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The importance of Source Singers

Jim Carroll 17 Mar 20 - 12:11 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Mar 20 - 12:22 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Mar 20 - 12:33 PM
Lighter 17 Mar 20 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Starship 17 Mar 20 - 01:04 PM
Brian Peters 17 Mar 20 - 01:24 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Mar 20 - 01:31 PM
r.padgett 18 Mar 20 - 03:16 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Mar 20 - 03:41 AM
The Sandman 18 Mar 20 - 04:28 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Mar 20 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 18 Mar 20 - 06:41 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Mar 20 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,CJ 18 Mar 20 - 12:19 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Mar 20 - 12:44 PM
The Sandman 19 Mar 20 - 02:52 AM
The Sandman 19 Mar 20 - 03:33 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Mar 20 - 04:26 AM
The Sandman 19 Mar 20 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Mar 20 - 05:08 AM
The Sandman 19 Mar 20 - 05:11 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Mar 20 - 05:36 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Mar 20 - 06:15 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Mar 20 - 06:48 AM
The Sandman 20 Mar 20 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 20 Mar 20 - 06:48 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Mar 20 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,Starship 20 Mar 20 - 09:22 AM
The Sandman 20 Mar 20 - 10:36 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Mar 20 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Starship 20 Mar 20 - 10:50 AM
Iains 20 Mar 20 - 11:03 AM
JohnH 20 Mar 20 - 11:16 AM
Vic Smith 20 Mar 20 - 11:53 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Mar 20 - 12:09 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 20 Mar 20 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 20 Mar 20 - 12:55 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Mar 20 - 01:03 PM
The Sandman 20 Mar 20 - 03:30 PM
The Sandman 20 Mar 20 - 03:41 PM
Iains 20 Mar 20 - 06:14 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Mar 20 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 21 Mar 20 - 06:34 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Mar 20 - 07:27 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 21 Mar 20 - 03:12 PM
The Sandman 21 Mar 20 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 23 Mar 20 - 05:28 AM
GUEST 23 Mar 20 - 05:32 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Mar 20 - 06:17 AM
Howard Jones 23 Mar 20 - 09:10 AM
Vic Smith 23 Mar 20 - 10:00 AM
The Sandman 24 Mar 20 - 03:35 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Mar 20 - 06:29 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Mar 20 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Cj 24 Mar 20 - 04:04 PM
r.padgett 24 Mar 20 - 04:16 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 25 Mar 20 - 06:49 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Mar 20 - 07:41 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Mar 20 - 07:41 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 25 Mar 20 - 10:42 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Mar 20 - 11:02 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 25 Mar 20 - 11:18 AM
r.padgett 25 Mar 20 - 05:09 PM
The Sandman 25 Mar 20 - 06:19 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Mar 20 - 04:09 AM
The Sandman 26 Mar 20 - 04:14 AM
The Sandman 26 Mar 20 - 04:27 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Mar 20 - 04:41 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Mar 20 - 04:43 AM
The Sandman 26 Mar 20 - 05:05 AM
The Sandman 27 Mar 20 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,crumbly 29 Mar 20 - 09:00 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 20 - 09:59 AM
r.padgett 29 Mar 20 - 11:20 AM
The Sandman 29 Mar 20 - 03:06 PM
r.padgett 30 Mar 20 - 03:33 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 20 - 04:36 AM
The Sandman 30 Mar 20 - 04:57 AM
GUEST 30 Mar 20 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 30 Mar 20 - 06:04 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 20 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,Derrick 30 Mar 20 - 07:11 AM
r.padgett 30 Mar 20 - 07:14 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 20 - 08:22 AM
The Sandman 30 Mar 20 - 09:03 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 20 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 30 Mar 20 - 10:28 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 20 - 10:46 AM
The Sandman 30 Mar 20 - 12:58 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 20 - 02:25 PM
The Sandman 30 Mar 20 - 03:27 PM
r.padgett 31 Mar 20 - 04:35 PM
The Sandman 01 Apr 20 - 03:10 AM
r.padgett 01 Apr 20 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 01 Apr 20 - 04:48 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Apr 20 - 05:11 AM
The Sandman 01 Apr 20 - 08:14 AM
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Subject: Origins: The imporyance of Source Singer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Mar 20 - 12:11 PM

Earlier I posted this on the Harry Cox thread


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Subject: RE: Origins: The imporyance of Source Singer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Mar 20 - 12:22 PM

Sorry that went off before I'd evens started
THis is one of the postings that I would lave liked to see debated on the now closed thread, perhaps it might be used here to open a discussion on the importance fo our old singers
Jim Carroll

A number of events stand out when meeting source singers which sum up my feelings towards their contribution to folk song

Martin Reidy was a toothless old bachelor who lived with his dog on the slopes of Mount Callan
When we met him, he had no electricity or running water and lived in a three room traditional cottage roofed with Moher flagstones, part of which (over what used to be his bedroom) had collapsed, so he moved to the other end of the house
Up to the time he became known as a local singer, he'd never travelled further than our County Town, Ennis (about ten miles away)
When he was taken to perform at The Cork Folk Festival, he stepped out of the car, looked up and down the busy main street and said "A fine bit of a village"
He had the longest songs I'd ever heard - one lasting over fifteen minutes
We'd been recording him one afternoon when he turned and said, "You know, I was delighted when you people started to record my songs - I was so worried they were going to die when I did I tried to teach Topsy (his dog) to sing them"
MARTIN

Pat MacNamara was a singer and storyteller from North Clare, not a great singer, but with many dozens of songs, and lon, long stories which he told superbly - mainly wonder tales
We recorded him over three years and came away with a goldmine each time
The last time we visited him, the afternoon before we left for home, he gave us a list of songs and stories he said he hadn't sung for us yet and would "tell to us next time you come over"
He said, "If I'm not here, come up to the graveyard and I'll tell them up to you"
At Christmas, we received a Mass card from the local publican, Mrs Considne, telling us Pat had died
PAT MACNAMARA

Also from North Clare, Martin Howley was a singer and old-style concertina player with a fascinating repertoire of rare songs, including the only version of 'Fair Margaret and Sweet William' (Child 74) to be found in Ireland (or anywhere else for a very long time) which he'd got from a heavy-drinking local Travelling woman - he confused everybody by referring to it as "The Old Armchair"
On our last visit to him, he had been ill so we didn't expect him to sing for us
After five minutes he said, "Have you the tape recorder"
Pat said we'd been told he was ill and didn't want to bother him with that; he replied: "I'm a poor man (a road labourer); I have nothing to leave but my songs - I want you to have them".
Martin died the following winter of cancer of the eye which could have been easily cured, had he not preferred to put his trust in St Joseph's Holy Well at Liscannor, which had 'the cure' for such things
MARTIN HOWLEY

It's when you meet people like these, who have loved and cherished these songs all their lives and for some strange reason have been "grateful" to those who disrupted their lives and took advantage of their hospitality to record them, that you realise how important they were to them - it is a betrayal of their trust not to treat them and their songs with respect and not to pass on their precious legacy


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Subject: RE: Origins: The imporyance of Source Singer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Mar 20 - 12:33 PM

Should have included these links
MARTIN REIDY
PAT MACNAMARA
MARTIN HOWLEY

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: The imporyance of Source Singer
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Mar 20 - 12:51 PM

> you realise how important they were to them - it is a betrayal of their trust not to treat them and their songs with respect and not to pass on their precious legacy

Well said, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The imporyance of Source Singer
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 17 Mar 20 - 01:04 PM

