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Unwanted Accompaniment

GUEST,Raggytash 04 Oct 04 - 05:33 AM
Georgiansilver 04 Oct 04 - 05:47 AM
jonm 04 Oct 04 - 05:48 AM
Ross 04 Oct 04 - 05:49 AM
GUEST 04 Oct 04 - 05:52 AM
Geoff the Duck 04 Oct 04 - 06:01 AM
GUEST, Hamish 04 Oct 04 - 06:06 AM
GUEST, Hamish again 04 Oct 04 - 06:08 AM
Paco Rabanne 04 Oct 04 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Val 04 Oct 04 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 04 Oct 04 - 06:19 AM
muppett 04 Oct 04 - 06:36 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Oct 04 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 04 Oct 04 - 06:55 AM
Bat Goddess 04 Oct 04 - 06:55 AM
freda underhill 04 Oct 04 - 06:56 AM
kendall 04 Oct 04 - 07:04 AM
s&r 04 Oct 04 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 04 Oct 04 - 07:25 AM
Gedpipes 04 Oct 04 - 07:35 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 04 Oct 04 - 07:41 AM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Oct 04 - 07:42 AM
GUEST, Hamish 04 Oct 04 - 07:46 AM
Gedpipes 04 Oct 04 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,KJ 04 Oct 04 - 08:02 AM
George Papavgeris 04 Oct 04 - 08:08 AM
s&r 04 Oct 04 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,Jon 04 Oct 04 - 08:37 AM
Ella who is Sooze 04 Oct 04 - 08:46 AM
MaineDog 04 Oct 04 - 09:11 AM
SINSULL 04 Oct 04 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 04 Oct 04 - 09:13 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Oct 04 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,Jon 04 Oct 04 - 09:21 AM
Roger the Skiffler 04 Oct 04 - 09:21 AM
wysiwyg 04 Oct 04 - 09:24 AM
MaineDog 04 Oct 04 - 09:31 AM
Nick 04 Oct 04 - 09:36 AM
wysiwyg 04 Oct 04 - 09:52 AM
Paco Rabanne 04 Oct 04 - 09:54 AM
Deckman 04 Oct 04 - 10:14 AM
Betsy 04 Oct 04 - 10:59 AM
Jeri 04 Oct 04 - 11:08 AM
Chris Green 04 Oct 04 - 11:08 AM
Jeri 04 Oct 04 - 11:16 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Oct 04 - 11:33 AM
Deckman 04 Oct 04 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,Mike, Halifax UK 04 Oct 04 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 04 Oct 04 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Russ 04 Oct 04 - 12:12 PM
Amos 04 Oct 04 - 12:15 PM
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Thomas the Rhymer 04 Oct 04 - 12:25 PM
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Ebbie 04 Oct 04 - 12:45 PM
Nick 04 Oct 04 - 12:45 PM
Jeri 04 Oct 04 - 01:00 PM
Ernest 04 Oct 04 - 02:03 PM
Raggytash 04 Oct 04 - 02:15 PM
Juan P-B 04 Oct 04 - 02:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Oct 04 - 02:30 PM
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dick greenhaus 04 Oct 04 - 06:33 PM
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Nick 04 Oct 04 - 06:51 PM
synbyn 04 Oct 04 - 07:14 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 04 Oct 04 - 07:19 PM
Deckman 04 Oct 04 - 07:20 PM
kendall 04 Oct 04 - 07:25 PM
Deckman 04 Oct 04 - 07:27 PM
Joybell 04 Oct 04 - 08:52 PM
Big Mick 05 Oct 04 - 12:17 AM
Ellenpoly 05 Oct 04 - 03:36 AM
Paco Rabanne 05 Oct 04 - 03:42 AM
GUEST,Jon 05 Oct 04 - 03:53 AM
Sttaw Legend 05 Oct 04 - 03:55 AM
Ellenpoly 05 Oct 04 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,Jon 05 Oct 04 - 04:25 AM
GUEST,Ellenpoly 05 Oct 04 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Jon 05 Oct 04 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 05 Oct 04 - 05:46 AM
s&r 05 Oct 04 - 05:49 AM
s&r 05 Oct 04 - 05:51 AM
Snuffy 05 Oct 04 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,I'd rather listen 05 Oct 04 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 05 Oct 04 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Mr Bodhran & Mrs Rattle 05 Oct 04 - 10:11 AM
GUEST 05 Oct 04 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 05 Oct 04 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 05 Oct 04 - 10:28 AM
Jeanie 05 Oct 04 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 05 Oct 04 - 10:40 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 Oct 04 - 10:55 AM
Jeanie 05 Oct 04 - 11:19 AM
GUEST 05 Oct 04 - 11:23 AM
Jeanie 05 Oct 04 - 11:45 AM
Paco Rabanne 05 Oct 04 - 12:39 PM
open mike 05 Oct 04 - 12:53 PM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Oct 04 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,Jon 05 Oct 04 - 01:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Oct 04 - 01:47 PM
PoppaGator 05 Oct 04 - 02:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Oct 04 - 03:12 PM
synbyn 05 Oct 04 - 03:25 PM
Don Firth 05 Oct 04 - 03:27 PM
kendall 05 Oct 04 - 04:22 PM
MaineDog 05 Oct 04 - 05:13 PM
GUEST 05 Oct 04 - 09:56 PM
GUEST,Lin in Kansas, Cookieless 05 Oct 04 - 10:15 PM
GUEST 06 Oct 04 - 04:14 AM
Jeanie 06 Oct 04 - 04:58 AM
GUEST 06 Oct 04 - 05:21 AM
Jeanie 06 Oct 04 - 05:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Oct 04 - 06:01 AM
Ross 06 Oct 04 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 06 Oct 04 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,Sam 06 Oct 04 - 06:33 AM
Paco Rabanne 06 Oct 04 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 06 Oct 04 - 06:39 AM
Sttaw Legend 06 Oct 04 - 06:40 AM
moocowpoo 06 Oct 04 - 08:33 AM
Paco Rabanne 06 Oct 04 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,KB 06 Oct 04 - 08:39 AM
Ross 06 Oct 04 - 08:51 AM
Don Firth 06 Oct 04 - 03:30 PM
HuwG 06 Oct 04 - 04:10 PM
GUEST 06 Oct 04 - 09:34 PM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Oct 04 - 09:58 PM
Eye Lander 07 Oct 04 - 02:30 AM
GUEST,Musician 07 Oct 04 - 04:59 AM
John J 07 Oct 04 - 08:47 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Oct 04 - 02:19 PM
mg 07 Oct 04 - 03:53 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 07 Oct 04 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,Teacher? 08 Oct 04 - 05:29 AM
Sttaw Legend 08 Oct 04 - 06:08 AM
GUEST 08 Oct 04 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Jon 08 Oct 04 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 08 Oct 04 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Musician 08 Oct 04 - 09:18 AM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Oct 04 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Teacher 08 Oct 04 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Musician 08 Oct 04 - 02:36 PM
GUEST 08 Oct 04 - 04:20 PM
denise:^) 09 Oct 04 - 12:09 PM
GUEST 11 Oct 04 - 05:11 AM
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Subject: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 05:33 AM

How do you (politely) ask someone not to accompany you when you are preforming.
Yesterday I was playing in a session and a chap sitting behind me started playing Bodhran in a different rythym to the one I was singing and playing in. My wife leaned across to quitely ask him to desist upon which his wife picked up a very noisy shaker, the type that has circles of beads round the outside, and proceeded to accompany him, again totally out of sync with myself.
I find it difficult to play in such circumstances being distracted by the noise eminating from behind my shoulder. Not noted for my diplomatic prowess I would appreciate some help in solving this, my normal reaction would to ask them kindly to f*** **f, but as the session was run by a friend, whom I didn't want to upset this was not appropriate.

