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singaround etiquette

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Mrrzy 22 Nov 21 - 10:53 AM
Ged Fox 22 Nov 21 - 10:45 AM
Howard Jones 22 Nov 21 - 04:15 AM
GerryM 21 Nov 21 - 06:43 PM
Tattie Bogle 21 Nov 21 - 02:25 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 21 - 02:09 PM
Howard Jones 21 Nov 21 - 01:12 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 21 - 12:38 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 21 - 12:27 PM
Howard Jones 21 Nov 21 - 11:56 AM
John C. Bunnell 21 Nov 21 - 06:40 AM
The Sandman 21 Nov 21 - 04:58 AM
GerryM 19 Nov 21 - 09:02 PM
Dave the Gnome 19 Nov 21 - 01:48 PM
Taconicus 19 Nov 21 - 11:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Jan 19 - 11:06 AM
Andy7 05 Jan 19 - 07:55 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Jan 19 - 07:48 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Jan 19 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,akenaton 05 Jan 19 - 07:00 AM
GUEST,akenaton 05 Jan 19 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,akenaton 05 Jan 19 - 06:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Jan 19 - 06:27 AM
GUEST 05 Jan 19 - 05:43 AM
Acorn4 04 Jan 19 - 03:36 AM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 03 Jan 19 - 06:23 PM
GUEST 03 Jan 19 - 12:32 PM
Ged Fox 03 Jan 19 - 11:39 AM
GUEST 03 Jan 19 - 09:42 AM
Tattie Bogle 03 Jan 19 - 09:16 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Jan 19 - 05:57 PM
GUEST 02 Jan 19 - 05:32 PM
Acorn4 02 Jan 19 - 05:25 PM
Joe Offer 02 Jan 19 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,akenaton 02 Jan 19 - 04:43 PM
Joe Offer 02 Jan 19 - 03:28 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 19 - 08:37 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 19 - 08:23 AM
Vic Smith 02 Jan 19 - 07:43 AM
GUEST,Andy7 02 Jan 19 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 02 Jan 19 - 05:48 AM
GUEST,Peter 02 Jan 19 - 02:37 AM
Tattie Bogle 01 Jan 19 - 04:19 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 19 - 03:12 PM
Tattie Bogle 01 Jan 19 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Peter 01 Jan 19 - 06:33 AM
Andy7 01 Jan 19 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 01 Jan 19 - 04:26 AM
Jack Campin 31 Dec 18 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,QCT ALL 31 Dec 18 - 09:37 AM
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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Nov 21 - 10:53 AM

I can't not sing along, if I know the song. I hope that is never rude (I do sing *along*- not out of key, not harmony).


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Ged Fox
Date: 22 Nov 21 - 10:45 AM

Singing unaccompanied I generally have no idea what key I am singing in. I usually run the tune through in my head to make sure I can reach the highest note, sometimes finding out too late that I was over-optimistic. Someone once pointed out that I was singing in tune with the freezer that was humming away in the corner.

I occasionally play Northumbrian smallpipes. Guitarists who pluck strings as they try to work out what key I'm playing are told, quite truthfully, that it's in F-off.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Nov 21 - 04:15 AM

I agree it's important to know what note to start on, but that doesn't mean you need to to know its name. Many experienced singers have enough sense of their own vocal range to be able to internalise this and pitch a song correctly. Besides, many folk songs don't have a challenging range so most singers should be able to cope even if they are slightly out.

As Tattie Bogle says, some singers will start in the wrong key and have to stop and start again. Those singers would certainly benefit from using a reference note to help them pitch it correctly. However don't overlook all those singers who are able to pitch it correctly.

It depends on how you think about music. Not everyone has a musical education and many don't think in terms of keys and named notes. I learned to play several instruments by ear well enough to perform semi-professionally. I may know the key (diatonic instruments are limited that way) but I usually don't know the name of the note associated with a button or fret. I think of chords as finger patterns rather than as notes. Ask me to play an F# and I'll have to work up the scale until I get to it, but when I'm playing a tune I know where to find the sound that is called F#. I'm even less conscious of key when I'm singing unaccompanied, but I know where to pitch a song to suit my voice, and I'm aware of those songs with unexpected ranges which may need to be pitched more carefully and which may need a reference note.