Ditto what Lighter wrote.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The imporyance of Source Singer
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Mar 20 - 01:24 PM

Some lovely comments from the singers there, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The imporyance of Source Singer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Mar 20 - 01:31 PM

"Some lovely comments from the singers there, Jim."
They were full if it (lovely comments, that is)
Walter Pardon once summed up his long version of Van Diemans land in a single sentence - "That's a long old song, but it was a long old journey"
I don't think ou can beat that for succinctness
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: r.padgett
Date: 18 Mar 20 - 03:16 AM

Very few source singers still with us sadly ~ but surely their memory is important as are their songs and life

It is good to know that their songs and voices have been recorded ~ now we are of course left with what is, has and should be done with these recordings in terms of "the living tradition" ~ I believe that revivalist singers should always listen very carefully to "how" these songs were sung as the source may well have been greatly influenced by his/her source and new learners may lose the songs sense and understanding

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Mar 20 - 03:41 AM

My feeling exactly Ray
There has never been the opportunity we have at present to examine what these singers said and sang - I only hope there is enough interest left to take advantage of that opportunity
I was struck while watching 'The Norther Fiddler' by how the younger generation of musicians haven't jused used what the older generation, like John Doherty, left, but have embraced it and made it part of their own musicianship, the result being that some of them are playing as good, occasionally better than their forebears
As Paddy Glackin has pointed out on numerous occasions, twenty odd years ago we believed we would be the last generation to appreciate this music and song
Now, he, his brother Kevin, and Kevin's daughter have become leading figures   in the traditional music renaissance, simply by going back to the sources rather than constantly searching for 'a new sound' (as was once tried)
Now they are doing both comfortably
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Mar 20 - 04:28 AM

What comes across to me is that Jim and Pat saw them as friends the singers were as important as the songs. the songs belong to us all, they do not belong to the collector, although we must be thankful to the people who collected them even if very occasionally the song collector did not treat the source singers with respect.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Mar 20 - 05:15 AM

"occasionally the song collector did not treat the source singers with respect."
In Fairness Dick, most did - a few gluggers
It's when the songs got taken up that the problems began
The copyrighting of 'arrangements' is, to my mind immoral
All folk songs are somebody's arrangements - the ones who in the ear of the Music industry get to claim their as their property
Sure - all people have a right to be rewarded for the work they put in, but surely that must include the source singer ?
A suitably compromise for me would be to make it mandatory for anyone claiming arrangements of traditional songs to contribute a percentage of their claim to a fund which somehow benefits the continuance of the music
EFDSS seems the logical arbiter on that, but given the path they seem to be taking..... !!
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 18 Mar 20 - 06:41 AM

I never met Harry Cox nor Walter Pardon, but am very grateful for the research and recorded material made available by Jim C in particular.

If he's right about younger folks in Ireland listening to the source musicians & singers rather then the perfectly valid 'revival' versions by such as De Dannan and the Dubliners, then that is very healthy indeed!

I never watch TV nor listen to FOLK programmes, but have been recently been very impressed by one Lisa O'Neill, heard on 'Front Row' on BBC radio and also an amazingly atmospheric storyteller called Clare Muireann Murphy on Michael Rosen's 'Word of Mouth'. thMaybe they are examples of this trend, because they really were quite striking to an old traditionalist (HOWEVER DEFINED!) like me-they've obviously been listening!
I've never forgotten early encounters with such as Willie Scott, Paddy Tunney, Jack Elliott and Bobby Casey and for me they were a crucial influence, so let's hope young folk absorb a bit of it, as well as the social context?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Mar 20 - 07:26 AM

It's true about the young ones Jim - you only have to watch some of the many programmes One of the mosy exciting aspects is the emergence of family members of musical families like those from ELIZABETH CRONIN's family
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 18 Mar 20 - 12:19 PM

Jim, having spoken to Nell, I don't believe she is actually related to Elizabeth Cronin. I seem to recall that Elizabeth Cronin became a Cronin by marriage and even then, Bess Cronin's husband's family weren't / aren't actually related to Nell Ní Chróinín's. Fine singers both, of course, and I could be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Mar 20 - 12:44 PM

Thanks CJ - I wasn't too sure, but there was a programme on young singers that featured Nell where she was filmed outside Liz's home - maybe I'm assuming wrong
Cronin is a common name in that part of the world - I suppose you know the song, 'Trip to Gougane

"We had Buckleys, and Healys, and Sullivans too
The Learys, a Connell, a Roche and a Drew
Such a crowd of McCarthys I ne’er saw before
And the Cronins were there by the dozen and score
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di"
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Mar 20 - 02:52 AM

The copyrighting of 'arrangements' is, to my mind immoral"
the amount of money that is paid for arrangements is tiny in comparison to composed music, it ids in my case more about the acknowledgement of artistic and creative music arrangements are the work of a person or people and their work should not be stolen by others, that is in my opinion the point of copyrighting, not the few coppers that available.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Mar 20 - 03:33 AM

PERSONALY I do not object to anybody using my arrangements providing they credit me when they perform them and credit me when they record them , it is not about money.
likewise i will generally mention the souce singer for example windy old weather i mention harry cox, talk about the point of the song and a liitle about the singer, it is abouit respect and acknowledgement.
Kennedy was disrespectful, he pinched my arrangements and tried to sell them and he got a rep for not treating source singers as well as he should


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Mar 20 - 04:26 AM

We differ then Dick
I'm not suggesting for one minute that you shouldn't be acknowledged for anything you've written, but when it comes to traditional songs, you a only one of a very long line
No-one has ever had to ask a traditional singer's permission before they can sing one of their songs - why should anybody have to asks yours ?
When it comes to paying for the right to use 'an arrangement, that becomes an atherosclerosis (a nice big word for the academics) - a blockage in the arteries of a music that is in the public domain
When you introduce the payment element into public domain music it also has the effect of blurring the line between that which is free to all and that which isn't and invariably sets the PRS- IMRO vultures a-swooping - an added expense to a musical genre with enough difficulties already
I'm sure you are aware of the distasteful McPeake's - Rod Stewart wrangle ofev 'Will You Go Lassie, Go'

I got very tired when going around the London clubs, of hearing singer after singer stand up and announce "I'm going to sing a Martin Carthy song" then give forth with something we got from Harry Cox or Sam Larner or Charlie Wills
It may be nit-picking, but you tend to notice that sort of thing
I still get very angry when I think that an 'arrangement' of an extremely rare ballad - the rarest ever - could be bought by an already well-heeled musician who has little claim to folk anyway
Doubly so when you remember that the singer it was obtained from died from the results of malnutrition after having been found squatting in a derelict house in Roscommon
That his admirers have put up a plaque to his memory is to be admired, but I would much rather he was treated as a human being when he was alive

An vital part of understanding the significance of our folksongs is understanding where they came from and who gave them to us, which is why I tend to bridle when I believe they are being misrepresented or disrespected
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Mar 20 - 04:57 AM

jim its not about singing the song, it about using an EXACT instrumental arrangement that is someone elses artistic work, neither is it about the money it is about acknowledgement, mentioning the arrangement, for example if a performer got up and sang brigg fair the correct thing is to say this is carthys guitar arrngement, the source singer was joseph taylor, it just requires a little bit of thought ,and knowledge and interest in the roots of the music


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Mar 20 - 05:08 AM

"An vital part of understanding the significance of our folksongs is understanding where they came from and who gave them to us"


But on the basis that nobody knows where they came from, better to say that. Otherwise you are just acting as an ideologically-inspired mediator or starry-eyed fantasist.