Cheers

Raggy


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 05:47 AM

Hey Raggy. I think I would have felt inclined to stop altogether and "Apologise" to the person..."Sorry" but I find it very difficult to play with an "UNREHEARSED" accompaniment, would you please allow me to do this on my own"?
That way you save face for yourself and it is also not a put-down for them (although they may feel like it is).
Best wishes.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: jonm
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 05:48 AM

If they are relatively sensitive and observant (not a lot of chance with bodhran players!), they will often stop if you "throw" them - extend the pause between verses and come back in late, singing across their added rhythm. Extending a note to emphasise one of the words works, too. If they then carry on, you will undoubtedly get thrown yourself and have to stop - which should drop the message. Come straight back as soon as they stop.

I have seen one singer, having his free-time singing constrained by a guitarist's unwanted accompaniment, lean backwards against the guitar neck and mute the strings. The ripple of appreciation made the guitarist realise his mistake.

If someone realises their mistake in accompanying you, always thank them for their consideration in stopping playing. I generally make it my fault (I can't keep good enough time to stay with an accompaniment like that etc.).

The bloody-minded ones who will not shut up are nearly always the hopeless cases - incompetent and insensitive musicians with a hide like a rhinoceros! If it is obvious to the rest of the session that what they are doing is inappropriate, a stern remark will garner approval from the crowd and they generally won't retaliate.

....and then there are the noodlers, twiddling with their instruments while you are trying to start a song.....


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Ross
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 05:49 AM

Stop performing and say you've lost it

Then have a flap and get hysterical


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 05:52 AM

"my normal reaction would to ask them kindly to f*** **f,"

you must be a bundle of fun at a session, sessions are about inclusion, try it instead of telling people to f*** **f


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:01 AM

Unfortunately too many people think that because a drum or tambourine (etc)does not play different notes, that you don't need to be a musician to play one. This leads to them being given to or bought by those who have no musical ability whatsoever. They think that this allows them to "join in" with any music or song being played.
The fact is that you need to be a real musician to play percussion, because it relies on listening to what others are doing and adjusting what you do accordingly. Often this adjustment should be to put the damn thing away.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST, Hamish
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:06 AM

It's a no-win situation: you either put up with it and perform worse as a result, or (if you're a sensitive soul like me*) you ask them to stop and feel so bad about it that that puts you off anyway.

*Oh yes, I am. Inside that self-sufficient exterior hides a craven coward.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST, Hamish again
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:08 AM

I remember Steve Knightley of Show of Hands thanking an exhuberant section of their audience for clapping. "Just a suggestion," he says, "but you could try clapping in time with what we're doing."


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:10 AM

Explosives. Works for me every time.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:11 AM

But ARE sessions about inclusion, or are they get togethers where each person has a turn to demonstrate their skills (with the rest of the gathering joining in WHERE APPROPRIATE). Are they set up as simple opportunities for people to all play music together - or are they a step on the performance ladder. Perhaps that needs to be addressed and decided (oh no - not another thread on What are sessions for?)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:19 AM

When I play at a session I try to do my utmost to be entertaining for the assembled company, if distracted by someone (who in this instance, was asked politely by my wife to desist but continued and was joined by his partner on rattle) it detracts from my rendition, thus limiting my entertainment value for the said company.
As I stated I am not noted for my diplomacy and was asking for constructive imput, I welcome accompaniment that enhances what I am singing, however having a Bodhran and a rattle banging away in a different rythym just behind your help doesn't fall into this category.
Again Guest, if you are going to contribute would you be kind enough to state who you are, you are entitled to your opinion it is as valid as anyone else's and as always a balnce needs to be struck


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: muppett
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:36 AM

I find moving and standing right next to them often works as more often then not I'm singing in a key they can't find or if it's a bodhran I'll raise me voice above them.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:36 AM

Just ask them to stop doing it. Very likely they will do so. You can't expect people to be mind readers. Why be embarrassed to do that? No need to be angry about it or aggressive.

Actually in this case, since the session was "run by a friend" it was the friend's responsibility to sort this out, and if you've a quarrel with anyone, it's with that friend.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:55 AM

McGarth, as I've indicated, my wife asked the Bohran player politely not to continue, this was ignored and he not only carried on but his partner joined in. It isn't practical to stop singing halfway through a song and therefore I put up with it, but felt the people in question needed to be made aware that their contribution was not welcome.
I want to do this in a way that does not cause friction, my reaction of wanting to tell them to **** *** was because they ignored a reasonable request to stop.
It was not possible for the organiser to intervene as this in itself may have caused a "scene" and I have to say I do not agree it was his responsibilty he is not paid to run the session but quitely mantains an orderly procession of performers. We did speak about it later and he said he would have a word but I do not feel he should have to shoulder such burdens


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:55 AM

Usually "The Look" or a simple shake of the head (they should be watching whoever is leading the song anyway) works. If it doesn't work (in my case it's usually the banjo player who doesn't realize that unaccompanied songs are MEANT not to be accompanied), I usually throw things at him -- napkins, beer mats, capos until he stops. But I've known him for almost as long as I've know Curmudgeon and can get away with it. ;-)

Linn


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: freda underhill
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:56 AM

some people dont know how to listen - to the pace, mood and style of someone else's performance of a song or piece of music. those who harmonise along should be fitting in to the person leading the song, not just going on autopilot and singing their version of the song. the time to lead is when its your song, no other time.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: kendall
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:04 AM

It really is a tough one. A lot depends on the rules of the session. I used to do a lot of bluegrass and country gigs between other acts, and when there was a "house band" I would simply say, "This one is full of minors, so you can take a break if you don't know it." How many bluegrass/country pickers would know The Arbutus?


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: s&r
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:11 AM

Thelate and much lamented Isaac Guillory said of his musical upbringing that everyone was encouraged to join in on anything that made a noise.

If you want to perform an arrangement that you feel is sensitive, or complex, or flash, just ask people not to join in before you start.

Welcoming accompaniment that enhances what you are playing/singing muddies the water - your percussion players probably thought that they were enhancing your performance, and were unaware of their lack of skill.

It seems obvious from the speed of these posts and previous similar ones that this is seen as a problem by many people, but I would echo what Kevin said - they're not mind readers. The time to suggest exclusions oor inclusions is before you perform I think.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:25 AM

s&r ......... they were asked poltely not to play, they ignored this, my question is how to get the message across when they ignore a polite request ...... without resorting to a confrontational approach


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Gedpipes
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:35 AM

no one joints in with me :-(


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:41 AM

Stop playing, they can't follow if you don't lead. Ask again politely


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:42 AM

From the Thread List...

