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Performances: Why do they all sound the same?

GUEST,Guest 27 Nov 13 - 08:25 PM
Jack Campin 27 Nov 13 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,FloraG 28 Nov 13 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,Breedloveboy 28 Nov 13 - 06:09 AM
BobKnight 28 Nov 13 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Pudenda Knots 28 Nov 13 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 28 Nov 13 - 07:19 AM
BobKnight 28 Nov 13 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,FloraG 28 Nov 13 - 07:35 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Nov 13 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 28 Nov 13 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Nov 13 - 12:12 PM
BobKnight 28 Nov 13 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Stim 28 Nov 13 - 07:28 PM
kendall 28 Nov 13 - 07:59 PM
PHJim 28 Nov 13 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,michaelr 29 Nov 13 - 12:13 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Nov 13 - 01:34 AM
GUEST 29 Nov 13 - 03:43 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Nov 13 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 29 Nov 13 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 29 Nov 13 - 05:25 AM
doc.tom 29 Nov 13 - 05:38 AM
G-Force 29 Nov 13 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Richard Nocookie Bridge 29 Nov 13 - 06:19 AM
BobKnight 29 Nov 13 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 29 Nov 13 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 29 Nov 13 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Guest 29 Nov 13 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,FloraG 29 Nov 13 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 30 Nov 13 - 04:07 AM
GUEST 30 Nov 13 - 04:14 AM
GUEST 30 Nov 13 - 04:56 AM
GUEST,FloraG 30 Nov 13 - 05:47 AM
Jack Campin 30 Nov 13 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 30 Nov 13 - 12:26 PM
Gallus Moll 30 Nov 13 - 07:15 PM
Will Fly 01 Dec 13 - 06:01 AM
Jack Campin 01 Dec 13 - 06:24 AM
Will Fly 01 Dec 13 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,old git 01 Dec 13 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,Guest 01 Dec 13 - 07:51 AM
mayomick 01 Dec 13 - 08:14 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Dec 13 - 08:54 AM
Larry The Radio Guy 01 Dec 13 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,michaelr 01 Dec 13 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 01 Dec 13 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Guest 01 Dec 13 - 06:34 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 01 Dec 13 - 06:41 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Dec 13 - 06:44 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 01 Dec 13 - 06:50 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Dec 13 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 02 Dec 13 - 10:21 AM
GUEST 02 Dec 13 - 05:44 PM
Jack Campin 02 Dec 13 - 08:11 PM
GUEST 03 Dec 13 - 02:57 AM
GUEST 03 Dec 13 - 08:18 AM
dick greenhaus 03 Dec 13 - 12:04 PM
GUEST 03 Dec 13 - 08:49 PM
GUEST,Guest OP 03 Dec 13 - 08:51 PM
Rob Naylor 04 Dec 13 - 01:21 AM
Will Fly 04 Dec 13 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 04 Dec 13 - 05:02 AM
GUEST 04 Dec 13 - 05:31 AM
Jim McLean 04 Dec 13 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Diddlysquat 04 Dec 13 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 04 Dec 13 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,FloraG 05 Dec 13 - 03:28 AM
GUEST,HughM 05 Dec 13 - 07:57 AM
GUEST 05 Dec 13 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 05 Dec 13 - 04:03 PM
PHJim 06 Dec 13 - 02:32 PM
PHJim 06 Dec 13 - 02:36 PM
Jim McLean 06 Dec 13 - 02:55 PM
GUEST 07 Dec 13 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,Guest OP 07 Dec 13 - 09:05 PM
GUEST,FloraG 08 Dec 13 - 04:10 AM
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Subject: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 27 Nov 13 - 08:25 PM

Listening to a programme on Alba yesterday we noted yet again that the bands featured (don't know which - not that close to the machine) as usual decided to present us with mostly self penned offerings played at 100mph (160kph) that all sounded the same and all the bands sounded the same. We have noticed this in live performances at which we usually manage a couple of sets before becomning bored and wandering off for a coffee or a pint.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Nov 13 - 08:42 PM

I think of that kind of thing as "RSAMD music" - the part-Irish, part-Scottish, part-jazz-chording and maybe-Afro-percussion style has come to be rather formulaic.

The players are often much more interesting individually in settings where they don't feel they have to prove something.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 04:06 AM

When we first started playing in pubs my husbands auntie - who knows about such things at her age - said try to make sure every third tune/ song is one people are likely to know.
Not bad advice methinks
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Breedloveboy
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 06:09 AM

I agree Flora. There are too many groups, and Artists generally just singing their own songs. The trouble is when they ask us what we think we tend to lie and say yeah its good. If we told them the truth maybe the penny would drop.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: BobKnight
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 06:23 AM

I've long thought the same thing. I've stopped listening to Travelling Folk. It seems to be one long procession of bands with fiddles to the fore, and backing chords that seem to have no relationship to the tune being played. I call them "Two Tune," bands as the backing seems to be for another tune entirely in some cases, but hey, if you like tunes, rather than singing, you'll probably love it.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Pudenda Knots
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 06:34 AM

"There are too many groups, and Artists generally just singing their own songs"

God forbid. I shudder to think that someone might want to create new music. Whatever next?

Down with creativity! Long live the artist as human jukebox!


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 07:19 AM

I'm not sure what Alba is but I'm presuming it's a radio station which features Scots folk music, either in English or Gaelic or both.

Either way I would say go back and listen to the field recordings of the great masters of tradition; Willie Scott, Lizzie Higgins, Belle Stewart, Jane Turriff, John Strachan, or any of the droves of Scots singers who were recorded by the School of Scottish Studies etc in the 1950s'/1960s'.

You won't find any of them revving the ballocks out of their songs, or all sounding the same. And you certainly won't hear them drowned out by superfluous accompaniments.

God save me from insipidity.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: BobKnight
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 07:31 AM

It's noticable Fred that all your examples are "singers," as opposed to fiddle based instrumental bands. Now, personally, being a "singer that's great as far as I'm concerned.
Alba is the Scots Gaelic TV station, which it has to be said, is quite heavy on Scottish and traditional music. Their viewing figures are way beyond the amount of gaelic speakers in Scotland.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 07:35 AM

Alba is BBC Scotland. Its one of our recent cable options - and it does a good % of ( mostly ) scottish music - bagpipes, singing, tunes + a bit of country and western. No adverts. Well worth having.
I personally don't like soundscape. I like a good tune that I can whistle on the way home.
Self penned are Ok - if you do it often enough it becomes part of the local Knowledge - so a rousing chorus- just not all the time. Few of us can write well enough to match the best of the old songs.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 10:52 AM

Any sort of folk music on TV is some sort of achievement whether it's your cup of tea or not.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 11:20 AM

I can only agree with you- quite an achievement to get 'folk music' on TV, but the original question still applies. I love the older music amd song(although not all of it!) which is logical at my age although come to think of it, I'd be hard pushed to distinguish between the great old Irish ceili bands- eg the old Kilfenora or the Tulla, wonderful though they were.
So what's new? There's some awful rubbish about, but there always was- trouble is it all gets recorded & blasted out on dozens of 'platforms' these days. You just need to find what YOU like, and not just accept what some suited plonker in TV production puts in front of you.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 12:12 PM

There used to be famous song writers. Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Hoagie Carmichael. Then the Beatles came along and said, "Why don't we write our own stuff, cut out the middleman, and keep more money for ourselves?" They did, and it worked for them.

Now every young musician wants to do the same. In fact, you probably haven't got garage cred unless you've written your own songs. (Imitating earlier writers isn't imitating, it's having 'influences.') Trouble is, few of the new players have the talent, insight and creativity to write something truly good. So they produce the same uninspired stuff over and over.

If anybody makes a new recording of a piece someone else wrote, that's called 'covering' it. Covers are to be spoken of with an ironic tone and a brief lowering of the eyelids, to convey quiet disdain.

Hmmm... I guess I shouldn't say 'a piece someone else wrote,' because many bands today have so little musical knowledge that they can't write their music down. Their music flows electronically from instrument to digital, and then they sell the digital.


So if you step up to a keyboard, and nobody has ever showed you 2/4, 6/8, 5/4; if you don't know what a dot does and have never mastered the rest; or if you have never learned to recognize major, minor and harmonic minor, is it any surprise that your hands fall into familiar patterns and you produce the same kind of thing every time?


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: BobKnight
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 12:37 PM

I write songs, but I try to vary the melodies a fair bit. Mind you some great artist seem to have a familiar melody to most of their work Jackson Brown for example, but I still love what he does. (the earlier stuff)

www.youtube.com/bobknightfolk


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 07:28 PM

I take your point, Leeneia, but Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael were songwriters who "took out the middle man" and performed their own music, and Johnny even started his own record label.

It's true that most bands of a particular type sound pretty much the same, and that good songwriters are few and far between, but if you want to talk about "producing the same kind of thing every time", keep in mind that back in the days before "singer songwriters" not only did the bands tend to sound alike, they all played the same songs...


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: kendall
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 07:59 PM

This is very common in Bluegrass and country. Maybe they don't feel that they are good enough, so they try to sound like someone who has made it?


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: PHJim
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 08:30 PM

When I was a kid, I hated classical music. It all sounded the same to me, because I wasn't familiar with it.
My dad had a cartoon taped to the fridge that showed a teenager in a record store saying, "I can't remember the name of the song, but the words are, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock." He thought all rock music sounded the same, because he hadn't listened critically to it.
There's an old joke:
Q -How do you tell all the fiddle tunes apart.
A -By their names.
Someone who listens carefully to any genre of music can appreciate what makes each tune unique. I must admit that all rap music sounds alike to me, but I'll admit that I haven't given it any time.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,michaelr
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 12:13 AM

WTF is RSAMD?


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 01:34 AM

Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. 100 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G2 3DB


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 03:43 AM

I think we're at the mercy of some fundamental truths of human nature:

1) In any field of human creative endeavour, anybody with ability HAS to create.
2) 90% of what's created will be rubbish (and a further 9% merely mediocre).
3) In matters of taste, the court of final appeal is Time. But we have to wait for its judgements.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 04:16 AM

1954 definition anyone?


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 04:26 AM

Funny how a thread initially about how self penned tunes played by modern Scots trad based bands kind of sound the same turns into another of a long line of digs at singer-songwriters or bands singing their own songs. I kind of agree with PHJim's post and of course trad based bands are just as likely to be swayed by current styles in their genre as bands playing other types of music are. For a TV programme it is up to the producers to ensure there is enough variety of styles etc. For a live gig with the advent of youtube etc there is generally not much excuse for not knowing what you are going to prior to getting there. If you don't fancy it don't go but people shouldn't be condemned for the crime of being creative and writing their own songs or tunes.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 05:25 AM

BobKnight. Thanks for the clarification. I must have got out of the wrong side of the bed that morning, but I get sick and tired of people who just will not listen to source singers, or source musicians.

Yes, Scotland has produced some great fiddlers, to say nothing of accordeonists, pipers etc., and very welcome they are in the McCormick ear. If Alba is showcasing some of these, then that is magic and it is to be applauded.

Does Alba have a Listen Again facility and if so, can anybody provide a link? If so I'll tune in and then at least I'll know what I'm talking about.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: doc.tom
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 05:38 AM

Surely BBC Alba is the Scottish gaelic channel - it is not BBC Scotland!

One of the reasons many tune-groups sound the same is because there seems to be little or no melody in these newly-penned 'tunes'. They take a phrase, repeat it (that's the 'A' phrase) - then do that again for the second 'A' phrase - then move it up a fifth (or sometimes only a third) for the 'B' phrase! That and the audience-ignoring self-indulgence of some modern peformers(Scots, Welsh and English)emphasises that disengagement with the old tunes and the old performers.

Having said all that, BBC Alba does have some GREAT music - both vocal and instrumental - I'll put up with self-gratification (you can always put the kettle on) to get worthwhile stuff. Just compare to what we (don't) get of our culture on English TV.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: G-Force
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 05:42 AM

If you've got Freesat, BBC Alba is channel 110.

It's not the same as BBC Scotland, which is in English. BBC Alba is a Gaelic language station (mostly), with English subtitles.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Richard Nocookie Bridge
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 06:19 AM

Is it on freeview as distinct from freesat? I kind of think not.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: BobKnight
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 06:26 AM

Fred, I've heard quite a few scource singers. My mother's maiden name was Stewart. From her, I'm related to Jeannie Robertson, Lizzie Higgins, Stanley Robertson, the Stewarts of Bliar, and Elizabeth Stewart. I have quite a few trad songs in my repertoire, but I also sing and perform my own stuff in Scottish traditional style. :)


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 09:02 AM

We'ge only got Freeview and BBC Alba is on that - though we are in Scotland. May be different elsewhere. It is on BBC I-Player though. Just look under the music section of the catch up list and there are various BBC Alba programmes on that and it is one of the stations listed so presumably can be also watched live.

The station does get far more viewers than there are Gaelic speakers though supposedly football viewers (probably mostly with the sound down) make up a significant percentage of that. It has good music programmes though and actually some interesting factual (ie history etc)shows too.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 09:16 AM

"Surely BBC Alba is the Scottish gaelic channel - it is not BBC Scotland!"

You are absolutely right. BBC Alba is partially owned by the BBC and part of its funding comes from the BBC Scotland budget. They share the same building in Glasgow but they are seperate entities.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 12:02 PM

It is separate - I've seen it spelt wrong on separators in power stations and other production facilities.

Sorry it's a pedantry (is there such a word?) of mine!

We listen to Alba on the better half's tablet and are a long way from Scotland. Presumably on BBC I-player.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 02:31 PM

BBC Alba is great if you want to increase your scrabble score.
Mar sin leibh an drasta
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 04:07 AM

Aye it is ok guest. No need to apologise. I know I'm not the world's best speller. You're only doing what my other half does on a day to day basis :-)


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 04:14 AM

e.g. BBC Alba


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 04:56 AM

1. Players who only play one instrument, albeit play it well, insisting on playing in every piece. Changing instrumentation does wonders.
2. A split between selfies and trad - do both, and develop your own sound.
3. Excessive aspiration to be a top band making everyone sound like them.
4. The ubiquitous guitar - sorry, but it has to be said the guitar is not a trad instrument, it was the 19th century equivalent of the pukelele, easily accessible. Just because it was crossed over from C&W in the 1960s with the American school doesn't make it right, it pushes the sound in a "wrong" direction. Have some, fine, but not the whole ruddy time.
5. It's time to question whether the GHB has a place: the Bagpipe Society has fairly conclusively shown it did not exist before 1790, making it an invention of the British Army, and so playing 18th century pieces on it is just plain wrong. That does not, however, apply to the other small and chamber pipes, which in addition have a far more conventional scale.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 05:47 AM

Guest - looking at your point one. There is a lot you can do before you need to change instruments. Playing louder/quieter/Silent/ higher/ lower/counter melody/alternative chords/ a bar of 3/4 in a 4/4 tune/more notes/ no base/ add base/ different finger pick style etc. I think most of us just forget to do this - and you have to be a bit wary with non scripted music as you might find no one is playing the tune or worse still - anything at all as everyone takes a break at the same time. I think most of us would opt for a litle bit samey than have a disaster in front of an audience.
Playing more than one instrument is good but there is a limit on how many instruments you want to carry. I recently heard a very good group give a very dissapointing set as the messed about changing instruments - the sort that each needed a quick tune - and with a PA man who was more used to rock than folk bands. With 3 excellent voices - one instrument each would have been a better bet for the continuity for a mostly non folk audience.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 05:59 AM

It's time to question whether the GHB has a place: the Bagpipe Society has fairly conclusively shown it did not exist before 1790, making it an invention of the British Army

What's this then?

Piper to the Laird of Grant, 1714

The British Army didn't adopt the pipes as an official instrument until the Crimean War.

Sure, the GHB as part of a mixed-instrument lineup is a recent idea and not a good one, but don't exaggerate.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 12:26 PM

The core arguement of this thread puts me in mind of the kind of thing
I was moaning about a few years ago..

As typified by Kate Rusby's live touring band at that time -

- bloody irritating over-syncopated 'jazzy' voiced show-off chord strumming
overpowering a vocalist
who would [imho] be better served by more emotively sombre minimalist drone instrumentation backings
eg, harmonium and other reed instruments...

..ermmmmm.., and vintage analog monosynths, and single guitar lines played through rasping 1960s fuzzboxes...........


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 07:15 PM

RSAMD is now known as The Conservatoire (or possibly Royal Conservatoire?)

and - The Stewarts of Blair (not Bliar - - a wee misprint?!)


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:01 AM

it has to be said the guitar is not a trad instrument, it was the 19th century equivalent of the pukelele, easily accessible

I think you'll find the guitar was being played by the common folk much earlier than the 19th century. It's mentioned in Pepys diary - where SP was much taken with it.

Much, much older than the concertina, for example...


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:24 AM

It was not played by "the common folk". It was a drawing room instrument for the gentry, mainly used for weedy arrangements of song and dance tunes that had a lot more guts played on the recorder, flute or violin.

I have some ABC versions on my website of some 18th century guitar arrangements by Robert Bremner (the Bert Weedon of the 1750s). Rob MacKillop has tried to get people interested in them, but not with much success.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:29 AM

Jack, there are descriptions of the period in which street musicians in London performed to the accompaniment of guitars. And, yes, it was also at times the choice of the "gentry" - who switched to the more chic keyboard as an alternative to the "common" guitar.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,old git
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 07:34 AM

Well if you really are a pedant GUEST,guest (29 Nov 13 12;02) then you should have seen it spelt wrongLY


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 07:51 AM

Only an amateur pedant old git.

My spelling is better than my grammar and my prooof reading.

Just for what it is worth I bought my reading glasses in Reading!


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: mayomick
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 08:14 AM

You've certainly come to the right place if you're thinking of turning pro , Guest guest


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 08:54 AM


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 12:48 PM

Songwriting is an art....or at least a craft.....and just because someone's a good singer, fiddler, guitarist, etc. doesn't mean they can write songs.   My preference is that they do some 'research' and find good songs.....instead of thinking they can create them.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,michaelr
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 01:50 PM

When I first started listening to Irish trad music, it pretty much sounded "all the same" to me. It requires some involvement and a lot of active listening to appreciate the nuances.

The OP did not specify who the bands were he was hearing, and said he was "not that close to the machine". May I suggest he was perhaps occupied with other activities at the time and not committed to active listening?

I'm assuming - perhaps wrongly - that he was talking about modern "Celtic fusion" bands (for lack of a better term) such as Capercaillie or Shooglenifty. If one does not reject the efforts of such groups out of hand, it should be quickly apparent that there are great differences between the approaches, instrumentation, and sound of them.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 04:01 PM

But Larry a great many singer songwriters do write good songs. We put on acts and many of them do write their own songs and virtually all of them have been good. I just don't get this "it's not my kind of thing so people just shouldn't bother doing it at all".

Of course there are some hobby singer songwriters who's material maybe isn't up to professional standard but there are also floor singers who aren't up to professional standard too. I don't see why singer songwriters should be the kicking boys here though! If you don't like them then just don't go to see them but no-one has the right to tell people that they just shouldn't bother trying.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:34 PM

When I started this thread I specifically said bands and also mentioned Alba so, yes, I was referring to Scottish Instrumental tracks.

I made no inferences to singer - songwriters.

Just because I was not on top of the machine does not mean I was not actively listening. I was, as it happens, stripping wallpaper and you don't need a lot of brain power or concentration to do that - or at least I don't. Painting woodwork falls in the same category for me but we do not need to start a digression on that subject!

I would not always agree with Jack Campin but his description in the early part this thread of the stuff I was referring to seemed pretty accurate.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:41 PM

Allan, I hear you. There are many singers who are also great songwriters.....and vice versa.

And I always want to encourage people to continue to develop their 'craft'......(if not their art).

But my beef is that there are so many songs......and so many of them are unoriginal and 'sound the same' as others because, as Leeneia says "few of the new players have the talent, insight and creativity to write something truly good. So they produce the same uninspired stuff over and over"

Yet, there truly are some great songs out there.....many of them written by people who aren't 'performers' or aren't dynamic or connected enough to get their music out there.   And because everybody else is encouraged by the money people to write their own 2nd rate songs rather than 'research' and find great, lesser known, material,   so many great songs end up landing up in the musical landfills of the world instead of being 'recycled'.

Again to quote Leeneia: "If anybody makes a new recording of a piece someone else wrote, that's called 'covering' it. Covers are to be spoken of with an ironic tone and a brief lowering of the eyelids, to convey quiet disdain".

Allan, wouldn't you love it if you as a songwriter had some hope in hell of some other excellent performer or 'interpreter' discovering one of your songs, finding it's 'essence' and enhancing it....so that it creates a new wave of inspiration (which might even lead some to ask 'wow! who wrote that'.....and suddenly a new generation of listeners discover the previously unknown Allan Conn.

Well, if all you get is self-penned offerings, it just ain't gonna happen!


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:44 PM

IMHO a cover is not the same as an original treatment of a pre-existing song.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:50 PM

"Cover" seems to be a continuum. In it's purest form it's about Pat Boone recording a velveeta cheese version a black artist's song because white radio wouldn't play black music.......and now Pat Boone can make the money the the RnB performer deserved.

Now it seems applied to anybody who records somebody else's material.

It might be an interesting thread (maybe there is one already) just to explore the boundaries of 'cover version'.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 08:04 PM

perhaps you saw a repeat of the same programme, and it was the same...


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 10:21 AM

We're maybe just going to have to agree to disagree here. I just don't agree with the idea that people look on covers with disdain. Locally virtually all the singer-songwriters I know also do covers anway. Some of the guest artists we've had in recent years have done only their own songs (ie Kieran Halpin, Jackie Leven)but most throw in the odd cover or trad song too - and those who I've mentioned had a strong enough repetoire to justify themselves only doing their own songs anyway.

I don't agree that those songwriters who sing their own songs all sound the same whilst those who write for other people don't. Those of both persuasions can be just as prone to formulaic writing or following trends.

I'm just a hobbyist so don't actively trade my wares. I do it because I love doing it. Though yes it'd be great for someone to record one of my songs. I'd love that but it doesn't stop me singing them myself too. In fact it is the easiest way to let other artists hear them. We had a Frank Rae visit our open mic recently who liked one of my songs and asked if I minded if his group 'Rudeigin' played it. Not a huge deal as they are not a big name or anything but I was really pleased he liked it and wanted to play it. He describes himself as a singer songwriter but he's still open to playing someone else's song and had I not sung at the open mic I doubt if he'd ever have heard it by any other means.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 05:44 PM

A discussion of music, whether positive or negative, that neglects to specify what music is being discussed, can't help but going where this thread has gone...


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 08:11 PM

The OP specified it quite clearly enough for me to work out what they meant.

There are a few different issues here:

- groups that start out wanting to play their own material when they haven't got enough of it to stay interesting.

- formulaic sound, excusable for a working danceband that needs to be somewhat predictable but not such a great idea for a concert band. (Example: Vatersay Boys - did you spot even one original idea from the drummer? Me either). Even for dancebands, the ubiquitous rock drummer who doesn't know anything else can be a liability - they have no idea how to play a 6/8 march so the band has to work round it and use inappropriate tunes for the slower dances, just because 4/4 is all the drummer understands.

- one particular way you get a formulaic result is NOT the responsibility of the younger players - it's older, established performers insisting on playing on every track they can manipulate they way into. Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham, Alasdair Fraser, John-Joe Kelly and Donal Lunny, yes I mean you.

- groups that are just too damn big to be interesting except in a setting where a huge physical noise is the whole point (paging the Treacherous Orchestra). Coming out of your stereo while wallpapering, that sort of show is not going to communicate a lot.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 02:57 AM

Those are your own ideas, not the original posters.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 08:18 AM

@Jack Campin 30 Nov 13 05:59 AM
Fair enough - can you post it to the Bagpipe Society site?


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 12:04 PM

parts are interchangeable, and may be obtained from the dealer or manufacturer


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 08:49 PM

That's half the problem, not hand-fitted. What we really need is someone to put some edge on the commercial types - if it'll take it, some is made of such poor material no sharpening whatsoever will work.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Guest OP
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 08:51 PM

"A discussion of music, whether positive or negative, that neglects to specify what music is being discussed, can't help but going where this thread has gone..."

I thought I had been fairly specific, especially with my second input.

But it seems endemic on Mudflap that people consistently miss the point or go off on their own particular tangents.

Overall though this thread appears to have verified my original point as made in the question.

Reckon it can now be closed.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 01:21 AM

Larry The Radio guy: But my beef is that there are so many songs......and so many of them are unoriginal and 'sound the same' as others because, as Leeneia says "few of the new players have the talent, insight and creativity to write something truly good. So they produce the same uninspired stuff over and over"

This has ALWAYS been the case....in any age, MOST of the new stuff written is/ was pretty dire. It's the small percentage of stuff that stands the test of time that gives an illusion that songwriters back in "X" were "much better than they are today"....the gripe of the old! I'm old myself, now, but I try to take care not to fall into the habit of sounding just like my parents and grandparents in constantly making unfavourable comparisons with the past.

Again to quote Leeneia: "If anybody makes a new recording of a piece someone else wrote, that's called 'covering' it. Covers are to be spoken of with an ironic tone and a brief lowering of the eyelids, to convey quiet disdain".

Again, I disagree completely with this observation. In my experience, whether it be mainstream "pop", folk or local Open Mics, performances of others' music/songs are endemic and appreciated, not looked down on. At the OM I go to most regularly, the organiser is a pretty good singer-songwriter. A number of his songs get regular radio airplay, and are also used as background music in a couple of TV series. But he always mixes his OM set with a couple of his own and a couple of more well-known songs.

And in mainstream pop, no-one seems to regard the Beach Boys as any less worthy because "Barbra Ann" was a cover. Amy Winehouse wasn't slagged off because her most famous song, "Valerie", was a re-tread of a Zutons original. Franz Ferdinand's version of LCD Soundsystems' "All My Friends" is widely regarded as being much better than the original. And this year Darius Rucker's re-working of Dylan's "Wagon Wheel" went to No 1 in the US Country Charts....so I just don't see this disdain!!!


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 05:01 AM

It's the small percentage of stuff that stands the test of time that gives an illusion that songwriters back in "X" were "much better than they are today"

How true! I'm currently ploughing through an archive of around 5,000 pieces of sheet music covering roughly from the 1880s to the early 1960s, once the property of a local, professional pianist. It's a fascinating collection, full of neither-here-nor-there material until, every so often, a title comes along which makes you sit up and take note. And, like today, there were trends which caught on, hits which generated countless less worthy soundalikes. Acres of dross, but with some wonderful songs and tunes scattered throughout.

As for covers, Bonnie Raitt and the Blind Boys of Alabama do a wicked version of Richard Thompson's "When The Spell Is Broken", REM do a wicked version of his "Wall Of Death", and June Tabor does a stunning version of "Strange Affair". 'Nuff said.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 05:02 AM

Agree with you Rob the idea that in the commercial world things are dominated by self penned tunes with no room for 'the songwriter' or covers is just way wide of the mark.

Just had a look at the top 20 albums this week and I reckon 10 of them are almost completely written by other songwriters or are covers. That is One Direction, Boyzone, Elvis Presley, Susan Boyle, Andre Rieu, Little Mix, Celine Dion, Michael Buble, Alfie Boe and JLS.

Then there are three where the artist is named as writer but for the most part in collaboration with other songwriters. That is Katy Perry, Olly Murs and James Arthur. Plus Robbie Williams which is 50% covers of standards and the rest written in collaboration with songwriter Guy Chambers.

So out of the top 20 I reckon there are only six albums which are mostly written by the artist (though no doubt with help in some cases too) and that is Gary Barlow, Eminem, Bastille, Jake Bugg, James Blunt and Artic Monkeys.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 05:31 AM

Does that mean all the trad ballads are covers? It's always been a mean fascination with me what the hybridisation of ballads might have come up with if it had happened differently (for example, the "parrot" coda to Outlandish Knight (where it doesn't make sense, it inverts the narrative) nicked from Young Hunting (where it does) replaced with something silly, like the "doleful dumps" bit of Chevy Chase.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 07:06 AM

Just for clarification, BBC ALBA is not available on Freeview outside Scotland but can be received on Freesat 110 in England.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Diddlysquat
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 07:37 AM

I love the BBC Alba programmes, wish more channels had such super trad music. The content variation is up to the producer. Often these shows are pieced together from performances recorded weeks apart.

Great thing about tv is you can change the channel of you don't like it!

:)

D . .

BBC 4. Also has sone good folk shows


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 07:54 AM

"Does that mean all the trad ballads are covers?" Good question and I suppose it depends on what any individual means by cover versions. The Concise Oxford defines 'cover version' in the following way

"a recording of a previously recorded song etc. made esp to take advantage of the original's success"

So I suppose theoretically at least according to that definition that could mean a new recording of a traditional song also. Pesonally though if I described what kind of material I did then I'd say a mixture of self penned, covers and traditional. And of course nowadays 'covering' something doesn't necessarily mean you are recording it. Many bands who play other people's songs live are called covers bands.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 03:28 AM

Occasionally on Alba you get the manic camera person - flicking here there and everywhere rather than a nice panoramic view of the band. I think it is the fashion to do this but I wish they wouldn't.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 07:57 AM

I think this affects most U.K. TV channels these days, rapidly switching from one view to another - what one might call Restless Vision Mixer Syndrome. I too wish they wouldn't!
    Those of you who like BBC Alba might like the programme Na Durachdan on BBC Radio nan Gaidheal early Friday evening, Freesat channel 713 (though there is rather a lot of talking in between the songs and tunes). Also Ceol Binn o na Beanna, RTE Radio nan G. Wednesday night, Freesat 753.
(Sorry about the missing accents.)


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 09:50 AM

4. The ubiquitous guitar - sorry, but it has to be said the guitar is not a trad instrument, it was the 19th century equivalent of the pukelele, easily accessible. Just because it was crossed over from C&W in the 1960s with the American school doesn't make it right, it pushes the sound in a "wrong" direction. Have some, fine, but not the whole ruddy time.

You seem to be confusing traditional music with historical music.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 04:03 PM

A previous poster said:
"Just because it was crossed over from C&W in the 1960s with the American school doesn't make it right, it pushes the sound in a "wrong" direction." #

Well, I've said this before and probably on this thread, but, for me, British folk guitar didn't truly come into its own until it broke away from the American influence.
In the mid-sixties, both Martin Carthy and Bert Jansch were leaning heavily on the American "clawhammer" style ( think "Lord Franklin" and "Needle of Death" ) but Bert moved away from that style...and Martin and others followed.
Then, of course, we have the very rhythmic "Irish" style which tends to utilise drop D and Dadgad tunings.

This driving style has indeed altered a lot of trad music ( particularly Irish music) but I feel that, if it hadn't, the music would be now followed by a far smaller audience.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: PHJim
Date: 06 Dec 13 - 02:32 PM

I have never heard Bert or Martin use a clawhammer style on guitar. Clawhammer is a banjo style that usually uses the back of the nail on the beat and either the thumb, a hammer, pull or slide on the off beat. Much of the sound is dependant on the re-entrant tuning of the 5 string banjo. For this reason, it has recently become popular as a ukulele technique, since the uke also uses re-entrant tuning.


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: PHJim
Date: 06 Dec 13 - 02:36 PM

I just put "clawhammer guitar" into the browser of Youtube and found this video. I guess there is such a thig, though this is the first time I've heard it.    Molly Tuttle - Clawhammer guitar


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Subject: RE: Why do they all sound the same?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 06 Dec 13 - 02:55 PM

In the fifties Josh MacRae played clawhammer when singing Woody Gurhtrie songs.


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Subject: RE: Performances: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 13 - 10:19 AM

More to the point, having heard Martin expound at length on how he developed his scordatura, I nearly did everyone a gross disservice by summing it up so succinctly he nearly cricked his neck doing a double-take: he quite agreed with the summation that he's now playing an Appalachian C/G tuning, which makes it available to the Cecil Sharp heritage too.


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Subject: RE: Performances: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,Guest OP
Date: 07 Dec 13 - 09:05 PM

I see that someone has changed the title.

As I said somewhere above, the subject has strayed that far away from the original question the thread may as well be closed.

Perhaps the title changer can do this?


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Subject: RE: Performances: Why do they all sound the same?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 08 Dec 13 - 04:10 AM

Tis the way the human mind works OP guest- to drift off in several directions - often at the same time.
I watched the awards for scottish music last night on Alba. There was the usual manic camara man - flick; flick; flick. The She did an American song! Some of the music was pure wallpaper - lots of sound but no tune as such; but:
What a wealth of talent there is and is coming through + A hall of fame where you don't have to be dead to be awarded. Awards for the usual things to keep CD ( download ) sales high but also awards for things such as the best live dance band. I think Alba has played its part in encouraging this wealth of talent.
I think we have to accept that a lot of people go to festivals - they stand for several hours - so need to jig about to stop the feet going numb. The tune is less important than the beat. Its a different market to the one where you are playing to a sitting concentrating audience.
Mar sin leigbh an drasta
FloraG


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