All this stuff about I like Shakespeare and therefore I can make aesthetic judgments about whether a song was written by the labouring classes or put together by a hack and I judge that this is in the former category isn't really a crowd puller but that is what a lot of it amounts for (with the exception of MacColl, who is, put simply, God).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Mar 20 - 05:11 AM

however we do know the source singers , and mentioning them is of importance


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Mar 20 - 05:36 AM

"But on the basis that nobody knows where they came from"
We know where we got them just as w e know what you think of those who gacve them to us
I seem to remember you are one of those who would with to claim 'arrangements'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Mar 20 - 06:15 AM

I don't intend to mar this so-far friendly thread with a head-to-head with abybody
I opened it to discuss the cvlue of traditional singers, fout from the paper-bound academics I believe they have been under attack for some time now
They have been shifted from being the possible makers of out folk songs to passive recipients who parrot them, their songs become copyright-able if arranged and it is "starry-eyed fanaticism" to speak up on their behalf
I don't thing there is need for me to say more - my point is being made for me far more adequately than I could possibly manage

MacColl and Seeger did more work with young and inexperienced singers than anybody else in the revival and neither believed in sky fairies
They left a body of work on singing behind that has yet to be examined, never mind tried
I hope to open a thread on their work as a singing researchers rather than a wartime politicians and banjo strummers, if I am allowed to
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Mar 20 - 06:48 AM

"far more adequately than I could possibly manage"
Especially considering my typos there - in the middle of breakfast - sorry!!
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 06:03 AM

any musical arrangement whether it is by Vaughan Williams or Martin Carthy IS COPYRIGHTED to protect the artistic effort of the musician, to steal other peoples arrangements and not acknowledge it is known as plagiarism.Msartin is dilgent in acknowledging source singers as are most revival singers of trad material these days


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 06:48 AM

I'm not convinced about this 'arrangememts' business, Dick. I couldn't copyright my 'arrangements' because like most singers/musicians with a base in traditional material, every time I play a tune or sing a song, it's a slightly different version!
OK- sometimes I just forget bitsthe words/notes....
Isn't that partly what makes our music so enjoyable- when you have a tune in common with someone of similar ability, when you actually play it together for the first time, it's a one-off experience because it's NOT arranged.

I can see the point of copyright and arrangements, and I abhor slavish copying, but applying these too strictly gets far too close to the classical approach for me


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 07:05 AM

Vaughan Williams has made folk songs something else entirely - he ised the tunes, not the words
Martin Carthy should know better than to copyright folk songs
The only time MacColl ever fell out with Like Kelly was when the Dubliners copyrighted folk songs he learned when he was living in England   
Says a lot about Ewan that he would point that out to a friend, just as it says a lot about Kelly who took his advice
All folksongs are arrangements by their very process of continuation
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 09:22 AM

"All folksongs are arrangements by their very process of continuation"

Interesting observation and a good one. The copyright process is a shambles as it is, and until such time that copyrights gain international accord/agreement the process will continue to be a mess. There are many songs that have multiple 'owners' when in fact only one person created the song. 'Shenandoah' is one such example. IMO, no one other than the original creator of the work should have a copyright for that song, and the writer is long dead. I expect arrangers will scream blue murder about that, but then so will the re-arrangers and the re-re-arrangers. 'Lakes of Ponchartrain' is another example. Copyrighting someone else's work is not right, but it happens frequently. It's a disgusting practice.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 10:36 AM

no one copyrights the songs they copyright an arrangement, that is their own artistic work., their arrngement


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 10:37 AM

It could be made less so by making it mandatory for those who wish to to make a donation to a fund to assist the continuance of popularising folk song, i my opinion
I have no idea who could administer such a fund, but once it is agreed in principle, I'm sure someone could be found
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 10:50 AM

That's true, Sandman. Pardon me for confusing theft and pilferage.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Iains
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 11:03 AM

Just started reading this thread
Cronin is a common name in that part of the world - I suppose you know the song, 'Trip to Gougane
I am assuming it is Gougane Barra midway between the Borlin Valley and
Ballingeary (the Cork Gaeltecht) Plenty of Cronins in both areas and Ballylicky, and north on the Kerry side is the fiefdom of the Healey Raes at Kilgarvan.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: JohnH
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 11:16 AM

When a singer misses out a verse or a line or two, by forgetting or learning from a "defective" source, does that count as an arrangement? I can think of some that have been learnt from well-known singers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 11:53 AM

Jim Bainbridge -
I couldn't copyright my 'arrangements' because like most singers/musicians with a base in traditional material, every time I play a tune or sing a song, it's a slightly different version!

This puts Jim in the same class as a lot of traditional performers. Let's just consider a few that I know (or knew) well:-
* Jim's greatest hero (and mine) was Davie Stewart. I was fortunate to hear him many times during his latter years. His melodeon accompaniments are endlessly inventive and he made his own musical rules for them. He sounds a lot of the time like a piper who has taken up the squeezebox (which he was!) The words of the songs were never settled and he could invent verses as he performed to suit the situation. On his Topic album he ends off one of his songs with a few lines suggesting that it would be a good time to stop recording and have a cup of tea.
* You could never expect Gordon Hall to sing a song in the same way twice. If his songs were not long enough to start with, he found ways of segueing seamlessly from one song into another. I can remember him singing The Sussex Molecatcher and some time later he had blended it into The Drowned Lover and I remember thinking "When did that happen?" He would sometimes sing a song straight and then go into his parody of it.
* I have many recordings and printed versions of songs sung by Willie Scott including quite a number that I made myself. Willie's changes of phrasing and use of words were quite slight. It felt to me that he was unlessly trying, consciously or unconsciously to polish his songs into the perfect version.
* In the last 50-odd years, I have heard four generations of The Copper Family singing - five if I include the recordings of Jim & John - and the famed home-made harmonies of their singing change from generation to generation.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 12:09 PM

I am assuming it is Gougane Barra
That's the one - a superb example of both a loclly made song and West Cork Humour (for from Con 'fafa O'Driscoll - worth seeking out)
We fisrt heard it from Diamuid Sullivan, from that area
Jim Carroll

Full text here
Trip to Gougane
I am one of those jolly young lads from the cross
I’m fond of amusement and fond of a glass
With a thirst I can’t quench and a heart that is free
Sure everything else plays the divil with me
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

On that holiday morning just after first mass
We started our away on our trip from the cross
In two hansom cars that were hired for the day
All waiting there ready to take us away
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

We had Buckleys, and Healys, and Sullivans too
The Learys, a Connell, a Roche and a Drew
Such a crowd of McCarthys I ne’er saw before
And the Cronins were there by the dozen and score
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

We had girls also all dressed up so neat
And to make our enjoyment entirely complete
We paid for them all without making a case
With the worth of our money knocked our of their waist
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

‘Twas to sweet Ballingeary we first did draw near
Where we moistened our lips with some drops of good beer
Then we started again just as fleet as the fawn
And about on o’clock we rolled into Gougane
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

We were both tired and thirsty when the horses did stop
And each man was smacking his lips for a drop
We jumped down from the cars and our band we struck up
And we marched in a body straight into the pub
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

There were some that went boating on a lake near at hand
While others went drinking till they couldn’t stand
Sure we thought we’d see sights that would dazzle our eyes
Yerra divil the sights, only mountains and skies
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