Unwanted Accompaniment
Farting in Public


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST, Hamish
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:46 AM

Aw, Mr Pipes (or may I call you Ged?). The mystery of joining in or not... Many of the poorest performers get strenuously joined in with. Perhaps that's telling you something. Maybe they prefer to hear you clearly...?

...then again I know of a singaround where everyone mysteriously finishes their beer and needs a refill when a certain turn comes around.

(Sorry Ged: good joke, really: but it did raise an all-too serious (and dull) side issue)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Gedpipes
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:59 AM

Of course you can call me Ged. Thats very kind of you Hamish.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,KJ
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 08:02 AM

It's a difficult one really because if you're in a session then you ought to be inclusive because that's what sessions are, BUT it's bloody difficult when someone is playing out of tune/rhythm or in a totally different key. Saying **** *** is probably not a good idea, especially if it's the landlord!! I'd probably stop & say " excuse me, but I'm a complete beginner at this & I'm not familiar with playing with asynchronous rhythms, would you mind if I did this one on my own & maybe we can find something you can play along with later". Having listened to a fair bit of your stuff Raggy, I'm suprised anyone would think of joining in with a drum as you tend to do nice, quiet thoughful songs!
As a singer I get a bit bored in music sessions so I've got a drum, but I play it very very very quietly and only with the really fast, roistering tunes that everyone joins in with, it gives my hands something to do & stops me smoking so much!!!
We haven't seen you for ages, hope that's remedied soon.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 08:08 AM

Having asked politely and been ignored, the next step should have been to ask your friend who was "running" the session to intervene. What is the point of someone running a session, otherwise? If your friend had been sensitive enough he should in fact have already picked up on your distress and done something.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: s&r
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 08:23 AM

It's always difficult to visualise exactly the situation. I can imagine different versions of this scenario which lays 'blame' at different people's door. Did they know that the lady was your wife: did they know she was speaking on your behalf? Were you new to that session? Were they? All makes a difference. Was anyone else joining in before they did?

Not everyone works to the same set of session rules/conventions. I think it's easier to announce your wishes at the start 'Will you join me on this' or this is one I've been working on; I'd prefer it if you'd listen'

I'm always a bit twitchy about complaints after the event since a friend of ours felt driven out of a session following a quite vituperative thread on Mudcat.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 08:37 AM

It's alway hard to know without knowing the circumstances. Most sessions I go to are at last mostly instrumental and those with singing included have the unwritten rule you don't join in with a song unless invited. In this case, I take the lead from

I welcome accompaniment that enhances what I am singing, however having a Bodhran and a rattle banging away in a different rythym just behind your help doesn't fall into this category.

I think you are in difficult territory if you want to welclome all but then exclude someone you don't like, even if thier playing is bad.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 08:46 AM

I'll just say, actually I prefer singing this song acapulco and that usually helps.

Or stop, and ask the accompansist to stop please (please is always good). Some of the songs I sing are the more traditional sean nos songs (in English) and not meant to be backed by anything really.

E


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: MaineDog
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:11 AM

MAY I POST GARBAGE TO YOUR THREAD?


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: SINSULL
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:12 AM

This brings to mind a funny moment at the last Getaway. Tinker was singing her B.O.B. (Battery Operated Boyfriend) song much to Big Mick's discomfort. He was noodling around on his guitar. She, in her best imitation of a school teacher, touched his arm and shook her head with an implied TCH TCH. Very funny. He didn't seem to even know what he was doing.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:13 AM

Jon

The pertinant bit in the quote you extract is "banging away in a different rythym" I did not opt to raise this because I didn't like the people invloved, I don't even know them, my not wanting them to join in is because they were not enhancing what I was singing, they were detrimental to it, if they had been enhancing I would not have raised this issue.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:14 AM

I do what Ella does, if I am singing a song I prefer to do unaccompanied, I announce it beforehand. That almost always works. When my quartet is singing at a gathering where there are several other groups, and a herd of electric guitarists and keyboardists, I usually introduce us as doing the old style gospel with just a guitar for accompaniment. If we're singing an unaccompanied song, I make a point of wanting it that way before we sing. That almost always works, too. In black gospel, it's the keyboardists who are the biggest problem. They find it hard to believe that someone couldn't be greatly improved by their playing along (with endless showy runs) twice as loud as anyone else. That's why it's best to cut people off before you get to the pass.

I kid people that there are two switches on keyboards. One says Too Loud, and the other says Too Damn Loud. They usually use the second one.

God is not hard of hearing.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:21 AM

raggytash, bad wording on my part. I did not mean "don't like them" on a personal level. I mean sometimes I may not like an accompanyment even if it is played well.

I stick with my thoghts regarding dealing with it but I will add. If they are insensitive to your, they probably are with others present too. Sometimes the best way of dealing with something like that (assuming as I'm reading it, it is an open format), a frosty reception/ freezing people out works well.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:21 AM

Take a tip from Herself. She's arranged for a friend to borrow my washboard & keep it for months, allegedly for a local show. I heard this weekend they're not even going to play it, maybe use it for a stage prop and we can't hook up with the friend till the New Year to retrieve it.

(Sounds of cheering and sighs of relief all over the country)

RtS
(see also: Shaky Eggs, unwanted accompaniment by)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:24 AM

Squirt gun. Quick, painless, breaks the tension. Or farts-- no equipment to carry.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: MaineDog
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:31 AM

Okay, seeing no positive feedback, I wont.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Nick
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:36 AM

Can I confess? I was a noodler but have reformed and now by default put my guitar down most of the time when others are playing unless encouraged to join in. Most of it originally was a mixture of enthusiasm, what I was used to in our local pub and not knowing about what is acceptable in different contexts. Perhaps it can depend what you are used to? If you are used to joining in (unchallenged and hopefully appreciated) in your usual local environment it is easy to believe that is acceptable elsewhere? I guess having said that it didn't take long to know to stop.

Having said that I never minded someone indicating if they wanted me to stop (or encouraged me to continue), and have always been happy to oblige. The only person I had any problem with was the one who was overly aggressive in wanting others to stop, while he himself liked to noodle in random keys on his squeezebox when others were playing which smacked of the big 'h' word.

It is helpful if people indicate that they want to do something by themselves though. For example a friend sings 'Band Played Waltzing Matilda' - sometimes he likes accompaniment sometimes he doesn't. That's where it helps if he says so before!

Tempo is the thing I find hard when playing with others. My old granny always told me that as an accompanist you are there to follow the singer/player rather than to impose your particular version on them. I play with a friend sometimes who comes from the opposite end - ie a song should be played 'like this' (ie his way) and he will engineer the tempo to his way either swiftly or gradually - ending with that awful effect of several performers playing the same tune in an echo chamber.

