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Duos better than solos

GUEST,FloraG 25 Oct 14 - 04:06 AM
Leadfingers 25 Oct 14 - 05:08 AM
Anne Lister 25 Oct 14 - 05:57 AM
Crane Driver 25 Oct 14 - 06:07 AM
Vic Smith 25 Oct 14 - 09:44 AM
meself 25 Oct 14 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Gerry 25 Oct 14 - 06:26 PM
Don Firth 25 Oct 14 - 08:35 PM
Joe Offer 25 Oct 14 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,Desi C 26 Oct 14 - 02:59 PM
Genie 26 Oct 14 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,FloraG 27 Oct 14 - 03:26 AM
Leadfingers 27 Oct 14 - 04:38 AM
G-Force 27 Oct 14 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,Desi C 27 Oct 14 - 06:40 AM
MartinRyan 27 Oct 14 - 06:56 AM
wysiwyg 27 Oct 14 - 07:30 AM
PHJim 27 Oct 14 - 09:44 AM
Don Firth 27 Oct 14 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,Rahere 27 Oct 14 - 12:32 PM
Genie 27 Oct 14 - 09:44 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 28 Oct 14 - 09:49 AM
Tattie Bogle 28 Oct 14 - 07:15 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 14 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,Desi C 29 Oct 14 - 11:08 AM
CupOfTea 29 Oct 14 - 04:48 PM
Tattie Bogle 29 Oct 14 - 05:17 PM
Leadfingers 29 Oct 14 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 30 Oct 14 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,Desi C 31 Oct 14 - 05:08 AM
Genie 03 Nov 14 - 03:08 AM
Tattie Bogle 03 Nov 14 - 02:27 PM
Big Al Whittle 03 Nov 14 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,FloraG 04 Nov 14 - 03:35 AM
Phil Cooper 04 Nov 14 - 08:49 AM
PHJim 04 Nov 14 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Desi C 04 Nov 14 - 01:24 PM
The Sandman 04 Nov 14 - 05:01 PM
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Subject: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 04:06 AM

For most average performers ( about 90% of us), duos can produce so much more variety than solo performances.
Thoughts?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 05:08 AM

As a 'working' entertainer , I have to agree - The downside , particularly from a 'Folk Club' or 'Pub' viewpoint , cost means that often payment for a duo is not enough to make a living . If a venue has a limited budget , the available payment is often inadequate for more than one performer .


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Anne Lister
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 05:57 AM

On that subject ... for those who have missed out on the announcements, Anonyma are touring again in 2015 in the UK at least (possibly Ireland as well). First off we're doing two weeks in January, taking in folk clubs in Norwich, Southampton and Walthamstow as well as gigs in Kew, Sheffield and Cardiff. Still looking for festivals and clubs in the summer months (June, July, August) - Mary and I are both pursuing PhDs, Mary in Limerick and me in Cardiff, so we're free in the university hols. Mary Mc Laughlin is now permanently based in Limerick (after 17 years in California). You can see what we do together at www.anonymamusic.com

Sorry if this seems to be highjacking this thread but I couldn't resist!


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Crane Driver
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 06:07 AM

Well, speaking as half of a duo, I'd make two points:

Firstly, 'more variety' isn't necessarily the same as 'better'. It may well be, and certainly it can be wearying to sit through a lot of songs that all sound exactly the same, but variety is only good if the various sounds are individually pleasing, which is a highly subjective thing.

Secondly, it depends on the duo. We're both solo performers in our own rights, so a typical set can include different voices, accompanied or not on various instruments. Other duos specialise in one particular sound - it might be two voices in harmony, or one voice and one instrument. Then you only have as much variety as a solo performer, based on your choice of material - faster, slower, upbeat, pensive, tragic or comic. A solo performer with a good choice of material can produce a good, varied set, more so than a duo with only one sound and tempo.

Fortunately we've retired from the day jobs on a small pension, and don't need to make a living - just to cover costs.

Andrew
This is us


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 09:44 AM

I can only give the obvious response -
It depends on who the duos are and who the soloists are.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: meself
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 10:50 AM

And who the audience is/are.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 06:26 PM

If I sang in a duo, I'd feel compelled to sing the right notes. What price artistic freedom?


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 08:35 PM

Is fruit salad better than apples?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 11:32 PM

Hi, Andrew - I think the two of you make a perfect duo. You're darn good - but I'm much more likely to pay attention to you when Carole's performing with you.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 26 Oct 14 - 02:59 PM

Well, two of my very best friends are a duo and an excellent one, in the final of the National Open Mic contest. But the the statement 'duos better than solos' ranks alongside the most Ignorant/stupid/nonsensical on this site. If you choose to be a duo/solo/group the pay is the same so just deal with it, thinking it somehow makes you 'better' shows me you shouldn't be paid at all! who would want to book someone with such a bad attitude!


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Genie
Date: 26 Oct 14 - 04:04 PM

In general, I prefer the sound of more than one instrument and/or more than one voice to either an a cappella vocal, a straight single-instrument instrumental, or a solo vocal backed up by instrument(s).   It tends to make for a fuller, richer, more interesting sound.

But there are notable exceptions. Some ballads (whether folk or pop) seem to tell the story better as a solo.

FWIW, it seems to me that popular recordings (in most any genre) seldom have one single voice either a cappella or with only one instrument (unless it's a piano).   Even "solo" artists usually have vocal backup either by other vocalists or by overdubbing their own voices in places.

There seems to be widespread preference for a mixture of sounds, and duets or trios or backup vocalists can provide that.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 03:26 AM

The thing I especially like about duos is the ability to improvise. So one is confidently leading a song - the other can warble around the tune and make each vese sound different.
Less value if you just double the volume with a duo.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 04:38 AM

From a purely entertainment point of view , a duo is three times as good as a solo , and a trio is three times as good as a duo . That is assuming all participants are of equal competence


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: G-Force
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 06:14 AM

In the case of our duo, I can't sing and she can't play. So yes, we're better as a duo.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 06:40 AM

Can anyone tell me what on earth the post below by Leadfinger actually MEANS!?

Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 04:38 AM

From a purely entertainment point of view , a duo is three times as good as a solo , and a trio is three times as good as a duo . That is assuming all participants are of equal competence


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 06:56 AM

@DesiC

It's a matter (or math-er) of combinations...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 07:30 AM

There are several songs Hardi and I can duo that neither of us has the range to handle solo, and we learned much about duoing them that way from the Louvins, who frankly didn't sound as good solo as duo.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: PHJim
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 09:44 AM

Adding more voices does not always improve things. I have often gone to see a single performer and when I bought their record, found I was disappointed to hear other back-up musicians.
It's fun to play with others and I enjoy playing in a duo, trio...up to an eighty piece orchestra and choir, but I also like playing by myself.
As has been mentioned, a smaller group often earns more, but we usually have a minimum per person , with exceptions for good causes or fun gigs. The Orchestra and Choir pay nothing, in fact we pay an annual membership fee.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 11:52 AM

It seems to me that it depends a lot on the song(s) being sung.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 12:32 PM

One aspect is that whatever a solo performer does to add variety to his work, it still comes from him, and that is a basic limitation.
The duo, by comparison, always has a dialogue at the very least, which has a choice of relationships: the interpersonal interaction of superiority/inferiority in the music, enharmonic concord or discord, and the cross-relationship of every dynamic each makes as a solo artist. Another aspect is that the success of the solo performer is the compliment of his cockups, whereas a duo can cover for each other, so it's the compliment of the product of his cockups. If, for example, a singer makes a pig's ear of one song in ten, then the solo is 90% OK, whereas the duo in 99% OK, in other words the odd problem gets forgotten about whereas the incessant glitches of the soloist makes them vulnerable.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Genie
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 09:44 PM

Good points, Rahere.

And, as Don said, it depends on the song.

I've written quite a few songs, at least half of which I do not perform live, because I composed them with harmony (or other vocal backup) parts in mind, I overdubbed my own voice on the recordings, and the songs just do not sound the way they're supposed to when done as solos, no matter how good the voice.   Some of my others either really don't need harmony or a canticle or counterpoint, etc., and possibly may sound better as solos.   (I'd say all of them, though, can benefit from more than one instrumental backup or break.)

Genie


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 28 Oct 14 - 09:49 AM

Don raise good points... do justice to the song first...

just because there's two of you up there doesn't mean you both need to sing every song together... unless you are marketing yourself as a duo like the Everly Brothers or Simon & Garfunkel... where the singers became at least as important as the song.   It takes a really good song to break free from that kind of association.

so maybe it depends on the song and the audience equally...

I have one of John Roberts & Tony Barrands older CDs in my car and each song feels fresh... maybe because they don't get themselves locked into a certain "sound", but pick what seems to work best for the song.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 28 Oct 14 - 07:15 PM

Don't know what happened to the post I sent in after Leadfingers on 27th at 4.38.am. It has disappeared without trace.
So trying again... I said I enjoyed playing with a friend as a duo, as it gave us more flexibility, depth, and opportunities for harmony, both in tunes and songs. As we are both amateurs, splitting fees doesn't come into it. Several people have said we should do more together. We use existing harmony arrangements or I write them. Not sure about the "warbling around" idea!
And I did comment also on the "bad attitude" displayed by the person who used that very phrase.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 14 - 11:08 AM

Seems to me to be coming from the point of view of producing a sound rather than interpreting a song.
The English/British tradition is basically a solo voiced one - a few ritual and work songs, otherwise, narrative based.
One of the problems raised at the heyday of the Watersons and their coyists arose when the harmony style was applied to all songs, no matter what their content - they all sounded basically the same, which is the fate of all songs that lack interpretation.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 29 Oct 14 - 11:08 AM

Having partaken in a few one off occasional duos,I found it very restricting, in that I was always aware of doing the song exactly as practised i.e no improvising or free expression. I always felt and still do, that I could perform much better and give more to a solo performance. I don't think that makes me any better than a duo, I'm sure duos have their own methods and practise as well as I do. I just think to say you are better simply because there are more people/instruments/voices in your particular combo is plain ignorant and frankly deluded!


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: CupOfTea
Date: 29 Oct 14 - 04:48 PM

Two heads, hands, voices, opinions can work better than one- but it matters deeply what each brings to the duo. Contrast of voice, instrumentation, taste often creates a synergy that far transcends what each does solo. If you don't know the performers as solo, it might be hard to see where the magic in a duo happens.

In the superb on their own / better together category :
Anne Hills & Cindy Mangsen
John Roberts & Tony Barrand
Liam Clancy & Tommy Makem

Perhaps part of it is patter & interaction when they perform, but I think that bringing different points of view to songs or tunes causes a different thought process. Why do a song this way? Why play this instrument? Debate brings up fresh perspectives.

I've had the delight of watching two long time friends and musicians grow a duo. I've listened to Phil Cooper for years as part of a duo/trio/ensemble, with singing partner Margaret Nelson as the constant through all those years. Phil's darlin Susan wrote wonderful songs, sang wacky and ribald songs she'd found elsewhere and became an ever more deft musician through those years. Now they're a duo - February Sky - and the combination of Phil's incredible repertoire of very traditional song and tune and Susan's singer-songwriter orientation and addition of her skill with other instruments have been blended into something very different than what either had done before. Same songs, or tunes from previous repertoires... but whole different flavor. Each time I see them, what they do gets tighter, deeper, more distinctive.

'Course it helps that both are thoughtful, generous people who like each other lots.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 29 Oct 14 - 05:17 PM

Perhaps the title might have been better with a question mark after it? I took it as a theory, please discuss, rather than a statement.
Any grouping of musicians whether a duo, trio or more, works best if they all look and listen and are sympathetic to what each is doing and, yes, well rehearsed, so that they know what's coming.
There are some songs that I prefer to do solo simply because I will vary the tempo, not necessarily the same each time (so how is a duo partner going to follow this?)
However,there is no place for calling people ignorant, Desi C.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Leadfingers
Date: 29 Oct 14 - 08:11 PM

My post of 27th Oct was looking from a General Entertainment viewpoint , NOT from a purely Traditional Folk viewpoint . I can sing and play Guitar , Banjo and Mandolin and Whistle - The Guy I do most of my work with can also sing , and play Guitar , Accordion , and basic Hurdy Gurdy . When we are in Trio Mode we can have a Violin / Mandolin / Whistle/ keyboard . or Violin/Melodeon/Recorder . This gives us an almost infinite variety of sound ! Hence my Three Times as good comment . We also do Acapella songs on occasion `!


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 30 Oct 14 - 12:41 AM

Duos better than solos ?

For the same reason that two people having sex is 'better' than just one alone...

... sharing.. empathy.. harmony.. a richer mode of mutual expression & communication all told...


.. yeah go on then.. call me an old hippy...


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 31 Oct 14 - 05:08 AM

Re Tattie Bogle
What I said was THEIR statement which was 'Duo's are better' was ignorant and unfounded. They gave no evidence or reasons for what is a ridiculous declaration. For one thing you can't directly compare a duo or other size group to a solo performer. Any preference is purely in the ear of the listener. It's worth pointing out by the way, that generally speaking (not my opinion) Duos have never been as popular as Solo's or bands


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Genie
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 03:08 AM

CupOfTea said.

What LeadFingers said too.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 02:27 PM

Well as I said, perhaps a question mark in the original post title, rather than a statement, might have been better. But use of words like "ignorant, ridiculous" are hyperbolic, denigrating and inflammatory. Why can't some people discuss things civilly without having to put other folk down?
"Any preference is purely in the ear of the listener" - yes to that.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 04:53 PM

two little folksingers might only be the same net weight as one big one...


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 03:35 AM

Do people really write folk songs with harmonies? I thought the advantage of playing folk is that you can make it up / change it / diverge from it as you go along. It makes it very creative and fresh - with no 2 performances quite the same.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 08:49 AM

We've done our harmonies off the cuff so to speak. However we've met some other groups where some of the members get real picky our their notes, and want everyone else to do their usual notes. I've noticed they usually had a classical back ground, where every harmony part has to be a different note.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: PHJim
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 12:35 PM

Classical harmonies do allow unisons and octaves.

Bluegrass harmonies generally have lead, tenor and baritone parts, often parallel, and should not have unisons or octaves. When a bass vocal part is added, usually for acapella gospel tunes, the bass part may duplicate one of the other parts an octave lower.

Folks who sing bluegrass regularly, often can wing the tenor or baritone part. The tenor part is a third above the lead line and the baritone part is a 4th below (or sometimes a fifth above, called a high baritone). The terms tenor and baritone do not indicate range, but the relationship to the lead line.


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 01:24 PM

Flora I think that definition much more applies to Jazz


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Subject: RE: Duos better than solos
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 05:01 PM

Music is about enjoyment.


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