So we started for home then before ‘t would get late
And the horses were going at the divil’s own rate
I thought that they surely would fall down on the road
Before they could carry such a drunken old load
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

When we reached Ballingeary we looked for some bread
But ‘t was boxes of biscuits they gave us instead
And their bellies being empty by each mother’s son
We finished twelve boxes before we were done
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

No good porter the owner had in his Hotel
But a bad brand of stout that had failed him to sell
And in order to fool us this clever old coon
Good porter was hid in a private back room
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

The people came running to see what was the score
Some ran to the windows and more to the door
Saying who are these people all dressed up so swell
Others saying they’re swanks from the Abbey Hotel
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

We returned to the cross when our trip it was o’er
Where we filled ourselves up with the porter once more
We recovered our senses next morning at dawn
And that put an end to our trip to Gougane
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di

Notes
The song, often sung by the late Johnny Cronin of Inchegeela, is very popular in the Muskerry area of West Cork and Gougane. It refers to a jolly excursion to the great beauty spot Gougane Barra where St. Finbar had his monastery.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 12:15 PM

I've heard a couple of song-makers (and singers of this material) speaking of how erroneous words have become the usual version (of a line). And this has become the case with regard to familiar verses by a poet from Monaghan.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 12:55 PM

Vic, I wouldn't put myself in the same class of those source singers,, I just think it's an unconscious attitude among people who've listened to those great influences & absorbed more than the notes?

Yes Davie Stewart was a wonderful, if unpredictable performer & if a little bit of that has rubbed off on me, I'm very happy about that.

About ten ?? years ago & quite independently, your pal (& mine) Dan Quinn & I put the same tune on individual CDs about the same time.

It was 'Lena- a Schottische' which I'd picked up from a 78 by
the International Novelty Quartet - I think Dan said the same.

Anyway, we were at the same event somewhere & when we found out the coincidence, we decided to do a duet version!

It was great fun & had that frisson I mentioned earlier when playing a tune with another musician for the first time. However, at the end, we realised our versions were complementary but quite different!
Dan then said, quite rightly, that neither version was bore much resemblance to the original!!
-could we have copyrighted it as a joint arrangement?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 01:03 PM

"the Healey Raes at Kilgarvan"
Known in West Clare as The CODFATHERS
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 03:30 PM

Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: JohnH - PM
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 11:16 AM

When a singer misses out a verse or a line or two, by forgetting or learning from a "defective" source, does that count as an arrangement? I can think of some that have been learnt from well-known singers."
no, i am talking about instrumental arrangement
what jim bainbridge says is irrelvant, the fact that we all on occasions play an arrangement differently live, does not alter an arangement when it has been recorded for example on a cd, lp cassetee
someone else comes and uses that recorded arrangement of a song puts it on a recording without acknowledgement ,this is exactly what kennedy did to me and he sold his bootleg for financial gain, is that ok ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 03:41 PM

so kennedy thought because he collected the song he owned it and also owned the musical a arrangement, nobody owns a traditonal song but they do own their own musical creative recorded arrangement that is the law whether you like it or not,


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Iains
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 06:14 PM

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 12:09 PM
Thanks for the words to the song Jim.
Here is another from Inchigeela: Inchigeela Lass
https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/4921720/4893577/5178767?ChapterID=4921720


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 20 - 03:32 AM

Thanks for that Iains
That collection is the most important one to finally become public in Ireland, as yet totally unexplored
I saw it in its originl glory in UDC about 1975, in a line of floor to ceiling slide out filing cabinets - about a dozen of them, full of schoolbooks containing handwritten songs, stories and pieces of lore taken down by hand by children from their local neighbours
The man who took us around, Bo Almquist (strange feller) told us they would make it available one day - a long time to wait
If anybody wants evidence that people living in the countryside could make songs - that's where to go - thousands of songs just like that one
THIS ss one complaining about women changing their hairsyles, made in Corofin, a few miles north of here, sometime in the 30s
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 21 Mar 20 - 06:34 AM

Dick, maybe you should be more specific about what exactly PK did to you before sounding so bitter?- is it on another thread?
I have no idea, although I know a lot of people have said similar things about him.
If you record an arrangement of a 'traditional' song or tune and copyright that arrangement, whatever the law says, it's totally against the spirit of the music in that it restricts its natural development through history.
The fact that charlatans have copyrighted songs with no known author is a sad fact of life, and copyrighting 'arrangements' is only a little less damaging as far as I'm concerned- whose music is it?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 20 - 07:27 AM

Caan't fault that Jim
Kennedy was a shark but doing what he did, on a smaller scale is just as immoral
(the other) Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 21 Mar 20 - 03:12 PM

..and he left a hell of a mess behind him. The fallout was still there when I was collecting in the 1980's.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Mar 20 - 03:35 PM

jim bainbridge, i am talking about an arrangement of a song , not other people singing the song. it is not against the spirit of the music to expect people to acknowledge somebody else creative arrangement , the music is about passing on the songs acknowledging source singers and if using an arrangememnt that is someone elses artidtic work acknowledging it i am not botherd about the pittance from trad arr, i have discussed kennedys action before. it does not restrict its movement people can make up their own arrangements, as i did.
right now i have to find an old second hand car, my gigs have been cancelled, i havent got time for this


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 23 Mar 20 - 05:28 AM

Yes Dick- plenty of problems these days- best of luck with yours. We obviously disagree, but maybe we'll continue this later.

The thread title however is something I totally agree with, and I think you do too.


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 20 - 05:32 AM

Re: Dick, maybe you should be more specific about what exactly PK did to you before sounding so bitter?

Musical Traditions have an article (MT article 212) called 'Peter Kennedy - The Darker Side', with contributions from various people who came into contact with Kennedy. This is what Mike Yates had to say (hope that he won't mind me using this).

The following points are random and set down as they have come into my head:
1. I once phoned Peter Kennedy to talk about an unrelated matter, when I mentioned that I had been recording George Spicer for a Topic LP. There was a pause, then Peter said, “You can’t do that. His songs are all copyrighted to me.” I explained that I was not using any song that Peter had previously recorded from George, when Peter was working for the BBC, and Peter replied “No, he signed a contract which says that any songs remembered by him in the future will be my copyright.” To be honest, I’d never heard such rubbish in my life. So, I just laughed and said something like, “OK. See you in court, then.” Needless to say, we never heard from PK when the Topic LP came out.
2. When I visited the Appalachian singer Clarice Shelor in Virginia in 1980, I was asked if I knew PK. I said yes, and was told that Peter had previously visited Clarice, spending no more than 20 minutes with her, during which time he managed to record a few songs. Peter had said that he was late for an appointment, hence the hurry, and that he would return the following day. “But he never came back. I wonder what happened to those recordings?” I just did not have the heart to tell Clarice - a lovely lady, by the way - that the recordings were then available, to buy, on one of PK’s Folktrax cassettes.
3. When I began to collect in south-east England, I soon came to expect the question, “Do you know Peter Kennedy?” and I soon realised that a positive answer was not necessarily a good thing. I lost track of the number of English singers who had been recorded by him and who had heard no more from him.
4. Kenneth Goldstein sent PK copies of some recordings made by the American collector George Carpenter. These were sent as a present and clearly marked for his own use only. These were promptly issued by Kennedy as two Folktrax cassettes - but withdrawn when Kenny got to hear of this. Kenny was livid. (Told to me by Kenny Goldstein).
5. PK always carried a one-page contract form with him, that he would have singers sign, once he had recorded them. He told me that the idea came from Alan Lomax, who always used such a form.
6. I’m quite certain that many of the Scottish songs issued by PK on Folktrax cassettes were issued illegally. Take, for example, the Jean Elvin songs recorded for the BBC by Seamus Ennis. These were issued as part of a Folktrax cassette. I have issued a Jean Elvin song on Kyloe (a Hamish Henderson recording) and when I contacted Jean’s family was not surprised to learn that they had no idea that the songs had been issued by PK. He also issued material by Willie Mathieson; again, when I contacted the family, they had no knowledge of these recordings being issued. (Recordings not made by PK, I should add).
I recall that Kennedy objected to Topic using ‘his’ BBC recordings for Vol.19 of Topic's VoP series. He demanded payment and Topic finally agreed to pay him, so that the set could appear. I believe that Kennedy was the only collector that Topic paid for use of material for the series.


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Mar 20 - 06:17 AM

Kennedy reached the peak of his vulture-like behaviour with the matere=ial he was sent of Traveller John Reilly by collector, the late Tom Munnelly
When Tom started out, Kennedy was helpful with advice so, when he 'discovered John Reilly, he sent a number of his songs 'for your interest only'
John was in desperate straights and died as a result of his illnesses, so Tom decided that all proceeds should go to a fund to help Traveller children
- Tom informed Kennedy of this
Shorly afterwards, the recordings appeared on the Folktrax label, no payment, no acknowledgement
No payment was ever made and no appeal ever acknowledged
As Seamus Ennis, who worked with him on the BBC project, once said about him - "That man was a thief"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Howard Jones
Date: 23 Mar 20 - 09:10 AM

It should perhaps be pointed out that the copyright in an arrangement and the copyright in the song itself are quite separate things. The arranger cannot claim copyright over the song itself. Where royalties are payable, these are shared between the arranger and the composer. Where the composer is "trad" that doesn't increase the arranger's share. Furthermore there has to be a degree of complexity and originality for the arrangement to be copyright, simply putting the three chord trick to a melody isn't sufficient.

The same goes for transcribing a traditional song - the transcription is copyright, not the song itself. No one can reproduce that particular transcription without permission, but they can make their own transcription from the original source and they will own the copyright in that.

This gives musicians protection for their own artistic contribution while leaving the original material in the public domain.

There may have been cases where others have succeeded in registering copyright in a traditional song to which they are not entitled. The copyright agencies cannot be expected to know the entire corpus of music they manage, so mistakes can be made. Where there is a known composer they can be expected to protect their own copyright, but folk songs don't have the same protection unless someone is willing to challenge an unjustified claim. Kennedy got away with his alleged activities because no one was able to challenge him. That is a fault in the system but it is one of enforcement, not principle.


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Mar 20 - 10:00 AM

I have had my own spats with Kennedy and would agree with every negative comment that has been made about him, but a part of my brain tells me that we need to separate Kennedy the unscrupulous, dishonest operator from Kennedy, one of the most successful, perhaps the most successful folk song collector since the second world war. Am I to stop singing the wonderful versions of songs collected from the the likes of the Willetts, Caroline Hughes, all that great stuff from the north of Ireland, stop playing the tunes that recorded from Scan Tester etc. just because the collector operated in a mendacious manner?


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Mar 20 - 03:35 AM

Vic , i have pointed that out a few times in an attempt to be fair to KENNEDY.
Howard is spot on


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 20 - 06:29 AM

I agree with Vic on the good work Kennedy's team did (far too often that he wasn't the only person working)
It's what happened to the collection later and the poisonous after effects that spread far beyond the project
The collection should have been in the public domain - it was us (or our parents) who paid for it
It remains still totally accessible to all but those who know their way around the barriers
Kennedy was little more that in the raight place at the right time
Unfortunately, EFDSS, on whose behalf he was appointed, have to take a share of the blame
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 20 - 09:36 AM

Should read
"far too often it's forgotten that that he wasn't the only person working"
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 24 Mar 20 - 04:04 PM

I suggest the trad. Arr. Is the best thing to do, to keep these songs alive. After all, the (mostly tiny amounts of) money is going directly to artists who are getting out there and keeping the songs played and heard. Would a fund that existed to to popularise the songs be any more effective? What would they do? Adverts on Weetabix boxes? Or would it just be one or two people getting a London wage and a London office, with all the costs that entails whilst all the musicians who wanted to play the music had to make yet another arts application, just so they had enough money to play the blinking songs...

It’s up to the individual musicians to credit their sources. But if their source is Martin Carthy, why lie? By all means do research and say... Martin Carthy who learned it from etc etc But since most of these songs we don’t know the original author(s), surely Harry Cox and Martin Carthy are all just links in the same chain?

Money to the performer’s is the right way to go. The miners on the coal face getting the rewards, not a man in a suit in an air conditioned office.


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: r.padgett
Date: 24 Mar 20 - 04:16 PM

So the best way to learn a trad song is from the "source" singer ~ assuming that the revivalist singer has already credited his source ~ yes research is a good idea

trad arranged is fine but should that attract copyright fees to the artist? ~ yes of course the artist will hopefully have been paid for the gig at which he/she sang said song

Ray


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 25 Mar 20 - 06:49 AM

Getting back to the thread, if you call yourself a 'trad' singer or a singer of traditional songs, why on earth would you go anywhere else than the 'source singer(s) for your model? Even if you heard it first from a professional, surely you'd want to know where he or she got it?
'
Professional folk performers will 'arrange' their own way of delivering a song/tune but as Ray P says, in normal times they will be paid for the performance, but surely claiming 'trad.arr' this kind of joint venture is irrelevant, and certainly should not imply any kind of partial ownership!
There might be a case of some kind for acts like Thin Lizzy, who almost completely changed the nature of 'Kilgary Mountain' but that may be for the courts to decide on a one-off basis?

As for it being necessary to prevent the songs dying out, the vast amount of performance of traditional songs is carried on 99.9pc by people who never earn a penny from it- so no danger there.
About Peter Kennedy, I'm well aware of his history, but was just wondering what, specifically, had ruffled the Sandman's' feathers. It has probably been explained elsewhere & I accept that now is not the time to pursue this.


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Mar 20 - 07:41 AM

I believe that 'learning from a source singer' can be a misleading term if not thought through
We have to face the fact that many of our older singers were way past their prime when they were recorded, even the best of them, and many of them were remembering songs they hadn't sung for decades - physical problems were often a feature of their singing (though some of the best singing I heard from Harry Cox was done in the later sessions at a full 'Windmill' pub - circumstances can make a difference)
I hated hearing younger singers trying to sound like Harry or Sam Larner - who wants to sound older than they actually are - that'll come too soon anyway?

That said, it doesn't mean you can't take aspects of singing from the singers that wouldn't come natural to townies like us
The older singers seemed to have a feel for interpretation that I find lacking in far too many younger, more technically 'skillful' singers
Health permitting, the old crowd tended to phrase their songs perfectly - punctuation in the right place, no artificial gaps in the line - musical storytelling
We have a recording of Tom Lenihan 'telling a song' - talking and singing it to explain its meaning - you can follow the story perfectly

They also tended to pitch their voices around their 'natural' physical voice (I wish some of our 'breathy' women or over-nasal male singers would learn to do that)
The Critics Group spent a long time working on making a song our own, interpreting it so you were able to relate to it personally
Singers like Walter Pardon, Tom Lenihan and Mikeen McCarthy had done it all their lives without having had to work at it apparently
They saw and relived their songs when they were at their best - they sang for themselves

Imitation of singers can be useful in exploring and understanding your own voice, but as far as I'm concerned, that's as far as it goes

These are our observations and my opinions - I'm sure there are plenty of exceptions
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Mar 20 - 07:41 AM

I believe that 'learning from a source singer' can be a misleading term if not thought through
We have to face the fact that many of our older singers were way past their prime when they were recorded, even the best of them, and many of them were remembering songs they hadn't sung for decades - physical problems were often a feature of their singing (though some of the best singing I heard from Harry Cox was done in the later sessions at a full 'Windmill' pub - circumstances can make a difference)
I hated hearing younger singers trying to sound like Harry or Sam Larner - who wants to sound older than they actually are - that'll come too soon anyway?

That said, it doesn't mean you can't take aspects of singing from the singers that wouldn't come natural to townies like us
The older singers seemed to have a feel for interpretation that I find lacking in far too many younger, more technically 'skillful' singers
Health permitting, the old crowd tended to phrase their songs perfectly - punctuation in the right place, no artificial gaps in the line - musical storytelling
We have a recording of Tom Lenihan 'telling a song' - talking and singing it to explain its meaning - you can follow the story perfectly

They also tended to pitch their voices around their 'natural' physical voice (I wish some of our 'breathy' women or over-nasal male singers would learn to do that)
The Critics Group spent a long time working on making a song our own, interpreting it so you were able to relate to it personally
Singers like Walter Pardon, Tom Lenihan and Mikeen McCarthy had done it all their lives without having had to work at it apparently
They saw and relived their songs when they were at their best - they sang for themselves

Imitation of singers can be useful in exploring and understanding your own voice, but as far as I'm concerned, that's as far as it goes

These are our observations and my opinions - I'm sure there are plenty of exceptions
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 25 Mar 20 - 10:42 AM

Very strongly agree about young singers adopting the kind of voices which, I've observed over the years, are particularly approved as appropriate to traditional material. These strike me not as natural voices at all, but an affectation. Just as artificial as operatic singing, and rather less pleasant. However, fashions change, and at least various kinds of material are available for future amateurs of tradition to draw on, build on, and indeed contribute to along the way.


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Mar 20 - 11:02 AM

Hi ABCD
I went into this 'head voice singing some time ago
Whether you like it or not is a matter of taste, but the fact that it takes at least twice the breath to produce means it restricts most singers from singing long-lines without having to breath in the middle
The other problem is the dreaded 'gear change where many women are unable to maintain a consistent tone and are forced to move from head to chest when moving up and down their range
The daughter of a well known singer we know has such a limited range that she produces a yodel-like sound if she exceeds her range
Pegt Seeger worked on this at great lenght and more or less conquered it - but did she hane to !!!
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 25 Mar 20 - 11:18 AM

Yes, agreement in general (not really appropriate to go off on lengthy tangent). I'd use a term other than "head voice" myself for the whispery affectation, since this has a sense in "classical" singing rather different. It occurs, also, that many people wouldn't even be heard more than a few feet away were it not for that familiar traditional instrument, the Microphone. Good Luck, ABCD.


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: r.padgett
Date: 25 Mar 20 - 05:09 PM

Yes of course Harry Cox and Walter Pardon, Sam Larner and Fred Jordan when recorded and over the many times recorded would initially have some consistency in what and how they sang songs in term of keys and ways ~ even if not exactly the same!

The young thruster "revivalist" singers by and large were/are younger singers and should be using their "own voices" ~ I am sure you know what I mean ~ and as has been said many of the younger singers do tend to blast out words and in doing so lose out on some of the intricacies of the source singers

Peter Bellamy used his "high" voice ~ whether this is a good thing is down to personal taste ~as has been said this requires for many either several beers or a shouty technique if you don't have PBs power and voice ~ what I am trying to say is PB is not necessarily a good "source" to learn from for everyone ~PBs style was personal and liked by many of course!!

For me revivalist singers should simply sing within their range using their own voice with regard to phrasing and methods adopted over many years by their source singer ~hence as PB did acknowledging their 'source' at the end of his song performance

Ray


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Mar 20 - 06:19 PM

Peter was not a source singer, revivalist singers with natral and corect vocal techniques, in other words unlikely to damage their voices would include cyril tawney martin wyndham read. I have never had very much voice trouble either, i sing from my diaphragm and use my chest voice


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Mar 20 - 04:09 AM

When whoever did chose "How a Folk Song Should be Sung" for the title of the programme on 'The Critics Group' they immediately destroyed any chance of people understanding what the Group was about (sorry to bang on about them again, but as far as I know, they did fore work on 'the folk voice than anybody I know)
Nobody decided how a folk song should be sung and nobody ever should
Based on MacColl's theatre work we examined how the voice was produced and where it was possible to take it if you learned to use if it full and to iron out any long-term problems

Peter Bellamy isn't a bad place to start, Peter had a natural vibrato, as had MacColl, which got in the way of producing what people had described as "The clean, clear folk tone"
Both were aware of the problem; MacColl attempted to suppress it and largely succeeded, though it sometimes surfaced when he was over-tired - he once told be he couldn't bear to listen to his very early records, vibrato being one of the reasons
Peter may have tried to get rid of it but in the end he seemed to embrace it and it increased
The last time I spoke to him (of the few times I did) he described his singing as "Larry the Lamb impersonations" and appeared to be self-conscious about it
Though it sometimes turns up in source singing it is, I believe, rare - Fred Jordan being one of the great exceptions and, I think, his became more accentuated towards the end
There have always been arguments as to whether Joseph Taylor decorated his songs or whether he sang in vibrato

The argument MacColl initially put forward was simple; one of us really use or even know our natural voice once we become adults, the way we produce it is largely decided by outside influences (children are the nearest ones to use 'natural' voices 'naturally')
For instance, 'if you spend 8, 10, 12 hours a day in a noisy environment - a docker, miner factory worker (particularly a steel-worker), you adapted your voice to your needs to communicate, and that's the voice you took home
If you worked in quiet surroundings you controlled your voice to suit those conditions
I was an electrician and worked mostly in people's homes so I instinctively adapted the way I spoke to where I spent a great deal of my time

The argument was that our folk songs covered all aspects and ranges of human experience and emotion which demand different 'tones' - you don't use the same tone to chat up someone you fancy that you would if you were describing a football match - not if you wanted to get anywhere
What you do on each occasion is instinctively let the subject choose the way you speak about
Similarly, you don't use the same tone for a love song, a murder ballad, an erotic romp, a complaint about working conditions, a shanty....

The voice is like the brain - we use only a tiny fraction of its capacity and capability
If you want to use it to the full you have to understand how you produce it and learn how to expand it
MacColl introduced us to the exercises they used in Theatre Workshop and they worked to the extent that we practiced them (the same with his relaxation exercises)
This sounds time-consuming - it isn't
Once you learn these techniques they become almost instinctive - the song chooses the manner in which you sing it

They help with problems too
I stopped singing for years - when I stated up again I found my range had reduced; I could no loner sing Flying Cloud and Sheffield Apprentice - my rangiest songs
I worked at the former and gradually won it back, I found a better tune for Sheffield Apprentice anyway

These are techniques and should never be the main part of singing - that should ciome from interpreting and enjoying what the song means to you


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Mar 20 - 04:14 AM

ok jim, but good technique helps to be able to sing the song with comfort and ease, so that the singer can think about interpreation an not worry about running out of breath etc and enables the singer to be able to sing with less chance of damaging vocal chords


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Mar 20 - 04:27 AM

source singers were not out doing massive numbers of gigs , they were often singing for their own pleasure, an important difference between professional folk singers and source singers


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Mar 20 - 04:41 AM

Tecnique should be used like a tradesman uses his tools Dick
If you learn how to use them properly, keep them in good order and make sure you know what each one is for and where it is, they're always at hand
Then you can think about the job in hand

Fiddler Kevin Burke used to tell a story when he performed publicly (he was one of the best at both)
A smartly dressed stood in the middle of a crowded fair in Ireland, opened his crocodile-bound fiddle case, took our a shining, extremely expensive fiddle, cleaned it off with a velvet handkerchief, flamboyantly placed it under his chin and began to play
He was appalling
An scruffy old Traveller on a bike watching him, took dirty bundle of tatty old newspapers off the carrier, unwrapped a scratched, split and battered cheap old fiddle covered with beer-stains and grime, thrust it under his chin and began to play it with his greasy old bow
He was ten times worse

It really isn't what you've got but how you use it
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Mar 20 - 04:43 AM

Professional singers must enjoy what they do otherwise that are wasting their time
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Mar 20 - 05:05 AM

yes jim , that was exactly my point
technique in all forms of music is a tool so that singning and interpretion is enjoyable and easy , so professional singers can enjoy singing if their technique is good because thay are not worrying about being able to perform, professional singers can enjoy performance if their technique is good because they need a good technique because they are using their voice much more than a source singer would , ok is that clear?
that is also where alexander technique can also become important.
source singers were not using their voices seven days a week for several hours , that is where warm up, exercises advocted by the like of your friends maccoll and seeger are useful


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Mar 20 - 06:00 AM

most were unaccompanied,it is a good way of learning style,from highly decorated to singers who did not decorate or embellish very much but concentrated on story interpretation or both


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,crumbly
Date: 29 Mar 20 - 09:00 AM

I would say that while some 'source' singers made a living by busking (Margaret Barry & Davie Stewart spring to mind), most of them had only limited performance opportunities, their full repertoire only discovered by collectors seeking out songs.

Some sang at home, with or without their family but many only sang at social events, where there were other singers (like a modern singing circle) and two or three songs might be the nightly limit.

Maybe it's the concept of the folk club guest night which is where we went wrong- I'm sure Fred Jordan didn't do voice exercises, he didn't need to but he never had to do 2 x 45 mins several times a week until he was discovered- are professional folk singers attempting the impossible & we should go back to the old ways?


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 20 - 09:59 AM

That makes a hell of a lot of sense crumbly - especially about Fred
Nor did he have to tackle a wide repertoire of songs that would sound ridiculous if they all sounded the same
I share your reservation of club nights, but for Townies like me, they were a welcome alternative and an opportunity to 'spread the message' that we wouldn't have had if we stuck to the 'Singing Circle pattern
Sam Larner described both - singing at the weekly get-together at the Fisherman's Return and the Fisherman's concerts, but he told MacColl and Parker "The real singing was done at home or at sea"
Traveller mkken McCarthy went further when he described three venues - in the street to busk and sell ballad sheets, in thee pub among a crown of locals and Travellers, but he said the most important was "Fireside singing" among the family and close friends
Three types of venue requiring three different styles
Thanks for that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: r.padgett
Date: 29 Mar 20 - 11:20 AM

Yes venues have changed and are getting less! Folk clubs tend to give an opportunity to sing as and when they happen ~ I reckon 3 songs in 3hrs is usual depending upon circumstances ~ less time when a professional guest is booked

Time for a guest solo used to be 2x 30mins ~ but again I have seen 2x 45mins is too much!! again duos and bands vary too

Hot spots and the like give local stalwarts time to sing and present songs

The change of attitude from singing for money by many, changes the outlook although professional and semi professionals do try to make a living ~ venues and pas etc may also reflect the type of club and singing style and arrangements of for example traditional songs

Tune sessions tend to be just that~ mixed sessions give chance for songs too ~and of course ~ audience members are invaluable for joining in and contributions ~ although not all clubs carry a "kitty" for booking guest ~charity donations seem quite popular and do aid the "living tradition" of songs

Ray


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Mar 20 - 03:06 PM

maybe if source singers had done vocal exercises then when they wereolder some of them might have kept their voices better,they did not do vocal xrcises because mosty of them had not heard of them , i amsure that those who took pride in their singing [most of them] would have donre so if they had thought or knew it would have helped
"Maybe it's the concept of the folk club guest night which is where we went wrong- I'm sure Fred Jordan didn't do voice exercises, he didn't need to but he never had to do 2 x 45 mins several times a week until he was discovered- are professional folk singers attempting the impossible & we should go back to the old ways? " rather a backward looking reactionary post. does it not occur to you that they fred etc might have kept their voices even longer, if they had done voice exercises


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: r.padgett
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 03:33 AM

Fred's vocal exercises were probably limited to the strongest pint available on the pumps! and I suspect many of the source/trad singers were partial to the same exercises

Fred had quite a large repertoire of songs too ~ wouldn't sing without a pint and quite right too!

Ray


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 04:36 AM

"wouldn't sing without a pint and quite right too!"
There are those who would have disagreed with you
In his gentle way Walter Pardon was quite critical of Fred's drinking too much - in private, of course
He believed singing in public was a commitment you needed all your faculties for
I was at a lecture on Ballads Bert gave at Keele where he took Fred on Stage with him to illustrate his subject
The stage was in the middle of the room below a domed window in the ceiling, in the middle of the lecture Fred fell asleep
A beam of sunlight came through the window and flooded Fred in a glorious glow - a photographer (Brian Shuel, I think) captured the moment for Dance and Song
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 04:57 AM

HARRY COX would have disagreed with Rays remark, he was disdainful of another singer and remarked i dont need to have a pint before i sing. THEIR ATTITUDE WAS TO TRY AND DO JUSTICE TO THE SONG, I am sure if they had known vocal exercises would have enabled their voices to last longer they would have done so.


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 06:03 AM

I haven't been to a folk club for some years now, and most early folk club organisers did jim bainbridgea great job in exposing the music (and source singers!) to a wider audience, but their decline is maybe just a natural reversion to the 'old ways' decried by the Sandman.
Participation is all- hence the rise of the 'session' as the natural successor to the pub/social/community event- these are now mainly pop-orientated with karaoke the only chance of any live singing?   
Fred Jordan's liking for a pint was well known- my dad was a lifelong Methodist, but got on very well with Fred & always got him a few bottles in when he stayed with us. I know nothing of Cox or Larner in that context, but it suited Fred and it suited me when I made a partial living in the pubs of West Cork - three pints was always part of the informal contract!
As for voice exercises, I think we live in different worlds- the world Fred and most source singers lived in would scorn such things even when promoted by some 'experts' and so would I.


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 06:04 AM

that was me, but maybe you guessed!


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 06:50 AM

There is no suggestion that singin should be a 'dry' pursuit - heaven forfend !
It's when an excess becomees a problem
Unfortunately there are examples of Harry being given too much drink by the company at a time when he was non only getting on in years but also when he ewas straining to remember songs he had never sung in a 'too enthusiastic'
gathering'
NOt Harrt, but the classic example of this was an early session financed by the BBC (pre- 1950s) when Bert Llloyd was over-generous with the BBC's drink allowance and turned the session into a bit of a shambles
We witnesses Seamus Ennis being 'over-supplied' bu one of his relatives at a club booking
I'm sure many remember a professional singer ruining his career with his drink problem
There cmes a point in all evenings when alcohol ceases to act as a reasonable stimulant and overdoes the job - and even turns into a soporific with some people - like me
As a young man in Manchester I was noted for sleeping through some of the noisiest parties - and have photographs to prove it, should I wish to !!
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 07:11 AM

Jim,
    your last post reminds me of somrthing I once heard on RTE.
In the course of an interview a musician was asked "What part does drink play in your music?"
The reply was "I can't play until I've had a drink,When I've had a drink
I can't play"
A typicaly Irish way of saying moderation is called for when drink is taken.


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: r.padgett
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 07:14 AM

Yes yes interesting comments and thanks for them ~ as we get older our tolerance of alcohol gets worse and I currently drink very little in this regard ~ modern singers differ and all have their limitations where professionalism and memory are concerned in regard to drinking

I remember Fred at Saltburn ff stopping his concert spot to demand a pint!

He needed looking after ~

Of course early days of singing and attending song sessions tended in my case to be addictive even more when put together ~ something about the combination

Ray


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 08:22 AM

Drinking with the Travellers could be murder - not because of their heavy drinking, which occurred, but because of their generosity
If a stranger drank in their company everybody bought you a drink
We had a strange experience in a pub on Whitechapel Road when night
Usually Travellers could only get served in pubs where the beer was fairly standard 0 Watneys, which you could safely serve to children being standard
The Travellers were knew became regulars at a real ale pub which served an assortment of the best and strongest
When one of the company order a pint of bitter, the barman pulled whatever was nearest - Everards Tiger, Youngs Special Brew, Hoxton Heavy..... by 9-30 the bar was like The Somme - littered with the dead and wounded
When we rose to leave Pat looked under the bench we were sitting on to find 5 untouched pints people had bought for her- that was her first order - that's what she got all night
At no time had we been allowed to buy a round - hard work but somebody had to do it !!
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 09:03 AM

Jim Bainbridge, i recomennd you try doing voice exercises ,you will find it helps.
times change you cannot drive to gigs in west cork and have 3 pints, and as you get older to retain abilty it is necessary imo to look after your body including your voice. if you love singning and want to continue you have to take care of your voice


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 09:53 AM

My favourite story of collecting and drink was told several times by my late friend Tom Munnelly about himself
Tom discovered a 'big' Irish language storyteller in North Clare and set out to record him one cold winter's night at his cottage
Tommy always admitted his Irish wasn't great so he was a little nervous (uncharacteristically) - when he arrived, he found the storyteller nervous of the idea of being recorded and refusing to start until they'd had a few pints over the road - they did
They returned an hour later, sat down before a roaring fire, and your man began - he woke Tommy up when the first tape ran out
Tommy apologised and suggested they do it another time - your man, having got into his stride, refused and wanted to push on - he woke Tommy up twenty minutes later when the second tape ran out
They began again and after about ten minutes the man, who had only got half-way through his long story (in Irish of course) stopped and said "No - I have that wrong, I'll start it again"
Tommy stood up, said "You will ****, we'll do it some other time" - which they did a few days later
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 10:28 AM

Dick, re voice exercises helping me, I played & sang in several pubs a week in Schull, Ballydehob, Ahakista, Baltimore et al with no P.A. for some years and in the days before the smoking ban.
On that subject God bless Micheal Martin TD, however much his politics grate on me- the man who brought it into these islands against all the odds.
Anyway, at the end of a long season in smoky pubs, I went to the local GP, Larry O'Connor with a very sore throat. 'Jase' he said 'you're the fella who plays in Arundels' every Thursday. I was quite flattered that he'd heard me, but next he said 'here's some medicine, but in future, I suggest you keep your mouth closed & just play'.

I think the three pints (+) used to get me through the season- -I was   often driven, by the way!- maybe I would NEED voice exercises now?, but those happy days are past so thanks for the advice, Dick, but will pass on it & hope you found your old car!


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 10:46 AM

" God bless Micheal Martin TD,"
Amen - despite his politics, as you say - St Martin in our House
I was very cynical about voice excercises, but was quickly persuaded when I saw them work
Now, I really couldn't manage without them
They helped me improve my range nd overcome lifelong breathing problems
Lately they won back songs for me I thought I'd lost
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 12:58 PM

yes JIM CARROLL, The voice is an instrument and like instruments needs care not abuse hops are a throat relaxant but not in excess, several things i have learned from opera singers that might be useful to others yawning relaxes and helps the vocal chords before singing, deep breathing exercises help to learn to control breathing and diaphragm, but sure if people do not want to learn thats not my problem


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 02:25 PM

A set programme of exercises has proved invaluable to me though I confess I have received some strange looks at traffic lights sometimes
I was put off opera techniques when I did an eletical job for BBC music director Roy Henderson
He had a number of young women students who used to sit nervously in his hallway awaiting his lessons
THey would go in to hi office, you would ear them being forced to sing scles beyond their upper limits and then come out in floods of tears
Singing should never as stressful as that
I've been told ballet is even worse
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 03:27 PM

singing from the diaphragm is used by opera singers so are vocal exercises, it dies not mean you have to use a lot of vibrato or even sound operatic


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: r.padgett
Date: 31 Mar 20 - 04:35 PM

Opera singing is fundamentally different to folk singing ~being in my view an extension of the spoken word and of course the oral tradition of conveying a story ~ opera does also but not an ideal vehicle for a solo singer

Folk singing also has it's own physical problems, however the Musical Hall artist did very well in this respect ~ design of the Music Hall venue also added to this projection

Ray


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Apr 20 - 03:10 AM

All singing requires good technique to enable the performer t to be competent at expressing emotion,same as any other instrument, opera singing is not fundamentally different to folk singning other than in style, opera singing involves telling a story so does much folk singing


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: r.padgett
Date: 01 Apr 20 - 04:21 AM

opera is an art form, I suspect restricted to people who are able to sing professionally in this style ~ it seems to me to require a great deal of physical effort and practice ~ or we would all be doing it

Ray


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 01 Apr 20 - 04:48 AM

I don't have any problem with my voice Dick- I don't use it as much as I used to, but if your exercises help you, good for you- I'm likewise happy that it has helped Jim C as well.

   However I have a friend from Fermanagh with a very distinctive voice - it's tuneful & enjoyable, but vaguely classical, and certainly not of that county. She once told me she'd had singing lessons when young, and much as she'd LOVE to sing in the lyrical Ulster style, she found it simply impossible to shake off the training from her youth.
Us old codgers are probably safe enough but maybe younger singers should beware of altering their voice in any way, and to beware of later consequences?


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Apr 20 - 05:11 AM

Classical singers are trained to sing classically Jim, their teachers incariably disappoove of the natural open tone required to
I and a think Dick are referring to keeping your voice in good order so then you can learn to use and extend it
Unfortunately most singers don't, we tend to restrict ourselves to our comfort zones, as a result, our singing can become samey = boring
If we aspire to a wide repertoire - we have to put in the necessary work
Jim


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Subject: RE: The importance of Source Singers
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Apr 20 - 08:14 AM

thankyou Jim C, That was exactly what i was trying to refer to, it is the same as far as i am concerned with musical instruments, practice is required.
Jim Bainbridge, I was not saying that you had any problems as far as i am concerned my voice is something i want to keep in as a good a condition as i can , and i think that i can improve by working on my voice,


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