I have now taken to putting my guitar down mid-song when it happens which seems to be making the point. Afterwards I explain that it is a personal thing that I prefer one tempo to a song/tune rather than several and would prefer to do it without the duelling instruments in the interests of the listener. Seems to be having a positive effect currently.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:52 AM

Nick, that's a great, and quotable, post. May I add it to our jam etiquette handout pretty much as-is?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:54 AM

Hello Nick, how is sunny FarTington?


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 10:14 AM

This is a very good thread question and I find all of the answers interesting. At the age of 167, I now longer have the politness to tolerate this kind of crap. Now days I could give a diddly darn about how "sensitive" some jerk is.

My answer really depends on just how committed I am to the group and the event. Just yesterday we were at a hoot in Seattle with many long time friends. We are all very familiar with each others styles and material, and we usually get along just fine. There's always a nice mix of solos and duets, as well as many group numbers.

However if this happens to me in a less congenial gathering, I usually just stop singing and playing, wander off to find my guitar case, and slip out the back the door. In fact, years of doing this earned me my hoot nickname of "backdoor Bob). ((true)).

So, I guess I'm saying that the older I get, the ruder I get. But then again, perhaps "rudeness" is in the eye of the beholder! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Betsy
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 10:59 AM

I would like to say "Will you shut that f*cking thing up-this song doesn't have a beat-I'm not giving it one, so why that F* ck are you ?".
In reality , I would look at the person , grim-faced with pressed lips and move my head in a manner which say No-No - not required. Most of them who do this sort of thing are well meaning and enthusiastic and I would think new comers , so it's difficult to be hard on them, however, there's a time to be cruel to be kind in educating them that some things simply don't mix as for instance playing that thing with the beads when someone is singing Wild Mountain Thyme.
Watch some awkward B*stard write in and say it would work for them !!!


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 11:08 AM

It seems you're talking about bad/clueless instrumentalists rather than any instrumentalist.

Since your wife already asked him to stop and it resulted in an aggressive reaction from HIS wife, you've got a choice of a confrontational response, ignoring them and going on anyway, or stopping. You can always ask the session leader for help later on, but in the middle of a song, you have to make the decision, and what you decide depends upon your personality and what you think the results of a particular choice would be.

1. Confrontation will cause a reaction, and probably escalate piss-offedness in somebody who already seems determined to be obtuse.

2. Ignoring them is probably what an exceptionally calm and rational person does. (Whether 'exceptionally calm and rational' is appropriate to your circumstance is something you'll have to decide.) It sounds like the man and his wife are oblivious to the fact they should be embarrassed. Help the process along by varying the tempo a bit. They'll likely not notice, or have a clue about how bad they sound, but everyone else will, and may later give them a bit of feedback.

3. Stopping in the middle of a song may cause even more embarrassment to the non-rhythm players, but again, they may not realise it. It would have about the same effects as #2, but may come off as a tad passive-aggressive. You may end up being less irritated than if you kept singing, but you may be more irritated.

Another option would be to find a competent rhythm player who can manage just a bit more volume than the PITAs, and ask him/her ahead of time to jump in if needed. You can focus on him, and the bodhran and shaky-thing become background noise. (Hopefully)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Chris Green
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 11:08 AM

I was in a session at a festival a few years back and this bloke had brought a electro-classical guitar and amplifier in. He was a very good technical player but seemed to have no idea of taste, restraint or listening to what was being played. He just sat there and played incongruous arpeggios and scales at warp speed over every single song and tune set, including an otherwise gorgeous unaccompanied version of "The Unquiet Grave." It got be his turn and he launched into a furious flamenco guitar piece which everyone in the room backed with G, C and D in varying tempos and time signatures. He stopped halfway through, let out a torrent of abuse about how talentless and insensitive we all were and stomped out to hoots of derisive mirth. It was a good session after that!


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 11:16 AM

Jeez, Bob/Deckman - I can't be sure, but I think at 167 years old, you may be the oldest Mudcatter.

Back doors work, if it looks like the entire night is going to be rotten because of the determinedly clueless.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 11:33 AM

Well, I do like to play the Wild Mountain Thyme in 4/4 (like the Scottish Tourist Board advert) and the shaky egg works well on that.

But I also play the egg myself and I know the damn thing is a challenge - it can be really hard to moderate to the song.

Likewise I also play a bit of bodhran, and it can be a very major challenge to work with normally unaccompanied singers (and beware of the frowns which may mean it was the wrong song to join - usually I wave the instrument at an unaccompanied singer and wait for a nod before starting) because where thay can pull the rhythm on a voice, it just sounds like you've made a mistake if you do it on the drum.

I usually find keyboardists helpful - but I know some do not.

Mostly I play guitar and mandolin and/or sing (sort of) and quite like people to join in, but it does involve the joiner being able to do it. I'm quite uncomfortable about exclusion, but if you are the principal performer of a song or tune and "accompaniment" is putting you off then the accompanist is in the wrong - unless it was one of those sessions where house rules were that everyone joined in, in shich case it was your choice of material that was wrong.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 11:46 AM

Jeri ... actually, I know of TWO catters that are older than me! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Mike, Halifax UK
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 11:47 AM

Life is too short, play through and celabrate your good enough (and big enough) to do that or stop. Easy!


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 11:57 AM

Jeri
I took option #2 and carried on playing on singing despite their interventions. As it is a session I rarely go to and the organiser is a good friend I do not want to rock the boat for him, however by the same token I can do without the "help" of people who can't hold a rythym I have enough difficulty doing that myself without the assistance of anyone else. It would seem from the responses that this is a common occurance and not being the most tolerant of people nor the most diplomatic (man know thyself)I thought I would air the thread to see if someone had a cure-all for such people (yes I know a Gatlin gun would work fine, but they'r so heavy and I've got a bad back)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 12:12 PM

The basic question:
What if a polite request is met with rudeness?

My suggestion would be to POLITELY escalate.

1. You stop playing.
2. In a voice loud enough to be heard by the entire crowd (don't shout) you look at them directly and say politely but firmly, "Will you please stop playing your bodhran and your shaker while I am performing."
3. Continue to look at them directly until you get a reply.
4. If they refuse your clear, polite, direct request, you stop and make it clear to the assembled multitudes that you have stopped and will not resume. Be polite.
5. If they agree, in a voice loud enough to be heard by the entire crowd you say, "Thank you" and resume.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Amos
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 12:15 PM

hoot nickname of "backdoor Bob).

Bob,

I am quite sure there was another reason altogether for that nickname.

A


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Sam
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 12:22 PM

People have to go through a learning process just as we've all done, and at the same time enjoy what they are doing. The more they play the better they get, if we stop them they wont improve for the benefit of all. I am quite sure we have all played at some time when others wished we hadn't. Encouragement is what people need not been told to shut the f**k up politely or otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 12:25 PM

The good with the not so good, Raggedytash...

If these were jazz sessions... they'd be louder.... and everyone would try to add something... but the feeling of awe generally settles 'em down...

It is easy for the newcomers to feel like an unaccompanied song needs something--- ANYTHING!... but of course these folks just don't 'get' the genera. Many people are still imagining some kind of Sinatra-esqe big band accompaniment as preferrable, and normal...