The point I am trying to make, somewhat laboriously, is that whilst Sandman's advice is sound, people should not be intimidated into thinking they must understand keys and notes in order to sing.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GerryM
Date: 21 Nov 21 - 06:43 PM

"I am now very uncertain of what my welcome would be should I happen to perform in either a Mudcat "singaround" (a word I hadn't encountered before arriving here) or its live equivalent anywhere in the UK."

Well, there's one way to be certain about what your welcome would be, should you join us at the Mudcat singaround, and that's to join us, and see. I've been to over 70 of them, and I have never found them to be anything other than welcoming. [And I'm not sure whether the UK reference was linked to the Mudcat singaround, but that singaround is hosted in California, and USians and UKians make up the largest cohorts of participants.]


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 21 Nov 21 - 02:25 PM

I’m with Sandman on this. It does help to know roughly what key you sing a certain song in, or its start note - even if you don’t play an instrument or read music. If you have a songbook or crib sheet handy (let’s not go down that avenue again, please!) you can mark it in, then next time you do the same song, just ask someone to give you the key or start note. Doesn’t matter if today you’re better on Ab or Bb if you’ve marked as A and are singing unaccompanied, but at least you’ll be in the right area.
And how many times have you seen an unaccompanied singer start a song and then stop? “Oh that was too high/low!” then start again in exactly the same key?


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 21 - 02:09 PM

i suggested taking a note ,nothing more, no mention of knowing what key John Bunnell feels sad, what does he feel sad about exactly.
I feel sad, that i make a constructive comment and i get a reaction from john Bunnell, A reaction which suggest that i control singarounds all over the uk[ i do not live there, thankfully] that i control the singaround on Mudcat
I categoricaaly wish to state that i do not control the singaround on mudcat


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Nov 21 - 01:12 PM

It's up to the singer. Some singers are able to rely simply on a sense of their own vocal range to pitch the song correctly. Some people aren't very good at this, and would benefit from using pitch-pipes or an instrument to get their note, while others do this habitually. It's certainly wise, as Sandman suggests, to be aware of the state of your voice, and be prepared to sing in a different key to compensate for an off day, or for the acoustics of the room. If you are not very sure of your vocal range then it would certainly help to know your usual key and to have a reference note. Sandman's advice is sound, although many singers may be able to do this without thinking in terms of named keys.   

However to infer from this that everyone in a UK singaround knows what key they sing in for every song, and can pitch it perfectly, would be very wrong. I often don't know the key even when I am accompanying myself on an instrument - all I need to know is where to put the capo.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 21 - 12:38 PM

much as i would like to have the powers of the almighty, i am aware of my limitations , i have no control over any singarounds in the UK, NEITHER DO I HAVE ANY CONTROLS OVER MUDCAT SINGAROUNDS.
Joe Offer hosts mudcat singarounds and is a very welcoming and friendly host.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 21 - 12:27 PM

for the record the sandman does not live in the uk or run any singarounds in the uk, neither does he run mudcat singarounds.
I never make negative comments on the mudcat singarounds, which are run by joe offer.
my advice about taking a note quote
however it is a good idea to know what note you start a song on when singing unaccompanied, if your voice happens to be iffy that day and there is a big range you can pitch a note lower., it is all part of trying to improve and take a more professional attitude.
my comment is about trying to improve performance and avoid embarrassing oneself and requires very very little formal musical training, IT WAS SPECIFICALLY RELATED TO OCCASIONS WHEN A SINGERS VOICE MIGHT BE IFFY DUE TO A COLD ETC.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Nov 21 - 11:56 AM

What specifically makes you think you might be unwelcome?


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: John C. Bunnell
Date: 21 Nov 21 - 06:40 AM

[deep breath]

This will get to etiquette eventually, but first, the vita:

I'm in the US (born, raised, & still resident in Oregon), and I am in no way a professional musician. However: I grew up in a folk-friendly household, listening to a variety of folk & country music as well as show tunes; my brother played wind instruments in high school (jazz band), Mother played piano, and we always went to the carol-singing services at Christmas. In college, I was the lone wolf at the radio station who did a weekly folk show, dragging a bankers' box full of vinyl back and forth across campus every Sunday and closing every show with the signoff "...and remember, you too can sing along with your radio."

Somewhere between five and ten years after graduating, I came across the "filk" community - science fiction/fantasy's substrata of folk music, a great deal of it at that time consisting of alternative lyrics written to a great variety of folk (and folk-rock, and musical-theater, and other) tunes. One could find a filk circle at most medium to large SF fan conventions, and there were in my area house-filks on a regular basis. And - best of all, from my perspective - there was an explicit and clearly articulated principle that everyone was welcome in a filk circle absolutely irrespective of musical skill or talent. And that explicitly meant "welcome to perform", not just to be part of a group sing.

That principle is articulated a little less strongly now than it was some decades ago (in part because the community has both evolved and diversified, but that's a whole other thread), but it is still very much a core component of the filk world. There were live (albeit masked) song circles at the convention I attended last weekend - one in what we call "bardic" mode, in which everyone gets a turn, in order, and can either perform or choose someone else and request a song; the other in "chaos", in which performers are allowed to jump in one after another more or less at will (but it's still one song at a time, as opposed to a jam session).

Now per above, I am in no way a trained musician; I don't read music, I don't play an instrument, and while I can usually sing approximately on *a* key, I am completely unable to tell you what that key is at any given moment. What I can do - and have been doing for the aforementioned several decades, thanks to the filk community - is write lyrics and in most cases match them to existing tunes (some of which are likely familiar to most of this gallery, while others probably won't be).

I am welcome, and know I will be welcomed, as both a listener and performer in any filk circle or housefilk or Zoom filk event I might find myself able to attend. I do not sing along on verses during circles unless explicitly invited, I only sing along on choruses when I know them well enough, and I will happily acknowledge my sources whenever I've borrowed a tune (especially since many of the lyrics I write are totally unrelated to those of the source song, and thereby not recognizable as parody in the usual sense).

I've now read this thread all the way back (The Sandman's comment having caught my eye). And I must say that based on that reading, I am now very uncertain of what my welcome would be should I happen to perform in either a Mudcat "singaround" (a word I hadn't encountered before arriving here) or its live equivalent anywhere in the UK. And that makes me very sad.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 21 - 04:58 AM

no ,
however it is a good idea to know what note you start a song on when singing unaccompanied, if your voice happens to be iffy that day and there is a big range you can pitch a note lower., it is all part of trying to improve and take a more professional attitude


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GerryM
Date: 19 Nov 21 - 09:02 PM

I would guess that announcing the key is mostly something people do if they're accompanying themselves on an instrument, rarely done by unaccompanied singers.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Nov 21 - 01:48 PM

I have no idea what key I sing my songs in. I suspect that at times there may be a few of them... :-D


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Taconicus
Date: 19 Nov 21 - 11:46 AM

At my local traditional/folk music association singaround/jam/song circles, the convention is that announcing the key of a song in advance is a signal that everyone is welcome to join in, both playing and singing.

If the singer/performer does not announce what key the piece is in, that's a signal that the performer would rather sing the song without having others join in (because it might throw him off, because he wants to showcase his own performance, or for any other reason).


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 11:06 AM

no its not! agreed! we all have to start somewhere.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Andy7
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 07:55 AM

It makes me weep, the number of people these days that say, "I cant sing." Just because they can't sing as well as the best popular singers; which in any case is a very narrow version of good singing.

The ubiquitous habit of people covering their ears and exaggeratedly grimacing, if someone in their family or social circle does start to sing in public, certainly doesn't help!

(The same is true of dancing! But that's another topic entirely.)

So in a singaround, which actually appears, by its very name, to encourage everyone to sing, the least we can do is welcome, and try to appreciate, singers that are new/nervous/just not very good.

I was not very good myself, once. And if I'd had any inkling, at that stage, that the other people in a singaround were pulling faces, grinning to each other or looking bored, I'd probably never have gone back.

If the price to be paid is that we occasionally have to sit through a song that isn't sung very well, that's not so very high a price at all!


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 07:48 AM

PS nice to talk to you again Ake!


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 07:46 AM

Guilty as charged, Ake. But I needed to make a living. I knew how to play the guitar. The hours fitted in with me being a carer. Yes my level of competency was deeply resented by the folkerati, but on the other hand, the room seemed and still does seem to light up in anticipation when I walk into a folk club. That's a less and less frequent occurrence, as the great unplugged/acoustic music revival goes on apace.

Doubtless, if I hadn't been desperately in need of the NHS for the care of my wife, I would have decamped to another nation - like most of my contemporaries who couldn't stomach the trad folk agenda - with all its inconsistencies and craziness.

But to be honest, I think the English folk clubs really missed out. It failed to adapt. The kids who had a lot to offer were working class grammar school types - and so many of them ended up playing in Irish bars from St Petersburg, and Oslo to the gulf.

The idea that folk music was something that belonged to tiny communities preferably pre-industrial belongs to that era where Vaughan Williams and Percy Grainger were morris dancing in the garden.

Our generation saw it as a valid artistic movement that offered the possibility of self expression.

Still we'll all be dead soon and it won't matter that we lost the battle and the war. Worse things happened.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 07:00 AM

I suppose the real villains are those who commercialised music, turning it from a gift to humanity into simply another commodity.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 06:53 AM

I also think that the role of the performer is changing, in my youth any contribution to the entertainment of the gathering was appreciated, singers and musicians were respected, regardless of competency.....we are becoming spoiled insensitive brats.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 06:46 AM

I rather agree with Acorn......"background music" is a distraction and extremely annoying. Apparently every documentary and a lot of news articles on TV, require intrusive music played over the commentary. slightly different from the point Joe is making but new parameters are being set and concentration broken.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 06:27 AM

'
People often act like it's a terrible thing to threaten another person. But sometimes, threats are necessary. '

Yes we heard about the business with the hand grenade. Whilst I agree that the Childe ballads deserve a measure of respect, in this country we need folk clubs to be covered by the pub's insurance.

At our local folk club, the committee felt that whilst loosening the pin on the grenade, and shouting, 'Belt up you motherf.....rs!' carried risks.
We have taken a leaf from Jim Carrol's memories of The Singers Club of yore. The committee sit at a table in front, with an uzi on the table strictly only to be used if anyone disagrees with us.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 05:43 AM

People talking?
It depends where you are. If the singaround / session is in a dedicated room then they should shut the f*** up when somebody is singing. If it is in a public bar then you put up with it, they came to talk to their mates and have a perfect right to do so.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Jan 19 - 03:36 AM

On the subject of the dreaded phones:-

Three Minute Limit


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 03 Jan 19 - 06:23 PM

Unfortunately , it seems many musicians don't listen to other contributors , and either talk or look at their phones, even in a small circle. I tend to shrug and carry on if I can see anyone listening , but when it comes to open mics I tend to just not go to the worst ones much . Thankfully , at the sing around there are usually some that respect each other !


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 19 - 12:32 PM

I suppose we will never know.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Ged Fox
Date: 03 Jan 19 - 11:39 AM

It would have been more effective to have stopped the guitar and continued singing.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 19 - 09:42 AM

In my I suppose limited experience, trying to outloud people tends not to work for me. Turning my own volume down and singing more and more quietly sometimes works, but sometimes it doesn't. One time I was at a session and the other players were shouting loudly at each other while I was singing. I ended up playing the guitar and mouthing the words silently for about half the song. So my approach was pretty ineffective in that instance. But yeah, sometimes people do shut up.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Jan 19 - 09:16 AM

A similar thing happened in a recent pub session (in a pub that is known as a "folk club". 2 very loud young ladies were screaming with laughter at something on their phones while our singer was barely heard. He stopped singing, turned to them and said, "I'll start again when you two have finished". It worked a treat! No fights or hard feelings.
The same singer - in another session- also told the person next to him to stop flicking loudly through his massive song folder "I'll carry on when you stop that".


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 05:57 PM

Joe,
You simply stop singing, presuming most others are listening, and if anyone asks why you simply say 'The conversation seemed to be more important so I stopped.' If that doesn't get the message across nothing else will, other than talking loudly while she is singing, but 2 wrongs don't make a right.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 05:32 PM

Just had time to read the whole thread, Guest Observer is no "Bambi" in any sense of the word.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Acorn4
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 05:25 PM

I think the whole notion of "background music" to which we've become conditioned has a lot to do with this.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 05:10 PM

Well, as usual, my sainted wife had a pretty good alternative to my inclinations. She said I should say something like, "You have a beautiful voice. Can you sing with us?"
Don't know if I could bring myself to do that. This woman does NOT have a beautiful voice, and she finds ways to sing twice as often as everybody else does. And she thinks she knows lots of songs, but often flubs both the lyrics and the melodies.
I get to be catty sometimes, Ake, but only when I'm attacked....
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 04:43 PM

Surely this is not the Joe we know and love???
Seriously, this lack of common courtesy is getting pretty widespread.
Even in normal conversation people are continually trying to "talk over" one another, but it is especially discourteous when one is being favoured with a song.
I even see it on these threads, when people jump at other members without appearing to have read their contributions.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 03:28 PM

Any advice on how to handle people who talk while others are trying to sing? I was trying to sing a quiet, sweet song as New Year's Eve waned, but there was a woman talking quite loudly. I couldn't really hear myself, so I sang a little louder. And each time I raised my volume, she raised hers even more.

Now that it's over, I keep thinking of things I should have done. Maybe I should have stopped in the middle of the song and said, "@#$%, Shut Up!" But that would have spoiled the mood I was trying to create with the song. Of course, my straining to sing over her talking certainly did not enhance the song - so maybe I should have stopped and told her off. I also thought of making up a verse or two that would apply to her rudeness.

I finally handled the matter by sending the woman an email this morning. I described what she had done, without characterizing it or her as rude and all the other things I was thinking. This is not the first time this woman this woman has interfered with my singing. I tried to deal with her gently in the past because she has a very fragile ego, but now I've had it. I told her point-blank that if she ever interfered with my singing again, I would embarrass her publicly.

People often act like it's a terrible thing to threaten another person. But sometimes, threats are necessary. And it she ever interferes with my singing again, I will fulfill my threat.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 08:37 AM

I suppose in a way we all own songs!

If you sing Shoals of Herring in a German folk club, perhaps , perhaps....someone will shout, donner und bklitzen! Das ist mein sangen!


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 08:23 AM

I remember Ian Campbell one time told me about a gig he did with Ewan in Germany somewhere.

Anyway (happens to us all) Ewan was singing shoals of herring, and half way through the second verse, Ewan's brain went into reverse and he couldn't remember the next line. Ian was at the back of the hall - so he couldn't help him.

Luckily all the German audience knew the song and sung it for him. Shoals of herring is a song I love. I've sung it a thousand times in my front room, never in public.

I don't think its anything to do with the passing of time. Some of us have always loved encountering a song, and we have to have a go at learning it and singing it. Sometimes its only after you've learned it over a matter of weeks you realise - its not a song you can do.

I spent weeks once learning Thorneymoor Park, a song that was part of Carthy and Tony Rose's repertoire at the time. A number of times though, I did the line....I took me knife and I cut the buck's thoat...however I did it - it sounded too horrible to be music.

Some of us are just like that. We hear a song we like and we have a go at it. That's folksong for me. What its been to me since I was a kid . I'm 70, this month.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 07:43 AM

Reading Jim Bainbridge's contribution above reminds me of a singaround that he was part of in the early 1970s. It was at one of those wonderful TMSA festivals at Kinross which has recently moved there from Blairgowrie.
Tina and I had been sensible enough to hire in advance one of the permanent caravans on the campsite for the weekend. After the late, late events in the pubs and hotels, things continued in the 4 or 5 big caravans that were at the top of the campsite. We had invited quite a few friends and, of course, Jim was among them but many more than that squeezed in. Even before it began, industrial amounts of alcohol had been consumed. Where I was sitting, I was unable to move my feet because the space was taken by Dave Goulder who was peacefully 'resting his eyes' still clutching a half empty bottle of a single malt to his chest.
Belle Stewart turned up and could barely squeeze inside the door. Before she gave us her song she said, "Of course. Alex and me have got a big posh room at the Kirklands Hotel, but we jist thocht we'd com' an' see hoo a' you puir travellers are managing camped oot in a' weathers!"
Aly Bain could not get in but he leaned his fiddle inside one of the open windows and gave us a tune.
John Watt had appointed himself as compere and even through very bleary eyes, he was doing a very good job, He was sitting next to Alex Mackie and had asked Alex to sing. Alex was singing Bonnie Gateshead Lass - starting at a normal pace, he gradually sung slower and slower before passing out before he reached the end of the song. John gave him a few pokes, but failed to revive him. "Ach weel, Ah want ye's a' tae be here at 10.30 in the mornin' tae hear Alex finish his sang. Noo, we'll hae a sang frae Cathal."
Eventually the singaround broke up not long before dawn. We managed to revive Dave and a few other sleepers and made a sustained effort to get Alex removed. This was particularly important because at that time, Alex was the World and European Heavy Snoring Champion.

We have been to hundreds of informal singarounds at folk festivals since those days, but somehow these more recent ones lack the human interest that the ones at those early TMSA festivals offered.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,Andy7
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 06:27 AM

I completely agree that, in a singaround, songs should not be considered ‘owned’ by anyone, apart from their own compositions.

However, there is an element of courtesy, when a member has a very small repertoire. To take it to the extreme, if you knew that the only song a particular member could sing was, say, ‘Scarborough Fair’, and your turn came before theirs, you’d hardly be likely to sing it. More realistically, some singers, especially newcomers, do only know a handful of songs, and if 2 or 3 of those were sung by other members, who were aware of this, in the same evening, it would seem rather inconsiderate.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 05:48 AM

Why does all this stuff cause such acrimony?- maybe it's indicitave of a deeper change?
in my early days on the folk scene, humour was an important part of any 'folk' gathering- clubs rather than singarounds in those days. It's all become a lot more serious and self-c0nscious, which IMHO is not a good thing.

Re 'possession' of songs, 30 years ago, I was asked to play my gadget at a Sunday night singing session which had run for many years. These were older people and it was of an earlier kind- mainly older local people & my function was to fill the gaps with a song or a tune. This was in the Sibin pub, near Baltimore in West Cork, in the early 90s.

There were many singers, and it struck me how each one had his or her own songs & no-one would dream of singing someone else's song! The changenowadays is that these folks were NEIGHBOURS, who knew each other and their songs and that has now changed, in Ireland too, the excellent Sligo singers circle has a few locals, but many singers there travel many miles to it.

Re the humour aspect, some the Baltimore singers often sang the same
comic song almost week after week, with the same comic punchline- everybody laughed every time!

In the sixties, at the Marsden Inn club in South Shields, the excellent MC Jim Irvine sang a song & minutes afterwards Frank O'Neill, fine singer & joke teller, a few minutes late, came in the door & sang the same song. Nobody groaned, there was a rising giggle resulting in a hilarious torrent of laughing.
Frank didn't know what was going on- it wasn't a funny song, but slowly realised & concluded by laughing louder than anyone.

   Would it happen like that today or do we take ourselves far too seriously?


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 02 Jan 19 - 02:37 AM

Indeed, in my post both people concerned had, at different times, been regarded by the session as the "the person who sung that song" or, to put it another way the "owner".


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 01 Jan 19 - 04:19 PM

Very true; but I was just talking about what happens in sessions, not the big bad commercial world outside, and how some people do seem to think that certain songs are "theirs" and not to be sung by others who may stumble upon their session.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 19 - 03:12 PM

writing a song doesn't have too much to do with ownership.

once someone senses there is money to be made out of it, people who are paying for the recording and marketing, demand the right to make a version that will shift units.

Then when it is in the public arena - the public sing it anywhere, anyhow, with whatever changes to the words and tune they want. There are exceptions -if you're a millionaire like the bloke from Oasis, you can take out an injunction and stop The Smurfs from recording your song. But even Noel can't change a million pub singers butchering his 'possession', smart arse parodist who couldn't create anything as long as they had a hole in their arse writing 'alternative' funny words. Politicians, football crowds or male voice choirs, ladies barbershop quartets, or Quentin Tarantino putting it in a film about people being disemboweklled. Ten to one, Paul MacCartney never thought his songs would be used as the soundtrack for public executions in Africa - but they were.

You write your song and it totters out into the world. That's it. Gone! No longer yours mate!


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 01 Jan 19 - 11:12 AM

No-one can own a song (unless they wrote it themselves): but I can think of a few people who would be quite miffed and give you the "daggers" look if you sang "their" song.

All of which ties in well with what others were saying on your other thread, Andy7, about not going for songs that are too well-known/often sung or you may risk someone's nasal disjointedness - "oh, so-and-so ALWAYS does that one" - er, well not this time!

In this area it gets a bit hilarious around Burns time, when everyone is going to sing a Burns song at the session in the week of Jan 25th, and nobody knows who is going to sing what next: song-sheets and books go flying through the air as serially they are discarded when someone does the song you had planned to do and even your 2nd/3rd/4th reserve!


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 01 Jan 19 - 06:33 AM

Andy's post reminds me of an incident at a singers club many years ago now. A former resident was back in the area visiting family and performed her "party piece".

Once of the current residents, who hadn't known her before she moved away, also had the song in her repertoire. She had been to the bar and was standing outside the room incandessant about "her" song being sung.

Actually both parrotted the same version by Martin Carthy note for note.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Andy7
Date: 01 Jan 19 - 06:21 AM

One St. David's Day, I sang 'Ar Hyd Y Nos' in Welsh at a singaround. Not actually speaking or understanding any Welsh at all, I'd painstakingly learned it line by line, listening to and trying to parrot a variety of Welsh singers on the internet. (It kind of surprised me, although it really shouldn't have, that of course no two Welsh singers pronounce the words identically!)

It then turned out I'd 'stolen' the opportunity from a genuine Welsh singer, who'd also been planning to perform the song, but whose turn came after mine in the singaround.

That's not really bad etiquette, just bad luck; but it would be good if there was some way to avoid such a faux pas!

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i bawb yn Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Jan 19 - 04:26 AM

Blimey I know I'm fat, but Godzilla! I've far too ugly to be Bambi! But then so was the landlord! Happy New Year Jack.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Dec 18 - 07:39 PM

Not so much for singarounds, but on guest nights when you have a performer who likes to splat hecklers like bugs as part of their act, you oughta encourage people to give them straight lines.

"observer" vs Nick Dow has the same sort of Bambi-meets-Godzilla entertainment value.


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Subject: RE: singaround etiquette
From: GUEST,QCT ALL
Date: 31 Dec 18 - 09:37 AM

Andy 7- you sound pretty courteous and with common sense and I don't want a disagreement either but I don't see much evidence of either virtue in the various scurrilous tales in this thread in the interim!
So it may be that 'notes for the aspiring folkie' ARE necessary?
   Your observing before rushing in is apparently your way of approaching new experiences & laudable in many ways...
   BUT- I don't accept you need to worry about what to do/say AT ALL-, there are strong and intolerant knowalls on the scene who KNOW what's correct and you really do not need to be guided by this.

Singing a Fenian song in Portadown is obviously a bad idea (for the sake of your health) but if people sneer at you singing 'Kumbaya' or the 'Wild Rover' and if Cyril Tawney can finish a folk club night with 'She wears Red Feathers' then so can you- I bet they didn't sneer at him!
Seems you've been around a while now, as have I - maybe you're just a bit less cynical than me!


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