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how many songs should duos/groups sing?

Andy7 09 Sep 16 - 02:29 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Sep 16 - 02:52 PM
JHW 09 Sep 16 - 03:53 PM
GUEST 09 Sep 16 - 05:15 PM
Andy7 09 Sep 16 - 06:01 PM
Jack Campin 09 Sep 16 - 07:20 PM
GUEST, DTM 09 Sep 16 - 08:24 PM
GUEST,Desi C 09 Sep 16 - 11:19 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Sep 16 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,FloraG 10 Sep 16 - 03:32 AM
Will Fly 10 Sep 16 - 03:46 AM
Ged Fox 10 Sep 16 - 04:19 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Sep 16 - 05:44 AM
Uncle Tone 10 Sep 16 - 05:58 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Sep 16 - 06:08 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Sep 16 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,FloraG 10 Sep 16 - 06:28 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Sep 16 - 06:40 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Sep 16 - 07:01 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Sep 16 - 07:03 AM
GUEST 10 Sep 16 - 07:57 AM
Uncle Tone 10 Sep 16 - 08:26 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Sep 16 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,Acorn4anscookie 10 Sep 16 - 09:24 AM
Uncle Tone 10 Sep 16 - 11:37 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Sep 16 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,IanA 10 Sep 16 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,FloraG. 11 Sep 16 - 03:30 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Sep 16 - 03:53 AM
Uncle Tone 11 Sep 16 - 04:24 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Sep 16 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,FloraG 12 Sep 16 - 02:52 AM
Howard Jones 12 Sep 16 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,FloraG 12 Sep 16 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 12 Sep 16 - 08:08 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Sep 16 - 08:39 AM
Uncle Tone 12 Sep 16 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,FloraG 12 Sep 16 - 09:03 AM
GUEST 12 Sep 16 - 10:51 AM
Backwoodsman 12 Sep 16 - 11:37 AM
Backwoodsman 12 Sep 16 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,FloraG 12 Sep 16 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Sol 12 Sep 16 - 03:15 PM
Backwoodsman 12 Sep 16 - 04:05 PM
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Subject: how many songs should duos/groups perform?
From: Andy7
Date: 09 Sep 16 - 02:29 PM

This is not that important (wow, there's an inspiring start to a thread!), but I've often wondered about the etiquette re duos/groups in a singaround.

If each person gets one song, then a duo should get two between them, and a group of three, three. So far, so straightforward.

But what if one person is the lead singer, and the other just accompanies them? That means the lead singer is actually singing twice as many songs as anyone else.

I once saw a trio at a singaround, where the leader, admittedly a talented singer and musician, performed 3 songs, with his friends providing minor accompaniment and joining in the choruses.

What if I take along 6 tambourine players to a session? Should I be given 7 songs in a row?

I'm only posing this question out of interest, not because I feel hard done by ... I don't have enough songs in my repertoire for more than my one per round! :-)


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Sep 16 - 02:52 PM

There are earlier threads that discuss this problem. try 'Singaround Etiquette'.

Not an easy one to solve. As a free concert organiser I have the same problem. How long do I give to duets, quartets, solo singers? Generally I give established groups of any sort about 20 mins, floor singers one song, floor singer duets 2 songs and so on on a 2 or 3 hour concert, but even this can cause problems. Solo recording artists normally get a full 20-minute spot.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: JHW
Date: 09 Sep 16 - 03:53 PM

Two if there's two people but probably still two if there's more than two or it could get out of hand.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Sep 16 - 05:15 PM

I'd factor all of the following considerations: (a) how far the singer(s) had come, (b) whether they were any good, (c) how often they were likely to be in that neck of the woods, and (d) whether the others had had a fair crack of the whip.

It's difficult to be even-handed. There are a few clubs which are admittedly dominated by a handful of people of considerable talent (one in London that I can think of), but which don't allow visitors much of a look in. There are others which are more democratic, but where a significant number of floor singers are crap, and don't seem to have any concept of pleasing an audience.

As it happens, I've all but given up attending folk clubs because on the one hand I don't enjoy being frozen out, and on the other, I don't enjoy hearing endless bad renditions of Ralph McTell and Eric Bogle songs. So it's a choice between elitism and incompetence without much of a middle ground in between.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Andy7
Date: 09 Sep 16 - 06:01 PM

Yes, I agree that some floor singers are crap. I was crap myself, in my earlier days. And now I'm pretty good. That's because I was not just tolerated, but welcomed, when I first started going to folk clubs.

That, to me, is the beauty of folk; everyone is given a chance. And if I sometimes have to endure a boring, tuneless performance from an inexperienced floor singer ... well, some generous folkies did that for me, once!


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Sep 16 - 07:20 PM

Usually a double-or-more act will have practiced together, so they are likely to be less crap than the average floor singer.

I have occasionally been in singarounds/sessions where an entire choir has dropped in. They usually sing much less than the audience would like them to (they often have a paying gig elsewhere the same night).


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST, DTM
Date: 09 Sep 16 - 08:24 PM

I totally agree with Andy7 (two posts up).
We all have to start somewhere.
IMO, duos get two songs, trios are pushing their luck if they want three.
This is why it's always good to have a sensible emcee as he/she can call it as he/she sees fit on the night.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 09 Sep 16 - 11:19 PM

I coultn't disagree more, by your thinking a 6 piece group should get six songs and a choir get a virtual concert. It's people's choice to be in a group they don't deserve any extra reward for it. You don't go to a concert by a group or a solo artist and expect the group to do a couple of hours extra just because there's more of them, same should apply to a Singaround or singers night


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 03:21 AM

Isn't it more important for an organiser to decide how to produce a VARIED programme of singing for the audiences rather than how many songs should be allotted to each individual/group.... whatever?
Most groups I have listened to are formulaic and the sound the produce is more less the same for each song - I would be inclined to take a book to read along to any singaround that was going to give me the same sound in twenty minute blocks (sorry Steve).
Research carried out by Charles Parker and others around the time the Radio ballads were made, found that after a surprisingly short time, people stop listening, both to singing and speech. if it is delivered using the same tone, or weight or dynamic; their ears "went to sleep", as Charlie put it.
Far too many of the singaround sessions I have attended, in the UK and here in Ireland, have been boring, not because the singing is bad or the songs aren't interesting (far from it), but because singers perform their songs without having considered that has gone before it comes round to them.
A well sung long ballad can be riveting, two can be OK - three, and it's time to go down to the bar for a pee, a pint and a chat.
An essential aspect of our work in the Critics Group was to be aware of and learn to handle all the different aspects of singing - efforts - tone, etc..... so that all your songs didn't come out sounding the same.
I believe that folk songs are peoples' life experiences versified - as human beings, we experience a whole range of emotions and events - if we delivered them in a monotone, we'd be very boring people.
The same with song.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 03:32 AM

If its a really good session I don't mind not being asked to do anything. I know - define good. Some quality, some variation, some beginners, no one reading notes. Happy to audience.
If its your average session him and I usually do a spot together. 2 or 3 songs between us - no problem.
The difficulty arises if its one spot per turn.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 03:46 AM

I run the monthly Brighton Acoustic Session with Stuart Reed at the Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Street, Brighton. Stuart handles bookings and finances, and I get the room arranged, sort out the order of the floor spots and guest bits, and MC the evening. We always try and accommodate everyone who wants a floor spot, and rarely fail except on nights when the place is rammed. So, here's what we do:

One singer, one song, unless there happens to be a dearth of floor singers, in which case Stuart or myself or other floor singers will get a couple to fill in between the guest sessions. Duos, trios, quartets, etc. - two songs and no more.

Here's what I dislike:

Floor singers who plead for "just two very short songs" - they never are.

Floor singers who roll two songs together into one - this is taking the piss, in my view.

Floor singers who, knowing that time is short, sing an interminable song well beyond the allotted time.

Singer/songwriters whose songs are filled with the same choruses repeated over and over again, interspersed with noodling, uninteresting guitar work, and which drone on for ever.

Luckily, very few of our regulars fall into any of these categories, I'm happy to say, but you can never predict who's going to turn up. The only person I would never allow on the floor again - ever - is a not very good but showy performer who, while playing, turned to a woman in the audience and said, "Can you do this?" Which earned him, in my view, the award of Twat Of The Year.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Ged Fox
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 04:19 AM

What Jim & Will said; although going to the bar for a pee might be frowned on over here in England.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 05:44 AM

"going to the bar for a pee might be frowned on over here in England."
You obviously never had a pint in Liverpool - never heard of the rolled up Liverpool Echo technique - though not sure it still works since the paper became a tabloid?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 05:58 AM

One local singaround club host here states that if you are a duo or a trio or a quartet you still only get one song because you are all getting a go! But he runs a very busy club where it isn't unusual to get up to 25 acts.

I see it somewhat differently and try to give everyone at least two songs, with duos or trios getting three.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 06:08 AM

matter of judgement .......Sonny and Brownie can have the second half...
Robson and Jerome can fuck off...


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 06:17 AM

I do stuff 'solo' and I'm also a member of a three-piece acoustic band, so I can truthfully say that I don't have an axe to grind from either POV.

My personal feeling is that a solo performer is one 'act', a duo is one 'act', a trio is one 'act', and any other number, up to and including a full choir, is one 'act', and that the only equitable way is for each 'act' to get the same number of songs.

So, if it's two songs (my personal preference), each 'act' gets two songs. If one song, each 'act' gets one song.

A singaround club I used to drive 35 miles to on a Tuesday night had a rule of one song per round. There were a group of four or five members who each did a solo song, then did songs in varying permutations of two, three, or four members, to a point where they virtually dominated the entire evening, and others (including me) probably only got one song.

Needless to say, I don't go there any more.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 06:28 AM

If its one spot per turn its tempting to act as solos - not as good as a duo because its more limiting on what we can do, but if a club is getting 25 turns it must be doing something right.
However, if its a busy club I would not do a 24 verse ballad nor a complete tune set - maybe just a single tune played twice. Some shanties can be over long too in those circumstances. Sympathy with novice performers who have prepared a song/tune that is too similar to what's gone before or just doesn't fit with the audience, but they don't have the choice yet to pick and choose on the night.
I always appreciate it when we go to a new club - instruments in tow - and the organisers ( residents) step down rather than doing their introductory 5 to make a space for us if time is short. Its a way to make you feel welcome.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 06:40 AM

One of the formats that has never worked for me is the practice of going around the room in turn - absolutely uncontrollable quality-wise.
On the other hand, my favourite club works on the basis starting both halves with 2/3 selected performers, then a free for all - doesn't work either.
I sat in company with one of Ireland's finest singers one night - he is an extremely retiring individual and, because of this, he sand one song all night.
An observant and positive MC (or fhear an tí, in Irish) holds he key to a good, balanced evening, in my opinion.   
"Sonny and Brownie can have the second half..."
Is that all Al - a bit mean?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 07:01 AM

That sounds good, Jim.

At my local club, the original organiser/MC would ask every attendee, as they arrived, whether they would be performing or not. Then he would point to performers to indicate that 'it's your turn next', so no simply going 'round the room'. This method also meant that he could vary the types of performers following one another, and he could allocate more 'turns' to the better performers (meaning that everyone was encouraged to improve in order to get an 'extra' turn).

I found that the best/most enjoyable format, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly to tell me I'm wrong! 😄😎


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 07:03 AM

Sadly, my local club is a 'round the room' setup since the original organiser moved on some long time ago.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 07:57 AM

Will Fly wrote <"Here's what I dislike:
Floor singers who plead for "just two very short songs" - they never are.
Floor singers who roll two songs together into one - this is taking the piss, in my view.
Floor singers who, knowing that time is short, sing an interminable song well beyond the allotted time.
Singer/songwriters whose songs are filled with the same choruses repeated over and over again, interspersed with noodling, uninteresting guitar work, and which drone on for ever.">

Spot on, Will, especially the first one.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 08:26 AM

Added to Will's list:

Floor singers who haven't decided what they're doing or start flicking through their books looking for a song
Floor singers who haven't tuned up outside first
Floor singers who waffle away for ages first instead of getting on with the song
Floor singers who forget the words, then start again from the beginning about three quarters of the way through a song


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 08:34 AM

"Floor singers who, knowing that time is short, sing an interminable song, well beyond the allotted time."

Mmmmm! My band had a 'real' paid gig some time ago at a club (which shall remain nameless) and, after the interval a few locals were offered a song each before we came on for our second 45-min spot. One of the locals, a well-experienced, seasoned performer who should know better, demanded two songs, and was told by the organiser he could only have one because time was short, and the room had to be vacated promptly at 11pm.

He proceeded to sing 'Tam Lin' in its entirety - at least ten, probably more like fifteen minutes. Which meant of course that, by exacting his revenge, he shortened the paid (quite handsomely!) artists' set by between five and ten minutes.

Very selfish, and very rude, not only to the paid artists but, more importantly, to the rest of the audience who had paid good money to see them, IMHO.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,Acorn4anscookie
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 09:24 AM

I think that, being part of a duo, the getting two songs is much appreciated but a couple of our local clubs do two songs per round per individual meaning that a duo could claim the right to do four.

In these circumstances I'll normally waive my individual turn(s) as otherwise the whole thing becomes interminable and the session can lose momentum if you come to a not so good individual who chooses to do longish songs.

Just one song per individual is more likely to keep momentum going and not cause too much of the session to drag.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 11:37 AM

From: Backwoodsman - PM
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 08:34 AM

Quote: One of the locals, a well-experienced, seasoned performer who should know better, demanded two songs, and was told by the organiser he could only have one because time was short, and the room had to be vacated promptly at 11pm.

He proceeded to sing 'Tam Lin' in its entirety -

He'd never get another go at my club, just for singing Tam Lin!


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 11:56 AM

i think the second half would be quite generous, and if they won the raffle as well all hell would break loose.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,IanA
Date: 10 Sep 16 - 01:08 PM

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, the answer is blowin' in the wind.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,FloraG.
Date: 11 Sep 16 - 03:30 AM

In Kent we have a number of singing morris sides. A similar problem can arise if you have a joint stand with another side. Should the sides do one song/tune each and alternate or should they do one per performer?
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Sep 16 - 03:53 AM

"He'd never get another go at my club, just for singing Tam Lin!"
A pity - it's a good ballad that demands to be sung well.
If it can't be sung in a folk club, then we condemn it to death.
I don't believe that any folk song is "too long", though there are many that sound as if they are because they are sung badly - some of them only have two or three verses.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 11 Sep 16 - 04:24 AM

It was a joke Jim!


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Sep 16 - 06:34 AM

"It was a joke Jim!"
I'm happy to accept it as such Tone, but there are far too many people who put it forwards as a serious argument.
My apologies for misreading your intention.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 02:52 AM

Back to the original thread - would you tell a club organiser if you were not happy with your duo only being given a single spot? Likely not - just not turn up next time.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 04:12 AM

I agree - it should be a specified number of songs per act, whether that's a solo singer or a choir.

As for duos being better rehearsed than soloists, sadly I can think of far too many for whom that is not the case.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 05:54 AM

Howard - the problem arises if its only one song per act. Playing a few notes around a tune is fine while someone else sings - I quite enjoy that - but not worth a whole evening of my time unless the club is good entertainment in its own right.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 08:08 AM

not enough to keep the mind alive really is it...?

I mean if you're a folkie. You sing or dance or whatever you do at home all the time....

what goes on at the club, its just the salt on the chips.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 08:39 AM

One regular occurrence which still angers me to recall it, was when a performer would turn up at the desk of the Club, ask for a spot, then ask whoever was on the door to give a shout when it was their turn, not even bothering to find out what the club did.
In my experiences, decent clubs have some sort of policy and tended to do what it says on the tin.
If performers can't be bothered to find out what that is, they shouldn't be asked to perform on principle.
As far as how many songs anybody should be given, that must be the decision of those running the club.
If you wish to change to that decision, become part of the organisation.
Complaints about it should be FILED FOR FUTURE REFERENCE
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 09:03 AM

Oh yes! Also add those performers who leave immediately they've had their go!


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 09:03 AM

Jim - quite agree that's its hard enough to run a club and all credit to those who do it.
When I'm on holiday I like to visit new clubs - and sometimes we get asked to play and sometimes not. Mostly we are made very welcome. We don't complain - just not go back to some. Its loosing the non complainers that may damage a club if enough people do the same. One slot for a duo may be a reason.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 10:51 AM

When I'm on holiday I like to visit new clubs - and sometimes we get asked to play and sometimes not.
If there is a high ratio of audience to floor singers it may be down to you to ask. My rule of thumb has always been:
In a singaround I expect to be asked, if it is a staged format then I expect to ask. On a guest night I have no expectation of a floor spot.

Almost on the original topic I do wonder when the "one song" rule for floor spots appeared. When I first went to clubs it was always one spot of two songs. After some years out raising a family everybody seemed to do one but not through any surfit of floor singers as the same people were up doing one again in the second half.

For duos, it is down to the MC on the night to balance things but they shouldn't go through the door expecting to be treated as two or three separate acts


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 11:37 AM

The 'original topic' wasn't about floor-spots, it was about sing-arounds and the ratio of songs per rotation allocated to solo-performers v. duos/groups.

The majority (maybe all) of the clubs I attend which have performers doing floor-spots give two songs to each floor-spot performer. Some give each performer a spot in each half - therefore four songs total, some just one spot for the night - thus two songs.

In sing-arounds in my area (Lincs, South Yorks, Notts), it does tend to be one song per rotation for solo performers, two for duos/trios etc.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 11:40 AM

Apologies - correction to my last post, I should have said:-

"The majority (maybe all) of the clubs I attend which have performers doing floor-spots give two songs to each floor-spot 'act', irrespective of the number of performers making up the 'act'. Some give each 'act' a spot in each half - therefore four songs total, some just one spot for the night - thus two songs."


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 02:44 PM

Backwoodsman - I think I would be happy to attend any of your clubs and put our name as a duo. We could do solos but I tend to prefer duos/trios as I think it offers more variety even though we only get 1/2 the time per person. Its just if we get one song between us - how do we decide who should be the shakey egg player and who should take the lead?
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 03:15 PM

As well as the "leave after they sing" mob, there's the irritating ones who rustle through their song sheets or play with their phones when others perform however they expect total attention when it's their turn to delight the company.

Inexcusable lack of respect for fellow folkies.


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Subject: RE: how many songs should duos/groups sing?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 04:05 PM

Flora, it's up to you - your decision! When my 3-piece band go to singarounds, we just look through our song-list and pick the songs we fancy doing - as far as we're concerned, it's the song that matters, not the singers' egos! We all take pleasure from each others' songs, and form playing them.


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