Acapella (acapulco?...) singing is a delicious art... and 'a peoples'' art... But it is only safe to assume that since this world is filled with instrumentalists, and relatively few acapella singers... many people have not been encouraged to appreciate the 'stand alone singer'...

I have stopped and asked politely if they might stop... being sure, of course, to let them know that their playing is superb... and indeed that it is due to my shortcomming rather than theirs...

I have ignored them, stuck to my version, and stretched it a bit here and there to keep 'em guessing... and this works well with the accomplished musicians. Ignoring them is good practice... but for me, it can take the fun out of the singing.

But my point here is this...

It seems to me, that a good session etiquite would be for the 'regulars' to make the call... as these occasions, though they are relatively seldom, are uncomfortably obvious.
ttr


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Mountain Tyme
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 12:30 PM

This thread subject deeply touches a nerve in me.
The occasion of non aware, non invited "musical" cretins parisitic assistance happens all to often and I consider such to be even beyond being very rude.
When I can see it coming, I first state, "I don't need any help". "Thank you."
Astounding to me is that this gentle approach of mine sometimes fails.
My second attempt to retreive my musical style involves a rapid unexpected retaliatory attack with side cutters! (The same wire cutters I carry to trim the length of newly installed strings.)
The desired result/effect I find is very satisfying to many of the previously uncomfortable dedicated attentive listeners who choose to share their reflections of the event thereafter. :)
I've even had to resort to this means before large audiences and while on broadcast radio.
Nuff sed! MT


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 12:45 PM

A friend of mine carried on to the end of his tune then exclaimed, Mercy! Who said you can't have six beats to a tune??!!

Got the point across.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Nick
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 12:45 PM

WYSIWIG, you are more than welcome if it's of use.

I think one of the things is whether you like accompanying rather than being on an ego trip. It happens to give me great pleasure to play as well as I can behind someone so that it doesn't notice rather than playing my favourite twiddles, rolls and embellishments. (Though deep down I really wanted to be Steve Vai or Joe Satriani :) I think many people DON'T enjoy accompanying they'd rather play. When we had people up visiting for a weekend in Farlington the nicest compliment was being 'allowed' to play along with the singers in the garden in the afternoon.

Ted, I'll PM you separately. My dad died recently so things have taken a back seat. Farlington still going though Ben is missed obviously. Don't yet know about the new landlord/lady so longer term future still a little unsure though due to the efforts of quite a number of us the music stuff has made such a positive contribution to takings that I doubt it will go.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:00 PM

Sam: 'learning process', yes. But part of the learning process involves paying attention and absorbing clues. Another part involves what happens when you ignore a plainly and politely stated request.

People that aren't very good (and I've been one) are fine playing along on loud tunes or songs when they aren't likely to mess up other people, or they can play quietly. I don't know if it's possibly for a bodrahn to be that quiet, if it's the only instrument accompanying a singer.

Above all, learning on one's own requires the person to be able to figure out if they're doing something wrong, whether it's playing the wrong rhythm, wrong note or simply playing when they shouldn't. If the person is incapable of figuring that out, other people can help them (if they listen). If they can't gauge their own performance and they don't listen to others, chances are they're never going to learn anything.

Another idea: next time, tape the guy playing along with you and give it to him. What he can't hear when he's playing, he might hear when he's listening. Don't bet on it, though.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Ernest
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:03 PM

Ask them if they know the rules of the particular session:
Any unwanted accompanist who doesn`t stop at the first request has to pay a round for everyone in the house - for every request he denies.
That should help.
Regards
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Raggytash
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:15 PM

Like the sound of that one Ernest, certainly a man after my own heart


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Juan P-B
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:17 PM

I once said to someone in a similar situation - "Will you come and play for me when I'M bad??"

It worked !

I would have told him to Foxtrot-Oscar but I'm far too much of a gent!

JP-B


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:30 PM

But it is only safe to assume that since this world is filled with instrumentalists, and relatively few acapella singers...

Interesting that - because, in my experience, it tends to be the other way round in Emngland. (Though it'd generally be called "unaccompanied singing")


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:37 PM

Amos .... Why ... W H A T E V E R   do you mean???? Bob


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Cluin
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 03:35 PM

If they are so insensitive and obtuse to just keep on crapping on what you're doing after being asked not to, then they aren't too sensitive for a heartfelt f*** **f.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: kendall
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 03:54 PM

If I want help, I ask. Otherwise, I don't.

At one session there was a young woman who played mandolin. It was a bluegrass tune, and when it came time for her "break", this egotistical fiddler practically shoved her out of the way and started sawing away. She was in tears which he didn't see, and I lost it. I yelled "Back off asshole"! Sorta surprised the folks who tend to think I'm a nice guy. God, I hate bullies!


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:18 PM

I'm glad you started this, Raggy. I was playing my drum solo last Sunday, and this bloody guitarist just joined in without a by-your-leave, even singing some jibberish. Just before my wife's rattle break, the guitarist's wife shouts out that we're spoiling the accompaniment! Can you believe it? Well, I can tell you that we sorted that bugger out short order. Some people, eh! The bloke who ran the session didn't make any attempt to stop the invasion, but we just kept playing on through the row that this chap was making, but it was very unsettling to our rhythm.

**bg** Skippy


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:18 PM

Ahhhh Kendall ... You're MY KIND OF PLAYER!!! Bob


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:19 PM

Actually, I'm one of the Mudcatters who has Deckman beat on age. I'm 173, aiming for 300 at minimum. Ask me again in 2131. I may want to reenlist.

Interesting thread with perennial subject. I don't have any overall solutions to this problem, but I do have a fairly large book of horror stories.

Seattle's infamous Pamir House was a fun place to sing because John Timmons, the owner, hired a lot of singers, and on weekends especially, there would often be three or more singers occupying the stage area, usually Mike Atwood, Jerry Murry, and myself, frequently joined by one or more of Jim Wilhelm, Alice Stuart, Judy Flennikan, Mike Neun (who wrote The Joan Baez School of Nonviolence Fight Song), Sue Hall and/or others. Not all at the same time, but various combinations thereof. Other than each person's own individual practice, nothing much was ever rehearsed, but we got to know each other pretty well, which included knowing when to play and/or sing along with whoever happened to be featured at the moment—and when not to. Who sang what, and when, was spontaneous and unrehearsed, as were the banter, jokes, and bad puns that flew back and forth between songs. We were having a helluva lot of fun (and getting paid for it!), and apparently the audiences enjoyed it too, because the place did a good business every night and was jam-packed on weekends.

This was during the infamous "Age of the Bongos." Anyone with a total lack of musical talent and taste could walk into a music store somewhere and by a set of these abominations without having to get a license first. Because of the loose nature of the format at Pamir House, these benighted creatures often wandered in, carrying their weapons, and endeavored to participate. Mr. Timmons was alert to this sort of thing and would put a quiet but firm word in their ear, but all too often, he was busy in the kitchen. They seemed to be oblivious to the dirty looks of both audience and singers. But the one thing that the bunch of us did rehearsed together proved quite effective. Someone would give The Look and The Nod, then simultaneously we'd stopped singing and playing, and stare fixedly at the bongoist. After a few seconds of appalling silence, the bongoist would stop in mid-paradiddle, shrink down to about three inches in height, and disappear under a nearby table.

I do a particular arrangement of Greensleeves (four verses plus choruses, with a carefully worked out lute-style guitar arrangement). It is not enhanced by bongo backup.

At songfests, I'm used to having people play along with me (in fact, I often play along with other people), and, generally, it's fun and it all sounds pretty good. But recently, I've taken to doing a number of unaccompanied ballads. I can't really understand why, when I set my guitar aside in preparation for singing one of these ballads, there are often one or to folks who don't get the clue and try to accompany me. This is especially difficult to handle when the person doing it is a nice guy and a good guitarist. If you have a sidekick who knows what's what, it helps. I've seen Bob the Deckman simply reach over and place his hand on someone's guitar strings, stopping the sound, as he gives them an eloquent look. Gently done, and it works without engendering hard feelings. Bless his heart.

Although super ted's suggestion of "Explosives" has merit, I like Ella's and Jerry Rasmussen's method: announce your intention beforehand. If you want to sing unaccompanied or if you have your own instrumental arrangement you'd like people to hear, say so. Also, if you'd like people to accompany you, invite them to.

Be sensitive to what other people are doing so you don't goof, and when it's your turn, take control.

Of course, sometimes, when there are four guitars of various kinds, a banjo, a mandolin, a penny whistle, two fiddles, a hurdy-gurdy, spoons, a bodhran, a conga drum, a dumbek, and two djemebes all going at the same time, that can be quite an exhilarating moment!

Don Firth

P. S.: Click on dumbek, scroll down, and check out "Effects of playing a dumbek" and "Frequently asked questions." Much of this can apply to various instruments, people, and situations.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Blowzabella
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:32 PM

I think I would just stop and say 'I'm sorry but I need to set my own rhythm to this and, my fault, I know, but I can't keep to the one you are setting - do you mind if I begin again on my own...'

If they contiued after that, then the gloves would come off....and I'd tell them to play it on their own.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Bassic
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 05:04 PM

Its a dilemma Raggy, sorry I arived too late to witness the event yesterday. Anyway, I have given it some thought and this is what I think.......

Yes, anounce up front that you want accompaniment or not..........if after that you are then faced with something that becomes seriously off putting, especially if a quiet and subtle request has been ignored, then stop..........be honest..........say you are finding it really difficult to play/sing with the offending player/instrument and say you would like to continue without it please. And do all that with a smile of genuine warmth........oh.........and also dont forget................

to make sure you dont knock over the pint belonging to the big bloke sat in front of you with your guitar neck, which verse you are singing, how to play the upcomming guitar bit that you always get wrong, what the next word is, what the next line actually means, where you are supposed to take your next breath, that you have to "pull" all the notes you are playing on the D string cos its suddenly gone a touch flat, that you make enough space for the big guy in front of you to get to the toilet cos its urgent judging by the look on his face! that the guy who actually wrote the song you are singing has just walked into the pub............oh sod it.........just tell the drummer to F*** ***!!! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Nick
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:27 PM

It just seems a bit sad underlying everything to think that all Raggytash went to do was perform something for himself and others to enjoy - not to have to come equipped for major conflict.

Being new to all this sort of stuff it's hard enough to stand up and perform without the extra wieght of having been on an assertive training course for dealing with the rest of the world.

Whatever is the best way to deal with it and whether you - stop; keep going; deck the wife first - then the husband (sorry I'm old fashioned and old habits die hard, ladies first); ignore it; be smart; be clever; whatever - that performance is still spoilt for some or all and you can never reclaim that moment however well you salvage the situation.

The sad thing is it will happen lots of times in this next week - and any of us here could be the hero or villain with the best or worst of intentions by either what we do or what we don't.

Personally I am taking my spare guitar on Wednesday just to smack the first trangressor round the head. I just hope it's not me...


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:27 PM

Cripes! I did my post just above by dictating it with a voice recognition program (Dragon NaturallySpeaking), which is a kick--but it sure pays to proof-read. It can't distinguish between "by" and "buy" or "to" and "two." I know better. But the Dragon doesn't seem to.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:29 PM

There was a variant of this in the Eight Bells in Tenterden Fest on Friday.

True, there was a drunk squaddie covered in tattoos who was intent on very loud conversation (in the midle of the players' circle) and even jogging guitarists' arms as they tried to play (their turn, not joining in with others), so we were all quite appreciative when a Steward loudly interrupted between two songs and asked people to listen not toalk, or if intent on talking, to use the other bar.

***k me she then walked to the bar (the singer's side) and proceeded to have a very loud conversation indeed, in the immediate vicinity of a rather loud-voiced unaccompanied singer who was also conversing (but has been known to get tetchy if himself talked over). This rose to a bit of a crescendo in the middle of a friend's superb (and I mean that) rendition of "Coal Town Road". I was (by agreement) accompanying his guitar playing and singing, on mandolin. First I stood and took one pace towards the offenders and stared with basilisk intensity - to no avail. At the end of the verse said friend interrupted the bridge, stared right, yelled "shut it" with great intensity, and then returned to the song (as I frantically tried to recover the rhythm of what I was playing along to him).

It was partly successful. But the squaddie continued although the guitarist he was upsetting most left.

Later in the evening the booked host of the session/singaround, an imposing figure of a man, sang one verse of a song, stopped, and started the "if it's so interesting why don't you tell the rest of us about it" routine. This produced embarrassment in the said squaddie and some improvement.

But to come back to the original question, surely the root of the determination lies in the nature of the session. If it was a participative session (whether song or tune) then Raggytash by seeking to exclude participation (either by pre-announcement, or by spontaneous combustion) is at fault - but if it was a "take turns" session, then the intervener was at fault in joining in if not invited.

Problems can arise if the host has said that it's participative, but it is being treated like a rotating concert.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:33 PM

One solution that works is to end the verse, point to the miscreant, and yell "Take it!" Usually shuts people up.

Or sing in G flat.

BUT, when in hell did sessions and singarounds and hoots become performance venues?On of the nicest (and musically best) groups I've encountered has a bunch of pretty damn good musicians helping to ad-lib accompaniments to just about anything. THAT's what jamming was all about. Remember?


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:49 PM

Bongo-drummers. Now they can be difficult to cope with. As can those blokes with drums shaped like spittoons. (It always is blokes too.)

When it's a question of a solo performer doing a song, shutting up an unwanted accompaniment isn't that hard. Relatively few people will continue when given a direct, unambiguous and polite request/demand that they stop playing.(For example "Sorry - you're making me forget the words, could you stop playing that thing till I've finished.") Hints or looks aren't enough.

When it's an open session with lots of people playing, it's harder to deal with someone who is messing it up by the way they are playing - you haven't really got the authority to say "please stop" in that setting, and there may even be other people who are liking it. The only thing to do it to stop playing, and maybe all the people who don't like it will stop playing. Though of course there are some people thick-skinned enough to think that the others are stopping in order to listen to this fantastic bongo solo...

Look at it as a chance to get a drink in.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Nick
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 06:51 PM

You perhaps have the luxury of playing with better musicians, and the ability to perform and keep an audience interested. Singarounds for me - for right or wrong - are in my local surroundings my and my friends performance venues.

If the 'session' that Raggytash went to is the one in Beverley I think it might be then it isn't a jam session of great musicians supporting and enhancing each others performances. In my very limited experience it strikes me that amateur musicians spend a certain amount of time preparing their one/two/three performance pieces for the week/month/whatever, dutifully and patiently wait for an hour to play, and do it with all the pain and pleasure involved. It seems justifiable to feel a touch pissed if some crass twat with a noisier voice/drum/instrument makes a mockery of that effort.

Lord give me a thicker skin, lots more talent and friends with tact and taste.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: synbyn
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:14 PM

Depends where you are & who's there: at our local session there are several guitarists who've recently taken up the instrument. If we insisted upon them ducking out they'd lose that experience which I guess most of us gained by, quietly underplaying until we were more confident of finding lines and harmonies. There is one excellent singer/guitarist, who plays quiet songs, and most of us drop out to listen- only the most skilful puts in his threepenceworth. What we'd do with a rampant bongo-player I don't know, but often the quiet songs grab the onlookers who would try to talk above the louder or more familiar choruses. I'm keeping quiet- sooner or later I've got to debut a banjo...how do I do that subtly?
As to squaddies, tattooed etc, not much can be done because the confrontation is what they want. Who'd be a steward- but I agree with Richard that they too have to be seen to be listening. Mobile phone users- saw Keith Kendrick start up a shanty in a session & within 3 choruses Harassed Mobile Man was joining in. Quality won!


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:19 PM

Two threads on similar topic:

Musical Etiquette
Annoying Bodhran: What To Do?


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:20 PM

I still well remember the first evening I met, and heard, the crew from the Vancouver Folk Song Society for the first time. This was in the early 70's at a hoot in the "U" district of seattle. I'd heard of them, but had never encountered them, especially John Bartlett and Ricca (sp?). As I sat down and looked around, I saw a lot of new faces, but that was not too unsual. A few songs happened, then I started one.

I couldn't believe what happened. I made a choice of a song that obviously EVERYONE knew. My GAWD what a sound. 17 part harmony, FULL VOLUME and they knew EVERY VERSE and verses I didn't know. The walls of the house fairly vibrated.

I was stunned. I kept looking behind me to see if I could see that giant sized speakers or maybe the chorale conductor. It was weird and very intimidating.

After I krept out to the garage, using my best "back door Bob" stealth, the host John explained who they were. I came to love them and their sound, but it not a simple adjustment.

Whew!! What memories.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: kendall
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:25 PM

I've performed alone for so many years that it is very hard for me to do anything with others who join in. Funny thing is, the better they are, the more they screw me up! I get to listening to them and forget what I'M doing.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:27 PM

Geeze Kendall!! I sure hope you're ONLY talking about your music here!! Bob


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Joybell
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 08:52 PM

It's a really difficult problem. If you are a singer in a situation like this one you may only get to perform one song. It's not fair that you can't sing it the way you want. I've been there. I've tried various things - most work some of the time, but it breaks the mood. Comic remarks just seem to lead them on - "if you don't stop picking that thing it'll never heal!" - to the guitar noodler, might get a big laugh but it rarely helps unless comedy is your aim.

Just one thought that shouldn't be necessary. I learned from a waitress that if you are a woman it's best to address all your remarks to the other woman of a pair - even if it's not the most logical thing to do. The thought being that a comment from a woman to another woman's man might raise the hackles. Be seen as a threat or worse. Your wife shouldn't have to be a psychologist though, Raggy, her method was a reasonable one. Joy


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Big Mick
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 12:17 AM

I haven't found the instrumentalists to be a problem, but I am blessed that I am among very good players often as not. But the one that gets me is when, as a singer, I start a song and folks don't listen for my arrangement before they start to join in. Most of the time I try to make a song mine. The phrasing is usually different, and I emphasize the story a certain way. Often I get among singers that want to sing it their way, as opposed to how I am singing it. Makes me crazy.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 03:36 AM

Good thread.

Not being a solo performer, I can only go by my own reactions on reading the different posts.

It does seem that stating one's preference BEFORE beginning really should go the longest way in solving your problem.

If people still insist on joining along, and you aren't pleased, then I'm with Deckman Bob. Stop playing.

I do think there are lessons that need to be learned, and it sounds like this is an important one.

..xx..e


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 03:42 AM

If you want to play unaccompanied, and in total silence, pop along to ged's pipe session at The Woolpack in beverley tonight. He's not called Billy no mates for nothing!


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 03:53 AM

I disagree, Ellenpoly.

The most important lesson to learn at any session or singaround is its own "rules" and ways which can vary considerably. It's only when you know and understand them can you consider taking actions like stating preferences.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 03:55 AM

At Oddfellows on Sunday Super Ted wanted to play with Shindigg, they couldn't cope with going down the "true path" so turned up the volume, Super Ted had an early night - nuff said.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 04:07 AM

So Jon, are there really places that don't allow the performer any choice in whether they can play by themselves or not?

I'm very interested in this, as I'd find it hard to believe that one is always at the mercy of others in some performing circumstances.

Can you explain where this would be the case?

..xx..e

(Not at all meant to be argumentative, I really don't know how these all work, except from what I've read here.)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 04:25 AM

Ellen Polly, I think what we come onto in my terminology is a difference between a singaround/song circle and a session.

In the former, people generaly would take it in turns and probably find it easy to set their own rules for thier performance.

Sessions are in my expericence more commonly instrumental affairs but singing versions do exist. In such a circumstance one could expect a high percentage of chorus songs and an understanding that anyone could join in at any time.

There are of course no hard and fast rules. An example of an instrumental session I used to go to that had the occasional song which was usualy unaccompanied was one in Bangor. The understanding there was that when a singer started, the musicains kept quiet and listened. With a tune of course, the understanding was once a tune was started eveverone was free to join in.

Some sessions may have a leader, others may be complete free for alls, some may have other rules, eg. the Norwich one I attend most is strictly no singing, etc.

The dynamics of these things can be quite complicated. I think as you attend more different ones, you become better at picking up how a particular event works.

Hope that helps a bit.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Ellenpoly
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 05:18 AM

"The understanding there"

Seems to be a phrase you use a lot Jon. So what seems clear that there are no hard and fast rules that apply to every kind of situation.

But if I'm not correct, and I guess raggedytash needs to chime in here, it certainly seemed like the understanding must have been open to the interpretation of his having the right to decide whether or not to have people join in.

But even if it were the case, the question still is one of what to do if the person, or persons who DO join in, throw off the original singer...and if so, what are then the options.

Anyway, as I said, I'm really just here to learn, so thanks for your input.

..xx..e


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 05:38 AM

Yep Ellenpoly you've got that about right but you also need to know that when you come into a new event, you are excpected to know or find the understandings (or rules) for a particular event. The onus is on you, not the regulars to do that.

As you say, it does need raggytash to chime in but it remains unclear to me the nature of the event he was attending. I notice I'm not the only one unclear as only a few posts ago, Richard Bridge said:

But to come back to the original question, surely the root of the determination lies in the nature of the session. If it was a participative session (whether song or tune) then Raggytash by seeking to exclude participation (either by pre-announcement, or by spontaneous combustion) is at fault - but if it was a "take turns" session, then the intervener was at fault in joining in if not invited.

Another thing to bear in mind is that a person used to one event or format can easily and wrongly assume that another is the same. I'm not saying that is the case here but without that sort of knowledge, I think it rather foolish to give out the "tell the offender to shut up" type of advice.

Sometimes how to deal with it is simply "Deal with it"!

Jon


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 05:46 AM

Cor ......... Whats a little hornets nest I've stirred up here, right boys and girls who were there. I deliberately excluded the time and place of the venue, so please don't put anything to that effect, I have no wish for this to be detrimental to anyone one person or session.

The session in question was a take-your-turn session but as always with such sessions if someone played a tune, e.g on accordian, several others joined in on diverse musical instruments.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: s&r
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 05:49 AM

Always seems sad that in all these cases, all participants started out with a common interest in music and a wish to play it in the company of others. If a tune is spoiled, it's regrettable. If a session is spoiled there's a total lack of communication somewhere (for communication try talking with people instead of frowning).

If there are no rules/conventions, anything goes and you take your chance; if there are established customs, explain them to the newcomer.

stu


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: s&r
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 05:51 AM

Is it Ted who likes to score a hundred? it's getting close.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Snuffy
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 09:34 AM

I've been singing unaccompanied in Students Union/Rugby Club style situations for forty years, but only 5 years or so in folky places.

I'm used to the etiquette being "everybody joins in on all the bits they think they know", and I don't have a problem with that - better them singing/playing badly than talking loudly and ignoring you.

Of course it helps if they're using the same words and tune as you, but it isn't absolutely necessary. They are quite as entitled to regard it as "their" song as I am. Just because I started it does not give me the right to impose my version against the common will.

Don't sweat the small stuff: it's not the end of the world. There will be other opportunities to give my sensitive and artistic rendition of the song they just murdered, but for now it's a great feeling to see so many people enjoying themselves by participating in music making rather than being cowed into silence by a member of the priesthood.

In my book "Shut up and listen" and folk belong in separate universes. YMMV.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,I'd rather listen
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:00 AM

Ooh - not sure I can entirely agree with you there snuffy - that 'shut up and listen' and 'folk' belong in different universes...

Cast your mind back to the days when a bard would sit in the hall and sing to a rapt audience - singing people's lineage, of battles, of heroes - because they were an oral society and the carrier of the stories was held in a sort of wonder - isn't that an enormous part of what the 'folk' movemnent draws its heritage from? If, in the flickering firelight, the drama and tension created in the telling of Beowulf was ruined by someone deciding to 'join in by tapping annoyingly on the table or blowing bubbles in their drinking horn', I'm sure someone would have had something to say - even if the tapper or bubble blower thought they were contributing positively to the atmosphere!

And when a new person would arrive in a village with songs from where they came from and the villagers would listen because they were new stories and (probably) because they were glad of a new voice singing

Personally, I don't think that it should necessarily be the case that 'folk' means all join in together. If I was having a conversation, lets say, I was telling a story or a joke, with someone in a pub, I would take it amiss if someone else just butted in or talked over me.

Why people have to join in with every darned tune is beyond me - surely knowing when and how to listen is as great a skill - and a good opportunity to learn stuff too


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:04 AM

Snuffy, I think you miss the point, for any musician playing an instrument in a certain rythym to have someone else playing in a different rythym is distracting to say the least. For that person to continue when asked politely to desist is nothing short of rude and for their partner to then add to the cacophony is adding insult to injury.
Sad to say it is unlikely I will visit this venue again as I do not wish to create problems for a friend and in this instance the best way to do that is to avoid the place as it was only the second time I had been there, it is some 70 miles from base


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Mr Bodhran & Mrs Rattle
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:11 AM

Raggytash
Very nice of you to discuss this with the world prior to any proper attempt at discussion with myself.

"Not noted for my diplomatic prowess" your words say it all i think.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:21 AM

Whether you be trying to stir or the real Mr Bodhran & Mrs Rattle you can't throw anything in raggytash's direction - he's never come close to saying where this incident took place. If others have been indiscreet, that's hardly his fault - if you are THEY and you recognise yourselves, then hopefully you will learn something and it will help to lessen incidents like this. At the end of the day, it's not a BIG thing - all raggytash did was ask for some advice for the future. Hopefully both raggytash and Mr Bodhran & Mrs Rattle will have gained something from this thread


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:28 AM

In my original thread there were no names, no pack drill, I did not mention a venue, nor have I done in other contributions to this thread. In fact I have made efforts to ensure that individuals or venue were not named in other contributions. I was seeking a way in which to diffuse a situation were an individual (be it me, you or anyone else) was detracting from the rendition of another without resorting to being offensive.
I do not feel any need to make an apology for raising this issue as it would appear to be a concern that is shared by many people
I can only hope that my original request for a way in which to avoid confrontation can be found.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:28 AM

Bugger it 100


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Jeanie
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:32 AM

I agree, Snuffy. From my point of view, a "session"/"sing-around"/"song circle" or whatever it may be called, is like a party, with the emphasis very much on group participation and ad hoc informality. After all is said and done, no-one is getting paid to be there and no-one has come to listen to anyone in particular ! There is no demarcation between "audience" and "performer".

It is when people attend sessions or sing-arounds and view them in terms of "audience" and "performer" that the problems can occur. A session is *not* a performance, and the etiquette of the relationship between performer and audience does not apply and should not be expected.

A performance (whether musical or theatrical) is something quite different and has very different etiquette. There is a designated performance area, where only the performer or performing group goes to and is 'out of bounds' to everyone else (the audience). Straight away, from this, there is a demarcation. The performer or performing group is announced or announces themselves, to a specific schedule, arranged in advance. In a performance situation, the performers *can* expect (but still have to earn !) the attention of the audience. It is up to the performer(s) to call the shots as to how much or how little the audience will participate.

Two scenarios. Two very different ball games.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:40 AM

Jeanie,
In this instance everyone was both audience and performer depending on whether they chose to sing/play. As has been said previously it was a take-your-turn session


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:55 AM

It's just as bad for the audience sometimes:-( I have been to concerts of all types, including ones where I have paid a considerable amount for the ticket, only to have people in the audience decide that they know better than the act!

Often the amplification sorts it out but I regularly find that screeches, whistles, foot stamping and hand clapping from the audience do not usualy enhance the carefuly rehearsed arrangement I have paid to hear.

I would certainly never condone a strict 'sit there and be quiet' attitude but some people just shouldn't be allowed out on their own...;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Jeanie
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 11:19 AM

Rather than looking at it in terms of everyone being both audience and performer, it could be looked at like this: in this situation, no-one is either performer or audience. That demarcation doesn't exist in a session where, as described earlier here,' if someone played a tune, e.g. on accordion, several others joined in on diverse musical instruments.' