear's off as well as my voice - and that the result was bad enough to be worth commenting on. I haven't had any recent damage to my ears, so presumably my ear's been off all these years. We've all known people who can't carry a tune in a bucket but never realise it - so what I'm hearing is that, although I think I sing quite well, actually I'm one of those people (and I don't realise it, because if you're one of those people you never do realise it).

You know there's a football chant, "You're s**t and you know you are" (to the tune of "Go West")? The message I was getting was the rather less rhythmic "You're s**t and you don't know you are (because you're s**t at that too)".

It was enough to make me forget that people had clapped (loudly) when I finished that song, and forget the difference between that and a polite ripple; forget the compliments I'd received in the past; forget all the practice I'd done and all the listening (including recording myself and listening back). It was a blow.

I don't even reject the criticism now, not totally. I don't exclude the possibility that a couple of notes actually were just that bit off, and that I didn't register them myself because I skated over them to get to a bit of the tune I was more comfortable with. I do exclude the possibility that it spoiled the song, though, just based on other people's reaction.

The bottom line is, I don't think it was appropriate for somebody I don't know that well to call a problem with my singing to my attention, when the problem wasn't that big and I clearly wasn't concerned about it myself. If I look blissfully ignorant of why the room emptied when I started singing, then I think you can burst my bubble. (As it goes I'm hyper-conscious of anyone who's left, who's lurking in the doorway, who's yawning, etc, so for me the blissful ignorance part isn't likely.) If I had a minor problem but I look like I'm worried about it, you can commiserate. And if we're friends, you can say what you like - come right out and ask if I've got a cold or something. But if none of those apply, however pure your motives are I think you should keep shtum.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 11:51 PM

Craigie, I think your final paragraph sums it up nicely - completely agree with you.

Think I'd be tempted, next time I saw her, to ask if she normally volunteers unsolicited criticism to all and sundry... or, if I was feeling particularly reckless, to say something along the lines of "Nice to see you at the last session. Shame about your insensitive behaviour, though..."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 03:36 AM

***100***

From: GUEST,Andiliqueur - PM
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 08:42 AM

I sang a Stan Rogers song with all my heart and soul. I felt that I'd sung it as well as I possibly could. I needed a darkened room to recover. Then someone said "Who is it who does a REALLY good version of that song"? I collapsed into hysterical laughter. It was so funny. How can anyone get a big head in a singaround?

Take it as a compliment. They're looking for a "Really good" version, which seems to accept that yours was a good version.

Cheers
Nigel


***100***


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 03:41 AM

This seems to be shuffling it's way around all the old arguments - all roads of which lead to "nobody has the right to criticise my singing" - pretty unique to the folk scene.
If you stick your bum out of a window, you shouldn't be surprised if someone paints a face on it - if you sing in public, expect criticism, or stay at home and sing to your rubber duck in the bath.
Far from the hoary old chestnut that "those who can't, criticise", some of the best critics I have ever known and known about, and the most welcome as far as I'm concerned, are those who can sing and are generous enough to expend time and energy in helping others (not to mention run gauntlets of abuse such as displayed here) - MacColl, Seeger, Frankie Armstrong, Sandra Kerr, Bob Blair, Terry Yarnell - and earlier, Gordon McCulloch, Denis Turner, Bobby Campbell, Luke Kelly - and people like Charles Parker and Philip Donnelan, who brought other skills to the folk scene, - all proficient in their chosen expertise.
Not to say that you have to be a good singer or radio producer to be a perceptive listener - that would be elitism.
I think it was me who introduced the subject of 'minimum standards in clubs' to this forum - guilty and proud of it!
An audience who turns out on a cold wet night to sit in a sometimes gloomy room furnished with uncomfortable chairs (not to mention the warm piss that often masquerades as good English beer), deserves, at the very least, to be given a standard of singing that transcends some of the tuneless mumblings (often from crib-sheets) that drove me from many of the clubs in the latter days.
Despite some of the claims here, I never met anybody who knew they were, or admitted to being, a crap singer, but I sat through far too many of them at folk clubs.
The argument that the act of singing is more important than being a singer, so nobody should be turned away, would only work if we all sprang from the womb warbling 'The Flying Cloud'.
We don't, and we should all be grateful for any help offered by anybody generous enough to help us get there.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 04:12 AM

"This seems to be shuffling it's way around all the old arguments - all roads of which lead to "nobody has the right to criticise my singing""

On the contrary, Jim, I specifically said I didn't want to talk about people who are totally useless, refuse to learn, etc, and I didn't want to get into the hoary old "GEFF" argument. I certainly don't believe that anything goes, or should be allowed to go, in a singaround. There are people who genuinely can't carry a tune, there are people who don't think they need to learn, and they need dealing with (although not necessarily by Shimrod's method).

Just take it from me: I'm an OK singer and an uncalled-for criticism really spoiled my evening.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 04:24 AM

I don't think anyone would disagree with you on your basic point, Jim - the point of the OP is how, when and where the criticism was/should be offered. The people you cite were probably skilled in doing it the right way.

When I was a budding guitar player, I was lucky enough to be helped and criticised by some very good players, of whom I'll mention three:

Mike Deighan, a brilliant banjo and guitar player from my home town who I used to play duets with - occasionally in public. He was (and probably still is) a clever, experienced player with a caustic wit and no scruples about telling like it like it was. I learned so much from him. (I believe Mike is still the current banjo player with the Temperance Seven).

Mick Wayne, brother to my oldest friend, from Kingston in Surrey. Mick died tragically in a fire some years ago, alas, but I played with him both formally and informally in the late '60s and '70s. A wonderful player who could play anything in any key, he was warm and inviting. He was a thousand times better than I'll ever be but, when I played with him, he made me up my game and rise to better things by his sheer brilliance. Mick was one of the guitarists with David Bowie, played guitar on "Space Oddity", led a band called Junior's Eyes and was briefly a member of the Pink Fairies - for those with memories.

Diz Disley - the incomparable Diz sat in with our London jug band on many occasions (he lived upstairs in the pub where we played). A great man. His best advice ever to me at the end of an evening's playing was about the song "Doctor Jazz": Do learn the fucking chords, dear boy.

All gave excellent advice - but more or less in a one-to-one situation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 04:43 AM

Of course my 'method' was meant to be facetious (although it's often close to what I'm thinking at singarounds these days!).

In my opinion Jim is absolutely right. It's these mawkish, "oh isn't anyone who's brave enough to sing wonderful!" and "no-one should be criticised - criticism is cruel and heartless" attitudes which mean that so many of our singarounds are dominated by talentless, boring, irritating, excruciatingly bad, lazy session-hoggers.

Good singers are skilled, and daring - they take risks. They are able to express the beauty of the songs and the emotions contained within them. If they are singing ballads (story songs) they know how to bring the narrative to life and to involve their audience in it. THESE are the things that we should be aiming for! THESE are the things that I want to experience in a session. What I most definitely don't want to hear is 'creepy Jack' mechanically and tunelessly droning through some bit of dogerrel in his greasy notebook for the umpteenth time!!

A few months ago a young woman turned up at the singaround that I attend. The first couple of times round she wasn't particularly good (good taste in songs though) but she got progressively better. One night she was asked to sing and she was electrifying! Suddenly, right in front of me, was raw talent! But she obviously works at her art. Just think how good she could be if exposed to sensitive, thoughtful, constructive criticism.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 04:58 AM

"Just take it from me: I'm an OK singer and an uncalled-for criticism really spoiled my evening."
Then I've misunderstood you C.H. and I apologies and totally agree with you.
I don't think I encountered many unjustified and unsolicited criticisms, but I'm sure they exist - they certainly do in other fields of art.
But the general point still stands, sincere criticism is too often mistaken for condemnation and as a whole, the British folk scene as a whole seems to have undergone a course of injections in order to ward off any form of critical discussion on performance.
Like your choice of name BTW - one of my favourite songs.
Will
In the long run, your most immediate and accessible critic is your audience, whether they are good singers or not - they are the ones you have to move if you are going to sing in public.   
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 05:08 AM

Advice for singers at singarounds:

1. Come on time

2. Tune the guitar before the evening starts, not when it's your go

3. Decide what you are going to do several days before the event, and practise it

4. Learn the words. Know who wrote it, or what the song is about. Leave the crib sheet in the guitar box. You'll be surprised how much your performance will be improved if you actually know the words

5. When it's your go, be prepared. Don't waste time fishing the guitar out of its box, tuning it and waffling about what you did last Wednesday somewhere else

6. Get on with it

7. Don't sing it too fast

8. If you play a bum chord, don't stop and play it again, ignore the error. The audience probably won't even notice it, or they might think it is innovative!

9. If you forget the words, apologise, and if you can't remember them at all, then look 'em up or start a new verse, or give up. Nobody is going to think any less of you. It happens to us all, especially as we get older

10. Listen to what others do and be interested. You might learn something. Give praise where praise is due

11. Don't leave as soon as you've had your go. That demonstrates that you have no interest in what others do. It's also damned rude

12. Be grateful for any friendly constructive advice given, even if you have no intention of taking it

13. Dare to be different. You don't have to sing the song exactly as it is done by somebody famous on a recording

14. Thank the organiser for putting in the effort on your behalf. Buy him/her a pint (Some hopes!)

15. Have a good time. Although most folk songs are miserable or introspective, it doesn't mean the singer has to be too

All offered in the context of the thread, slightly tongue in cheek.

Tone (an organiser, sometimes)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 05:11 AM

"What I most definitely don't want to hear is 'creepy Jack' mechanically and tunelessly droning through some bit of dogerrel in his greasy notebook for the umpteenth time!!"

What on earth makes you think this has anything to do with what we're discussing on this thread?

I regularly sing 20+verse ballads at singarounds. People applaud (and nobody leaves!). On the night in question I was considering doing The Outlandish Knight - to a modal tune I found in a book & modified slightly - but decided against because I hadn't sung it out in years & hadn't practised it properly on the day. I am not the duffer you are looking for.

"she obviously works at her art. Just think how good she could be if exposed to sensitive, thoughtful, constructive criticism"

Maybe so. In fact, definitely so - I could name you some singers I respect enormously, and if one of them were to take me aside and say "I wonder if you've ever thought of..." I would be all ears. But "Nice song, what a shame you were out of tune" is not "sensitive, thoughtful, constructive criticism".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 05:11 AM

Or, boil it down and just say "have a good time (and try to help the audience to have a good time too), and get on with it!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 05:20 AM

The "singaround" tends to be a rather protective environment. If there are less than adequate singers they are unlikely to criticise each other. This may lead to an overestimation of ones abilities.
Go and sing in situations where the majority of the audience are not "folkies", it may be painful at times but the feedback is more useful in improving your performance than the cocooned singaround setting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 05:32 AM

I have found people can be remarkably tolerant of off key singers, which mean they rarely get negative feedback. However, play your guitar out of tune and there will be a queue to point this out to you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 05:35 AM

Will
In the long run, your most immediate and accessible critic is your audience, whether they are good singers or not - they are the ones you have to move if you are going to sing in public.   
Jim Carroll


Absolutely Jim!

Years of playing for money in working mens' clubs taught me that!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 05:44 AM

"I am not the duffer you are looking for."

I never said that you were! As far as I know, I've never heard you sing for a start!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 05:51 AM

johncharles - being 'cocooned' and darling-you-were-wonderful isn't really the point. If I do screw up a song I want to know about it (although I think audience reactions will tell me first); when there are things I can learn from people I respect, I'm glad to learn them. It's a matter of what you say, how you say it, when you say it & even who you say it to (i.e. how well do you know the person). As I said above, "Nice song, what a shame you were out of tune" is not "sensitive, thoughtful, constructive criticism".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: cooperman
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 06:11 AM

Great Canalwheeler. These can become the 'fifteen commandments' to be put up on folk club notice boards (slightly tongue in cheek!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 06:11 AM

Surely criticism is best if it's mutual and the best way to initiate that is to invite it rather than offer it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 08:02 AM

surely criticism is best if its manual.
if you don't like a singer, give him or her a smack - if you really like them, offer to feel their bum.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 08:12 AM

I think audience reaction in singarounds and folk clubs is not always a reliable indicator of performance. These settings are, by and large attended by polite and sympathetic people. This is a good and supportive thing, but may not provide the most objective feedback.
I guess your critic was rather too blunt and perhaps you are a little overprotective. My personal view is that if I choose to sing in public, which I do, then I must accept the right of said public to express a view on my performance.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Andiliqueur
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 08:19 AM

Yup, I'm with you Big Al.
As a relative newcomer to singarounds and Mudcat threads. I've really enjoyed following this.
I sing and go home. This thread has covered all the chats I've never had with other performers. I just wouldn't dare. Thanks everyone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 08:20 AM

Dave - the point is, I did accept it;

Not really, Craigie. This thread show that you have far from accepted it and your further justifications in lambasting your critic seem to indicate that they did touch a nerve.

Please don't get me wrong - I am not criticising you or your singing. I don't know either. Just saying that it does look like you subsequently decided not to accept the criticism and created this thread accordingly. I think the best thing you can do is make a joke of it. Next time you are there purposely look the critic in the and say something like 'I am sure (insert name) will tell me where I am going wrong'.

Hope this helps and please don't take offence at my remarks. You did invite viewpoints and suggestions and these are mine.

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 08:28 AM

Anyone with a passion for Traditional Song & Balladry is fine by me. I don't care how good or bad they are as a singer - as long as they do their research : dig deep, learn the words, live with the song, be able to account for its traditional provenance (singing off records is not good enough) and (most importantly) check the ego in at the door.

The only thing that I object to at a singaround is racist comments concerning 'Our Culture' and 'Muslims' - and those from self-styled purists about the use of electronics as not being 'Traditional'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 09:35 AM

I have found people can be remarkably tolerant of off key singers, which mean they rarely get negative feedback. However, play your guitar out of tune and there will be a queue to point this out to you.

If you're looking for excessive tolerance, an open mike for singer-songwriters is the place. The whole setting makes it impossible to express any reservations other than voting with your feet.

Maybe a few of these people go to songwriting workshops where they get real feedback, but for most they're never going to be told about the commonest and most important problems in that genre - unintelligible delivery, overblown and pretentious language, dull and cliched tunes, and subjects that were better not sung about. Intonation is a minor issue in comparison.

Maybe the reason guitar tuning gets the flak is that it's the only thing people feel safe complaining about.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: kendall
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 09:40 AM

Jack B, why does anyone need "electronics" at a sing around? By electronics, do you mean an amplifier?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 09:57 AM

Obviously there's an element of amplification involved, but I'm thinking of the comments I've suffered over the years about my use of an electronic shruti box and / or small synthesisers, such as the Korg Kaossilator & Monotribe, both of which I find ideal for accompanying traditional balladry.

Still, at least it deflects the flack away from wife's banjo! That's another thing I despair of - in jokes!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 10:09 AM

The singarounds I attend are 'acoustic'. That is we don't want amplification of vocals. A small portable amp/speaker set-up was allowed when my brother played very good fretless bass with our group. Another player also uses a small amp for a bass when he plays with his group. A third performer does occasionally play electronic keyboard to great effect. But we draw the line at amplifying vocals. The acoustic vocals set the low level of the necessarily amplified instruments.

If the vocals were amplified too, then it would become an open mike session not a singaround, and the audience would be likely to treat it like wall-paper music and talk loudly all over it.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 11:13 AM

Dave - I'm outraged that you should even suggest that I haven't accepted the criticism. How very dare you? What's more, if you suggest that I haven't accepted your criticism (of suggesting that I don't accept criticism) I shall be outraged at that as well. I'm disgusted, disgusted I tell you, by people attempting to criticise me, and the only thing that disgusts me even more is when people attempt to suggest that I don't take criticism well. As a matter of fact I take criticism better than anyone I know, and I don't think anyone would suggest otherwise. And if they did then I wouldn't let them be my friend any more. So there.

Hoping you are well,

Craigie

PS Seriously, can I open up the etiquette question again, because I think it's actually quite interesting. Quoting myself (and directed generally, not just at Dave):

if somebody's singing off-key, do you think it's a good idea for another singer in the singaround to go up to them and say "it's a shame you were singing off-key"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 11:46 AM

"it's a shame you were singing off-key"?   does seem to be a blunt and insensitive criticism; that is how some people are. However, allowing people to believe they are good singers leads to the X Factor syndrome, where artists have been convinced by family and friends that their singing is great, only for their illusions to be shattered in a public humiliation.
Over the years, I have seen singers in various folk settings whose singing has never improved. I have sat and listened to dire singing and have of course dutifully clapped as a polite audience does.
I wonder whether this polite conspiracy of non-criticism has helped either the singers themselves or the perception of "Folk song" amongst the wider public.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: kendall
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 11:46 AM

I won't go near a singaround if there is an amp there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 12:06 PM

It's hard to play a synth without one! But it's always soft - a wee Roland Micro Cube, quiet enough to play the fiddle against & sing. Comes out like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N66yiUkVwuo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 12:41 PM

if somebody's singing off-key, do you think it's a good idea for another singer in the singaround to go up to them and say "it's a shame you were singing off-key"?

There are usually more important issues to worry about. Like whether the singer made any attempt at all to involve the audience. That one is common to both traditional and contemporary stuff, though they have different excuses for not doing it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 01:34 PM

Like whether the singer made any attempt at all to involve the audience

Depends what you mean. The first time I sang at a folk club I looked straight ahead, caught somebody's eye, thought "Christ! People are looking at me!", flinched and looked up. Then I found I was looking straight at the window in the back wall, with a streetlight beyond; that suited me, so I sang to the back wall, which was about 40 feet away (it was a long room). I think it worked OK.

These days, on the other hand, I find I'm singing with my eyes shut more and more - not catching anyone's eye means that I can concentrate on the song. Again, it seems to work - and certainly there are some singers who I find very engaging, despite them singing with their eyes closed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 02:46 PM

Singarounds aren't the place to be involving audiences - as singers themselves they should already be involved. Of course if you're pissed enough at the end of a good night & the crack's* going canny then a bit of showboating don't hurt! Floor spots are slightly different, but even in performances I find too much 'involvement' really gets in the way of a song. I recently saw Michael Hurley - he played for two hours as if the audience weren't there at all. Bliss!

* Note : CRACK not CRAIC. I am a Tynesider, not a habitue of 90s Irish theme pubs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 03:07 PM

Quick tip: if you really want to know whether you're singing off-key or not - record yourself singing several songs. Play it all back and accompany yourself with a guitar or similar...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 03:16 PM

Ive had someone comment on the volume balance between the instrument and the voice - really helpful as you don't hear that from behind the insstrument as much.
FloraG.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 04:53 PM

* Note : CRACK not CRAIC. I am a Tynesider, not a habitue of 90s Irish theme pubs.


Here, here! (sick)

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Bobert
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 07:34 PM

There are only two things that are allowable to criticize:

1.) Bad tuning

2.) Loud performing

Those two things effect the overall experience for everyone... Everything else can be over looked... If you feel like taking someone aside in private after a session and offering some help that's fine but it needs to be done with a lot of sensitivity...

I mean, some folks aren't all that experiences and might appreciate someone doing that...

B~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 07:48 PM

I find I'm singing with my eyes shut more and more - not catching anyone's eye means that I can concentrate on the song. Again, it seems to work - and certainly there are some singers who I find very engaging, despite them singing with their eyes closed.

You can easily get people's attention before you start if you take yourself and your material seriously. Doesn't affect that if your eyes are shut afterwards, though some interactions are only possible if you look.

Singarounds aren't the place to be involving audiences

A singaround with that ethos ends up as a chapter of Solipsists Anonymous.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 02:41 AM

" ... if somebody's singing off-key, do you think it's a good idea for another singer in the singaround to go up to them and say "it's a shame you were singing off-key"?"

Here's a thought! Perhaps someone who attempts to deliver some criticism is actually braver than the singer who stands up in front of an audience and sings off key - especially given the un/anti-critical attitude which tends to prevail in many folk venues today(?)

Of course, it all depends on whether the critic was genuinely trying to be helpful or was just delivering a spiteful put-down ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 02:50 AM

Not so much solipsism a humble little gathering where the old songs are sung with quiet humility. I always think of it as a seance in a dirty back room where roofs can be raised on the choruses, but not at the expense of a basic sort of dignity that precludes anything so much as resembling stage-craft. There is no stage and there is no audience; just a gathering of erudite enthusiasts whose craft is a humble reverence to the old singers and the songs they sung.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 02:51 AM

as someone who has waited half a century before performing in front of otheres i would say encouragement is the most valuable thing. Not all, maybe not many people who play music are natural performers and have any sense of stagecraft. If clubs were to run mini workshops just before a singaround run by experienced people it might help a lot of new performers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 04:06 AM

Another vote for Canalwheeler's post on 23.10. I go to a number of different sessions, but one which contains many of the features that are anathema to some: people using crib sheets, singing off key, changing key repeatedly mid-song, timing idiosyncrasies etc. but yet it is a lovely friendly club and we put up with each other's imperfections and everyone supports each other. It is not a concert, after all!
I have very rarely had a private word with someone, twice because there had been a change of a key word from the original song which completely altered or destroyed the meaning of the song: they had "got the words off the internet", of course!
And once when the singer had the verse and chorus tunes in the wrong places, which kind of threw anyone trying to join in the chorus: "most people usually sing it this way" was my approach, rather than "you've got that all wrong". He thanked me several weeks later, and certainly was not offended.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 05:02 AM

Craigie - :-) That is the sense of humour you need. Again seriously, it doesn't matter what I think. It has happened now!

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 05:24 AM

I'm puzzled how one can be "too loud" without amplifiers. Although to be fair, at close quarters the late Dave Bryant (of this forum), was impressive!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 05:47 AM

One comment. If you're going to do it, then you need to be (and be known to be) well above that performer's level.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,John Routledge
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 07:02 AM

Very easy to be too loud in a small room - even without a mic.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: mayomick
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 07:47 AM

That wasn't criticism , it was an insult - shame is the operative word . It's like saying to a woman "that's a lovely haircut , shame about your face."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 08:05 AM

I was going to stay out of this one on the grounds of total indecisiveness, but I've just noticed a namecheck amongst the posts above, so will wade in.

Fyldeplayer wrote:
"Couple of years ago I attended interesting 'talk' by Brian Peters illustrated by a succession of 'old' recordings of source singers most of whom were poor singers (subjective opinion), but clearly had made a contribution to the 'folk' world...
Isn't it part of the folk charm? I find super sweet note perfect voices boring"


Most of the source recordings I play at workshops are chosen because I believe the singers are (or were) masters of their craft, with the odd exception like Billy Buckingham's 'Waysailing Bowl' (on Voice of the People) which I play because it's a great example of an uninhibited, inebriated good time. I defy anyone to say that Phil Tanner's 'Henry Martin' isn't an outstanding vocal performance, but equally I can enjoy recordings that are less thrilling and less accurate than Tanner's. A technically 'poor' singer can still do a great job of putting a song across. And, as Fyldeplayer suggests, there's more to singing folk songs than sweetness and perfection. Many years ago I had a spirited spat in the local folk press with an individual who had reviewed the Copper Family along the lines of: "Well, of course they can't sing, but you can't deny their importance." I listen now to recordings of Bob Copper and find his singing quite beautiful, though it would never pass muster at Covent Garden. Different rules apply.

On the thread topic, I'm torn between a deep personal reluctance to deliver a put-down to any inexperienced and probably nervous singer, and the knowledge that some critical comments from the likes of Harry Boardman and Steve Mayne in my early years actually helped me a lot. I'm also torn between a longstanding belief in the egalitarian and mutually-supportive ideals of the old folk world (now gradually fading as artists are put on ever higher pedestals), and memories of floor singers so awful that you dreaded any 'member of the public' coming through the door. So no decisive answer from me, except to note that each of those traditional singers whose recordings I play had in common a complete committment to the song they were singing. And none of them used crib sheets - in fact some of them needed to hear a song only a couple of times to consider it learned.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Bobert
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 08:44 AM

Yo, Richard...

Resonating stringed instruments can be very loud... Back when I was participating in weekly jams at Archie Edwards Barber Shop there was one particular player who had a metal bodied National resonator and it was louder than all the rest of the acoustic guitars combined... I remember Mike Baytop stopping a jam and asking it's owner to play softer... The owner was embarrassed but never again played it hard... He got it...

B~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 09:24 AM

One of my friends said to me this year when indulging in our usual impromptu jam in our Greek watering hole:"Does that song actually have a tune?" after I sang a solo! Then again, after another song a stranger said to me:"You said you can't sing, you can sing". I should have offered her hearing aid batteries.

RtS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Maryrrf
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 09:55 AM

I've been following this thread with interest, and thought I'd put in my two cents. First of all, I think the remark described by the OP was mean spirited and rude. It wasn't meant to be helpful, it was just snide. Nobody gives a perfect performance every time, and in that I include even the professionals that everybody looks up to. You don't always notice it during a live performance, because it's over in a flash, or in a studio recording, because they'll fix it or rerecord until they get a perfect version, but when you start playing live recordings or watching concert snippets posted on You Tube and the like, you'll see that there are sometimes bum notes, forgotten lyrics, not so perfect timing, etc. This is one of the reasons a lot of singers and musicians don't like it when fans post videos without their permission. I know of one person who was mortified to see a video of a performance where they were still in the throes of jetlag and botched a song - but it's out there for all to see.

I think there are situations where sensitive and helpful criticism would be appropriate, and that is when the singer has asked for it or made it known that they welcome suggestions for improvement, or in the case of someone truly dreadful who just needs to be told because the audience or other participants just can't bear it any more. But helpful would mean tactful - a gentle pointing out of the problem, and perhaps a suggestion for remedying it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 10:07 AM

First let me say I am aware of my own limitations. I can generally sing in tune and use simple guitar accompaniments which match my abilities.
uncritical acceptance of performances in singarounds and clubs results in a downward spiral. The more able performers whose criticism and advice could be the most helpful are the first to find pastures new.
Some months ago I went to a singaround I had not visited before. Of the half dozen other players two were Ok, one forgot the words, one sang way out of tune, one had the words on paper but stopped due to nerves, one nearly played a guitar piece all the notes but order and timing a problem. An old regular at the pub stopped me as I left and said do come back, sometimes people come who can play and sing. Will I go again- doubt it.
Although slightly off the point of the sensibilities of unsought criticism, I think there important issues about performance in any setting which need addressing.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 11:11 AM

I go to a number of different sessions, but one which contains many of the features that are anathema to some: people using crib sheets, singing off key, changing key repeatedly mid-song, timing idiosyncrasies etc. but yet it is a lovely friendly club and we put up with each other's imperfections and everyone supports each other. It is not a concert, after all!

I've been to local singarounds like that, though not for a while. I don't find them particularly friendly, because a lot of those problems are easily fixable, and if you don't do anything about them, you're just being inconsiderate to your listeners.

- If you tend to start in very inappropriate keys, get a pitchpipe. One of those 12-note star-shaped things, a phone with a tuner, or if you can use it, a harmonica. And write the key or starting note that works for you on your songsheet. You shouldn't get it wrong twice.

- Nobody has to spend longer flipping through a folder the size of phonebook to find a song than they're going to spend singing it. The obvious fix (assuming that you really and truly can't memorize anything) is to bring along only a handful of songs to choose from, varied enough to cover a few eventualities that might turn up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: SINSULL
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 11:54 AM

I suspect what we call Song Circles in the States are very different from Sessions across the pond.
It would be unspeakably rude to criticise someone's performance at one of our Maine song circles. We are there to share the music and enjoy each other's contribution.
If, however, you choose to perform at a festival for example or on stage at a coffee shop and you screw up - you're on your own.
Someplace like the Getaway is also very open to different levels of talent. It is a real thrill to sing a song as best you can and have a "famous folkie" ask for the lyrics.
SINS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 01:32 PM

I `ad that Phil Driscol in my cab the other night. `e `oo organises folk sessions when it`s not guest night in a pub in `ertfordshire. `e looked well put out. Just as if `is "G" string gave way in the middle of a song.
I said, "Whats up Cecil? Someone gone and slopped beer in your melodeon, then?"
`e said, "Nah Jim. You know I`ve been running our sing and play arounds for years but lately its turned into a show case for poor tuning, missed notes, forgotten words, crib-sheets, awful amplification, multi-key cacophany, navel gazing and all the rest but when we`ve `ad your lot booked `ere the floor singing is top`ole".
I said, "Not to worry Cecil. You are putting on modern art!!"


Whaddam I Like??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 02:35 PM

"And none of them used crib sheets - in fact some of them needed to hear a song only a couple of times to consider it learned."
crib shheters please take note, be liberated throw away your stabilisers, learn to fly , the world is your oyster


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 04:46 PM

"the knowledge that some critical comments from the likes of Harry Boardman and Steve Mayne in my early years actually helped me a lot."

Brian - maybe you could say a bit more about this - as in, what it was about those criticisms that made them helpful & not undermining? (Maybe it was just a matter of you being sensible enough to take them the right way, of course.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 05:31 PM

Maybe what this thread needs at this juncture is someone who is a crap singer and is keenly aware of the fact. Move over — I am that singer. (And several of the contributors to this thread are also aware of this fact, though of course they're too nice to say so…) I can report that over the quarter century in which I have inflicted my rude tones on the folk-listening public of South Yorkshire, no-one has ever upbraided me for my shortcomings, either in general earshot or in "A word in your ear…" fashion. Nor have I ever heard anyone else publicly admonished for this offence. I also have a dozen years experience of running folk clubs, and never in that time have I discouraged a singer from getting up and singing, whatever my personal opinion of their abilities. What can we conclude from this? That S Yorks is a standards-free zone? That we're too sweet-natured or pusillanimous to make our private feelings known? Or that I simply don't pay attention enough? Maybe all these things.

Come to think of it, I recall that a now sadly deceased resident of a Sheffield club had a policy of sprinting to the bar whenever my turn to sing came round. Strange that his glass always attained a state of perfect emptiness at that exact point in the evening…


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 05:59 PM

That sound like paranoia Raymond - I'd go the doctor and get it checked.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 07:19 PM

Raymond, I think you have a nice tuneful voice and an excellently played but loud concertina. In vino veritas.
best wishes John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 12:11 PM

If you tend to start in very inappropriate keys, get a pitchpipe.

Someone recommended a pitch pipe to me, once. I don't know if I speak for other singers here, but there's an untrustworthy note or two right at the top of my range; I usually avoid singing right up there, but if I need to I can usually manage to hit it, as long as I don't need to stay there too long. A song I learned a few years ago hit those notes briefly, but gave them rather a dangerous degree of prominence. Practising, I spotted the danger and tried pitching the whole thing a bit lower, but it didn't sound - or more importantly, feel - right. To get out of the danger zone I needed to go down a whole tone; the trouble was, most of the song was much lower down, and it ended up sounding much too big and 'chesty'. I decided to risk it.

When I first sang the song out, a fellow singer commented on the dodgy top notes and asked if I'd ever considered a pitch pipe. I said No. A fuller answer would have been "Firstly, I usually carry a whistle; secondly, I'm fairly confident I was pitching that song where I meant to pitch it, so getting a note wouldn't have made any difference; thirdly, if I had started lower I can guarantee that the bulk of the song wouldn't have sounded as good, so if those top notes really were wince-inducingly awful I'm just going to have to work on my range; and fourthly, I don't think I saw anybody wincing."

Maybe it's just as well I stuck to the short answer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 04:27 PM

>but loud concertina<

You mean my voice is too weedy to carry over it. That sounds like criticism to me. How very very dare you...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 05:20 PM

being pusillanimous and sweet-natured I am compelled to say I never mentioned weedy; I blame the instrument not the singer.
I apologise in advance for any distress caused to said concertina.
John.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Mysha
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 06:35 PM

Hi,

Most of the answers approach the question as if it were about "THE singaround". Instead it's about "A singaround", and its mores may be different from those of "another signaround" or "your singaround".

At our sing/play-around, we make effort to perform well, but often we'll do things we're still working on, just for the joy of sharing. Not that we encourage sloppy play, but I guess we do encourage reaching upward.
I think the most common forms of unasked-for help at our group are: Playing along to ease the performace, and making suggestions about how to make things easier, stronger, etc.. Even if you're, to you, the best performer at your gather, would you turn away from advice to improve? Nearly anyone will at least try out an alternative (though some may do so intending to to demonstrate that it doesn't work).
But still, that's just at our sing/play-around. Yours will be different.


In other news:
- There's a certain insincerity in behaving differently because of who is the organiser/promotor/etc., though in the end that's everyone's own choice.
- Personally, I'd say "Shame, ..." is a rather improper way to voice you opinion of a performance, but getting up in the middle of a song is definitely not how my mother brought me up. And that holds for talking about someone when his back is turned as well.
- Thanks for the tip on using a pitch-pipe. Though I have one for the occasional absolute tuning of my guitar at home, for some reason I hadn't so far made the jump they could be used for singing.
- But I don't like oysters; why would I want a world-sized one?

Bye
                                                                Mysha


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 07:08 PM

There's a certain insincerity in behaving differently because of who is the organiser/promotor/etc

I think the idea is that if the organiser has a word, he or she is telling you to shape up for the benefit of the singaround as a whole, whereas if another punter complains they're effectively saying "you should sing better for my benefit".

Interesting point about getting up mid-song - yes, that would be seen as mightily rude at all the singarounds I've been to, and some of the folk clubs. People do make their move when somebody's starting to sing, but obviously that can only express a reaction to the singer (based on past performances), not to this particular performance. For that we'd be dependant on the yawn, the shuffle, the noisily-deposited glass, the muttered comment to the neighbour, the half-hearted chorus contribution and (worst of all) the polite ripple at the end of it. (I've had 'em all, needless to say.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 08:21 PM

a fellow singer commented on the dodgy top notes and asked if I'd ever considered a pitch pipe. I said No. A fuller answer would have been "Firstly, I usually carry a whistle [...]

The person I've seen making most most use of one is the Edinburgh singer Eileen Penman, who has been leading song workshops for many years. I don't think her vocal range is anything exceptional but I've never heard her mispitch a song. So, using one is not the mark of a beginner.

She wears one of the 12-pointed-star types as a pendant round her neck. If that isn't your image maybe wearing it like a sheriff's badge might fit.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 09:13 PM

Pitch pipes only help those who can sing in tune, as Eileen can, to find where to start. Even then, that's not foolproof as I've seen some disasters where people have confused start note of the song with key: not all songs start on the tonic! I have suggested, as
Jack says, that singers might write down their preferred key on their crib sheet, to which came the heated answer, "I know nothing about keys!", to which I would gently say, "but you're singing it in A and that suits your voice, so next time you sing it, ask for a musician to give you an A".
Pitch pipes don't help those who wander around keys (why do they always choose desperately chromatic songs?) An accompanying instrument can sometimes help people stay on key: I did just this very quietly for a friend who had thought she would sing a capella but then wanted a wee instrumental between verses: on her own, she drifted upwards, but with me doing a very restrained basic chordal accompaniment, she stayed on key.
And I've long since stopped carting the big song folders (and tune books) to sessions. Just a couple of sheets plus a few in the head. If the one you really wanted to sing/play has been left at home, tough, you can always do it next time!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 03:36 AM

Yes, take the means to find your own note. I know one (sadly a music teacher) who appears to think that the first note in a song is the key - recipe for disaster, and was once badly set up (I think unintentionally) by a squeezer. I asked for a C chord and he gave us a C note. The start note of the song is G. Result - disaster!

And yes, an accompaniment can be MOST useful to help people to stay in key.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 05:33 AM

Jack - fair enough. I don't often get nervous about pitching - once I've got a song down my voice seems to remember what note to start on - and if I ever do I've usually got a whistle to hand. But whatever works!

I do drift sometimes, particularly on long songs - the first time I recorded myself singing Lord Bateman I discovered when I listened to it back that I'd been a full tone lower at the end than when I'd started. I think that's the only exception to the general rule of musicianly self-awareness: If You're Screwing Up You're The First To Know (If You're Any Good). Does drifting matter, though? I'd say not much, if you're singing unaccompanied - just as long as it is a drift & not a sudden lurch, and as long as you don't drift so low (or high) as to give yourself problems.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 07:00 AM

mysha, throw away the crib sheet,never mind the oysters, you can throw them away too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 07:19 AM

People who believe that there is such a thing as perfect pitch (and that they have it) say they suffer physical anguish at drifting. I wonder how they can live with the existence of (without limitation) the various medieval pitches, military pitch, and modern concert pitch.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 07:54 AM

I wonder if Sean or anyone has managed to use one of these as a drone while singing and managed to stay on pitch?

Shepard tone downwards
Shepard tone upwards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 09:14 AM

"critical comments from the likes of Harry Boardman and Steve Mayne...."

> what it was about those criticisms that made them helpful & not undermining?


Over thirty years ago Harry told me to drop the 'folkie' voice and try to sing in something closer to my speaking voice ("Why are you putting on that bloody stupid voice to sing?" would be close to the way he phrased it). I remember Steve advising me to drop a specific verse from a song simply bcause he considered it lyrically weak - which was a surprise at the time, because I thought you had to sing all the words that were in the book! There was also regular advice on repertoire. I suppose it was relatively easy to take because (a) it was constructive in content, (b) I respected both singers, and (c) they wouldn't have bothered if they'd thought I wasn't worth the effort. Neither would ever have said anything so crass as: "Do you realise you're singing flat?", although a flat singer might not have got asked to sing at the club the following week!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Phil E
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 09:28 AM

A health warning would have been good, Jack - I'm feeling distinctly woozy after watching 30 seconds of that video. Ten hours!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 09:44 AM

Brian Peters - interesting.

It's always nice to get constructive advice from people you respect - "that was nice, but I listened to what you were doing and I wondered if you'd thought of X" kind of thing. I think what bugged me about the comment I got was the feeling that it was a put-down dressed up as constructive advice - "that was nice, but I listened to what you were doing and I thought you were flat".

Alternatively, of course, it may actually have been constructive advice which I over-reacted to; I may just have been a little too sensitive. Either way it's water under the bridge now.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Mysha
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 09:45 AM

Hi,

Phil; I was reacting more to the two sides of the Needle of Death story, but you're right: In the context of this thread it does make sense if someone is speaking on behalf of the group. But then, in that situation you'd probably be pushing someone away, even if the hope is that they'll improve because of it. A bit of a last resort, I guess, if no gentler form of help will work, just one step away from marching someone to the parking lot for hands-on demonstrations.

Thread-drift part:
GSS: Don't worry. I don't have a crib to begin with, so the rare occasions I use sheets for one are when I need to recall who wrote the songs. And with the idea of bringing a pitch-pipe, I could add the keys or the starting notes there (don't know which works best, yet). For lyrics and melodies, OTOH, I just bring my head along, which usually works fine.

                                                               Mysha


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 09:50 AM

"Neither would ever have said anything so crass as: "Do you realise you're singing flat?", although a flat singer might not have got asked to sing at the club the following week!"
My question would be which of these two responses is the most honest and ultimately the most helpful long term.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 10:15 AM

Well, the bit about the following week was said slightly in jest - HB did have strong opinions about what was good and what wasn't. The standard at that club - as I remember it - was pretty high, although left-field performances were often welcomed. Harry picked the singers he liked to be his residents, and gave them extended spots. Maybe that just set a standard.

"You're singing flat" may have the virtue of honesty, but I doubt how helpful it would be. The best singers in my experience are confident ones.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Sean O'Shea
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 03:45 PM

I find it appalling that singers use word sheets in what they call performance.
What is worse,for me,is when these singers repeat the same song,maybe in multiples,over periods of time and are still using the words,making no attempt at learning.Reading words as one sings is academia,not singing.
Even worse and in fact stunningly amazing is the people who can not present a song with any form or structure or continuity even though they are using word sheets.These people have no right to lead a song in this way and comperes should not accept them.
Tolerance is the home of degraded standards.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 05:47 PM

Put up a link to a performance of yours "Sean O'Shea" and we'll tell you what we think.

Oh, and do you apply the same standards to people in orchestras? If not, why not?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 06:17 PM

We appear to be veering off-topic a bit. The subject of whether or not crib sheets are an abomination - or sadly unavoidable due to the failing memories of aging folkies - has been discussed at great length in many other threads...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 06:18 PM

do you apply the same standards to people in orchestras? If not, why not?

Of course not. Orchestral musicians are there to perform the music of a composer - which is interpreted by an individual conductor. They may perform the same piece several times in their career, but with different interpretations - and different markings.

Moreover, many classical soloists perform their pieces - often incredibly complex pieces - without any music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 03:41 AM

I don't get quite so hung up about the crib sheets than a lot of people on here seem to get. We are only talking about singarounds and not paid performances. I tend to enjoy a good performance/presentation more than worry about whether they have crib sheets or not. Surely it is how they are used? I agree it is preferable to know the song without the use of a sheet but I' rather see a good performace with sheets than an inferior one without. There is one guy at our club who always uses sheets but they are basically just a prompt or perhaps even just a fall back to quickly glance at if he were to forget. You'd hardly know they were there if you knew at all and his interaction etc with the audience is really impressive as is his delivery. I agree it is not much fun watching someone sing if there eyes are glued to their book trhoughout the performance But then again we have some who wouldn't dream of using a sheet yet they hardly seem to get through a song without fumbling over words or forgetting them completely.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 04:39 AM

"Maybe what this thread needs at this juncture is someone who is a crap singer and is keenly aware of the fact. Move over"
No-no-no...
The sad thing about all these discussions is that they never seem to come to terms with the fact that that, with a little assistance and a little effort, anybody who is willing to put in the time can become a proficient singers, and with further effort, can become a good one.
Turning 'bad' (read inexperienced) singers away is never an option, just as turning clubs and public sessions into venues for practicing in public is not an option either.
Audiences (whether they are made up of singers or just listeners) deserve reasonable performances and anybody interested enough to want to sing deserves help to do so.
In a quarter of a century of working in workshops, I can never remember meeting 'a hopeless case' who was not worth working with - some take longer than others, but all were worth it.
I stopped singing seriously decades ago; but recently, having got my singing 'second wind', I find myself feeding on all the valuable advice and help I was given all those years ago when I was treading water as a green singer.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 05:05 AM

Another issue.

How do you deal with a singer who sings the same old two or three songs over and over again everywhere he goes, and has done so for years, almost since the club was founded in fact? He's a good performer. The songs he writes are not great but interesting..... the first time round. His guitar playing is adequate.

Sometimes you can almost hear an audible groan when the audience recognise the opening chords yet again. It does seem that several folks manage to find their glass is empty when it's his turn, requiring a quick trip to the bar.

Do you ask him if he knows any others songs? Do you say, "You sung that last week, and the week before that, etc."

Do you have a rule that states you can't repeat a song within say, four club meetings?

Do you just put up with it?

Do you go to a different club?

He also has an annoying habit of playing his guitar before the club starts and during the beer break, when others want to tune up, but that is another matter.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 05:28 AM

Tone, here is a different point of view, that guy gets pleasure from singing those songs, furthermore here is a quote "old timey musicians make their singing and music appear effortless because they sing their material over and over".
I would rather have a performer who sang three songs well than a performer who is unfamiliar with their song and hides behind a bloody crib sheet, it is the crib sheeters of this world who are bringing the music down, mumbling away and performing badly.
answer,you just put up with it.

why not tune up your guitar in a different room or ask him nicely can i just have a few seconds to tune up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 05:41 AM

"How do you deal with a singer who sings the same old two or three songs over and over again"
Part of the assistance is passing on new songs - London Singers Workshop amassed a huge 'dip-in' archive made up originally of songs to learn, but which later broadened into Irish, Scots, American and International sections and included lectures and radio programmes for those who wanted to 'lift the corner to see what was underneath.
Like Topsy, thanks to the efforts of those who wished to help, it "just growed".
MacColl and Seeger had a large file of songs in duplicate, traditional and their own, for sending out on request.
One of the features of the Singers Club was 'The New City Songster' 20 volumes of contemporary songs edited by Peggy Seeger and contributed from songwriters from all over the world.   
Having said which, deep-sea fisherman Sam Larner sang 'Butter and Cheese and All' once a week throughout his long life at the singaround at his local pub, The Fisherman's Return, in Winterton, Norfolk - some are good enough to get away with it, some aren't!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 05:46 AM

Sorry - missed a bit:
"Do you have a rule that states you can't repeat a song within say, four club meetings?"
Theoretically, the Singers Club operated a policy that residents (not regular visitors) didn't repeat the same song song over three months - didn't always work, especially with newly composed songs with immediate contemporary themes, but it was a tremendous spur to build a substantial working repertoire.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 05:48 AM

canal whheeler, since you clearly do not like this guy, why not try do you know you have b. o.,or do you know every week you are here singing the milkmaman is putting a bun in your wifes oven


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: cooperman
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 05:56 AM

Tell him his songs are interesting and it would be great if he could write a new one...a compliment, a challenge and a hint!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 07:30 AM

"canal whheeler, since you clearly do not like this guy, why not try do you know you have b. o.,or do you know every week you are here singing the milkmaman is putting a bun in your wifes oven"

Illiterate Troll alert!

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Phil E
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 07:32 AM

Ban guitars! I used to sing my own songs unaccompanied - having written them that way - but unaccompanied singer/songwriters are much thinner on the ground than unaccompanied traddies.

If everyone's fed up with the guy, keep up the social pressure. He may not notice one or two people heading for the bar, but if five people left at once it'd be hard to ignore, and if fifty people a day... sorry, got sidetracked. If two or three of you want to tune up, go into an ostentatious huddle to do it. And so on.

If it's only you who's fed up with him, you'll just have to put up with it. There's a certain kind of 'protest' song I can't stand, that starts by saying "things we all approve of are good and things we all hate are bad", then says it over and over again in slightly different words for four verses (plus choruses). But friends of mine regularly sing them, to general appreciation, so I keep my gob shut. They'd probably describe the kind of song I like as saying "there was a girl, she met a boy, everybody died" over the length of 25 verses.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Acorn4
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 09:09 AM

"How do you deal with a singer who sings the same old two or three songs over and over again everywhere he goes, and has done so for years, almost since the club was founded in fact?"

You usually find they've "had a request".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,aCORN4
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 09:53 AM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 09:57 AM

Trouble is Dave they do not take any notice and keep on singing the same old S H 1 T and do not move on. The "request" being why not keep quiet


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 10:24 AM

Just to clarify, I do count the guy as a friend of mine, and I respect him as a bloke. I certainly don't 'dislike' him, as has been trolly suggested.

My question has some sincere merit, in that I really don't want to upset him, but he seems oblivious to the fact that most of the audience do get fed up with hearing the same old stuff over and over again.

I did once ask him if he knew others songs. His reply was revealing. He said, yes. He said he practises them, but when it comes to his turn he loses confidence and falls back to what he knows he knows.

I'm not sure how to encourage him to take that leap of faith in himself. Maybe the answer is to suggest using a crib sheet, at least until he feels more confident?

What do the panel think?

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Sean O'Shea.
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 11:48 AM

Richard Bridge...putting up a link to a performance of mine would be irrelevant.
I'm not criticising poor singers or performers,just those who use word sheets,often to no avail.
I don't use word sheets.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Phil E
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 02:12 PM

cw - I'm sorry to say this sounds like a case where high standards can be counterproductive. Sounds like perfection is the norm and he fears his new stuff won't pass muster.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 03:32 PM

At a couple of clubs years back I had the problem of being asked to sing the same song(s) every week to the extent that I was getting bored with them!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 03:37 PM

The problem with all of this, is that all the conversation, all the talk, all the discussion, seems to be about the performer.

What about the audience?

Is the performer who shuffles his/her music, fiddles with the music stand, reads from a notebook, forgets the words, goes back to the beginning, stumbles, mumbles, etc., concerned with the audience? Doesn't sound like it. More like they're totally concerned with themselves.

It doesn't matter whether you're at a club, a singaround or a session. If you don't think about the reaction you're going to get from other people, then you're actually self-absorbed, uncaring about other people - selfish.

Perhaps a slightly extreme observation, but one worth thinking about. If you can't bring something to the audience, then why are you there?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 03:37 PM

"every week to the extent that I was getting bored with them!"
There's a cure for that as well
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 08:00 PM

Phil: cw -" I'm sorry to say this sounds like a case where high standards can be counterproductive. Sounds like perfection is the norm and he fears his new stuff won't pass muster."

Well, in his case it must be his own standard of perfection that daunts him. We have other singers who are nowhere near his standard of performance, yet they are accepted by everyone. At least they are making a go of presenting some variety, even if they do get it wrong.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,John Routledge
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 08:07 PM

Will Fly - Brilliant nails most of it in one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: JedMarum
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 12:24 AM

I cannot imagine any circumstance where I would be critical of someone else's performance at a singaround. Likewise when the person I am visiting breaks out the photo album and shows me all the old family pictures I would never say, "very nice, but oh my goodness, that's an ugly baby isn't it?" or "why on earth did your mother wear that to your wedding?"

If a singer pulled me aside one day and asked me for advice on their musical performance - I probably would not, unless I had a close enough relationship to ceratin that I could frame a comment that would actually be helpful.

Nobody's baby is ugly. Nobody song sucks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 04:11 AM

I don't know if all the people who fail to think about the audience are 'selfish' Will, I think quite a lot of them are the sort of people who lack the kinds of social awareness and even self awareness that most people possess. Take the man at a club near me (I don't go any more) who happily announced that he hadn't played his next song for "twenty years" but the last time he had, the lady who ran that club had told him it was "very nice". I don't think he actually realised before he began that not having played the song for twenty years was likely to result in him now not being able to play it at all. That may seem amazing to most folk, but there are those odd marginalised people - who my Mum would call "a bit unfortunate" - who come to folk clubs, I think specifically because the polite welcoming ethos doesn't exclude them unlike many other social environments. I don't think they're selfish, I really think they aren't aware of the unspoken social codes that most other people take for granted.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 04:32 AM

happily announced that he hadn't played his next song for "twenty years"

Ow. I wouldn't actually mind hearing that from a newcomer - particularly someone who'd drifted in from the rest of the pub that evening - but I take it this wasn't.

The trouble is, there are FCs and singarounds which are set up precisely on the basis that anyone can come along and have a go - and anyone does. After a while there's a kind of critical mass of regular anyones, and it starts to seem a bit discourteous or arrogant to learn a song properly before you go up.

My main singaround manages to avoid this - it welcomes newcomers & doesn't frown too hard on songbooks, but there's a core of regulars who are good enough to keep the standard up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 04:56 AM

canal wheeler, I was trying to be diplomatic and also humourous, since you choose to be rude, I will not pull any stops,
your problem with this other guy is YOUR problem, in other words look at yourself, you object to some guy playing his guitar before the start[ whats wrong with that], you object to him playing during the break because it prevents you tuning up your guitar, well find another room to tune up, has it occurred to you that some people might possibly prefer his guitar to your tuning.
if i was running the club i would encourage someone to play guitar during the break, i prefer to have someone playing guitar than someone tuning.
no, I do not think using a crib sheet is a good idea,that is not the way to learn how to perform.
canal wheeler.you said "At least they are making a go of presenting some variety, even if they do get it wrong".
so you think its ok to have variety if the standard is poor., and you seem to think its ok to use crib sheets.
I prefer to have someone perform the same three songs well than somebody having a go who is using a crib sheet, changing key during their songs, or other poor performing.
in my opinion the art of performing is learning to cover mistakes without going to bits,and learning to communicate with an audience., having a crib sheet does not help this at all, neither am i convinced it helps a persons confidence.
in my opinion if someone is having difficulty learning words they should find easier song formats like shanties, or story songs with every other line refrains[such as the swan swims so bonny] this enables the singer to have time to think of the next line
finally, i am not a troll or illiterate,I know nothing about you, but let me tell you I have been performing and writing songs on a professional basis for 37 years, I would advise you to mind your mouth and manners.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 05:17 AM

CS - I'll gladly moderate "selfish" to "perhaps unaware". :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: cooperman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 06:17 AM

Come on guys. Is the goal in trying to get it right about pleasing the audience or not looking stupid? A bit of both I suspect for me and many others. Beginners start out thinking too much about themselves rather than the audience. As you become more confident you swing towards pleasing the audience. Interestingly, you can swing back the other way without realising it (eg. by not doing new material)in an effort to keep pleasing the audience. I guess it's easy to forget about what the audience is looking for so I prefer 'unaware'. Selfish (or arrogant) is the person who says 'I play what I want and if they don't like it, tough'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 06:48 AM

I've quoted this before, but I think it worth repeating here.
It comes from a series of interviews we did with Ewan MacColl which stretched over a period of six months from mid 1978.
W had raised the question of 'work getting in the way of enjoyment of singing', something that was raised every time we tried to promote the idea of working on singing.
Jim Carroll

"Now you might say that working and training to develop your voice to sing Nine Maidens A-milking Did Go or Lord Randall is calculated to destroy your original joy in singing, at least that's the argument that's put to me from time to time, or has been put to me from time to time by singers who should know better.
The better you can do a thing the more you enjoy it. Anybody who's ever tried to sing and got up in front of an audience and made a bloody mess of it knows that you're not enjoying it when you're making a balls of it, but you are enjoying it when it's working, when all the things you want to happen are happening. And that can happen without training, sure it can, but it's hit or miss. If you're training, it can happen more, that's the difference. It can't happen every time, not with anybody, although your training can stand you in good stead, it's something to fall back on, a technique, you know. It's something that will at least make sure that you're not absolutely diabolical
The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he's no longer worried about technique, he's done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself, she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 07:07 AM

It's a bit like learning to drive - to begin with you have to think consciously about everything you're doing (which means thinking about three or four things at once, which is enough to make anyone nervous). With practice you can do the job of driving without thinking about it, and use your conscious attention to think about driving well (and in the right direction).

Which is also, perhaps, why "Craigie" had his/her confidence knocked so badly - if you were confident that your voice would go where you told it without having to think about it, it would be pretty nasty to be told that your voice wasn't going where you thought it was.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 10:51 AM

But is that over-protective? Might some singers benefit from being told they'd been screwing up without realising it? Has unsolicited criticism got a part to play in maintaining singaround standards?
   if unsolicited criticism is given, it should be given after a compliment has been given, in my opinion unsolicited criticism should be given in private if its given at all, but if it is given it should be given after praise.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 11:00 AM

I've been assembling material gathered over the years on work we've been involved in with various workshops - happy to pass on anything we have to interested people.
I wonder if anybody has an opinion on present 'workshops' which seem to have sprung up like mushrooms over the last few years and have become part of a number of festivals and singing weekends.
The ones we've attended are run thus:
Them in charge hand out printed sheets of words of one/several songs you may or may not know or like.
The tune is taught by 'im/'er in charge and the group repeats it until they've learned it proficiently enough to try it out for themselves.
Depending on the size of the group, the teacher may or may not spend a limited amount of time with individuals.....
The number of times I've raised the question of 'song-sheet teaching' I have invariably been told that singers need to feel that they have been given something tangible, rather than something they have to achieve for themselves.
I'm used to groups that limited themselves to one - maybe two performances per evening (usually consisting 3 contrasting songs) which are then discussed by the group as a whole, who were expected to comment positively on what worked and didn't and suggest how what didn't work might be improved (this latter being given in 'bite-size chunks so the singer wasn't overwhelmed by too much information)
These 'criticisms' were always fairly firmly chaired so the singer didn't drown in a mass of suggestions.
The real work on singing was always done (or not done, depending on the enthusiasm of those worked on and the skill of the criticism) at home.
These sessions were followed up some time later when the singer had had time to do some work - a progress assessment, if you like.

I've never really been convinced that there is a quick-fix method, but I may have missed something.
Wonder if anybody has any views on teaching - is it possible to actually teach anybody to sing without imposing personal views, techniques and idiosyncrasies.
I would very much welcome views and suggestions.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 11:44 AM

it is possible to teach people to sing without teaching them style, you teach them how to sing in tune how to have good diction, you can show them how to gradually improve their size of vocal range, so yes it is possible to teach technique without imposing personal views. it is possible to teach the m breathing exrcises and how to use the diaphragm to get better control of air.
none of this has anything to do with style,
you can also teach them how to interpret a song to bring out the story, in my opinion the best way to do this is by taking a song and showing 3 different interpretations, that way a student can be conscious of different styles, this is in my opinion is a preferable alternative to playing a recording of one singer and saying this is the best way to do it


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 11:46 AM

@GS   "i am not a troll or illiterate,I know nothing about you, but let me tell you I have been performing and writing songs on a professional basis for 37 years, I would advise you to mind your mouth and manners."

Is that supposed to impress me or give you status here?

I'll just remind you of what you wrote and how you wrote it:

"canal whheeler, since you clearly do not like this guy, why not try do you know you have b. o.,or do you know every week you are here singing the milkmaman is putting a bun in your wifes oven"

Firstly you assume I don't like the guy. Wrong.

Secondly your entry was illiterate. I guess you were probably in your cups when you wrote it?

Thirdly your suggestions, whether written in humour or ignorance, were ridiculous. and ill founded. certainly not constructive to the thread.

You might not be a troll normally..... but when you wrote that you certainly were.

Maybe an apology would be more appropriate than a lot of self-righteous bluster?

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 11:51 AM

Ho hum. Here we go.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 12:08 PM

"Ho hum. Here we go."

Whatever he says now I'll give him the last word. It'll keep him happy.


"happily announced that he hadn't played his next song for "twenty years""

He might have meant he hadn't played it in public for 20 years. Hopefully he has practised it.

I am currently reviving songs from the 60s that I haven't played for some 40 years.

They are going down well. The reaction is usually "I haven't heard that for n number of years!" Well, quite.

Just because songs are getting old doesn't mean they are out-of-date or irrelevant, but I am spending quite a lot of time re-learning them before I do them publicly.

Examples?

Little Boxes (but in a minor key)
Chords of Fame (Phil Ochs)
Birmingham Sunday (Richard Farina)
Champion at Keepin' "em Rollin (McColl)
Grey Funnel Line (Tawney)

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 12:30 PM

"you teach them how to sing in tune how to have good diction"
Not sure I agree
Unless you re in one-to-one situation and have professional training and abilities you can only suggest where to look for these and other aspects of singing.
We had a relaxation technique, but others found 'Alexander' and other methods more suitable to their particular requirements
Good diction can often be taught at the cost of perfectly good accents and dialects.
We had a series of voice exercises based on Wagner, Gilbert and Sullivan and Scots Mouth Music - other people had their own.......
You have to assume some knowledge, experience, preferences and needs of everybody who asks for advice.
MacColl was at the top of his field when he set up the Critics group - he turned down a request to 'teach' singing because:

a He didn't believe himself capable of it without imposing his own preferences on others
b He felt that working the way the group did, everybody who participated in workshop work (not just the 'victim' came away with something simply by being put in a position of having to think and articulate on the act of giving voice.

It's interesting (for me) to go through some of the recordings of the Group workshops and see how it was carried out very much on a suck-it-and-see basis - if it works, keep it - if it doesn't, forget it.
I don't know any single individual who has studied the art of traditional singing enough to claim to be able to teach it; I do know some people who have mastered and are able to pass on certain (few) aspects of it enough to point people in the right general direction - Sandra Kerr and Frankie Armstrong spring to mind.
I was very depressed when I listened to Martin Carthy's highly unfair and highly inaccurate assessment of the work of The Critics Group - if it had any 'rule', it was not 'how a song "should" be sung' as the title suggested, but rather 'a singer has to be their own ultimate critic'.
The only thing I got from the dreadful programme was a further set of 'Folkie Legends' about somebody who generously devoted a large part of his life to helping less experienced singers while the superstars were busy getting on with their careers.   
'Now climbing down off personal hobby horse and leaving it to graze in peace'
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 12:30 PM

I only ever do traditional songs these days. Apart from a few Tawneys and a couple by MacColl, of course, and some settings of Robert Burns. And some of Bellamy's Kiplings (if they were good enough for Bellamy), and one Martin Simpson setting of Kipling of which I'm rather fond - and some of Bellamy's own, of course. Sydney Carter wrote some good ones, as did Jake Thackray, and when I'm feeling brave I sometimes do a Lal Waterson. I don't do Dylan as a rule, but you can't really not do any Dylan. Oh, and there's a Noel Coward song I sometimes do for a lark. I've written some of my own, too, but they don't get many outings these days - because these days I only ever do traditional songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 12:40 PM

Above was in response to canalwheeler's "set list", which prompted the immediate reaction of "h'mph, not doing any traditional songs, not like me". Followed by...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 01:39 PM

There is a book on how to do constructive criticism in a more general setting: Gracie Lyons, Constructive Criticism: A Handbook (1980). I haven't seen a copy for 30 years but I remember it as being quite sensible.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 02:13 PM

Jim, please explain why you cannot teach good diction without interfering with dialect or accent.
let us take macColl, he sang with a scottish accent but his diction was clear., how does that fit in with your statement
canal wheeler,i never post here when i am in my cups. furthermoreI am unable to drink alcohol at the moment or when i posted , i have /had gout, so you are way off the mark.
Jim,
MacColl still participated in the critics group,and whether he declined to teach is irrelevant, he was the oldest person in the group and had a dominant personality and was a strong influence on other members, as nearly all those members of the critics group have stated.
Finally, canal wheeler, if my post was illiterate, how did you manage to read it and understand it, the dictionary definition of illiterate is,ignorant of letters , unable to read, unlearned.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 02:39 PM

Leave a thread long enough; and despite being nice folky people who observe the social niceties, criticism will rear its head. Plus ça change.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 03:09 PM

every word clear and he is singing in an ulster accenthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh7bAPi2ty4
yorkshire accents but diction is clearhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmDUdJXS95w.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmDUdJXS95w with a dublin accent from a member of the critics group
jim, your statement is complete rubbish


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 03:15 PM

thirty foot trailer sung by a member of the critics group with a dublin accent and still clear dictionhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yX6Ci-rZck check mate, jim, in 2 moves


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 03:51 PM

Jim, please explain why you cannot teach good diction without interfering with dialect or accent."
I think we're talking at cross-purposes here, which rather underlines the point I was making about amateurs teaching Dick.
You seem to be confusing diction with articulation.
A diction teacher will teach you to pronounce 'properly', whatever that means.
Articulating, as I understand it, means saying whatever you have to say clearly, so the listeners can follow it, even though they may not necessarily understand what you have to say because of the words and pronunciation - that's another problem altogether.
We had two singing exercises for developing articulation; Gilbert and Sullivan's "First we polish off some batches.....", and 'Tail Toddle' - a piece of Port a Buel (mouth music)
All this may be a question of semantic misunderstanding, but the point I'm making is, as far as I'm concerned, the best way to learn anything is to work it out for yourself or, in group situation, along with others; the best help you can be given is to be made aware of specific problems in the first place so you know what to aim at.
If you are not being 'taught', the group, whose objectives might all be different than your own, can learn along with you.
Sorry - not sure I'm explaining this articulately - it's something you take on board and adapt to your own changing needs over the years.
Jim Carroll
I gave a talk at MacColl's 70th birthday symposium in which I tried, very nervously, to explain how the Critics Group worked and what it achieved (and didn't)
I still have the script and am happy to dig out relevant bits if you are interested.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 04:05 PM

Cross posted;
Luke Kelly (whatever might be your opinion of his singing) was a Dubliner - he was an early member of the Critics Group.
Ewan (or anybody, couldn't have 'taught' him to sing like that in a million years.
I shudder to think what Luke would have sounded like if Ewan (who had one of the worst Irish accents - worsted only by his Liverpoolese) had tried to teach him to sing.
Ewan had two accents - the one he grew up surrounded by as a child, Scots - ish (a sort of mixture of his fathers Lowland Scots and his mother's highland brogue) and his native Salford one which later leveled out to a sort of standard English.
He was first discovered by a BBC director in the 'Hungry Thirties' , street-singing to a cinema queue in Glasgow. his repertoire being a mixture of various Scots ballads and songs in Scots Gaelic - I would love to know what he sounded like, but the BBC man was impressed enough to offer him a job in a political May Day broadcast!!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Eldergirl
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 08:44 PM

Articulate, enunciate, let 'er rip with good clear diction, no matter what your accent or dialect, just get the story across without bloody mumbling!!
Oh, pardon me, I seem to have had a wee rant again.. :)
The folk in the forest, they are scared of me.
The folk in the forest, they ask it of me.
Easy to mis-hear, innit? Clear diction goes a long way.... somewhere. I've forgotten where. I'll get me coat.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 04:22 AM

The folk in the forest, they are scared of me.
The folk in the forest, they ask it of me.


That's not diction so much as stress, which is a minor obsession of mine. I don't sing with my speaking voice, but I always try and put speech-like stresses on the words - which in Eldergirl's example would almost always eliminate the confusion. (Unless the previous line was "Folk in general aren't scared of me at all, but...")

Some people sing as if English were as malleable as French - a series of syllables of interchangeable weight - but it doesn't work for me. I learned my version of "The holland handkerchief" from Norma Waterson's version on a Waterson:Carthy album; for ages I was singing "A wealth-y squi-er", stressing each syllable equally. (Usually I pronounce 'squire' as a monosyllable, to make matters worse.) Once I'd got the stresses into speech-like shape I had to re-fit the tune to the words, which was a pain, but it must have worked; when I did it somebody said they were reminded of Packie Byrne.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 05:03 AM

" just get the story across without bloody mumbling!!"
Please rant away.
One of the main things we concentrated on over the thirty-odd years we recorded old singers was to ask them how they felt about and approached their songs - there is surprisingly little in the form of interviews with field singers in either printed or aural form, except from the US.
Every singer we asked told us they regarded themselves as storytellers whose stories came with tunes.
We spent an afternoon with Clare singer Tom Lenihan discussing phrasing, and how he approached the story and fitted the sung text into the tune.
Walter Pardon spent hours talking about how he identified with his characters - The Pretty Ploughboy used to plough the field opposite his house.
We became convinced that the narrative storytelling nature of folk songs was what made them unique
"A wealth-y squi-er"
What you are describing is what we used to refer to as four-squaring - attempting to fit the words into the tune rather than the other way round - leading to the breaking up of words, taking breaths were there are no commas or stops......
One of the saddest examples of this is in Phil Tanner's (one of my favourite singers) version of Banks of the Sweet Primroses, where age forces him to take a breath in the very last line of an otherwise spectacularly perfect rendition.
Another problem that seldom occurred in the older singers was the 'head-voice' syndrome (common to women unless you happen to be a castrati!)
The airy tone some women use takes up too much air to sing a full line without having to take a breath - saw a spectacular example last night in our local session when an otherwise fine singer broke down and abandoned her song.
This tone also produces 'gear change' - a forced shift from head to chest tone as the singer moves down her range - a lack of tonal continuity - a sort of quantum leap - can't think of a single example among the older generation of singers - plenty in revival ones.
Sorry - having my own personal little rant now.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,eldergirl on another computer
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 06:21 AM

guilty as charged, Jim! some days I can manage the leap, but mostly not. tension, and lack of practice, that is, not singing out for most of my life. :(


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 07:22 AM

"Above was in response to canalwheeler's "set list", which prompted the immediate reaction of "h'mph, not doing any traditional songs, not like me". Followed by..."

Phil - It wasn't a set list. In context it was a few examples of songs that I have recently sung in public after many years, and making the point that I wouldn't do so without re-learning 'em properly first.

In fact I do sing quite a lot of trad songs too, but these have never dropped out of my repertoire.

I known this is not quite the same thing, and tweaking the thread a bit, but I was at a music session last night. These sessions are very good, but absolutely dominated by one multi-instrumanetalist. If anybody else plays a tune, he has a habit of overpowering it and then playing it faster, better, or in a different key that others can't join in with, just to prove he can. He is very good, but he knows it too, and seems to have to demonstrated his skill whenever he can.

The sessions are notably better and more friendly when he isn't there!

There are some who won't go to those sessions if he is there.

How do we criticise him in a pub music session, where turns are not taken in order and everyone can join in if they want to? Personally I've decided to join those who have voted with their feet, which is a pity, cos it's a great pub.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 07:37 AM

That is a tough one. A session I used to go to (I dropped out due to lack of skill) had a similar character once - he did things like playing along with everyone on a tune they'd been playing in D for the last six months, then saying "And this is what it sounds like in F!" - cue solo by man with chromatic instrument. I think he was eventually induced to take his expertise elsewhere, possibly just by general glowering.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Vic Smith
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 07:49 AM

Dick Miles wrote:-
"I would rather have a performer who sang three songs well than a performer who is unfamiliar with their song and hides behind a bloody crib sheet, it is the crib sheeters of this world who are bringing the music down, mumbling away and performing badly."


I must be ill...or getting very old... or something like that. I have just agreed with every word that Dick Miles has written.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 08:18 AM

Just because people are not given feedback because of social sensibilities, it doesn't mean judgements are not being made. I make my judgement and act accordingly.
1. Stay and listen keenly will probably be excellent.
2. Sup my beer worth listening
3. Toilet break, and to the bar for beer if likely to exceed 12 verses
4. Never again, go elsewhere.
Anyone singing in a situation where an audience is present should expect to get feedback. Anyone spoiling a session for others should be given feedback. If people are prepared to put up with rubbish they should do it in private with other consenting adults.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Vic Smith
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 08:29 AM

These days I avoid Mudcat threads that have more than 100 posts. Their circumlocutive repetition, often from entrenched positions, does not make for engaging reading. However, sometimes I am tempted in as I was today. Sometimes, somethings that are written spark a memory. Today it was the mention of singers who could not hold the tune and that took me back over 40 years and made me remember Adam Young.

Adam was an old bothy singer who appeared at several of the T.M.S.A. festivals in Scotland - notably the one at Kinross.

* Adam could not hold a tune when he sang.
* Adam was a really great performer of the the old bothy songs.

Now, these two statements might seem incompatible. But in spite of his basic difficulty with the melody, he had everything - a great repertoire which he sung with commitment and enthusiasm, superb timing, a great way of putting songs over, humour, a feeling of authenticity, an engaging personality and friendliness towards the much younger singers that surrounded him. All these qualities more than compensated for his basic failing.

He was an old fashioned farm labourer and at the festival he was being feted by the sixties generation and somehow it worked. It still makes me smile when I think of the occasion when Adam sang The Overgate changing just one word as he did so-
Says I: "I've lost my waistcoat,
My watch chain and my purse."
Says she: "I've lost my handbag
And that's a damn sight worse."

I remember the puzzled look on his face as his young audience fell about with laughter at this.

Adam Young - a nearly forgotten hero.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 08:38 AM

I was at a music session last night. These sessions are very good, but absolutely dominated by one multi-instrumanetalist. If anybody else plays a tune, he has a habit of overpowering it and then playing it faster, better, or in a different key that others can't join in with, just to prove he can. He is very good, but he knows it too, and seems to have to demonstrated his skill whenever he can.[...]

How do we criticise him in a pub music session, where turns are not taken in order and everyone can join in if they want to?


Borrow a chromatic button accordion player and have a few people ready to join in with the Athole Highlanders in A flat using E flat whistles, detuned fiddles and an old Salvation Army concertina?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 08:45 AM

I saw a well know English Concertina player take such a person down a peg or two in a session in Whitby. Same scenario - The culprit insisted on playing in different keys etc. Good English player joined in with one of his then proceeded to play it in every other key, speeding up as he went, until the culprit realised he had been bested :-)

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 11:37 AM

"Borrow a chromatic button accordion player and have a few people ready to join in with the Athole Highlanders in A flat using E flat whistles, detuned fiddles and an old Salvation Army concertina?"



'Ringers' in fact? T'would be difficult to find any better or louder than this guy.

I did best him just once though.

I play bodhran sometimes. I've played it for years, but not very well. Basic stuff. (I'm really a vocalist.) This guy would frown on me if I took it to the sessions. So, one night I found a good demo on YouTube, and I sat up all night and kept going until I could emulate the performances on the screen. It cost me a few blisters, but I did it. I could play in reasonably good Kerry Style, using both ends of the beater at will, (though good Top End is still a skill I covet).

Next time at the session I gave it a go when 'he' was playing. Realising that I was now fairly competent he kept increasing the speed, thinking that he would leave me panting behind, but I kept up, all the way until he gave up, when I finished with a double-his-speed flourish. It was a great moment for all there.

But, he is so thick-skinned he learned nothing by it! He still belittles anyone else playing at the sessions, especially if they are beginners.

Unfortunately, he seems to think musicians' sessions are competitive.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 11:49 AM

At Vic (with a grin in case anyone mistakes my intention).

"circumlocutive"

Great word!

But in the online dictionary:

"No entries found"

Are we expanding the Inglish langwidge here?

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 12:06 PM

Actually, I don't much like Ewan MacColl's singing, although recordings of him are sometimes a useful place to find songs. Ditto of the Collinses.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 12:07 PM

PS - and the last time I heard Bert Lloyd anything resembling a tune was notably absent, although the long rambling stories were sometimes amusing. I never did find out what a "sleeve job" was.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 12:21 PM

Eldergirl
"guilty as charged, Jim!"
However you choose to sing is entirely up to the singer, but if head-voice is not your natural voice (it seldom is) then it is a choice you have made and it is not carved in stone.
The 'gear change' is handleable (Peggy Seeger and Sandra Kerr did a lot of work on it if my memory serves) - both have developed excellent control when they choose to use it.
The breath problems that come with head voice are a different matter, especally when you're getting on in years and more especially if you are/where a smoker.
Head voice takes twice as much breath to produce and can restrict your ability to handle long lines.
We had a singer who had had medical breathing problems but had chosen to sing most of her songs using H.V. with the built in long line problems.
As soon as she tried chest voice production the breath problems vanished.
It's all a matter of personal choice of course, and the singer is the only one to make that choice.
Personally I find the natural speaking tone singing of say those used by Jeannie Robertson or Sheila Stewart's knife-edged tone, far more convincing than the somewhat milk-and-water effect produced by many women singers who have beautifully rich speaking voices, rather than the breathy tones produced by many who choose to sing otherwise.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 12:42 PM

I never did find out what a "sleeve job" was.

Maybe:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sleeve%20job


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 01:05 PM

I don't really (still) know what 'head voice' is. Like most people, I have a range from x to y and a fair number of songs I've sung require that entire range, so I have to pitch the opening note so as to enable me to hit both the high notes and the low notes in the song. The song that allowes me to sing *either* high or low just as I prefer isn't all that commonplace IMO. And I don't think I have too much of a limited range.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 02:30 PM

jim carroll said,Good diction can often be taught at the cost of perfectly good accents and dialects.
dicitinary defintion of diction.. wording and phrasing, verbal style.
so jim, why does good wording and phrasing and verbal style be to the detriment of of perfectly good accents and dialects, you are talking nonsense and you know it, I have great respect for you ,jim, but you are not very good at admitting you are wrong, and in this case you are wrong


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 02:33 PM

"and in this case you are wrong"
How now brown cow??
Standard exercise of diction
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 03:13 PM

ok, since we have to go down this ludicrous path.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2PHch4IPPQ, how now brown cow at 2.19, spoken with an accent but absolutely understandable.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2PHch4IPPQ


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 03:23 PM

Ha ha! bubbles at the front of the mouth is about where this discussion has got to. Not a full moon is it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 04:09 PM

Go that path if you like Cap'n - what your man is speaking is exactly what any established diction coach will tell you is "wrong" and will attempt to teach you 'Correct" English.
The point of all this, of course is, like most singing coaches, they will teach you to sing "properly" according to their definition of the term - I don'r know of anybody knowledgeable enough, or with the inclination, to teach dailect, vernacular... or any other form of speech other than that accepted as 'correct'.
It doesn't matter anyway - I could never afford a personal speech coach, but I have known many singers willing to spend time with other singers.
On a suck-it-and-see basis, 25/30 years experience in workshops suggests the most efficient and time saving method has been in the self-help group situation - not only does the singer under scrutiny win, but so does every other member of the group, simply by having to analyse how a singer is producing his/her voice and then applying that knowledge to their own singers - everyone a winner.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 06:37 PM

Quoting my English teacher at university, in a different context, 30 years ago - "You go along and they're very helpful, they say they'll show you how to do it. They don't, of course - they show you how to do what you do because that's how you do it."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Eldergirl
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 08:58 PM

Sheesh, I thought diction was merely clarity of speech, not RP or Pish oops sorry, Posh.
jc, not full moon but has only just stopped being Hallowe'en over here!
Jim Carroll, thanks for your thoughts on voice, you always give me good stuff to think about.
Guest CS, I think head voice is your higher register when the sound resonates up in your skull. (back to Hallowe'en again..)
GSS, I shall be practising " aa naa braan caa" for my music hall number next week... :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 04:30 AM

In the end improvement comes from a desire to improve- everybody who wants to will find their own road.
I stopped singing regularly when we started to collect and research in 1973, a mixture of lack of time to devote to both and a relisation that if I couldn't put in the time for practice I didn't enjoy the noise I was making.
Recent opportunities have aroused my interest in searching out places to sing and re-learning my somewhat overlarge and unmanageable repertoire.
I am now enjoying singing more than I can ever remember having done so in the past.
I'm certainly not singing better (30/40 years older and I don't think I was ever more than a reasonably competent singer), and I now have the added problem of having a repertoire of largely narrative songs in an environment where people are used to non-narrative, lyrical songs - but I find there are enough people interested in my type of song to make their responses helpful and encouraging - so far!!
I found the journey back a little daunting, especially when I discovered things I couldn't do that I could handle with ease decades ago.
I was horrified when I found I could no longer handle the ranges of two of my favourite songs - The Flying Cloud and The Sheffield Apprentice; I was over the moon when, with a little work, I got them both back.
For me, MacColl's advice was spot-on:
"It can't happen every time, not with anybody, although your training can stand you in good stead, it's something to fall back on, a technique, you know. It's something that will at least make sure that you're not absolutely diabolical"
The basic work I was introduced to in 1969 is now bearing fruit - I'm enjoying what I'm doing and I'm enjoying re-visiting all the songs I've been missing out on for so long.
I've selected an extract from the talk I gave at the MacColl symposium where I tried to give a general picture of what the Critics Group was about - feel free to throw stones at it or ignore it - I can only say that it seems to have helped me.
Jim Carroll

The group that was eventually to become the Critics was first started in 1964 at the suggestion of a number of people, including Enoch Kent, Bob Davenport and Eric Winter, who were not happy with what was happening in the revival at the time and felt that Ewan should start classes for singers in order to push up the standards. The main tendencies in the revival then seemed to be the Joan Baez, Bob Dylan soundalikes, or the school of thought that suggested that folk singing required no particular talent and all that was needed is that you should get up and sing as long as you got the words and tune more or less right (even this didn't matter as long as you were armed with enough jokes). Turning up drunk, falling all over the stage and over the front row ensured a return booking in many clubs, as long as it was carried off with showmanship. Both the soundalike, and the near-enough-for-folk-song schools are sadly still with us, though in the case of the former, the models of the soundalikes are different nowadays.
The idea of the group was that a group of singers should meet and, with mutual constructive criticism should work on each other's singing under the direction of Ewan and taking advantage of his considerable knowledge and experience. In order to do this, the first work to be carried out was to listen to recordings from all over the world of as many traditional singers as were available at the time, to analyse what they were doing and why, and to try and apply it to their own singing.      This was undertaken on the premise that, at the height of the tradition, traditional singers, far from being the natural, unconscious and artless songbirds that early collectors considered them, knew exactly what they were doing and worked extremely hard to achieve their objectives. The aim was not to copy the singers, but to take what was best and most useable. It was recognised that the tradition in most parts of the British Isles was past its peak, also that most singers were past their best when the recordings were made, and that it was necessary to try and find out what they would have sounded like when they, and the tradition were in their prime. It was in the Critics Group that I first heard the suggestion that not everything a traditional singer does is automatically good; nor was it true that every singer over a certain age who sang traditional songs automatically was a traditional singer.   I say this because there was, and to some extent still is a tendency to completely base styles on the older singers, asthma and all. The English revival has produced some of the world's youngest old age pensioners.
In order to discuss style and technique a terminology was devised covering ornamentation, tone and delivery. The group became conversant with these terms and were expected to be able to apply them to their own singing. Exercises were given to assist performance; for example, it was noted that nervousness produced physical tension, which could affect adversely breathing and pitch, so a technique of relaxation aiming to control any unwanted tension, was taught. This was based on relaxation techniques used in the theatre. Voice exercises were used to enable singers to find their own natural tone, thereby assisting them to be in control of apparatus. In the same way, singing exercises, including pieces from Wagner, Gilbert and Sullivan and Scots mouth music were given to help with precision in pitch and articulation and the handling of difficult intervals. The place of instrumental accompaniment in song was discussed at length and it was agreed that its role was just that, to accompany. A great deal of attention was paid to this aspect of performance. A group meeting would often take the following form; a singer would be asked to perform a number of contrasting songs, usually three, complete with introductions, as if this was a club performance. The group would then discuss that performance and suggest how it might be improved. The first criterion when discussing the performance was always "did it move you"?      Usually suggestions were tried out on the spot so the singer would go away from the meeting, not with a mass of difficult to digest criticism, but with practical ideas. Ewan would sum up the performance and the criticism at the end of the work. The most important work that the class did was connected with the relationship of the singer to the songs. It was noticed that good traditional singers were capable of performing their songs over and over again without ever seeming to tire of them; (the best of them could make a song sound as if it was just as fresh as the day it was made); while many revival singers often had trouble in keeping the songs alive after a third or forth singing. This was believed to be because of how the singer identified with his or her material, and because much of the traditional singers' repertoire was closely identified with their own lives. In orders to examine this area of singing, ways were devised to try and bring singers closer to their songs. This was done in a number of ways. One of these was to use a technique devised by Constantin Stanislavski in his work with the Moscow Arts Theatre. Singers were asked to analyse the texts of their songs and try to come to a conclusion why the song was made in the first place, what might possibly be the circumstance where it would be first sung. They would be asked to try and select an emotion that summed up the objective of the song. Then they would try to find parallel experiences that had provoked similar emotions. This provoking of emotion memory and applying it to the song being worked on quite often led to the solving of problems in identifying with the songs and occasionally produced some very moving performances. (This work was far more involved that I am able to deal with here, this being only a small part of it).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 06:38 AM

Turning up drunk, falling all over the stage and over the front row ensured a return booking in many clubs, as long as it was carried off with showmanship.

Not a Tony Capstick fan, I take it.

Thanks for that, Jim - sounds like a really helpful environment, light years away from "a word in your ear, you were flat".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 06:45 AM

"Not a Tony Capstick fan, I take it."
Can't say I ever saw Tony Capstick, but I once saw a folk icon vomit over the front row of a Manchester audience.
I will say that a positive hangover from working the way we did was that once you sit through a couple of such sessions you are never again nervous in front of an audience.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 07:00 AM

jim i repeat you are completely and utterly wrong, i put up clips illustrating my point it is possible to make all words clear and unerstandable without losing an accent as ilustrated by my luke kelly and watersons clip, jim you are just wasting everyones time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 07:06 AM

well jim,
margaret barry once puked up over the front row at the marquis of clanricade folk club, and then carried on playing, i suppose you would say this is alright because it was a traditional singer doing it not a folk comedian.methinks your biased against folk comedians, me i am biased against anyone who is incapable., whether it be margaret barry or concertina players[ no name no pack drill] or folk comedians.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 08:21 AM

hope this might be of interest, the bristol accent, please note 2.49, certain bristolians who took very great care over their diction, jim ,please note
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZMfnBkV0DM or perfectly clear depite accents http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfnZDcNV_9s


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 08:43 AM

" i suppose you would say this is alright because it was a traditional singer doing it not a folk comedian.methinks your biased against folk comedians,"
I have no idea why I should suggest this behaviour tolerable from anybody - I suggest you have my attitude to traditional singers arse-uppards.
I can give examples of badly behaved traditional singers - if they consistently behave badly don't book them.
Any booked performers have a responsibility towards whoever booked them and to the audience who come to listen to them.
The problem with traditional performers is that they are invariably unused to the folk-club environment and what is required of them needs to be carefully pointed out - if you don't do this, anything that goes wrong is you'r (the club's) responsibility.
The people I am referring to are seasoned performers who have made bad behaviour part of their act - I know that there was once a whole bunch of them; don't know if that's still the case.
I've known performers - some of them among the best, who have had (IMO) an over-fondness for drink, but who still manage to remain fine musicians - not a problem, revival or traditional.
It's the unprofessional posers who think it permissible to behave badly and constantly inflict that bad behaviour on audences who get up my nose.
Jim Carroll
Incidentally, one of my all-time favourite musicians had a drink problem to the point of it being an illness.
He invariably put in an excellent, often spectacular performance, though occasionally not as good as his best.
We booked him regularly, but always attempted to find out at what stage his drinking was and planned accordingly.
One night I was horrified to see a group of folkies deliberately tanking him up - presumably just for the hell of it.
He was not at his best, but he was still good,
The braindead behaviour of a few morons could easily have ruined things for the audience that night and seriously damaged the reputation of the musician forever - think on't


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 08:55 AM

"certain bristolians who took very great care over their diction, jim ,please note"
Sorry Cap'n - either I am missing your point, or you are deliberately avoiding mine - what on earth are you saying - that your speaker only manages to speak as well as he does because he took diction lessons - surely not???
You want to hire a diction coach, speech therapist, Swedish masseur.... whatever, feel free.
I suggest we stop cluttering this thread up with something that seems entirely down to a matter of personal preference and individual experiences.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 09:00 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu9q_vedO7w, try this , despite accents, it is all clear and understandable.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu9q_vedO7w


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 10:53 AM

good diction but unable to sing in tune. Storytelling is for you.

storytelling


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 12:09 PM

diction according to the concise oxford dictionary is wording and phrasing ,verbal style, therefore having an accent is not going to prevent good diction, as has been clerly illustrated by the you tube clips I have put up.
now, good diction is one of the most important techniques for a singer ,you are singing words that need to be understood, if it was a question of singning just beiing a production of a pleasant sound, then it would be acceptable to sing in tune but sing gobbledegook.
One songwriter/singer that always impressed on people how important the words of his songs were ,was woody guthrie, he considered his words and his abilty to coomunicate the most important part of his singing, it was only in his latter years when he was ill , that his diction became less understandable, this was the time that dylan started copying him and mumbling in an affected manner, in his earlier years Guthrie WORDS WERE UNDERSTANDABLE, even though he had an Oakie accent.
jimcarroll , i rest my case, you are completely and utterly wrong,.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 12:28 PM

Whatever you say Cap'n
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 12:40 PM

"jimcarroll , i rest my case, you are completely and utterly wrong,"

And is that a good way to deliver criticism at singarounds as well, or just on Mudcat?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 01:42 PM

It May not be a good way to deliver criticism but appears to have become "A Tradition". A Schweik-Carroll annual argument day should surely be added to the calendar.
John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 02:31 PM

no, craigie hill,just on mudcat,
if you read an earlier post of mine, you would have seen i said criitcism should only be given if asked for.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 03:46 PM

"It May not be a good way to deliver criticism but appears to have become "A Tradition". A Schweik-Carroll annual argument day"
Shit happens sometimes John - sporadic rather than annual though
"And is that a good way to deliver criticism at singarounds as well, or just on Mudcat?"
Not a criticism just desperation when you realise you are talking to the wall.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Eldergirl
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 06:44 PM

Funny thing about Dylan, I was watching some film of him at the Newport Folk Festival a year or 2 before he went electric, singing Chimes of Freedom, every word clear as a bell, FAR clearer than yer Roger(Jim)McGuinn a couple of years later on the Byrds' first album. Mumble? Not that song. Maybe some other songs that I missed. But so much of today's singing comes out through a blanket. Dear ol' Bob, OTOH, has the clearest mumble I ever heard.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 07:28 PM

Write I teach singing - gospel - acoustic - opera - basic voice production
I offer anyone who wants the chance to learn a free intro session so that if it is truly terrible they have not suffered financially

I think that one has to be very careful about comments about singing unless specifically asked I would not pass an opinion as negative comments can destroy someone's confidence
There is a difference between

1 Nervous trier who needs gentle encouragement and positive vibes in a constructive manner
2 The truly talentless which are far fewer than people think. Many voices can be rejigged by simply getting the person to sing in the right key or register
3 The bone idle who will not prepare IMO reading the words means the person concerned has not prepared the song and cannot sing it properly if they are reading from a text

I used to belong to writers groups and have sat through some gruesome sessions of authors reading their efforts. I would suggest each group or sing around has clear guidellines as to what expected in terms of basic performance level You know the words and the tune. or is that too much. The near enough for folk is not good enough and never was


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 08:01 PM

"1 Nervous trier who needs gentle encouragement and positive vibes in a constructive manner"

Thinking back to the (my) OP... I've got several years of singaround experience & a sizeable repertoire, so I don't usually think of myself as either nervous or a trier, but I guess the cap fits. I came to this stuff fairly late in life, & while I think I'm pretty good at it I know perfectly well I'm not that good - I've heard singers who you could listen to singing the phone book, and I know I'll neve be one of them. There's always the suspicion that people are just being polite, and when I get negative feedback part of me thinks "at last, somebody's being honest enough to tell me I can't sing, I always suspected it."

Or maybe that's just me and my self-esteem issues...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Eldergirl
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 08:54 PM

Dear Craigie Hill, I could have written exactly what you have just written. It's nice not to feel quite so Alone.. ! :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 07:42 AM

to be able to learn from mistakes, is one of the best ways to progress.
i repeat , i have given examples of people singing with accents and every word has been clear , that is what good diction is about,good diction , eg, clarity of speech is not confined to sounding like the queen, even singing in dialect does not have to be a barrier to being understood, here is an example of a dialect song that is perfectly understandable, to a southerner like myself.Lyrics

WOR NANNY'S A MAZER

verse 1

Wor Nanny and me myed up wor minds
te gan and catch the train,
For te gan te the Toon te buy some claes
for wor little Billy and Jane;
But when we got to Rowlands Gill
the mornin' train wes gyen,
And there was ne mair te gannin' that way
till siventeen minutes te one.
So aa says te wor Nan, "Its a lang way te gan,"
aa saa biv hor fyece she wes vext;
But aa says, "Nivvor mind, we hev plenty o'time,
so we'll stop and gan in wi' the next"
She gov a bit smile, when aa spoke up and said,
"There's a pubbilick hoose alang heor,
We'll gan alang there and hev worsels warmed,
and a glass of the best bittor beor"
Nan wes se' stoot aa knew she'd not waak,
and she didn't seem willin' te try;
When aa think o'the trubble aa'd wiv hor that day,
If aa liked aa cud borst oot and cry.

Chorus
Aye, wor Nannie's a mazer,
and a mazer she'll remain,
As lang as aa leeve,
aa winnet forget,
the day we lost the train.

verse 2

So away we went te the pubbilick hoose,
and when we got te the door,
She says, "We'll gan inti the parlor end
For aa've nivvor been heor afore".
So in we went and teuk wor seats,
and afore aa rung the bell,
Aa axed hor what she was gannin' te hev,
"Why," she says, "The syem as yorsel"
So aa caalled for two gills o'the best bittor beor,
She paid for them when they com in;
But after she swalleyed three parts of hor gill,
She said, "Bob, man, aa'd rather hev gin."
So aa caalled for a glass o'the best Hollands gin,
And she gobbled it up the forst try;
Says aa te wor Nan, "Thoo's as gud as a man"
She says, "Bob man, aa felt varra dry."
So aa caalled for another, and that went the same way;
Aa says, "That'll settle thee thorst."
She says, "Aa've had two, and aa's nee better now
than aa was when aa swally'd the forst."

Chorus

verse 3

She sat and drank till she got tight;
She says "Bob man, aa feel varra queer."
"Why", aa says, "Thoo's had nine glasses o'gin
Te maa three gills o'beor."
She lowsed hor hat and then hor shaal,
And hoyed them on te the floor;
Aa thowt she was gan te gan wrang in hor mind,
So aa sat mesel close by the door.
She says, "Give iss order, aa'll sing a bit sang"
Aa sat and aa glowered at hor;
Aa thowt she wes jokin', for aa'd nivvor hard,
Wor Nanny sing ony before.
She gave iss a touch of 'The Row in the Gutter',
She pleased every one that was there.
There was neebody in but wor Nanny and me,
and aa laughed till me belly was sair.
She tried te stand up for te sing the 'Cat Pie',
But she fell doon and myed sic a clatter,
She smashed fower chairs, and the landlord com in,
And he said, "What the deuce is the matter?"


Chorus

verse 4

The landlord says, "Is this yor wife,
And where de ye belang?"
Aa says, "It is, and she's teun a fit
Wi' tryin' te sing a bit sang"
He flung his arms aroond hor waist;
And trailed hor acroos the floor,
And Nan, poor sowl, like a dorty hoose cat,
Was tummelled oot-side o'the door.
There she wes lyin', byeth groanin' and cryin',
Te claim hor aa reely thowt shyem;
Aa tried for te lift hor, but aa cudden't shift hor,
Aa wished aa had Nanny at hyem.
The papor man said he wad give hor a ride,
So we lifted hor inti the trap:
But Nan was that tight, she cudden't sit up,
So we fasten'd hor doon wiv a strap;
She cudden't sit up, she wadden't lie doon,
She kicked till she broke the convaince:
She lost hor new basket, hor hat and hor shaal,
That mornin' wi lossin' the train.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 07:45 AM

so, jim ,   for once in your life admit you are wrong


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 08:09 AM

For crying out loud Dick - wrong about what?
I said I don't believe diction coaches to be necessary - I love dialect songs
What the **** are you on about?
Respond to what I have had to say an stop nausing up an interesting thread
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 08:35 AM

A funny song about a man taking his goat for a drink.
back to the thread. Asking a good friend to give you some feedback, or perhaps singing and playing in a group, and definitely recording yourself, can be useful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 12:13 PM

"and definitely recording yourself, can be useful."
Must admit I couldn't bear to listen to the sound of my own voice for a long time.
You have to get used to the idea that you don't sound anything like you believe you do - if you get what I mean.
The use of a pitch pipe, and cupping the hand over the ear are both helpful.
We used to have a whole programme of relaxation exercises (starting at the head and gradually working your way down to the waist, so that you end up bent double (any lower and you fall over)) practiced regularly, helped control tension, but nowadays, the simple act of dropping the shoulders into a relaxed position works wonders.
MacColl's 'affectation' of turning his chair back-to-front was a device for producing a clear flow of air.
We also had a series of four vowel-like sounds for producing a pure open tone so that you could learn to control vocal tension - a little strange at first but incredibly helpful when you got the hang of them (strongly advised for use in the praiacy of your own home).
There's a great story of Luke Kelly, who was staying with a couple of doctor friends in Grimsby when he did a booking there.
Luke went for a shower and shortly afterwards his hosts heard strange sounds coming from the bathroom.
Alarmed, they ran up to see what was happening and eventually, after breaking the bathroom door down, they found Luke, stripped to the pelt practicing his Critics Group exercises at the top of his voice under the running water.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 12:13 PM

,Good diction can often be taught at the cost of perfectly good accents and dialects.
the words of jim carroll.
what proof do you have of this?
i have illustrated with clips a number of singers singing with accents whose diction is perfectly clear.
i suugested that certain elements of singing could be taught, such as diction and singing in tune, and you replied with your nonsensical statement, which as usual you have yet to back up with stats.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 01:38 PM

Quote from four responses:

"jim i repeat you are completely and utterly wrong,

"jimcarroll , i rest my case, you are completely and utterly wrong,.

"so, jim ,   for once in your life admit you are wrong

"you replied with your nonsensical statement,"




This is getting utterly boring. Childish even. Have you not heard of the polite phrase "I disagree"?

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 03:29 AM

I agree
Jim carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 03:45 AM

Jim: "Good diction can often be taught at the cost of perfectly good accents and dialects."

Dick: "i have illustrated with clips a number of singers singing with accents whose diction is perfectly clear."

Those statement are not in conflict. Jim said "often": he didn't say "inevitably". And some singers may simply have good diction without having ever been "taught" it.

Richard


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 04:30 AM

if someone who likes and understands folk music is teaching diction they are not going to destroy accent for the sake of diction.
jim still has given no evidence or stats to back up his "often" statement.
neither has it anything to do with amateur or professional, it has more to do with an understanding of the genreand familarity with folk traditional music.
canal wheeler,I find your posts utterly tedious too, all this drivel about some performer who according to you only sings 3 songs ,but performs them well, and this stuff about someone preventing you from tuning your guitar by actually playing music, it seems to me you do not understand what performing is about, you prefer someone who performs from a crib sheet, rather than someone who performs 3 songs well, if you dont like it, vote with your feet and organise your own club.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 04:52 AM

there has been no evidence provided by jim carroll or anyone else on this thread, that teaching diction OFTEN destroys accents, neither has any evidence been provided that being amateur or professional has any bearing on the destruction of accent by the attempted teaching of diction,
it is just a wild statement by Carroll, that is presented as a truth but which once again is unsupported by any evidence


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 04:59 AM

It is my experience from observation that taught diction and elocution is almost invariably RP, and that taught singing is almost always bel canto. Both things are antithetical to the folk ethos precisely because they are desired in the middle class drawing room with the pianoforte.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: stallion
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 05:24 AM

This is soooo funny, a few weeks ago at our local session, one of the participants and a very good performer got , shall we say, merry only in his case morose and then started dishing out criticism to every single one playing or singing, it was excruciatingly painful and I had to have a little word in his ear, he then went around and apologised to everyone, of course his criticisms were about spot on but hell this was a session not a performance and people go there for a night out and play and sing with friends, I once went to one of those do's where you sit around in a circle and sing, I was 19 so I suppose it was 1970 at some festival or other.....was a long time before I did that again! Not at all pleasant, informative or helpful, yes and destroying ones confidence, looking back all those years and with the wisdom of years most of it was holier than thou carping trying to establish their place in the hierarchy and feed their own egos rather than "improve" anything that I was doing. The only true advice one can give about singing a song is to find your own voice and feel what you are singing, simple (click)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 06:05 AM

Dick
Once and for all
It is my opinion that diction, or any other form of 'coaching' is unnecessary, involves cost, and is, more often than not impractical because of the dire shortage of 'coaches/teachers, or any other form of instructors who are skilled at their trade and are conversant with folk styles of singing.
You have provided a few examples of dialect songs - nowhere have you provided evidence that the singers have sought the services of coaches to enable them to handle the dialect singing of folk songs, there aren't any as far as I am aware, and they would be as necessary as bicycles for fish; the acquiring of a dialect is either bred into you, or simply acquired by listening and imitation.
Your somewhat pig-headed insistence on stressing the need for coaching nowhere refers to the alternative I have suggested, that of group of generous, like-minded enthusiasts getting together to work on each others singing - cheap, efficient, readily available - and most of all, beneficial to all who participate in such exercises.
I suggested it because I saw it work - over and over and over again.
It helped me, and I saw it help others - it is the reason I am enjoying singing at the present time.
On the basis of that experience I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anybody who would like to improve their singing and assist others to do so.
So far you have indulged only in hypotheticals - you have not suggested the practicality of finding voice coaches who are conversant in voice coaching for folk singing, you have not given examples of such coaches, and you certainly haven't established a need for them.
To be honest, I have only bothered to respond to your wild, and often extremely insulting posts in order to take advantage of repeating what I firmly believe based on years of practical experience - anybody can sing, with work, anybody can sing well, and with practical help from fellow enthusiasts anybody can accelerate the process of learning and acieving skill and understanding - simple as that.
I believe you to be a enthusiastic and entertaining performer who works hard at what you do, but to be honest, I sometimes find your off-the-wall responses to others insulting and, from your point of view, counterproductive.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: MikeL2
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 06:10 AM

Hi

Interesting thread.

Re – Jim's point about recording your own voice and listening to it – Many years ago a very good friend of mine who I admired and respected advised me to rehearse numbers in front of a mirror while recording the songs. I didn't have any film or video recording kit at that time.

Jim is right – what I heard was not what I thought I sounded like. And same with the appearance….at first I couldn't believe that it was me performing. I found this extremely useful in helping me improve and also vitally gave me much more confidence when performing in front of an audience.

With regard to giving advice to others … I only give advice if somebody asks for it. And I hope that advice has always been seen to be constructive because IMHO that is the whole point of the exercise.
Over the years I have been given much advice at performances – most of which went in one ear and out of the other…usually this advice was offered by people who were totally unqualified or incapable of doing so.
Cheers

MikeL2


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 12:22 PM

Once and for all
It is my opinion that diction, or any other form of 'coaching' is unnecessary, involves cost, and is, more often than not impractical because of the dire shortage of 'coaches/teachers, or any other form of instructors who are skilled at their trade and are conversant with folk styles of singing.
    that is my point, you get someone who likes folk music and ask them to listen to ones singing,[preferably a song they do not know all the words of], they listen and point out any words that are not clear, they do not have to be a singing coach,or professional voice trainer, they just have to use their ears., and point out any words that are not clear. that is in fact teaching diction, it is pointing out words that are not clear DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING JIM.
the above does not interfere with accent.
jim , as usual you are unable to come up with any evidence to back up your statement, this is something i have seen you do before in your below the line spats with other members.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 12:44 PM

"it is possible to teach people to sing without teaching them style, you teach them how to sing in tune how to have good diction, you can show them how to gradually improve their size of vocal range, so yes it is possible to teach technique without imposing personal views. it is possible to teach the m breathing exrcises and how to use the diaphragm to get better control of air.
none of this has anything to do with style,
you can also teach them how to interpret a song to bring out the story, in my opinion the best way to do this is by taking a song and showing 3 different interpretations, that way a student can be conscious of different styles, this is in my opinion is a preferable alternative to playing a recording of one singer and saying this is the best way to do it"
nowhere in the above post , or anywhere else have i suggested going to a professional coach, i said ..you teach them how to have good diction, the way that is done is explained in my previous post.it is done by getting the person to sing to another person and then get an opinion about clarity of words.DO YOU UNDERSTAND,JIM WHAT I AM SAYING.
there is nothing off the wall about this.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 02:46 PM

"there is nothing off the wall about this.
Your insulting and arrogant behaviour is the off-the wall behaviour i'm referring to.
You son't strike as being qualified to teach anything
Your lack of people skills - as displayed here and elsewhere, would more likely persuade them to go off and take up macrame rather than work at being a singer.
If you repeated "DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M SAYING" the way you have here you'd spend most of your lesson time picking your teeth up off the floor.
I've given you examples of exercises for people to work on their own pronunciation rather than someone trying to "teach" it.
Your postings are partly repetition of what I have already said - which you have either taken as your own in order to cobble some sort of a half-arsed face-saving escape clause, or you simply haven't read what I've written.
People are quite capable of making their own judgements - if they need help they are better advised to obtain a consensus of views rather than run the risk of having personal prejudices of an individual imposed on their singing.
Let people make their own judgement rather than allow a "teacher" to impose his/hers.
I wouldn't take it upon myself to presume to "tutor" anybody
I wouldn't presume to "teach" anybody anybody anything - neither would MacColl when he set up the Critics Group; what little I've heard of your singing doesn't show an outstanding ability on your part to teach anybody anything - rather, you might give them encouragement, no more.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 04:14 PM

Your lack of people skills - as displayed here and elsewhere, would more likely persuade them to go off and take up macrame rather than work at being a singer."
Jim, you have never met me,furthermore your statement could not be further from the truth.
and now here are some more facts, I have taught pupils for many years, some have stayed with me for five to six years and have recommended other people to take lessons.
I recently did a workshop at Tenterden folk festival,the feedback was good, nobody decided to take up macrame as far as i am aware, in fact a couple of mudcat members were there]and i have not heard any reports of them taking up macrame.
    jim, everyone including the tone deaf can have an opinion on singing, that does not mean their or your opinion is of any worth, ANY MORE THAN YOUR OPINIONS ON FOLK CLUBS ARE OF ANY WORTH,those opinions like so many of your opinions are based upon THE VERY occasional visit YOU MAKE to England and are classic cases of generalising from the particular.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 03:17 AM

jim, you are also confusing the abilty to teach with the abilty to sing/play well, being a good musician/singer does not mean that the person will be a good teacher.
quote "what little I've heard of your singing doesn't show an outstanding ability on your part to teach anybody anything - rather, you might give them encouragement, no more".
next you refer to my lack of people ability[ you have never met me], yet again you are confused, you are surely talking about what YOU consider is my lack of internet skill[a debatable point, which to me is reminiscent of the pot calling the kettle black], you see I think you lack internet skill, but unlike you I will give some examples, your below the line wrangling with keith a[whenever you are asked to produce evidence you dont, you resort to insults], rather similiar to your last post [where you attempt to denigrate my singing].
here are some facts, jim, I have been singing on a professional basis since 1976, and am employed regularly to do so, in fact recently I was given a t shirt by Stockton folk club, because in 50 years,Iwas the singer that was booked to perform the most.
the difference between you and me Jim, is that I can and do perform and get paid for singing[ and i have the t shirt to prove it, you on the other hand just talk about it.
the only thing you have done in the last 30 years is collect songs[ nothing wrong with that] but it does not mean you have the right to come on here and attack me personally and/ or my singing.
further more you have gone back to your tactics those you use with keith a, of when asked to provide stats or evidence, putting up a smoke screen and using either insults or denigrating the other person.
jim , please answer my question, how does listening to another performer[ my idea of teaching or helping] and helping them to sing clearly[ good diction] eg pointing out any words that are unclear. "often interfere with accent" as you put it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 04:06 AM

Sorry Dick - self recommendation is never a reliable guide to someone's abilities.
You are right - I have never met you - all I have to go on is what you contribute to this forum, and your persistent arrogant rudeness, hectoring, bullying, and insults scream out (to me at least) that this is not what I would look for or expect in a 'teacher' (not since they closed down the old Irish Industrial schools because of what went on there).
Your facile suggestions of "3 different interpretations" or "teach them how to interpret a song to bring out the story" goes against everything I was part of for 20 years.
Every singer is different and every problem those singers have is unique to those individual singers, and to produce a cure-all 'scribbled on the back of an envelope' solution to all ills just doesn't hack it.
A singer must make his/her own decision on interpretation, based on the text and on their own personal take on that text.
Each singer's own problems have to be dealt with as just that - individual, unique problems.
That cannot be quick-fix 'taught', you can only work on what a singer has already done and help (help only - not teach) them to build on that.
Even raw beginners have done some work and reached some conclusions on what they want to achieve.
Nobody has the right or the ability to impose styles and interpretations, or even restrict the number of interpretations to three or however many - that is the most personal and in many ways the most enjoyable part of singing - expressing your own feelings and emotions through song - that can never be 'taught'.
In my opinion, the very first thing you need to do with new singers is to encourage them to listen to our source singers, particularly the best of them - if anybody has a claim to be 'teachers' it is the people who have kept them alive and passed them on for generations, centuries even.
Your record on source singers doesn't particularly commend you as a good 'teacher' I'm afraid.
'Tone deafness' is a fairly rare medical condition which very seldom surfaces in wannabe singers (certainly not in my experience) - I doubt if it can be cured or even commented on by amateurs like ourselves.
It is often mistaken for unfamiliarity with the act of singing and sometimes used to dismiss prospective singers as no-hopers - as you appear to have done here by relegating them to no more than opinion givers.
"THE VERY occasional visit YOU MAKE to England and are classic cases of generalising from the particular."   
I get more than a little tired of arguments like these - you are the one of two people on this forum who use it instead of argument in discussions.
I don't attend English clubs as often as I did or as often as I want to - that in no way excludes me from holding or expressing an opinion on what goes on there.
I have some idea of the pertaining state of things: from the web, from what singers like you put up on U-tube, from discussions on Mudcat, from magazine articles, from regular visits of English singers to festivals and singing week-ends over here, from constant contact with friends on the scene.... far more than I ever did when I was attending the handful of clubs I did when I was living in the UK.
Added to which, the four decades I was involved in the English scene is enough to persuade me that things haven't changed for the better and a significant number of people still involved agree with that.
If your ill-mannered and dismissive behaviour on this forum is anything to go by I am glad to be able to view the scene from a distance where I can put the occasional self-promoting arrogance and seemingly built in corpse-kicking into perspective.
"DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M SAYING DICK"               
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 04:09 AM

Sorry - cross-posted
Your latest offering was elitism in the extreme "me performer - you listener"
Thank you for making my point so perfectly
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 05:05 AM

I think the idea of a critics group( or night ) a very interesting one. There are so many things you could say but don't like to
- you're never ready
- you may be the organiser but taking every third spot is not really on
-excluding those not in the ' in crowd'
- over long songs/ tunes that no one else knows
- eating crisps too loudly
- going to the bar in the middle of someone else playing/ singing
- arriving late and expecting to be given an immediate spot

Then there are all the musical things.

perhaps its better just to air the comments here.
FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 06:13 AM

no jim,
it was a statement of fact, i have been earning my living as a singer am still doing it and have got the t shirt, furthermore i wouldnt still be getting bookings if i was as you put it not fit to teach singing "!apart from encouraging", you on the other hand do nothing but talk about it.,when someone questions a statement of yours, you cannot provide any back up.
you are entitled to an opinion in much the same way anybody is, but in my opinion your opinion is of little interest to me. i do however value the opinions of singers i respect on the subject of singing, but i do not respect over inflated wind bags.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 08:50 AM

Jim Carroll wrote:-
"they would be as necessary as bicycles for fish."


In the main, I would agree with Jim, but it not universally true. This photo that I took in Sidmouth shows a Fish that has a great need of bicycles.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 08:58 AM

The post on 04 Nov 13 - 08:50 was by Vic Smith. Whilst posting it, he was simultaneously repairing a puncture on the front wheel of his haddock's bike and was too focussed on that to notice that he has lost his cookie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 09:06 AM

Flora
"I think the idea of a critics group (or night ) a very interesting one. "
Nice idea, but in practice we've found it seldom work without things all ending in tears.
The singarounds I've been part of worked far better when they were "chaired" by someone who has the sense and experience to not only keep the noise down, stop shuffling feet, get mobile phones turned off, stop clandestine diners treating sessions as cafes... and all the other irritants you mention, but also, while make sure everybody gets a chance, attempts to strike a balance between the lesser experienced and talented and the seasoned performers.
This can help avoid the long runs of singers who are still finding their feet and give a chance of the listener going home having heard a good mix of talents.
Some of the best sessions have been to have been handled in this way – some of the worst are ones I'd never go to more than a couple of times.
Sorry about the somewhat bilious interruptions by the way
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 09:06 AM

Flora
"I think the idea of a critics group (or night ) a very interesting one. "
Nice idea, but in practice we've found it seldom work without things all ending in tears.
The singarounds I've been part of worked far better when they were "chaired" by someone who has the sense and experience to not only keep the noise down, stop shuffling feet, get mobile phones turned off, stop clandestine diners treating sessions as cafes... and all the other irritants you mention, but also, while make sure everybody gets a chance, attempts to strike a balance between the lesser experienced and talented and the seasoned performers.
This can help avoid the long runs of singers who are still finding their feet and give a chance of the listener going home having heard a good mix of talents.
Some of the best sessions have been to have been handled in this way – some of the worst are ones I'd never go to more than a couple of times.
Sorry about the somewhat bilious interruptions by the way
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 09:21 AM

"bilious interruptions"

Oh! I didn't realise that we were were playing 'Just A Minute' and could interrupt. In that case BUZZZZZZ I press my buzzer and accuse Jim Carroll of repetition in the last two postings 04 Nov 13 - 09:06 AM and 04 Nov 13 - 09:06 AM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 10:11 AM

Thank you for that Vic - never took you for a Knickerless Parson.
Hope you don't regret your retirement - by the way - if it's anything like ours, you'll wonder how you ever found time to do what you do.
G'luck
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 10:29 AM

I think my work here is done. Thanks to all who posted supportive comments, and Dave.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 11:07 AM

Fare thee well, sweet Craigie Hill!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 11:53 AM

@GSS

"i have been earning my living as a singer am still doing it and have got the t shirt"

Of course we only have your word for that.

Care to identify yourself so we can check bookings lists?

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST, Poxicat
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 12:16 PM

There is some irony (probably not intended by the posters) in places above, specifically the posts by FloraG and GSS.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 12:17 PM

Tone - this thread spills the beans.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 01:23 PM

ok, canal wheeler is tony haynes who I have never met.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 02:47 PM

Sorry - that last should be "singing workshop at a festival he is involved in".
Too much of a hurry not to miss University Challenge
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 02:49 PM

Me? Cowardly? Unpleasant?

As you ask, and only because you ask:

I am an organiser. In case you are not sure what that means I will explain.

I was a Folk DJ on Chiltern Radio and Horizon Radio in the North London Home Counties. I got the job through the recommendation of a previous DJ, Pete Castle.

I

I ran revived and several successful folk clubs in the St Albans area, notably the Steamerfolk Club, the Beehive and the Duke of Malborough.

I ( with Colin Bargery) formed Cottonmill Clog Morris and Ramrugge Morris.

I risked my personal investment in booking artistes such as yourself, but I never booked you because have no time for arrogance.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Acme
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 04:01 PM

Why don't you fellas drop the pissing contest and then I won't have to go in and take out any more personal attacks. Thanks.

SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 06:55 PM

This is entering the realms of fantasy,I ask for evidence about teaching diction "often interfering with accent"
and along come people accusing me of telling others how they should sing.
it is quite true I said that I did not think very much of performers who mumbled behind crib sheets, Vic Smith agreed with me,
but that has got subtly changed by rev bayes and tony haynes to "I am telling people how to sing"
    the fact of the matter is that I have been earning my living as a performer for many years, so clearly a lot of other people including many clubs that have booked me consistently over the years
Stockton, darlington [brit], faversham, swindon, four fools, lewes [sat club] billingham[wilsons club] maidenhead,aberdeen, deal,potteries folk club,cork singers club,kiveton park, saltburn bodmin, they must have all got it wrong, they clearly   have a different opinion to Tony Haynes and the anonymous guest rev bayes. by the way tony haynes runs this,
its only seven months away but no dates are available yet.   
May (Dates for 2014 not yet available)
Yorkshire Air Ambulance Folk Weekend
Sutton upon Derwent Village Hall YO41 4BN
Starring Steve Tilston plus an anthem writing competition for YAA Saturday evening. Local artists and musicians welcome Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Local camping and parking free. Bar by Great Heck Brewery
Contact: Tony Haynes
Telephone: 01903 762 864
Mobile: 07708 970083
Email: canaldrifter@gmx.com
Website: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0WlAUdUVmHCRlNTblBXWkZBRGM/edit


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 02:54 AM

WWhy don't you fellas drop the pissing contest and then "
Happily - but it's a little difficult when serious suggestions are met with personal abuse - read through the suggestions and responses.
Singing workshops have been one of my main interests since was invited to join MacColl's Critics Group in 1969.
I have amassed an archive of information on relaxation and voice exercises, song analysis that has been researched and carried out by the Group which I have always been happy to pass on when asked.
It is by no means the only work on singing carried out on singing, but it represents seven years of fairly intensive work carried out by a single group of fairly well-established singers over such a period - some of those singers, MacColl, Seeger, Frankie Armstrong.... being leading figures both in singing and in workshop training.
I don't expect expected people to fall on their faces and accept the conclusions of this work, but, as a member of a democratic forum I do expect a fair hearing, uninterrupted by personal abuse from a single individual.
The work is there for debate - such debate has been made virtually impossible by Dick's behaviour here.
Sorry folks - I have no interest in people using threads to promote themselves whenever the opportunity arises - I'm far too old for all this and it's not why I signed up for this man's army!!!      
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 02:57 AM

so here is what has taken place.
I ask jim, for some back up evidence that someone helping another singer with their diction often interferes with accent,Jim replies with a personal attack saying that I am not fit to teach singing only fit to to encourage, then he claims he doesnt want to discuss the merits of my singing.
make up your mind jim , you have just criticised my merits, then you say you dont want to.
   then we have some anonymous troll the rev bayes, who come in with this(B) Dick, you're in no position to tell anyone to learn how to sing. I've heard you sing, and while you're not the worst there's no way you should be earning a living as a professional.
another personal attack,please note I HAVE NEVER TOLD ANYONE HOW THEY SHOULD SING, I said that good diction can be taught without losing accent., i explained how I thought this could be done, I will reiterate,
a singer meets with someone whose opinion they respect.the other person listens and points out any words that are not clear.
it is not necessary in my opinion to be a professional singing coach, all that is needed is familarity with the music and careful listening, how is poor diction rectified, it is rectified by listening until there is clarity.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 03:11 AM

jim,
debate has not been possible because as usual[similiar to your correspondence with keith a of hertford] you resort to personal attacks[ my merits as a workshop leader and/ or teacher and singer, instead of providing facts when you were asked to, whats new Jim, you do this all the time on this forum.
you accuse me of self promotion,you attack my ability to teach or run workshops, then you come back in saying you dont want to discuss the merits of my singing after saying that i am only good enough to encourage.
the statement of fact [which you call self promotion], has been in response to your rubbishing of me, plus tony haynes rev bayes[ cowardly anonymous troll.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 03:18 AM

I have seen GSS perform at Waltham Abbey FC.
He was excellent and everyone there agreed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 03:45 AM

This is not about diction Dick - it is about helping singers to work on singing by positive criticism.
Who started what is immaterial - it has escalated into a slanging match, - let's stop it now and discuss the subject in hand.
This argument has all but destroyed an otherwise interesting discussion on an important subject.
PLEASE STOP IT NOW
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 04:17 AM

Criticising anyones singing is always problematic. Some things such as the ability to sing in tune can be judged with a degree of objectivity, other aspects of performance will be much more subjective. A singer may receive very different feedback dependent upon he type of club/setting they appear at.
This thread does illustrate one point, which is that in most circumstances people tend to be very reluctant to say anything negative about a singers performance. Whether this is a good thing is certainly a matter worthy of discussion.
Many people on this forum post videos on youtube, including some involved in this thread. Having watched a number of these I am sometimes amazed by the gushing praise for some performances which I have to say I have found pretty poor. Of course I never upset the applecart by going against the flow and being critical. It is the old saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I play with a couple of friends and we do it because we enjoy it. We practice regularly and we give each other both support and criticism. We strive to be better, but as amateurs we make the occassional cock-up e.g. me changing the key without telling the others, but we are not getting paid and we do learn from our mistakes which seems to me to be a key point.
I know that to some the music/song is a matter for arcane discussion, but for me if either the listening or the playing is not enjoyable it becomes rather pointless.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 04:37 AM

One off-on the spot, especially uncalled for criticism is not particularly helpful in my experience as it immediately puts up a defence mechanism - a singer is unlikely to take it into consideration in these circumstances.
On the other hand, if a singer asks for help, I think he or she should be prepared for comments - adverse or otherwise, on what he or she is doing, and more often than not is prepared to accept such comments in the spirit they are offered.
I cringed dozens of times when I heard singers approach MacColl at clubs, having just sung, and asking him for comments, when what they really wanted was for him to say that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
He invariably gave advice, sometimes detailed and I've overheard extremely resentful comments later - it became part of the myth that MacColl "told people how to sing".
I think it was ill-judged on his part, whatever his reasons for doing so - quick-fixes like that seldom work.
All criticisms should be balanced in a way that a singer can build on their strengths and reconsider their weaknesses - stick and carrot (presuming the singer agrees with the criticism, of course - in the end, it is they who are singing the song and it is their choice what they do with it)
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 06:23 AM

jim.
diction is part of singing, singing is about communicating, audiences have to be able[amongst other things] to understand words
so diction comes under the category of helping singers by giving positve criticism .
i have stated a couple of times that criticism should be given in private and when asked for, it should also in my opinion, be given in a diplomatic manner, so find something good about the persons perfomance, mention it first, then come up with constructive criticism.
   i fail to see how the above comments can be construed as arrogant.
comments denigrating my charcter [ by reputation not a nice character], from people I have never met tell people more about the character of the people who make the comments.
incidentally I met MacColl on a number of occasions, on the first occasion i found him to be extremely arrogant and rude, I think he was a fine songwriter, and a good singer, although there are a number of revival singers who I would prefer to listen to, and a number of tradtional singers larner cox, bob lewis, who in my opinion are better


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 06:23 AM

Ultimately I think it's not how you say it but why you say it. You can dress up a put-down in sympathetic language, but it'll still be a put-down. The supportive alternative to

"Nice song, but you went flat in the chorus"

isn't

"I did enjoy that song - such a shame you went flat in the chorus"

which is just the same thing dressed up a bit. The supportive version would be more like

"Do you sing that song a lot? Is that where you usually pitch it? I was just wondering if you might want to try it a touch lower down. It can be hard to nail those high notes every time."

The real question is whether you want to help the person - in which case you'll do what it takes - or you just want to let them know they're not as good as they may think they are. The latter is probably better left unsaid.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 06:51 AM

perhaps Jim and GSS could exchange e.mail addresses and continue their capitalised confrontation by that means.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 07:32 AM

"Do you sing that song a lot? Is that where you usually pitch it? I was just wondering if you might want to try it a touch lower down. It can be hard to nail those high notes every time".
spot on, that is exactly how constructive criticism should be given.      
correcting diction or even ACCENT OR IF YOU WANT DIALECT, is part of constructive criticism of singing, again the way to approach this would be for example. I really enjoyed your version of nicotine girl, but did you sing "down the wymondham way"
i might be wrong ,i am no expert but i think it is generally pronounced windham.
again this sort of thing is best done on a one to one basis, not in front of a whole club.
incidentally an example of MacColls arrogance or rudeness, the lisa turner incident, telling her or maybe even interrupting her when she was on stage, to inform her that the club had a policy that performers had to of sing songs from their own country, that sort of thing should be done afterwards and in private.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 07:42 AM

MacColls arrogance did not put me off booking him, because they were good performers, which in my opinion should always be the criteria, they gave an excellent night and went and stayed in a hotel


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 08:38 AM

"perhaps Jim and GSS could exchange e.mail addresses and continue their capitalised confrontation by that means."
Please don't associate me with this harangue any longer - I have said what I have to say on the matter and have no intention to continuing this argument with Dick, which is why I addressed my last remarks to something somebody else raised here.
Old news, if people will allow it to be - forget it.
Nor do I have any particular wish to rake over old ground in the MacColl Mythology saga - it has no place here
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 08:57 AM

yes it does, it all relates to any criticism being made in private, whether it is criticism of choice of material, criticism of diction, or any other criticism.
the op said a matter of protocol or politeness,
something that 3 posters here have ignored, one of them being jim carroll, with his remark about the merits of me helping someone with their singing being enough to make someone go away and take up macrame.
jim, you as usual have failed to adress the point made about teaching or correcting diction, you have as is your want, then taken it upon yourself[presumably as a smokescreen] to denigrate my abilities.
when will you provide any evidence that correcting a persons diction often interferes with accent and dialect.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 09:42 AM

: 01 Nov 13 - 12:28 PM
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 06:17 PM

Just returned form a village pub singaround.

Its a great pub. The beer is good and not overpriced. The performers are also well accomplished and vert friendly.

The problem is the landlord has a very strident voice and talks over almost everything, unless it his daughter who is performing. (She is a very good pianist on the pub piano.)

Because the landlord talks loudly over the singers, then so do his regulars who seem not to be interested in song performance at all.

So.... how do we criticise this situation?

I would just not go any more, but I love the pub and the other singers.

I'm very sure in days of yore (Hey, that could be a rhyming lyric!) that when somebody sang in a pub everyone else shut up and listened.

Times change I suppose.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 06:54 PM

Are there enough interested listeners to form a physical barrier between the singers and the noisemakers? Would they be willing to just stand there and keep the racket away?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 03:07 AM

"I'm very sure in days of yore"
Used to be part of a children's rhyme in Liverpool
It went on....
Before paper was invented,
They wiped their holes on telegraph poles
And rode away contented.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 04:05 AM

Tone - I've experienced four different setups when it comes to the relationship between audience and folk performers:

1. Audience Listens, You Play (old-style FCs, particularly if unamplified)
2a. Audience Talks, You Play (pubs & bars who put performers on as background music, particularly if amplified)
2b. Audience Talks, You Win Them Over (like the previous, but people have come expecting to be entertained; you can get them on your side with The Wild Rover, but you'll lose them halfway through Plains of Waterloo)
3. Audience, What Audience? (if you're in the room you'll be asked if you've got a song, probably more than once)

1 and 3 are fine in my experience, but both the 2s are pretty awful. You're currently stuck in 2a. You could go for 2b, although I wouldn't recommend it - I was in a pub session once which was organised on the basis of (a) sing or play what you want but (b) entertain the rest of the room, and it wasn't ideal. Or you might have a chance of going for 3, if there's a room you can commandeer - how big is the pub? I don't think you can get to 1, though - once people get used to talking over music they don't want to give it up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 06:05 AM

I did consider politely asking the landlord and his little corner of regulars to keep the noise down a bit, but I reckon that would just put their backs up. And it isn't my singaround or my local any road up.

It is a small pub, and a natural barrier does happen between most of the bar and the singers, but I reckon that makes it worse. The chatterers tend to forget we're there, then.

The best singers club I ran was the old Steamer in St Albans. It was in a large side-room, and you left it to get to the bar, so we had few interruptions and no unintended audience.

The club I'm starting in York this Sunday is a similar layout, though the room is open to the rest of the pub, but I already have the manager's promise that she will keep the bar noise down for us. Sunday's are quiet anyway.

If some of the uni students turn up, I might have to explain the acoustic etiquette to them, but that shouldn't be a problem.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 06:07 AM

As someone who plays in noisy pubs fairly frequently, one of the things that often surprises me is how often people who appeared to spend the whole time talking will often come up and say how much they enjoyed the music and some charitable souls will even buy us beer.
Folk clubs where silence is required and appreciation shown for the poorest of performances are the preserve of the enthusiast.
More pertinent to the thread is the fact that you probably have to do a better job in the pub to get praise than you will ever have to do in a folk club.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 08:07 AM

Over here musicians can be among the worst culprits, though not all of them - some of them are the best listeners I know.
You do get the odd music session where they feel like a break, ask a singer up, then go to the bar and talk loudly with their mates
I'm never sure how to cope with singing sessions in public bars - many regulars are happy just to come in for a pint and the landlord is more interested in keeping them as customers than he is catering for an occasional singing session.
There is a magnificent recording made by a collector friend of ours in a public bar.
The old man had an extremely rare ballad which he was reluctant to sing at home, so he and my friend adjourned to the local, near-empty pub, with a couple of other locals and asked permission of the landlord to make a recording.
Half way through the ballad, another couple of locals came in, stood at the far end of the bar and began to talk loudly.
One of our friend's company asked them to keep the noise down, but was ignored, so the irate local strode down to the end of the bar and decked one of the culprits.
Our friend got it all down on tape and often played it at talks he gave on song collecting - he referred to it once as "balladus interruptus"
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 08:10 AM

What pub-goers like is a bit of a lottery, though. Years ago I was at a singaround with Les (of Chorlton) in a corner of a very noisy pub, and Les did his take on The Wild Rover ("No nay never... shall I sing The Wild Rover...") As we were winding down, an hour or so later, the landlady stood us all drinks and asked if we could sing that song again, because it was one of her favourites. So we all ended up singing TWR that very night, ironically enough. I think that was the same night somebody made a request for "Ar-dee-doo-wah"; fortunately one of us knew it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 08:22 AM

"balladus interruptus"

Just a similar anecdote. Our trio, "Press Gang" back in the early 70s was playing Borehamwood Folk Club at the Red Lion. The room was separate, but you could see across the bar into the public bar-room. We were singing Cyril's 'Grey Funnel Line'.

About half way through the second verse, a glass tankard was thrown in the other room, hitting and breaking the optics. The barman leapt over the bar and decked the guy who thew the glass.

A bar fight broke out by verse three.

Somebody phoned the police, who must have been close as a car turned up outside on blues and twos in verse four.

Arrests were made, and the culprits were marched out of the pub in custody during verse five, and all was quite by the end of the last chorus.

We got a standing ovation for not missing a beat! That was recorded too. Its on a cassette somewhere. I played it to Cyril. He loved it.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 08:37 AM

'Over here musicians can be among the worst culprits, though not all of them - some of them are the best listeners I know.
You do get the odd music session where they feel like a break, ask a singer up, then go to the bar and talk loudly with their mates'


In all fairness Jim, same musicians have probably played through hundreds of nights while the singers sat at the bar making a racket only to demand total silence as soon as one them thought of uttering a few lines of song. Not to mention the dirty looks thrown when a musician happens to pluck a string, to check tuning or the key of a singer, or audibly puts down a pint glass on the bar.

These things have to go both ways to work well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 08:59 AM

"These things have to go both ways to work well."
They do of course Peter, I'm not singling musicians out - it goes with the territory of singing in public bars - but on the few occasions where I've seen what I've described happen I've always thought it a little mercenary to use singers in that way.
Clare fiddle Joe Ryan player made an interesting comment on singing on the obituary programme for Junior Crehan, the veteran Clare musician.
As you probably know, Junior was a singer and an avid enthusiast of singing though he was better known as a musician.
Joe was asked by the interviewer what part singing played in the old sessions which took place almost exclusively in people's homes - house dances.
Joe replied that many musicians dreaded the singing, not because they disliked it, but because it always took place at the end of the evening - he said that in his and many other's other's memories, it marked the end of a good night's dancing.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 09:19 AM

' it goes with the territory of singing in public bars - but on the few occasions where I've seen what I've described happen I've always thought it a little mercenary to use singers in that way '

I can assure you musicians bestowed with the task of providing a few tunes at a singers' night aren't generally treated any different. Which is probably fair enough, singers who have concentrated on singing and listening to other singers need to relax, have a drink and a chat and what better time than when the musicianers provide an interlude. And ditto when the shoe is on the other foot.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 10:54 AM

Isn't it better to keep the singarounds and the musicians' sessions separate, either different nights at the same venue or different venues on the same night?

York, and the surrounding area has several sessions and several singarounds, but I don't know of any sessions that welcome singers. I do know of singarounds where somebody offering a well-played tune in turn goes down OK, but most of the sessions frown on singers and see them as an interruption. At least one established session in York actually bans singing!

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 11:21 AM

I have no doubt what you are saying is true Peter, but in my experience I have met far mor singers who appreciate music than I have musiians who appreciate singing - though I wouldn't want to generalise on that.
Two stories on the hazards of public performance:
Blind Henry Blake of Kilbaha, South Clare, was the last of the big Irish Language storytellers here.
Henry lived on the Shannon Estuary and related an evocative account of the time the sailing ships travelled up and down the Shannon, when he heard the shanties drifting across the water on summer nights.
Our friend from the previous story sought him out to record - he agreed, and they adjourned to the local bar, which was empty of customers.
Halfway through one of Henry's big tales, a man came in, turned the television on and sat down to watch a football match.
Henry stood up and walked out - he never told another story.

Back in the seventies we recorded a storyteller from North Clare, Pat MacNamara of Kilshanny - Pat had a large repertoire of tales ranging from about five minutes up to over an hour in length - he also had about eighty songs.
The landlady of the local pub was kindness itself, she was around eighty, like Pat, and they had been lifelong frends.
She took the bell off the door (it was a combined shop and pub) and allowed us to record all Pats songs over a few afternoons, but when it came to his stories, she refused flatly.
She explained that in earlier years locals would gather to hear Pat tell stories, but she put a stop to it when he began to start his longest stories a short time before closing time - after this had happened half-a-dozen times she vowed she would never allow another story to be told in the bar.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 11:28 AM

Over here, we consider singers musicians. They just aren't always instrumentalists. And we DO have some mixed sessions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 11:39 AM

I don't doubt singers appreciate music Jim. They just don't stop talking when music is being played. Musicians generally like a few songs too, they always get shushed if they dare to blink an eye. That's the whole difference. But it comes with the territory of playing or singing in pubs. Something we'll have to accept if we take part in that activity.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 11:46 AM

Agreed Peter
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 02:08 PM

other threads have bemoaned the decline of clubs. However, what is becoming clear is that there are many settings where Traditional
/acoustic music is welcomed: pubs, singarounds, sessions, folk clubs, open mics,etc. Everyone should be able to find somewhere to suit their own particular tastes. A cause for celebration one would think.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 03:52 PM

In Ireland most of the singers clubs that I have been booked at are held in seperate club rooms, all the people that attend go there specifically to listen to songs, in my opinion this is the best setting for singing.
most instrumental sessions in pubs are treated by audience as places to go and chat and half listen,this is not so soul destroying for the performers[most instrumental sessions are groups of six or more] as it is for the booked song bands playing with amplification in pubs, where it is treated as background music.
I have no great desire to play in pubs in england or ireland, as a song performer where the folk club is not in a seperate room,NEW YEARS EVE IS IN MY EXPERIENCE A DEFINITE NO NON, there are of course a few exceptions.
in my opinion the best place for singers clubs is in a seperate room.
The best one i know where i have been booked regularly,is in The Spailpin Fanach in Cork City.
I live in Ireland, I have no wish to play in badly run events held in pubs where people are making a lot of noise, if that makes me arrogant, so be it, that is my choice i choose to play where i like and with people whom i like, that is why i enjoy doing it.
if i had to play in crap venues with crap people, I wouldnt bother, doing that is imo the way   to lose a love of the music, the music means more to me than that, its good music that should be treated with love ,not ignored or ridiculed or used as a background for a drunken brawl.
In the not too distant future I will be playing at one of my favourite folk clubs run by The Wilson Family in Billingham, I would rather play there with excellent singers and people with a good knowledge of the music.
I choose where I want to sing, I dont need to sing in any old badly run joint.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 07:10 AM

Found this response I gave to somebody way back - more or less sums up the "Criticism" side of the Critics Group.
Jim Carroll

Thanks for your response; the method I described seems to be the general one at present. The classes I attended (out of curiosity more than anything else) were given by ******   ****** ****** ****** I have to say I got nothing from any of them and in ****** class (which was probably the best of them) we had the added obstacle of singing in a language most of us did not understand (Irish).
As singing classes seem to be growing in popularity, I thought it worth raising the question of how they are conducted.
How did MacColl teach? - in a word, he didn't. When he was approached to take classes in the early sixties he gave it some thought - and turned down the idea. Instead, he adopted a technique which had been used in Theatre Workshop and other theatre companies; that of group participation.
A singer would be asked to choose a number of songs (anything from say three to half-a-dozen) and present them as if they were performing in front of an audience (including introductions, if appropriate). Often the type of audience was specified (regular club attenders, aficionados, totally unfamiliar with traditional song etc). The only criterion was that the songs should be contrasting (in tone speed, pitch, dynamic - whatever).
At the end of the performance there would be a discussion, the starting point being whether the audience was moved or convinced by the singing.
A general discussion would then take place, usually opening with the technical aspects, then touching on the singer's analysis of the song. It was expected that any discussion of the performance was positive, and that the good points of the singing were given as much attention as the weaknesses.
More often than not some sort of a consensus was reached and suggestions would be made as to how the singing could be improved. The aim was that these suggestions were limited to the main problems and did not give a singer too much to be handled in one sitting. Some practical work would be tried on some of the suggestions made
MacColl would usually take no part in this discussion, except to make sure that any points and questions raised in the discussion were clear to everybody. At the end of the evening he would summarise, not necessarily on the specific nights work, but often on the general aspects of singing and songs that may have been relevant to what had been discussed.
MacColl wrote very little on his ideas on singing, so the recordings of these 'soliloquy's' are the only records of his approach (many/most were recorded and are housed at Birmingham Central Library). To say that they were 'inspiring' would be to grossly understate; you often left these sessions walking a few feet above pavement level. They were superb and I still get a buzz from listening to them (we have a full set of 200 odd tapes of them here).
MacColl's main contribution to the work of the Critics group was in the exercises he devised aimed at technical aspects of singing; voice exercises aimed at extending range and producing tones for different types of song; relaxation routines based around breath control etc. Particularly important were his ideas on 'efforts' in singing, based largely around work he had adapted from Laban's theories of movement as applied to dance (his ex wife, Jean Newlove, was a Laban movement teacher).
He also did some work to assist singers to relate to and get into the songs, based on Stanislavski's theatre 'method'.
The method of work adopted was demanding; on the one hand a singer had to be prepared to sit through an analysis (albeit friendly) of their performance, but once you accepted this, it became easy and one of the problems was that a group of more than a dozen plus could not meet the demand of the people who wished to be worked on. These 'group criticism' sessions were only part of the Group's work and certainly did not happen more than once a month, if that.
There was no obligation whatever on the part of the singer, to take up the suggestions made during these sessions, but it was expected that singers should go away and work on their singing and maybe bring one or two of the songs back some time later to see how/if any progress was being made.
The plus side of working like this was that once you sang at one these sessions, you could sing anywhere – they were great for getting rid of inhibitions. One great advantage was that, because the whole group was involved, not just the singer, everybody took something away from the session and the abilities of the group members developed as a whole.
The work done was long term and ongoing; The Critics Group met weekly for nearly ten years and while there were people who joined and left after a time (Gordon McCulloch, Luke Kelly and others for instance) there was a permanent core of singers who were in at the beginning and stayed to the end.
There were problems with the methods of work adopted, but by and large, the pluses far outweigh the minuses, and it worked - sometimes spectacularly.
The whole approach was based on the idea that anybody who got up to sing publicly was bound to generate opinions and criticisms of their singing, so anybody wishing to improve might as well turn those opinions and criticisms to their advantage by listening to them and seeing if they were of valid and of any help.
It more or less guaranteed that nobody involved was able to impose their style/idiosyncrasies, mannerisms on others. This said, MacColl's charisma, as a singer and as an individual could dominate the proceedings, but as long as you went in with your own agenda, you took away what you needed and rejected the dross. As far as I can see this dominance of the individual is one of the greatest dangers to singing at the present time – I sometimes cringe when I hear who has set themselves up as a 'singing teacher'.
It has always struck me as odd that the singing of traditional songs is the only creative pursuit where the exponents consider themselves above criticism.
Sorry this has been so long-winded; but you did ask, and I am trying to sum up ten years of work.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 10:50 AM

"As far as I can see this dominance of the individual is one of the greatest dangers to singing at the present time – I sometimes cringe when I hear who has set themselves up as a 'singing teacher'."
perhaps you could explain what this remark means, and the necessity of making it.
One criticsm I have heard of MacColls singing, made to me by a highly respected and well known singer who wished to remain anonymous, was this.
These were THAT SINGERS words," I went to see Ewan at a club and he sang a ballad that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, however 2 weeks later, I had the opportunity to see him again, howver this time i was disappointed because his interpretation was EXACTLY THE SAME"
His point was that MacColl interpeted the ballad in EXACTLY the same way, it was well rehearsed but lacked any spontaneity.
That singers point was that the song should be sung differently every time, and the fact that MacColl repeated it in exactly the same way was a criticism, and in my opinion a valid criticism.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 12:05 PM

Perhaps he had worked very hard on his interpretation, and having got it where he wanted, why would he change.
If a critic is not prepared to put his/her name to criticism they would be better staying silent.
John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Taconicus
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 12:11 PM

Personally, the idea I find most unwelcome in criticism of folk music is that there is a particular way a song "should be sung." When it comes to folk music (and analogously, most art), there is only "I like it that way" and "I don't prefer it that way" – it's all subjective. Similarly, there are those who like a song sung differently each time, and others who quite prefer it be sung exactly the way they're used to it. It's a matter of preference, nothing more.

Going back to the original question, I agree with those who said that criticism should be given only when asked, and then only in private, and in a constructive way. And if, in private, you want to make a suggestion to a singer about how to make his singing or playing better, it's always possible to talk about techniques without implying that there was anything wrong with his performance.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 12:22 PM

"His point was that MacColl interpeted the ballad in EXACTLY the same way, it was well rehearsed but lacked any spontaneity"
Simply not the case.
I listened to MacColl From 1962 - he constantly re-worked his songs - not from week-to-week (as your example appears to imply necessary), but until the songs began to get stale - as all repeated songs eventually do.
It was part of the work we did, breathing new life into older items of our repertoire.
When the songs ceased to work entirely he replaced them with other versions.
He actually wrote an article on the subject in one of the early folk magazines using The Bonnie Earl O' Moray as his example - have it archived somewhere.
One of the great flaws in this particular 'Myth' is that one of the requests made of all Singers Club residents (I know this to have been re-iterated regularly as I was a member of the audience committee who helped to run the club) was that residents were requested not to repeat songs over a period of three months so the audiences were constantly being presented with new material - Ewan and Peggy were sticklers at adhering to this in their own performances.
The only exceptions to this practice were the newly composed political pieces on current subjects (miners, Viet Nam, CND etc...)
I don't know where your anonymous quote comes from but it seems to have about the same veracity as the one about the singer stopped mid-song for singing in an American accent.
I really wasn't going to bother doing this but - as you have spent so much time telling us how good and experienced a singer you are, and as you are joining the mob who are still corpse-kicking someone who is unable to defend himself and his ideas because he snuffed it over twenty years ago....
I have just made a point of re-listening to some of your own material on U-tube
I find you to be a proficient singer, no major problems musically, either in handling song tunes or accompaniment - certainly not offensive in any way, but, to my ear, rather uninteresting; the reason being that you treat all the songs I listened to so similarly that it was difficult to distinguish between them - same dynamic, same weight, same tonal delivery... all rather samey, which is what you (via your anonymous informant) seems to be what you are accusing my dead frend and benefactor of.
As you have been as generous as you have been in putting me in my place, I am sure you will take my advice in the spirit is offered - as a desire to help.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 01:21 PM

" john charles, why would he change? if you dont know the answer to that   here is the answer,it should be different every perfomance should be different. "
By only quoting part of what I have said you distort its meaning.
Spending time to hone the performance and then deciding that you must sing it differently each time seems a rather odd way of going about the process, why bother practicing.
You seem happy to put everyone else, right but cry foul when anyone contradicts you or refers to your singing. As a professional surely you might expect your performances to be reviewed more critically than many of us who pursue our art for love not money.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Acme
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 01:36 PM

GSS, if you want to stop the personal attacks upon yourself, then you have to stop doing the same thing to other people. Tit for tat.

SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 01:49 PM

john, you dont decide it just happens


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 01:57 PM

the point of practising is to familarise yourself with the song,so that you can sing it effortlessly, and be confident.
Then you can let the song flow SPONTANEOUSLY, a good actor will do the same, AND WILL PRODUCE A DIFFERENT PERFORMANCE EACH TIME.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 02:06 PM

Hey man too loud!
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 02:31 PM

Seriously. As a philosophical point, yes each performance will be different, however, the difference will be relatively small unless the singer makes a conscious decision to alter the approach to the song.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 02:49 PM

as far as I am concerned if i make a conscious effort it is done on the spur of the moment, as i am singing, it is not premeditated.it is done in situ
I think MacColls attitude was more intellectual, more planned and premeditated.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 03:07 PM

"i have never said how good or how experienced i am, please show me the post in this thread where"
You have persistently pointed out our (perceived) inadequacies - you are noted on this forum for self-promoting arrogance (not to your advantage as a professional singer - one contributor here said he wouldn't book you because of that arrogance).
You have used your (perceived) superiority to suggest that you are a good teacher (whatever that means).
It is part of your projected persona.
Before I had ever heard you sing I asked a friend in Cork whether he had heard you and what he thought of your singing - he tactfully replied "He's not as good as he thinks he is", which sums up perfectly my impression of you.
For where you have said it - see above in numerous postings and for a display of you're arrrogance - count how many times you posted "DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M SAYING JIM"
You are now attempting to tear down the reputation of one of Britain's finest (and acknowledged as such, even by his enemies) exponents of folk songs, particularly ballads, with invented fairy stories which I know personally could not possibly be true - MacColl nor Peggy ever sang the same song in the same month - it was club policy and they were instigators and avid supporters of that policy.
If you didn't like the man's singing, isn't it time you left him alone - he's been brown bread for over two decades?
There - finished what I have to say to you - if you need any more career advice, please don't hesitate to ask.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 03:34 PM

All I can add is...

What a bunch of self opinionated tossers.

Applies to whoever thinks it is appropriate.

:D tG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 04:07 PM

I have stated on this thread my opinion of Ewan, I said
Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 07:42 AM

MacColls arrogance did not put me off booking him, because they were good performers, which in my opinion should always be the criteria, they gave an excellent night and went and stayed in a hotel.
Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 06:23 AM


incidentally I met MacColl on a number of occasions, on the first occasion i found him to be extremely arrogant and rude, I think he was a fine songwriter, and a good singer, although there are a number of revival singers who I would prefer to listen to, and a number of tradtional singers larner cox, bob lewis, who in my opinion are better.
Jim, how does that destroy or tear down his reputation?so Ihave never said I did not like the mans singing did i?
I remarked that one well known singer[not me] had a small criticism of him as a singer, which does not alter the fact he was a good singer. and in my opinion an excellent songwriter


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 13 - 07:57 AM

warm up vocal exercises

Good Soldier Schweik         22 Oct 10 - 08:08 AM
Genie         22 Oct 10 - 02:41 PM
Jim Carroll         22 Oct 10 - 07:12 PM
Good Soldier Schweik         23 Oct 10 - 08:23 AM
Crowhugger         23 Oct 10 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,Doxy         24 Oct 10 - 05:34 AM
My guru always said         24 Oct 10 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,Desi C         25 Oct 10 - 06:34 AM
Good Soldier Schweik         25 Oct 10 - 06:40 AM
Crowhugger         25 Oct 10 - 09:55 AM
        Share Thread
Share on facebookShare on twitter
Share on more more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:


Subject: warm up vocal exercises
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 08:08 AM

anyone got any they are happy to share/anyone know the exercises used by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Subject: E MacColl/P Seeger warm up vocal exercises
From: Genie - PM
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 02:41 PM

Suggestion:
If the point is to find the MacColl/P Seeger exercises, why not make the thread title more specific?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Subject: RE: warm up vocal exercises
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 07:12 PM

Hi Cap'n
Yes, I have examples of MacColl's exercise programme.
They fell into several parts.
1.   Four basic vowel-type sounds
The objective was to produce them in a pure, open, relaxed and unrestricted tone in order to work out where your 'natural' voice was being produced in order to have control over it.
2. A number of singing exercises to handle different aspects of the voice. They consisted of:
Two short pieces of Wagner ('Tis Ended' and 'By Evil Craft') to help with the handling unfamiliar (small and large) intervals and unusual tunes accurately.
One short piece of Gilbert and Sullivan (Rising Early in the Morning; from The Gondoliers; but similar G&S will do) for precise articulation while singing at speed.
One piece of Mouth Music (Tail Toddle - 2 choruses and one verse sung in one breath) for speed and articulation also breath control (sometimes Rocky Road To Dublin was substituted - one chorus and one refrain sung in one breath).
These can be memorised in a week, once learned, never forgotten, still can do most of them after forty years, though breath control is not as good as it was (takes at least 2 breaths for Tail Toddle and Rocky Road nowadays)
3. Series of relaxation excercises (neck, shoulders arms, back, legs) to help control tension (starts off as full exercise, but once mastered, full exercise is seldom needed and tension can be contolled wherever it appears) Probably the most useful work I was ever given; can help with activities other than singing.
All the exercises came with full explanation of their purpose and uses, along with a breakdown of the theory of their necessity.
They might sound complicated, but they come automatically once learned.
Jim Carroll

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Subject: RE: warm up vocal exercises
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 23 Oct 10 - 08:23 AM

thanks, Jim.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Subject: RE: warm up vocal exercises
From: Crowhugger - PM
Date: 23 Oct 10 - 02:40 PM

The chorus in which I sing sounds best when we consistently use Elaine Overholt's CD of warm-ups. Her DVD shows & explains the exercises, and the CD is just the exercises which don't give best results without the explanations. I feel it's worth the price for those who want to put in a little time each day toward becoming more comfortable inside their voice. Don't be put off by the decidedly un-folky web site--I give her credit for finding a way to earn a reasonable living in music without the lousy hours that come with gigging.

No I don't get a percentage on sales! Her exercises and attitude are among the most helpful I've come across, ideal for both men's and women's voices, and great for developing a full sound over one's full range. In my modest opinion,
:-)

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Subject: RE: warm up vocal exercises
From: GUEST,Doxy - PM
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 05:34 AM

Hi Everyone,
I have a fond memory of Johnny Collins that seems to fit here. We (Trim and I) were with him in Workum having breakfast at the hotel and were talking about warming up and also maintaining voice. Johnny was talking about doing arpegios(is that how you spell it?) and demonstratingme 'me me me me me me............' Joyce said they drive her up the wall. Johnny said he could see her point, it was very selfish and in future he would sing 'you you you you you you you'!
Cheers
Doxy

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Subject: RE: warm up vocal exercises
From: My guru always said - PM
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 05:46 AM

LOL, Doxy & Trim Rig!!!

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Subject: RE: warm up vocal exercises
From: GUEST,Desi C - PM
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 06:34 AM

I think most singers have their own ways of warming up. Mine are bobbled together from various exercises I've found and use which parts suit me best. Many singers are hard to hear in Folk clubs especially without P.A and when I came back to singing after 25 years away from it I was barely audible. So I devised me own vocal evercises, the basic scales plus breathing and throat exercises to develp the volume. Within 2 weeks I was showing good signs of improvement,now 3 years on I can be heard very well at the back of the room without a P.A

I can highly reccomend a workshop I attended recently by Bella Hardry, she uses a mix of physical and vocal exercises, and I was pleased to see some were similar to the ones I'd developed on my own. Basically if you evercise the voice regularly you'll be a much better singer
Desi C
The Circle Folk Club
Every Wed Night Open Mic
Coseley West Mids UK
WV14 9JH

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Subject: RE: warm up vocal exercises
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 06:40 AM

I use the arpeggio system[ johnny collins mentioned], plus i find playing harmonica helps my breathing.
i think relaxing[or dropping] the lower jaw is supposed to help, certain vowel sounds are supposed to be easier eg ah, whereas ee, can be nasal sounding, is it because we should breathe through the mouth rather than the nose?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Subject: RE: warm up vocal exercises
From: Crowhugger - PM
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 09:55 AM

It's because most people say 'ee' with the space inside their mouth flattened to nearly nothing. Try 'ee' this way:
-inside your mouth, open tall all the way back into your throat. Make it into the greatest possible space without lowering your jaw (for me it's on the way to yawning but stopped just before the point of no return).
-your lips, jaw & cheeks do nothing at all, don't go wide like a toaster; they should flop if you say a breathy 'p' sound.
-while gently holding open that space with 'inside muscles' in your mouth/throat, use minimal muscles (no jaw, no cheeks, no lips) to shape the ee sound.

Very different from the way we usually learn to speak, but go ahead, try it! You won't look funny at all with the visible muscles relaxed. Yes, it does take getting used-to. And once you do (it took me 6 months of messing about every day to become fairly automatic) it's fully resonant; you can add as little or as much nasal quality as you like. It makes ee nearly as rich as ah, oh, oo etc.

Well, a picture would be worth a thousand words, wouldn't it?!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Nov 13 - 08:06 AM

WTF?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 13 - 08:12 AM

Iposted the above, because it seeme to be useful, furthermore ity llustrates how wide of the mark the accusations made[re macColl] about me are.
I greatly admired his radio ballads, his song writing and to a slightly lesser extent his singing, and i think his approach to vocal exrcises very good.
I have never approached tony haynes for bookngs, I have pointed out that i choose which clubs i wish to play in, I would not accept a gig from tony haynes, i like to feel comfortable with the company when i play.
I have NEVER said how good I am, I stated facts,that quite a number of clubs have rebooked me several times over the years, [five or six many times], that has nothing to do with supposedly having a high opinion of myself, it means that a reasonable amount of clubs think I give a good and varied evening of songs, these are facts.
    nobody has yet produced any evidence on this thread where i supposedly say that I AM REALLY GOOD, in fact I am critical of myself and always looking to find ways to maintain standards, which is why i find MacColls excersies very good.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 08 Nov 13 - 08:21 AM

There is hope for us all then if it is not necessary to be really good in order to make a living from folk singing.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 04:44 AM

Anybody who ever saw a live performance by Bert Lloyd will have been aware of his habit of 'grinning' while performing - not so much a reflection of his (I'm sure) sunny outlook on life but a deliberately contrived technique to produce a hard tone on some songs, contrary to the somewhat light, airy one he generally used.
The command and use of tones to handle different types of songs and to produce variation in a performance of a number of songs, was one of the major features of the work of the Critics Group.
MacColl also devised a whole scale of work on 'efforts' (delivery) based on Laben's theory of movement, which also helped to give a varied performance - a bit difficult to explain, but very easy to apply once you get the hang of it.   
His theory was that if you were put in a position of singing a number of songs one after the other, and you didn't alter either tone or effort, as so many of us never gave a thought to, the audience would simply stop following what you were doing because of the 'sameness' of the sound you produced - (their "ears would go to sleep").
He argued that people are constantly changing tone, weight, direction... in their speech, depending on the subject and the emotions those subjects evoked - why not in their singing.
Far from this being 'theatrical' as some people have suggested, it is a natural part of how we communicate.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 07:31 AM

Theatrical was not the term used by me, neither was it the term used by the person who gave a minor criticism of his singing.
what the person said was this, "the first time I heard Ewan sing this ballad, it made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up," the person then said" i saw him a fortnight later and he sang the song in exactly the same way, and i was disappointed".
at no point in the conversation was the term "theatrical" used.
this person then gave their opinion that a song should be sung differently on each occasion, this person clearly thought that Ewan had not done that on these two occasions, the persons only criticism was that the interpretation in their opinion was exactly the same each time,in fact the person gave high praise tho the first rendition.
having said that here is an observation of mine which i think has some relevance,I have noticed that i when have been to see the the same performer twice and been dissapointed on one occasion, i have tried to analyse why.
my analysis has been this.1. it might have been my own mood.2. the performer themselves may not have been in such a good mood for performing
it is expected of professional performers, that they always perform very well, we pay good money too see a high performance , this is an impossible expectation, every performer is human not a machine that can be programmed to turn out excellence on every occasion.
a performer may have had an accident or a row with their partner etcetc before performing thay do their best but they will still be affected.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 07:50 AM

sorry ,i was interuppted by a jehovahs witness at the door.
Idid not get the impression that the performer who saw macColl ,was against planned interpretation, his minor crticism , was that MacColl "in his eyes, and according to his ears" had not changed the performance, as i was saying it is 2 way street, perhaps the critic was having an off night too, it is a possibility.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 09:03 AM

Can we please leave yours or anybody's opinion of MacColl's performance out of this discussion - I had enough experience - mostly pleasant - of hearing him regularly - mostly once a month - for nearly thirty years - time enough to make up my own mind without having to resort to asking the opinion of someone who saw him a couple of times (not forgetting his invisible friend)
I am not the slightest bit interested in your opinion of him as a performer - though I would welcome useful and informed comments on the ideas he pioneered via the Critics Group.
I have to say that your postings are not far removed from a visit from The Jehovah's Witnesses
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 10:13 AM

By the way thinking about and planning an interpretation in advance is as essential as essential as learning and rehearsing the tune and text before you get up and sing it.
Interpreting and identifying with the story and the emotions suggested by the unfolding of that story is the best reason in the world for learning a song and identifying with that interpretation is one sure way of keeping it in your repertoire.
If you are talking about technical variation - singers seldom sing songs the same way twice - they develop a repertoire of skills and draw on those in each performance - like a craftsman selects the appropriate tools for a specific task.
The wider the selection of tools and the better you are able to handle them is what makes for a better singer.
As I have said several times and you have chosen to persistently ignored - resident singers were asked not to repeat the same song over a period of three months - I was there enough to know that this was fairly closely followed, so the likelihood of any of them repeating the same song in the space of two weeks is extremely unlikely, as is the ability of a casual visitor to be able to claim - with any degree of accuracy, that they could tell (over that period) that two performances were identical other than in text and tune.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Acme
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 10:52 AM

This is the message that started the thread.

A question about protocol and politeness.

Among regulars at a singaround, what do you think are the appropriate circumstances for telling another singer, in a helpful spirit, that his or her singing was flat/wandered off key/gave out on the high notes/etc?

I think my own answer would be that you shouldn't do this at all, unless the singer has started the conversation by being critical of his or her own performance - and even then you should tread carefully unless you know the person very well. I guess I don't think technical perfection at a singaround is important enough to outweigh the nasty surprises & hurt feelings that this could involve.

But is that over-protective? Might some singers benefit from being told they'd been screwing up without realising it? Has unsolicited criticism got a part to play in maintaining singaround standards?


Please stop trying to see who can throw the last punch and pick up the topic again.

SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 11:18 AM

Please stop trying to see who can throw the last punch and pick up the topic again.

SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 11:25 AM

People who are consistently unable to sing in tune are likely to be unaware that this is the case, and will continue to do so. In a singaround among friends this might be fine, however, if this person then decides to broaden their horizons and sing in other settings you can be sure someone will tell them. How will they feel then having be reassured by the previous conspiracy of silence regarding their abilities.
Anyone singing in clubs to a wider audience, or singing professionally should expect criticism if the are unable to hold a tune.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 01:12 PM

"People who are consistently unable to sing in tune are likely to be unaware that this is the case"
Right again.
Telling someone they are singing ok when they aren't leads to a nasty fall when they find out they aren't - as well as inflicting bad singing on audiences.
Take a simple tune that you don't want to sing (we used Johnny Todd) and use that for pracice - tyhen work your way up.
"Please stop trying to see who can throw the last punch and pick up the topic again"
Last punch thrown - thanks for the voice of sanity Vic.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 02:03 PM

As I have said several times and you have chosen to persistently ignored - resident singers were asked not to repeat the same song over a period of three months - I was there enough to know that this was fairly closely followed, so the likelihood of any of them repeating the same song in the space of two weeks is extremely unlikely, as is the ability of a casual visitor to be able to claim - with any degree of accuracy, that they could tell (over that period) that two performances were identical other than in text and tune."
I have no reason to suppose that the person who gave me their opinion of MacColls singing was lying, this person was a stalwart of the revival, and a highly respected singer.
at no point have I said that the person who gave me their opinion[ and Imight remind you their opinion was only a minor criticism] saw this performance at the singers club, it was in fact a gig MacColl was doing, so your comments about what happened at the singers club bear no relevance whatsoever.
Jim, you continue to get over excited and jump to wrong conclusions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 02:22 PM

A key word in this discussion is "unsolicited". I can see how
un-asked for criticism can be hurtful and is probably inappropriate in a singaround, whereas it might be appropriate when reviewing a professional singer.
I do maintain that criticism is essential to improve performance. It struck me when out trio started learning a new song the other day. we play a rough version and record it. we then consider how that might be improved,e.g. get in tune, firm up intro, musical breaks, speed rhythm etc. Then we play and record it again and repeat the process etc. etc. until we reach a point where we are all happy.
I am sure this process is familiar to many here. As a solo singer I guess the thing to do would be to work with someone you trust when working on material, get the feedback and improve it to the point where the likelihood of unsolicited criticism is significantly diminished.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 08:48 PM

john, I think that is a good thing to do, work on a one to one basis with someone you trust, when i was working in a duo with richard grainger we would discuss songs we had written and if we had any thing we were unsure about[tune wise or lyric wise ] we would talk about it


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,eldergirl on another computer
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 09:19 PM

I can recall being taken to task for being unprofessional at a sing around because I forgot the words half way through the first line, suffered a major Brain Fade, I'd been singing the damn song all day, all through, and it simply deserted me when it was most wanted. so I stopped and sang another song instead. but it was a sing around. don't we all try new stuff at singarounds? and it wasn't the host who got at me, it was a semi-pro with a relatively good opinion of himself... (oh, mee-ow) but I'm not A Professional, I do this because I love singing, and I don't think I'm Great, but I think some songs don't get heard enough if at all, and if no other bleeper will sing 'em then i guess it'll have to be me..
yours defensively, eldergirl. :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 09:26 PM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Nov 13 - 03:16 AM

Not going to be around for a few days - off to Dublin for the ITMA concert, but (if this thread has disappeared - hopefully not) anybody interested in following up the Critics Group work can PM me.
I've been trying to get the material we've gathered together a long time in an accessible form and I seems to be coming together at long last.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Nov 13 - 05:41 AM

eldergirl,forgetting words can occasionally happen to anyone, professional or otherwise, it happened to elvis presley he laughed and said i must have sung this thousands of times and carried on


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Nov 13 - 05:56 AM

ITMA concert
Fot those who do not know, the initials stand for It's That Man Again and I am delighted to be told that the great Second World War Radio Comedy show is to be revived. All of us who listened to it during the dark days of the blitz will remember what a boost it was to our morale. I never missed one of the 310 wartime episodes. It will be great to see all those great radio stars united again - Tommy Handley, Hugh Morton, Cecilia Eddy, Eric Egan, Sam Heppner, Lionel Gamlin, Vera Lennox, Maurice Denham, Jack Train, Dorothy Summers and Sydney Keith - though some of them must be getting quite elderly by now.

Sadly, the letters ITMA can also, sometimes, stand for Irish Traditional Music Association.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Nov 13 - 06:15 AM

I knew Sydney Keith ("Sam Scram" among other characters) as an acquaintance in the Barley Mow in Brighton's Kemptown area - we all knew him as "Sam", but even Sydney Keith wasn't his real name.

He was a great character and well loved. He'd lived life to the full and was absolutely broke when he died. We all chipped in and went to his funeral service at Brighton Crem - and had a good drink to him in the Barley Mow afterwards.

Nearly as much fun, I'm sure, as the Irish Traditional Music Association...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Nov 13 - 06:30 AM

john charles,in an earlier post said"There is hope for us all then if it is not necessary to be really good in order to make a living from folk singing."
I think that is an interesting and extraordinary statement.
I think it is necessary to attempt to be good, that involves practice and a certain amount of natural talent[ however natural talent without hard work is not enough].
listening to one self, being self critical and working on improvement are important, however I do not think it is necessary to be a virtuoso[someone who is really good].
my opinion is this it is necessary to have a varied repertoire [varied in subject matter, tempo, keys]
various accompanying instruments played to a standard of competence can add to an overall effect of variety, but are not an absolute necessity.
[Roy Harris managed to provide excellent evenings unaccompanied] abilty to communicate with[rather than to] an audience, good presentation.
it will happen occasionally [and it has occasionally happened to me] that a professional performer will be tired etc and may forget the occasional word, the professional knows how to deal with it, that is to make light of it and carry on, that is part of the art of performing.
Finally professionalism involves showing respect for material and audience, it is an insult to both.. to get so drunk that the performer is unable to deliver.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Nov 13 - 07:22 AM

The question of what is make up good singing style wise, is subjective.
Revival singers/performers that I rate such as Tony Rose Martin Carthy NicJones,Bellamy.
Jim Carroll has on previous occasions indicated they are not to his taste, I am indeed happy that Carroll does not rate me either, In my opinion I am in good company, that which is good style is a matter of taste and opinion.
however Jim Carrolls advice which comes from various Critics groups as regards singing is I think very good, the advice on breathing and vocal exercises and many other things is useful and should improve everyones singing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Nov 13 - 08:47 AM

here is an example of a singer who has been acknowledged by many as being a very good traditional singer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsxG06FMA-Y
if one listens to his singing, he sings in a norfolk accent but his diction is clear, he does not sing like bert lloyd with a smile on his face.
JIM SAYS
"Anybody who ever saw a live performance by Bert Lloyd will have been aware of his habit of 'grinning' while performing - not so much a reflection of his (I'm sure) sunny outlook on life but a deliberately contrived technique to produce a hard tone on some songs, contrary to the somewhat light, airy one he generally used.."
It is clear IF ONE LISTENS that HARRYCOX did not do this, he sang naturally.
I have never heard a traditional singer sing in the way[ and i hve listened to a lot] bert lloyd did, with a contrived technique to produce a hard tone, I can only assume this was an Idea introduced into the revival by lloyd, there appears to be no examples of this amongst english traditional singers.
I would advise against doing this [unless you want to sound like bert lloyd]
her is fred jordan[tradtional singer] singing with a shropshire accent, but diction still clearhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh5i_M5kkxg
jim carroll, again
"The command and use of tones to handle different types of songs and to produce variation in a performance of a number of songs, was one of the major features of the work of the Critics Group"
There is no evidence in either of the two traditional singers enditions[harry cox, fred jordan] of this contrived technique.
it is of course completely up to people how they wish to sing stylitically, my advice is to be yourself[ not be an imitation of anyone BERT lLOYD OR ONE OF THE CRITICS GROUP.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: PHJim
Date: 10 Nov 13 - 08:40 PM

Tell her Charlie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,johncharles
Date: 11 Nov 13 - 03:56 AM

how true.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Nov 13 - 04:28 AM

the person that criticised elder girl was mistaken, it is possible for anyone to forget words occasionally,[ professionals in many musical genres have occasionally done it ] I also think criticism should not be given publicly unless specifically requested.
As far as I am concerned the only thing that is unprofessional is to not bother to practise, every human can make an occasional mistake for a number of different reasons, tiredness, biorhythms etc, the most important thing is the willingness to improve,and the realisation that practise is important.
By continually using crib sheets, the person is in my opinion admitting defeat, Rather than trying to overcome a confidence or memory problem.
Finally taking deep breaths before one sings is a very useful way to relax oneself it also has the benefit of sending oxygen to the brain,being conscious of diet and avoiding certain foods and cigarettes can also help with the problem for singers of catarrh related problems


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 11 Nov 13 - 07:16 PM

i must be hanging around very different singine events. I don't often hear anyone sing out of pitch. I hear people who should use their diaphram more and who sometimes can't reach a certain note (probably because of nerves and dry mouth) but I rarely hear anyone sing out of pitch or off key.

I do think guitar player shouldn't be issued their flat pick until they have finger picked for at least five years, and have passed the flatpick licence board, but I don't try to enforce that at any music venues.

I do get really annoyed when people either talk loudly near a performer or try to rearrange their kit while they are performing, but again that's rare. and I hate people reading the lyrics off a cell phone.

the only time read lyrics of any kind are ok , is when an issues comes up at the event and you know a perfect song but can't remember the lyrics, and then only if you are good at cold singing from sheets or cell phones, which most people are not. I did gigs for a few bands over the years and had to use sheets as they did stuff I never sing, so I got good at reading and singing at the same time. it isn't as expressive as when you know the lyrics but it can be done very well, if you practice the art. best practice is at a lot of gigs. then you will actually try not to look a fool and quickly prefect technique of fast reading.

but guitar players, learn to finger pick. it's a ;lovely instrument when picked and pretty dull most of the time when flat picked. you have to be twice the guitarist to make flat picking interesting. it can be dome but few do it.

and Englishmen don't want to look silly?   I thought they were doing that on purpose. isn't fawlty towers a documentary?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 12 Nov 13 - 04:20 AM

If you are someone who forgets the words, look for tunes where the verse order is not important, mostly drinking songs, appalachian and sea shanties. You can encourage others to play interesting twidly bits round the tune inbetween your verses.
FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Nov 13 - 07:01 PM

i must be hanging around very different singine events. I don't often hear anyone sing out of pitch.

You know what, ollaimh, neither do I. But I think it's because I'm not listening for it. The thing is, there isn't a single pitch that you either hit or don't - there's a whole spectrum, with "grabbing for the note, just about making it but only hanging on by your fingertips" on the outskirts to "pure tone, dead on pitch, I could listen to that all day" in the centre.

But you need to be listening to the pitch to hear the difference - and most people just listen to the song. There's an old cliche about how actors console each other when they mess up - "don't worry, the punters never noticed a thing" - and I think in this case it's actually true. If the high note you hit once, or the passing note you dash over, is on the low end of the acceptable spectrum, never mind: most listeners aren't even going to notice. Your fellow musicians are likely to notice, though. Should they bring your lapse to your attention? Unless it's really obtrusive - which it's unlikely to be - I tend to think, probably not.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 12 Nov 13 - 09:59 PM

Just been to a well established singaround here in Yorks.

General standard of performance was exceedingly good. But it included well established singers who always read the words, instrumentalists who really struggled to get their notes out of their instruments, and some teenagers who sung some really introspective modern stuff (The word 'I"' was most prevalent, as it is in modern songs, but how do you criticise it?)

The fact that teenagers were there at all must be a huge bonus.

(Back on topic). You don't criticise it or the performers, unless they ask you for criticism.

You either accept the situation as critical audience or you don't. If you don't, you move on.

But the performers remain. (Hopefully)

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: rosma
Date: 13 Nov 13 - 08:33 AM

A singaround is really very much like a forum such as this (Mudcat). When you turn up, you should spend some time looking and listening, to understand what is done and what is not. If the geneal standard of performance is stratospheric in comparison to you, you're probably best not even trying. On the other hand if you're invited to have a go, be modest, try something and see what the reaction is.

The singarounds I have attended in the last twelve years or so have all been very welcoming and non-judgemental in the sense that they don't criticise the performer to their face (even if there is some discussion when they're not around), but more importantly, everyone is asked to perform. This last point is very important. Someone I knew about 20 years ago at a singaround I used to attend was frankly very poor both in singing and playing. The organiser however encouraged him and wouldn't hear anything bad said about him. It was that encouragement that ended up with him being a pretty proficient player today.

It isn't criticising anyone at my current club to say what sort of "offences" are committed, because I commit all of them myself (some more often than others): bum notes, read words, forgotten words, key changes, wrong tunes, poor playing - I don't think there's a single person in the room who wouldn't admit to at least one of these on occasions. Any laughing is done with (not at) the performer, knowing their temperament to be able to cope with it. surely the point of a singaround is to allow people to sing. The enjoyment of the evening comes from singing as well as from listening. If the performances are a bit variable, it's a matter of congratulating the best and encouraging the poorer ones. Whatever happens, everyone is applauded.

Simon


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 13 - 03:18 PM

Catching up - not in any way intending to reopen any squabbles - just picking up on a couple of points which appear to be beyond his comprehension.
Lloyd, MacColl, the Critics Group.... and everybody else I ever met involved in workshops, folk clubs, concerts, standing up in front of large (even medium-sized) audiences made of largely strangers and attempting to handle large repertoires covering the whole spectrum of folk song repertoire and styles - none of these were traditional singers and all were facing very facing a very different situation of that faced by Sam Larner, Harry cox - et al.
Those of the older singers who had sizeable repertoires of wide ranging songs demanding different approaches tended to sing them all within a very limited range of abilities and styles
That singers like Bert Lloyd used his 'grin' to produce a hard tone while traditional singers like Harry Cox didn't it totally immaterial and to raise it here is destructive to any form of helpful discussion - I never met a traditional singer who attended a workshop, a lecture, or sought the services of a diction coach - all the things the individual who described bert's 'grin' as trying to "I would advise against doing this [unless you want to sound like bert lloyd]"
This is a discussion on how to help singers - it is not an attempt to gain customers for one type of singing class or the other.
Traditional singers adopted all sorts of tricks to overcome problems of singing in public- we've encountered descriptions of older singers who sang in to a corner in order to stay in tune, street singers who sang with one hand cupped over their ear to hear themselves over traffic noise, singers who sang with their cap over their faces to overcome nervousness of facing an audience - one singer we heard about stood on tip-toe in order to "reach the high notes".
This is not a competition to gain the most supporters for one particular method or another - it is an attempt to share ideas in order to help improve the standard of singing - it would be helpful if everybody treated it as such rather than attempting to undermine other's suggestions by misrepresenting and debunking them.
" my advice is to be yourself[ not be an imitation of anyone BERT lLOYD OR ONE OF THE CRITICS GROUP"
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: PHJim
Date: 15 Nov 13 - 02:06 AM

GUEST,ollaimh said,"but guitar players, learn to finger pick. it's a ;lovely instrument when picked and pretty dull most of the time when flat picked. you have to be twice the guitarist to make flat picking interesting. it can be dome but few do it."

Flat-picking can be quite tedious if people just strum across te strings, but most flat-pickers with any skill at all will insert bass runs and play bits of melody. Those with more skill can make the guitar sound wonderful.
I have heard finger-pickers who play the same pattern or arpeggio through the whole song, which is just as tedious as the strumming flat-picker.
But no one's gonna tell Tony Rice that he should learn to finger-pick nor tell Leo Kotke that he should take up flat-picking.
I like to do some of each, just for variety.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Nov 13 - 03:57 AM

I tried using a pick once, but it makes the concertina sound awful. (Never worked out where the capo was supposed to go either.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Nov 13 - 05:00 AM

Never worked out where the capo was supposed to go either.

Careful now, Phil - someone may tell you one day...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Nov 13 - 04:03 PM

I agree Jim.
my advice is not to sound like bert lloyd or the critics group, all that is, is an opinion, i also said"it is of course completely up to people how they wish to sing styslitically".
so jim, when my whole post is quoted in its entirety, it makes a nonsense of your own post.
as i have stated before and in many other posts, MacColls contributions to the folk revival were overall very heavily into the plus side, so jim please stop being so defensive.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,johncharles
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 02:50 AM

Re Capo: the capo should be carefully applied to the neck. This will allow the singer to produce the intermittent squeaky tones which harmonise so well with those of the concertina.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Eldergirl
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 05:01 AM

LOL!! Thanks johncharles, for further brightening my Saturday morning!! I can think of one or two necks who'd benefit from a capo!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 05:08 AM

There you go, Phil - I said someone would tell you where to put the capo!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 05:17 AM

I wear mine on my head:

Cap

Oh, I see.... cap-'o'

After playing autoharp in a club some years ago, one nutter approached me afterwards and said, knowledgeably, "I have an autoharp capo."

Yeah, right.

Tone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Vic Smith
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 02:13 PM

A young couple walked into a folk club in Brighton recently. No-one on the door, it is run on a collection-at-the-interval basis. Their first visit, so they had no idea of the etiquette and no-one had greeted them and explained what was going on. They walked up to the bar in an alcove and ordered a drink and carried on talking whilst they waited for their drinks to come. An experienced singer/guitarist and ex-folk club organiser was singing at the time. He continued singing but walked towards them. When he reached them, He stopped singing and said, "Not spoiling your conversation, am I?"
They did not not wait for their drinks but walked out. I would suggest that this criticism of potential audience was not a very clever move.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 07:15 PM

I was going to abandon this dead thread - and this signed-out pseudonym with it - but by jingo, it's happened again! This very night!

I am seriously peeved about this but also seriously puzzled. As I might have mentioned I have been doing this stuff - at the level where I do this stuff, ie FC floor spots and singarounds - for ten years no less. (When I started doing floor spots one of "my songs" was Between the Wars, because back then it still was.) Since then I've learned at a conservative estimate a hundred songs or so, and given god knows how many performances at the aforesaid FCs and singarounds. In all that time nobody has actually said I ought to charge people money, but equally nobody has ever, ever taken it on themselves to tell me my singing was less than adequate. Until now, when it's happened twice in a month.

W as the kids say TF? Has my singing gone into a sudden decline? Is it (An Optimist Writes) actually a sign that I'm doing well, in that highly accomplished folkies - who do charge people money - think it's worth giving me unsolicited hints & tips? (If so I wish they'd revise their opinion of me downwards and start ignoring me again - these helpful hints are doing my confidence, & hence my performances, no good at all.) Or am I just wearing a Kick Me sign all of a sudden?

Ideas? Better still, PM me, somebody. (I guess it would be easier if I posted under my own name, but I don't feel quite ready to do that.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 07:25 PM

Sadly, the letters ITMA can also, sometimes, stand for Irish Traditional Music Association.

Never 'eard of 'em! Now, I DO know about the Irish Traditional Music Archive , a splendid institution and nothing to be sad about… !

;>)>

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 07:49 PM

Craigie - the two things that come to mind are:

- have you tried recording yourself and listening to the result?

- do you know anything about the people offering the unsolicited criticism? do they make a habit of it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 08:54 PM

Who told you the people offering/giving advice know jack shit about any of it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 03:54 AM

Craigie - Was it the same person or someone different this time and was it the same type of comment?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 05:51 AM

Dear Craigie, can't Pm you as you are signed in as a guest.
The comments will only ever really be able to address the etiquette of criticism. How good your singing is could only be judged by hearing it.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 05:59 AM

ubject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Vic Smith - PM
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 02:13 PM

"A young couple walked into a folk club in Brighton recently. No-one on the door, it is run on a collection-at-the-interval basis. Their first visit, so they had no idea of the etiquette and no-one had greeted them and explained what was going on. They walked up to the bar in an alcove and ordered a drink and carried on talking whilst they waited for their drinks to come. An experienced singer/guitarist and ex-folk club organiser was singing at the time. He continued singing but walked towards them. When he reached them, He stopped singing and said, "Not spoiling your conversation, am I?"
They did not not wait for their drinks but walked out. I would suggest that this criticism of potential audience was not a very clever move."   
very good post, vic, how would you have dealt with that situation?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds. It sounded brillian
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 06:59 AM

oh who's bothered - just read what you lot have been up to while I've been on holiday. I used to love Tony Capstick's singing. It doesn't really matter if he was doing it right. I thought he was wonderful - I always requested The Bonny Bunch of Roses. The way he sung that song used to tear my heart out every time.

Jim and GSS - kiss and make up! we're all mates here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 07:52 AM

Dave - two different people, two different criticisms. Both older, time-served pro or semi-pro folkies. One suggested I was pitching too high & missing top notes as a result, the other said I was wavering around the tune at the start. Both volunteered this information without any prompting from me.

Jack - recording, yes, many times. People have downloaded my recordings (people I don't know, even). Hard to tell, though - once you start worrying, things start to sound worse the closer you listen ("that was on pitch but was it RIGHT on pitch?", "did I get that passing note or did it get lost?"). (I've worked up June Tabor's version of Waly Waly/Jamie Douglas but I'm shy of singing it out - particularly after the month I've just had - not because it's a sod of a tune with a lot of chest/head breaks but because one passing note keeps eluding me, viz. the second note in "...down the brae"/"...I would go". I am quite self-critical, generally.)

I really think it might be something about me (attracting unsolicited criticism that is, not singing badly). At work I had a very good friend who I eventually had to drop, because every single conversation was either a monologue about his projects or else "you know what your problem is... that's you all over... you're your own worst enemy..."' etc, etc. Sympathetically packaged but a bit discouraging after a while. Maybe I'm just walking around with a Slap Me face.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: cooperman
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 09:04 AM

You may have hit on the explanation by calling it information (rather than criticism). Help from one pro to another maybe. They probably wouldn't say anything to a beginner or someone they suspected would take it badly. If that's the case then it's a kind of compliment. Just a thought.
I would say most people tend to be too self critical with their own recordings.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 09:18 AM

Dick wrote:-
"very good post, vic, how would you have dealt with that situation?"

Well, if it had happened in my club, here's what I ought to have done.
1] Gone after the young couple, apologised on behalf of the club, told them that such an occurrence was highly unusual, that the singer was out of order and that I hoped that they would come and try us out on another evening. If they did come again, make sure that they had a friendly greeting from me.
2] Speak to the singer on his own, tell him that anything to to with the conduct of the audience (or performers) that needed addressing was a matter for someone from the club organisation and not for him.

However, I have had time to think about it. Whether I would have been quick-witted enough to do it as the time, I don't know. We can all be wise with hindsight.

Craigie Hill wrote:-
"One suggested I was pitching too high & missing top notes as a result, the other said I was wavering around the tune at the start."


a) Pitching - ask yourself if the comment was valid. I know that I have been cross with myself for pitching things too high on occasion and I do hear it from others though I would not comment unless I was asked.
There is a double album by one of my favorite Scots traditional singers. I admire this man's singing great, but there are probably around 6 tracks where he has pitched the song too high and his great voice sounds strained on the top notes - and this is on CDs so it is there for all time. I wish I had been in the studio when it was recorded; I know him well enough to have said, "Listen to the playback of that track. Have you pitched it too high? Do you think that you should record that one again? If it is an accompanied song that you have been singing for years, you have to be aware that with age, your singing range will diminish, particularly with age and that you may need to put songs in a lower pitch.

b) wavering around the tune at the start - This is very common, particularly when people are singing unaccompanied. Finding the tune by the end of the second line, say, is a characteristic of many field recordings. I am so used to hearing it that I scarcely notice it any more and am tempted to say that it does not matter that much.

The great Isabel Sutherland - whom I greatly admired and learned a lot from - used to introduce her songs and then close her eyes for about 3 or 4 seconds then open them and start singing. I asked her why she always did that. She said that she was finding the exact spot in her head where the right pitch, the tune and the opening lines of the song were located. I have tried that and found that it works.
If you are singing to an accompaniment then the instrumental accompaniment can serve this purpose.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 10:29 AM

cooperman - "Help from one pro to another maybe. They probably wouldn't say anything to a beginner or someone they suspected would take it badly."

That's a really good way of looking at it - ta!

Vic - the pitching thiing; it was six of one, I think. I know I can rely on my pitching, generally - once I've got a song off it almost always stays where I pitched it - but that night I was recovering from a cold & I think my top notes were a bit rough. But I don't think I should have sung the song lower, just dropped it until I was sure my voice was 100%.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 10:39 AM

This would have been a much shorter discussion if you posted a song and received sensitive feedback. After 400 posts what you have got is a lot about manners, and hypothetical reasons as to why these people may have commented on your singing; nothing about your actual singing.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 11:47 AM

It would also have been a totally different discussion. It's actually the manners that I'm interested in - the thread's called "Criticism at singarounds", not "How's my singing?".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 12:37 PM

Unsolicited criticism in some settings may well be considered impolite, however, that does not mean it is necessarily incorrect.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 12:46 PM

In the situation Vic describes it looks to me like the issue is really one for the landlord, since one customer is hassling others out of the promises. The folk club doesn't come into it.

The appropriate damage-limitation action would have been for them to collar the singer, shove him out in the street and invite the couple back in for a complimentary drink.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 12:53 PM

Oops - don't know what happened there.

johncharles - what's correct about criticism? I've heard some dreadful performances in my time; I've seen some ugly babies, too. Never volunteered criticism, though. Do you yourself make a habit of offering unsolicited criticism?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 01:35 PM

let me re-phrase my clumsy statement. What the critic said i.e. "nice song, shame about the bum notes" may have been true. telling you this is impolite.
I don't make a habit of criticising performers but I will tell someone if their instrument is way out of tune. As I have said before the setting is an important factor. If it is a public setting I would not be surprised to receive comments about a performance.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 01:56 PM

I `ad that Craigie `ill in my cab the other day. `e was looking quite thoughtful and reading `is copy of that new Penguin folk song book.
I said, " Morning Craigie. Penny for `em. I see you`ve been doing your thing on that Mudcat about criticism."
`e said, "Aye, that`s a fact, Jim. Look at this. I`m trying to get "Lord Lovell" perfect for tomorrow night. It`s so blooming dis-couraging and a "downer" when you flog your guts out on a number and someone comes up picking `oles in your effort."
I said, "Craigie, you just get on and do your songs the way you like `em. There are far worse things in China than a few know it alls."
`e said, "What`s that then?"
I said, "They can "boo" you, chuck things at you or drag you off by the scruff of the neck!!"


Whaddam I Like??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 07:45 PM

Vic Smith wrote: A young couple walked into a folk club in Brighton recently. No-one on the door...they had no idea of the etiquette and no-one had greeted them and explained what was going on...

As the organiser of the club in question I hold my hands up and admit that it was a toe-curling moment but at the time felt that the whispered conversation between the young couple might well have been on the subject of the dismal performance of the singer in question - and shared by the rest of the audience.

As he is well known in the area to be one of those performers whose self belief is in inverse proportion to his talents, I felt that a subsequent reprimand would have been water off a duck's back.

Having decided against charging an entrance fee, we do get a good number of curious drop-ins (walk-ups?) who put their heads round the door. Ours is a buzzing music city, bursting with music venues and, unlike the couple in question, many's the stray punter who has stayed to listen to the perhaps unfamiliar sound of traditional music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: ollaimh
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 08:10 PM

in fact I think basil fawlty is a good take off on a "certain kind of Englishman". a kind often found at folk events pontificating on things they know little or nothing about.

they are found in many areas but culture has caught up with them in most. however folkies are so misinformed and have such convoluted theories--which mostly explain why the way they do it is right--that they can get away with it at folk scenes.

kind of like neo Marxist theoriest who passed through most university departments to retreat to law faculties where no one pays enough attention to bother doing any real critique(at lerast in Canadian law schools).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 04:21 AM

I didn't bother re-visiting this subject in the hope that the unpleasantness would disappear.
A word on the original subject - hopefully without the hassle.
If a club opens its doors to the public and advertises a certain type of music, the organisers take on the responsibility of ensuring, as far as possible, that those coming through the door are given the opportunity to listen to that music in the best possible conditions (given the prevailing circumstances) and to a standard that doesn't fall below 'acceptable' to a listener (not the case if you are just a bunch of mates sitting round to 'have a sing')
I believe that most people have the ability to be singers and with work, can become good singers.
Clubs - singers gathering together regularly to sing - provide excellent opportunities to encourage people to start singing and develop as singers; it largely depends on the will of seasoned singers to devote time, thought and energy to working with others.
Virtually every club I have been involved with developed a workshop to give advice and access to material to develop repertoires and assistance, should it be requested.
We found the best method of work was through self help groups giving positive, friendly and practical advice; in that way workshops became two-way streets in which all benefited - we were all students who took something away from the work we did..
We fought against the idea that clubs should be used as places to rehearse and we never encouraged singers with major problems to work those problems out in front of our audiences - not fair on the audiences, on the other singers, and certainly not fair on the music which we felt was important enough to pass on.
Certainly not the only way of helping singers, but it worked for us and it's still working for me now that I have returned to singing after a long gap.
Jim Carroll
A couple of footnotes.
We are at present considering a radio programme which we hope will cover the work done by MacColl, which will certainly cover his work with The Critics Group.
Our collection of Clare songs (280 of them) will be going up for public access on the Clare County Library Website in the new year - a wealth of songs from some of the county's finest singers


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 08:46 AM

"If a club opens its doors to the public and advertises a certain type of music, the organisers take on the responsibility of ensuring, as far as possible, that those coming through the door are given the opportunity to listen to that music in the best possible conditions (given the prevailing circumstances) and to a standard that doesn't fall below 'acceptable' to a listener (not the case if you are just a bunch of mates sitting round to 'have a sing')"
in my opinion it is better to have folk clubs in seperate rooms, people ten come specifically for the music.
"I believe that most people have the ability to be singers and with work, can become good singers."
I agree with that, but with the proviso that "good" stylistically is debatable, I do agree with you that a lot of the singing exercises advocated by The Critics group will improve the technical ability and improve confidence of singers.
I do not agree about the importance of the head voice, or Bert lloyds idea of singing with a smile, These are ideas of a certain group in the folk revival and do not seem to be common amongst UK tradtional singers here is harry cox singing in his natural voice,no use of head voice, the same applies to fred jordan.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsxG06FMA-Y http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh5i_M5kkxg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 11:30 AM

Guest, Stuart Reed - I may have to go to Hove soon to visit some clients and I had been looking for a chance to folk down there in the evening, just for a change of scene - so while you doubtless do not wish to be publicly embarrassed, would you very kindly become a member and PM me where I might enjoy an evening sing near Brighton?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 11:51 AM

Just curious - how did MacColl react if somebody pointed out a shortcoming in his own performance?

In the case of Olive and Dick Miles we don't have to guess.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 03:28 PM

MacColl once told us that he couldn't bear to listen to his early recordings - they made him cringe - "too slow, to theatrical, too much vibrato".
He was never the subject of a full criticism at the Critics Group; I have little doubt that neither he nor the rest of the group would have welcomed it.
I lived with Ewan and Peggy for a time and often accompanied them on trips to their various bookings.
I was at first staggered, then I got used to the way both of them tore into and critically analysed their own and each others performances each time.
I declined their invitation to join in - I'd have been totally out of my depth.
I often wonder if the Critics Group would have achieved as much as it did had MacColl just been 'one of the lads' rather than the respected figure he was.
I've told this story before, but here goes again.
I was asked to repair their rapidly deteriorating lighting system at the time Ewan was writing the 1968 'Festival of Fools' script (annual living newspaper' put on over the first couple of weeks of the New Year).
It was late December and the light was poor in their flat so I had set myself a deadline of re-wiring so many lights in a day.
On one particularly gloomy day I badly overestimated how many I could manage, so was racing around like a madman trying to get them finished before the daylight entirely disappeared.
Late in the afternoon Ewan appeared from his self-imposed exile at the top of the building and insisted that Peggy and I sit and listen to him read through the script he had written and make comments on it so he could finish it and distribute it for rehearsal that night.
We sat there in almost total darkness while he took notes on what we suggested then returned and finished the job.
We ate by candlelight that night.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 04:50 PM

Richard Bridge asked: where I might enjoy an evening sing near Brighton?

Not at all embarrassed to say that my club, Brighton Acoustic Session is on the first Monday of the month at The Prince Albert, Trafalgar Street, BN1 4ED (50 metres from Brighton Station)

The indefatigable Ian Fyvie runs three weekly sessions in Brighton:

    Sundays: The Mitre, Baker Street, BN1 4JN
    Tuesdays: The Round Georges, Sutherland Rd, BN2 0EQ
    Wednesdays: The Pond, Gloucester Road, BN1 4AQ

There is also Mandy Murray's Irish session every Monday:
    The Foundry, Foundry Street, Brighton BN1 4AT

In nearby Lewes - 11 minutes from Brighton by train - you have:

    Every Thursday Folk at the Oak: The Royal Oak, Station Street, BN7 2DA (Until its closure on December 19th, 2013)   

    Lewes Saturday Club The Elephant & Castle, White Hill, Lewes BN7 2DJ

In the surrounding area there is more information here: Folk Music in Sussex


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,A singer
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 06:49 PM

I recently confronted the situation Craigie Hill brought up in the original question, although in a different folk setting. Rather than in a singaround, it was in a Sacred Harp singing (traditional American four-part a capella singing).

I'd been singing with these folks for a few years, and it's a supportive group -- positive feedback when you do well, no negative feedback when you screw up. Like the others in the group, I worked hard at improving my singing -- listened to recordings of traditional singers -- went to workshops (they're called "singing schools" in this tradition) -- etc.

A little while ago, a young woman started coming to this singing. She had impeccable credentials -- had sung Sacred Harp for several years, had traveled and with traditional singers, had read many books on the tradition, etc. But her high notes were very flat, and she sang *very* loudly. Ouch.

One of the respected elder singers, a kindly older woman, approached this young woman and suggested in the nicest possible way that she might sing a little more softly because it might help her to match the pitch of the other singers better. Tears and a very emotional scene ensued. The elder singer gave up, the young woman went on singing loud and flat, the group as a whole decided that being completely supportive to all singers was more important than sounding good.

I put up with it, but I wasn't happy. Eventually a friend of mine who is a professional singer said to me: Sometimes you find that you've moved beyond a group that you've been singing with. (Note that my friend was not suggesting that my singing had gotten any better!) So I went out and found other people to sing with.

Now I'm definitely *not* saying that the answer to Craigie Hill's question is to leave the singaround. But I *am* saying that in *my* case the answer was to leave -- as much I like all those nice people I'd been singing with for so long, it was time for me to go find musicians who would push me to sing better. And I'm eternally grateful to my friend the professional singer for getting me to face up to that. And maybe this will resonate with someone else who reads this thread.

(((...and I'm going to post anonymously to protect all concerned...)))


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 07:31 PM

Actually that's not much like my situation. I was the one who was being accused of singing flat, and I was singing solo. It's not for me to say I definitely wasn't flat - in fact, several weeks later, I'm still quite anxious about the possibility I may have been - but I do know I got a good hand after the song, and it wasn't just friends being polite; there were several people there I don't know very well & a few I'd never seen before.

I think there's a real danger of criticism backfiring, however well-intentioned it may be. The effect on me has been to make me much more self-conscious about my singing than I ever have been before - when I'm singing alone I've fallen into the habit of pulling myself up, if I ever think I hear myself going off the note, and taking the line again. But worrying about what sound is going to come out of your mouth is no way to relax into a song - and if you're not relaxed you're much more likely to waver, falter and choke.

In short, unsolicited criticism, from my (perhaps biased) viewpoint, is a great way to put people off performing & shut them up; it's not such a good way to help them improve.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,A singer
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 08:33 PM

Craigie Hill, as you point out, very different situations!

And still I completely agree with you when you write: "I think there's a real danger of criticism backfiring, however well-intentioned it may be." In my own situation, I was very glad that I was not the one who criticized the young woman's singing -- which helped me realize that I didn't want to ever provide unsolicited criticism, and if I couldn't deal with someone else's singing then it was easy enough for me to leave. In your case, I hope the person who provided the unsolicited criticism finds another singaround :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:30 AM

"I hope the person who provided the unsolicited criticism finds another singaround"

I second that!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 05:08 AM

I wonder if peoples' objection to 'unsolicited' criticism also includes unsolicited praise - if not, why not?
I someone says "I enjoyed your performance" why can't they say, "I thought you made a bit of a mess of....", or, "you really weren't at your best tonight"....
I can understand downright condemnatory criticism not being welcome, but I would have thought that drawing attention to particular aspects of a performance in order to help improve them would have been welcome - they certainly would by me.
This would also include comments on how a club was run - I would much rather receive positive criticism than have people vote with their feet and not turn up again - which happened in spades in the 1980s when British clubs disappeared in their hundreds because of poor performances, not knowing what they were going to be given at a folk club, noisy, inattentive audiences, badly run clubs...... a whole bunch of reasons that could have been put right with a little thought.
Jim Carroll
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 05:42 AM

A common human failing we tend to selectively hear the good and ignore the bad.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 06:01 AM

Jim Carroll:

"I wonder if peoples' objection to 'unsolicited' criticism also includes unsolicited praise - if not, why not?"

I've just explained what I think the problem is with unsolicited criticism! Can I quote myself?

"I think there's a real danger of criticism backfiring, however well-intentioned it may be. The effect on me has been to make me much more self-conscious about my singing than I ever have been before - when I'm singing alone I've fallen into the habit of pulling myself up, if I ever think I hear myself going off the note, and taking the line again. But worrying about what sound is going to come out of your mouth is no way to relax into a song - and if you're not relaxed you're much more likely to waver, falter and choke."

The effect on me has definitely been negative - I've been more nervous and more self-conscious & sung worse.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 06:18 AM

There is equally a danger of unsolicited praise backfiring.
If you sing badly and someone tells you that you sang well, you are likely to repeat your mistakes; this is especially the case with an inexperienced singer who does not have a history of experience to rely on.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not advocating for unsolicited criticism - I'm suggesting that it is not necessarily as unwelcome and unhelpful as some people are making out.
I see nothing wrong with being made self-conscious of your singing - one of the problems is that some people aren't and just plough on regardless.
Bad praise and bad criticism can equally be extremely damaging, good, well thought out criticism can be invaluable - a gift to treasure.
The argument always put in the Critics Group was that a singer should be his/her own most uncompromising critic, but they should be equally ready accept their triumphs.
That is something to be aimed for - it doesn't come naturally and in the meantime, we settled for and valued the generous help of others.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 08:14 AM

The prime example of unsolicited praise in folk settings is the polite clapping no matter how bad the performance. Lesson being, don't rely on applause as an indication that your singing is any good.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 09:07 AM

"Lesson being, don't rely on applause as an indication that your singing is any good."
Very true, in fact quite often the contrary can be the case.
Audiences (in general) want you to succeed and will reward a singer for effort - for the best reasons.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 12:43 PM

Let's not get too cynical - I think we all know the difference between friendly applause and enthusiastic applause, those of us who are prone to self-doubt especially. When I first went to singarounds I used to listen intently to the length & volume of 'my' applause and everyone else's, as far as I could mentally compare them; if mine came out in the top two or three, that was a good night. I'm not so anxious now (and I enjoy the actual singing more as a result) - although I still live in fear of the Polite Ripple.

Conversely, being negative isn't any guarantee of sincerity or good intentions. There's a song by Ed Kuepper with the chorus
"Then I realised that my harshest critics can lie
And they don't even have my best interests at heart"
It changed my life in a small way - before I heard it that thought had never crossed my mind. True though - someone who tells you your singing is crap may not be trying to help you improve; they may just not like your singing (or indeed you).

If anyone's curious, here's some of my singing. Practically perfect in every way (I don't think!).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 12:56 PM

yes I like to get the self-deprecation in first, it saves disappointment later.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 01:03 PM

When I ask for criticism it is from people whose opinions I respect., not people on the net that do not provide any evidence of theirown singing[ example amongst others the anonymous troll on the shirley collins thread]   
for example some while back I aked MGM to listen to a recording of mine, and I took some of his criticisms on board, when I was working in a duo with Richard Grainger we would ask each other opinions on songs we had just written.
when I get unsolicited criticism from people[ in the real world rather than internet forums]whose opinions i do not respect, I listen politely and say nothing.
"Lesson being, don't rely on applause as an indication that your singing is any good."
Not always true.It is often an indication that you have communicated with an audience.
in my experience audiences do sometimes know when a performer has sung really well, to suggest otherwise is an insult to audiences and their critical faculties, I remember performing a song at The Wilsons Folk club, and the song went really well, the audience realised it too., considering the high standard of singing at that club, I think it would be grossly insulting to suggest that they were applauding for any other reason than the song had been performed well.
"Audiences (in general) want you to succeed and will reward a singer for effort - for the best reasons."
no, it depends on the audience, they all differ, that statement can apply to people who come on as floor singers who are clearly inexperienced but have potential but who are nervous., but in my opinion that is about all it applies to.
the higher the standard of singing in a club in my experience the more critical the audience, are particularly if the audience consists of lots of good singers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 01:13 PM

I am sure audiences can tell the difference between good and bad singers the point is they clap for everyone because they are well mannered, which is really what this thread started out discussing.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:32 PM

"I am sure audiences can tell the difference between good and bad singers the point is they clap for everyone because they are well mannered, which is really what this thread started out discussing."
   no , they do not clap equally that is not true, in fact some audiences have been known to walk out of Vin Garbutt Concerts in the past, some members of the audience have stayed but not applauded, likewise some people do not clap fox hunting songs and some come up and talk to the singer about the subject in the break, no audiences vary very much.
in my experience audiences[and i have attended folk venues since 1965] do not clap equally for every song, i remember one man calling out judas to bob dylan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Craigie Hill
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 07:40 PM

Well, I've got through a singaround without anyone criticising me or saying anything nasty, partly (perhaps) as a result of operating on the Desiderata principle - i.e. if you think somebody's likely to be negative, just sit next to somebody else. So I'm happy. So much so that I'm retiring this pseudonym with immediate effect (not before time). The rest is silence.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 07:54 PM

I had a moment of illumination myself this evening. Look at it from the point of view of the aspiring singer - assume for the moment that he/she is a really good aspiring singer, talent in the raw, a mute inglorious Milton & so forth. If you're this singer, what do you want? Obviously you want encouragement. You want to be told what to do and what not to do - possibly including not doing some things you now do - but you want to get the news in an encouraging way: e.g. "that's great, but have you thought of not putting on a fake Tim Hart accent?" You don't want to be told you were buggering up the song, because that would knock your confidence horribly. In other words, you won't get anything useful from being told you were buggering up the song - even if you were.

So the best way to deal with (potentially) good singers is to encourage them, even when they're not doing terribly well - if you discourage singers-to-be, by giving them full and frank feedback on their perforamnce, they will never develop into the singers they had the potential to be. The best way to deal with no-hopers may be to be brutally frank - but how do you know when you're listening to a no-hoper, as opposed to a singer-to-be having an off day? To be on the safe side, it's best to be encouraging to no-hopers as well.

In short, I think we should encourage everyone: it'll help the good singers develop, and it won't make any difference to the no-hopers - they'll just bumble along whatever you do.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 03:41 AM

GSS your dogmatism too often leads you to go over the top in discussions on this forum. Your invidious naming of performers is objectionable. How would you feel if it was your name that was being criticised in a similar manner.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 04:28 AM

john charles, people have walked out of Vin Garbutt concerts because whilst on stage he stated his   views on abortion, other members of the audience [who were against abortion clapped enthusistically in response to those songs],these are facts that are generally known on the uk folk scene., there was no suggestion on my part that anyone walked out of a Vin Garbutt concert because of poor performance, he is in my opinion a great entertainer who has a right to make his points even if i do not agree with him, my response was not to walk out but not to clap.
I have not criticised anyone, but I am using the case to illustrate a point, audiences do not clap equally,, particularly if a performer is making a political point or a point of social comment.
I had a similiar experience many years ago at RAF BRIZE NORTON,I sang a song that criticised the falklands war, I noticed one guy not clapping during the break he had a go at me about the song.
I have not criticised Vin Garbutt, neither do I subscribe to a dogma, I believe it is a good thing that people can air their political views whilst on stage, if people agree or disagree they show it by either enthusiastic applause or little applause or even occasionally walking out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 06:31 AM

GSS what planet are you on?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 01:10 PM

Presumably,The same as the one you are on since you kindly lent me a guitar when I was doing a gig at Kiveton Park Folk club


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: johncharles
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 01:28 PM

I give in. Your argument does not gently stray from the point but gallops into far counties. I will leave it to Jim Carroll.
john


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 02:07 PM

Thanks a bunch John
Sorry - you responded to him last - your baby!!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Nottveeverynight
Date: 23 Sep 15 - 09:00 AM

I really appreciate the one or two brave souls who've given me helpful advice atsingarounds. I think sometimes I perform very well and generally reasonably well but also as I get older I can completely cock up something I've really sweated over for months.At times I deliberately seek out help from a singer I have heard and rate highly.However some offhand remark like Don't give up the day job is downright nasty and unnecessary.

I would love it if some singarounds met for learning sessions.

I tried a singing teacher but he seemed to have no real feeling for folk


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 23 Sep 15 - 12:29 PM

I don't recall seeing this thread before and I'm certainly not going to wade through it now. However, how do you think traditional singers learned? They learned by listening to their previous generation and accepting whatever criticism came their way. It's worth remembering that song traditions used to be gerontocracies. IE., the older you were, the higher your status within the group. Therefore, it would not have seemed at all out of place for established singers to give free and pointed criticism to younger singers.

Unfortunately, in this case at any rate, we're living in a more egalitarian society, where it would be considered rude to offer such advice, however politely it was intended.

So that's problem number one.

Problem number 2 is that some people just don't want to learn. I've known singers who've been performing for forty odd years and still make the same basic mistakes. Invariably, that is because they don't want to improve and if you ask them they usually say "we're just having a bit of fun". Well, I'm sorry but, if you can't be bothered to give it your best shot, please don't aim it down my lughole!

Against that, I occasionally find singers who are keen to learn, but who maybe lack confidence or haven't resolved the problems of breath or pitch control or whatever.

The way forward is to offer them encouragement and appreciation. Then, when the time is right, say something like "That was great, but wouldn't the audience find it easier if you took a breath at the end of a line instead of in the middle?.

Everybody can sing and sing well. It's just that a lot of people on the singaround circuit are too lazy or inconsiderate to make the best use of whatever talent they've got.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Sep 15 - 12:36 PM

Everybody can sing and sing well. It's just that a lot of people on the singaround circuit are too lazy or inconsiderate to make the best use of whatever talent they've got.
very good point, however I have noticed that in guest booking clubs, in contast to singers only clubs, performers tend to try and up their game, when good quality guests are booked, all the more reason for some of these singers clubs to occasionally book a quality guest.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Rumncoke
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 06:21 AM

I did once ask an obviously really nervous new singer to sing with me, and asked if they wouldn't mind singing lower as I just don't have a soprano range.

She was trying to sing so high - out of nerves I think, that she struggling to reach two or three notes, which strained her voice and affected the volume too.

If you can guide rather than criticise it builds up confidence rather than reduces it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 07:04 AM

Never thought I'd see this thread again!

Now it can be told...
- I started it.
- The criticism (which came after I sang Craigie Hill, hence the name) knocked my confidence for quite some time.
- I still think it could have been delivered more sensitively, but if I'm honest I probably would have reacted badly to criticism in any form.
- I think now I shouldn't have been nearly so precious about it; as gnomic Dave said upthread, saying "I accept the criticism, but was it right to say it?" isn't actually accepting the criticism!
- I did learn from it (eventually), particularly about the relationship between pitching and delivery & the need to 'nail' every note when singing unaccompanied (as opposed to just vocalising & thinking of the right note).
- The last time I saw him, the guy who criticised me in the first place complimented me on my pitching.

A sad footnote: the last time I saw the guy really was the last, as it was Dave Eckersley (aka Dave Herron), who left us, far too soon, earlier this year. I wish I'd listened to him more while I had the chance.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 09:13 AM

That's complete rubbish, Dick, not everybody can sing well. I'm just lucky to have two good singers in my band to cover for me. And nerves can get anybody's pitch, even very good singers - which is why I like to build an occasional quiet chord into a mostly unaccompanied intro, just to make sure.

And when arranging things it is useful to check with an instrument you pitch at the end of an unaccompanied song in case it has shifted - in which case you have a clue in which direction to change the pitch of the arrangement.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 11:14 AM

From my own experience, I would say that not everyone has a gift of singing, and do it well, but given considerable time, perseverance , and the right exercises, anyone can achieve it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 11:15 AM

Richard, Dick's quoting Fred.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 12:00 PM

sorry , that was a quote from fred, i did not make it clear


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 12:06 PM

Most of the sessions I attend are Bluegrass-oriented, where the emphasis is more on picking and strumming than singing. Partly as a result, you have a wide variety ranging from outstanding singers to those who can barely carry a tune. Often the tempo, chord progressions, and verse changes in the song are tied closely to the vocal. I encourage all singers to sing with gusto, even the bad ones, partly because the music is tied to the vocal and needs to be heard, but also because even bad singers like to sing. My motto regarding singing is "if you are going to fail, fail boldly". What's surprising to me is, when some bad singers are encouraged to do it with gusto, their confidence increases and they improve tremendously. Others never will. But any ongoing jam or song circle is a little community, and tolerating shortcomings is partly an act of kindness that tends to bond the group. Now, if we were strictly vocalizing, and if harmonies were jarred apart by someone off key, I might feel differently.
Regarding notes, songs on paper, yes I do that. It is one way to try out new material, play a song with lots of verses (even my own songs), and bring some variety to a jam. If you rely on memory only, and you attend a weekly jam, the song selection can get pretty repetitious pretty fast. And what's a jam if not a place to try things out? It's not a performance where professionalism and your reputation are at stake.

LEJ


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 02:26 PM

About a year ago I sang one of my own songs at our local club. One of the respected members said to me on the side that he liked the song but felt it was too long (chorus + 4 verses). I took on board what he said and re-visited the lyrics at home.
After some shimmying around I decided that, while he had a valid point, by reducing the verses to 3 the story lost something.
Although I still sing the song as originally written, I valued his comment and was glad he felt that I was approachable on the subject.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 02:39 PM

It's worth remembering that song traditions used to be gerontocracies. IE., the older you were, the higher your status within the group. Therefore, it would not have seemed at all out of place for established singers to give free and pointed criticism to younger singers.

Whereas today, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Julie Fowlis are both a lot younger and quite a bit more talented than the average Mudcatter. Maybe it behooves older folkies to give respect where it's due to younger performers?

People on the folk scene who have spent 50 years not learning how to be polite, constructive, friendly and appreciative are more of a problem for its continued viability than the occasional talentless newbie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Bert
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 03:06 AM

At singarounds, encouragement is more important than criticism. Singers can improve with encouragement.

If you feel that criticism is necessary then it should always be kind.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 03:29 AM

I love to sing, but I find many singarounds away from home to be very stressful, because they are dominated by "my shit don't stink" singers who seek to impose all sorts of rules that I may or may not be able to comply with to their satisfaction. Sometimes I go to a song circle and spend the whole evening just wanting to go home.

The last time I was criticized in a song circle was about a year ago. I wanted to turn to the woman, tell her "Fuck you," and walk out - but no, I sat with my embarrassment without saying anything until the circle ended. And I still resent her.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 04:35 AM

"People on the folk scene who have spent 50 years not learning how to be polite, constructive, friendly and appreciative are more of a problem for its continued viability than the occasional talentless newbie."

Couldn't agree more, Jack.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 04:55 AM

Self-awareness is a very good thing. At Fylde Festival they famously hosted a Worst Singer in the World Context which had no shortage of takers, each fully aware of how bad they were. It's those who are bad and don't realise it that bother me - I've known a goodly (or badly) few truly excerable singers down the years who thought themselves worthy of attention; just as, conversely, I've know some really amazing singers who had no confidence in their abilities whatsoever and gave up - in one case because of criticism from someone who couldn't hold a tune in a bucket. Go figure.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Bert
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 03:59 PM

Why on earth would anyone want to criticize you Joe? I've heard you perform and I thought that you were great.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 05:43 PM

I wonder if the people who criticise others doing their best like it if someone gives them the same.       Maybe it is those of us who have suffered discouragement in the past, who are more conscious of the negative impact of harsh criticism, that try to avoid discouraging others.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 09:02 PM

I suppose I should say more, Bert. I had been doing my committee member work at camp, and I arrived late at the singaround while this person was singing "Goodnight Irene." I think maybe she was trying to sing it as a serious song, but I didn't catch onto that at the time. So, I sang the "sometimes Irene wears pajamas" verse after the woman finished singing. And then she made a speech, publicly chastising me for that.

If she had talked with me privately, that would have been another matter. But she's one of those dominating personalities who rules with negativity, and I think that's something that can kill the spirit of a singaround. If there is criticism to be made, it should be done in a positive manner, and privately.

I was at a singaround a couple weeks ago, and there was a newcomer there who kept time to every song with his tambourine. I was trying a song that was new to me, but couldn't find the melody with that damn tambourine playing. We have a rule that people should not play instruments unless they're invited by the person singing, but I didn't want to hurt the guy's feelings - but his tambourine was distracting to a number of singers. We decided that if he comes again, we'll tell him - privately.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 09:38 AM

Joe,
If I might.....I can only comment from the point of view of this side of the pond; whereas unwanted accompaniment can be a damned nuisance, adding bits on to someone else's song, particularly changing the tenor of the performance is even more bad manners and annoying. Is it really okay to do that in the States? I've seen people get away with it in a free-for-all barroom situation, but In a singaround, never!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 03:53 AM

It's often acceptable to pitch in to an extendable number like "A drop of Nelson's blood", though. (Can't think of any other examples off hand, although I'll probably think of some as soon as I press Submit.) It sounds as if Joe mistook one type of song for another.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 04:39 AM

No doubt it was my mistake, Steve, but it was a mistake - not an excuse for public chastisement. I came in late, and didn't understand what was going on. I had never heard anyone sing "Goodnight Irene" as a serious song. Where I come from, it's a song that people add verses to ad nauseam.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 05:00 AM

I had never heard anyone sing "Goodnight Irene" as a serious song.

I'd never heard of anybody trying to make it funny until that posting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,David Nuttall, Wakefield
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 07:00 AM

My experience of ' Criticism At Singarounds ' has a parallel here...but with a slightly different twist ! My partner and I often sang unaccompanied folk songs in harmony together.. mainly at informal fringe sessions like the ones to be found in pubs during the Whitby Folk Festival week , at our own local Wakefield informal Sunday sessions and folk festival singarounds all over Yorkshire many of which we have hosted . She was primarily a gifted and accomplished singer of light opera and had been classically trained. She has taken the lead roles in many major productions all over Yorkshire, nationwide and overseas . She also sang solo folk songs which were always enjoyed by many. Whenever we sang together she was able to make ME sound half - decent as she had a real talent and ear for harmonising . With another friend we occasionally sang as a trio too .

I know that in other threads here on Mudcat there has been much debate ( and some bigotry ) regarding bringing operatic or similar voices to renditions of folk music. In my view it should be a case of ' Live And Let Live ' as it would be pretentious to try to sing with any voice other than the one which is natural and comfortable for us . She enjoys all kinds of music and was happy to sing for the joy of it and the enjoyment it gave to others.

One day , in an informal pub setting , as we were about to sing , we were greeted by one non - singing lady listener with a loud cry of....." Oh God ! Here comes that bloody opera singer ! " This had the resultant effect of knocking my partner's confidence and she subsequently rarely sang folk music in such settings again at all. This was in spite of many of the assembled listeners trying to encourage her to subsequently sing.

I often reflect on how many folk singers ( me included here ) could turn their hand ( or voice ) to singing most of the parts in most of the G. and S. operas ( whilst acknowledging that MANY would not wish to do so !!!!! ). SHE was able to sing both folk and opera to a very high standard...whilst remaining modest and unassuming.

Constructive, sensitive, well - timed criticism in the appropriate place , manner and context should be welcomed....but NOT if it destroys confidence or actually deters people from wanting to continue singing and have a go ...whatever the chosen genre .


David Nuttall , Wakefield


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 08:17 AM

David,
I have every sympathy with your situation, and have sometimes witnessed the reverse snobbery you refer to. Indeed years ago I might have been guilty of it myself. However, many of what we nowadays call folk songs originated in the theatre and the refined pleasure gardens like Vauxhall and Ranelagh in London. Another valid point is that the folk scene in Britain is definitely a very different beast to what went on prior to say 1900. We are all reviving something and most of us are arranging the material in a very different format to what it existed as prior to 1900. Personally I have little quibble with trained voices singing folk music. However certain songs do sound somewhat incongruous sung in this way, sea shanties as just one example. I entirely agree with your final comment. Rudeness in any form is unnecessary.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Ged Fox
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 01:29 PM

Sea shanties usually sound incongruous at a singaround, however they are sung. They are often enjoyable to sing or listen to; but indoors, sitting down or with carefully rehearsed harmonies, how can they be called shanties?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 02:40 PM

Hi Ged,
In any circumstance other than on a ship for work duties can they be called shanties?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 04:08 PM

I am not an expert on shanties but i understand, that they were on occasion sung in harmony, however i do not think the harmonies were rehearsed.
It may not be authentic to sing carefully rehearsed harmonies in shanties, but if the shanty is sung in a manner that the work could be done, even if the harmonies are rehearsed, I see no problem. The problem in my opinion is not rehearsal if they still sound like work songs, but more the kind of harmony being used and the way the song is performed.
if they are sung like work songs, then it [surely?] means they are shanties because they are suitable for ship work, even if at that time no one is actually working, they are being sung in a style that is suitable for appropriate work, is it not more a question of style, and if they are sung in a style that makes them suitable for work, they must be shanties, even if they have been rehearsed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 04:38 PM

The point I was trying to make, obviously clumsily, was that whatever they are used for nowadays is a different purpose so they can't be the same thing as they once were. They are being used for entertainment and in that case they, like all other folk songs, are open to any interpretation the performers wish. The 'folk police' can express their opinions like the rest of us but it won't change anything.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 06:09 PM

Shanties sung away from ships and work are surely sung as artistic songs and more for pleasure and for others to join in the chorus singing and non singer to listen to

Ray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 15 - 03:58 AM

I agree[generally], Although there are a few who try to combine authenticity with chorus singing, There is no reason why it cant be done if people want to.
I am happy with both approaches.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Stanron
Date: 29 Sep 15 - 04:24 AM

Here's a thought, perhaps if you attempt to 'combine authenticity' with anything then you are changing it so it can no longer be authentic anyway. Much better to do it with love and hope that it communicates.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Ged Fox
Date: 29 Sep 15 - 05:07 AM

Agreed, Steve & Padgett; in a singaround shanties become chorus songs which can, like any others, be practised, harmonised or sung in any style that the performers like. What is almost impossible, (forgive me GSS,) in a singaround, is to sing them like work songs. ***Pause for thought*** Most people recognise the incongruousness of the comfortable middle classes singing about ploughboys, mill hands and fishermen, but there is no way to tell, in general, whether a performer was brought up to know a sidecarp from a shuttle or a sweep, or whether he just learnt the difference from footnotes. Nor, maybe, need that matter, since for our purposes imagination and empathy can take the place of experience. The incongruity of the singaround shanty differs from that of most other songs in that the song itself changes its nature by being brought indoors and sat down.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Sep 15 - 05:51 AM

"The 'folk police' can express their opinions like the rest of us but it won't change anything."
This has become one of the nastier phrases in the revival (expanded on occasion to Folk-fascists).
It seems that folk song is the only art or performance activity to be above criticism.
Expressing an opinion is just that - expressing an opinion - not "policing" the music.
Those who use it must consider themselves great performers to believe them selves above criticism.
Little wonder that the "anything goes" school of thought reigns supreme nowadays.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 15 - 07:10 AM

good points Jim.
I would like to add that being rehearsed is important.
here is a person who was a working shantyman, stan hugill, singing a shanty presumably in the way he would have used it for work, as far as i am concerned this is perfectly acceptable for any singaround
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znW01dlU0n0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKgQ50IPOCQ


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 03:44 AM

Good link to shanty people, Jim Mageean, Danny MacLeod, Johnny Collins, Shanty Jack aka Peter, and two Wilsons cica 1990

Ray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 04:05 AM

Hugill makes a remark at the end of the second clip, he say we would have only sung a couple of verses to do the job, However Stan was otherwise singing it in the style that he would have don for doing a shanty. I rest my case, an example of two shanties well sung in a working style but not used for work at that particular time


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge in Internet Explorer (spit)
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 06:07 AM

Funny experience just now in Chrome - typing not appearing in the box here!

Anyway, I think the above is a pile of poo. Shanties (originally work songs as distinct from forebitters) are examples of folk songs. Folk songs are defined by derivation not style. The only wrong you can do a folk song is not to sing it (I think Martin Carthy said that). Folk songs are not set in aspic.

How to sing a shanty is a matter of taste. If you want to change the timing so it is too irregular (or slow or fast) to be used as a work song, do it. If you want such or such a harmony, sing it or arrange it. If you want instruments on it, do it.

Personally I hate pianos on folk songs (one and one only June Tabor song excepted) and I often hate banjos (I heard one played sensitively last week, and on another occasion a different one two years ago) and indeed ukuleles. Shaky eggs can be OK or can be bad, and the same goes for bodhrans and cajons and triangles are usually horrid but can fit in some cajun stuff (which I don't like anyway) - but these are matters of taste, not the nature of the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 07:31 AM

I am happy to hear shanties sung in lots of different ways, as Richard says it is all a matter of taste.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 07:48 AM

what do shanties sound like under water ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 11:57 AM

I thought you implied (above) Dick that shanties "ought" (mostly) to be sung in unison but that unrehearsed harmony was acceptable. I think Hugill referred to it as only being found in "negro" (his word) crews - but that was then not now.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 July 11:52 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.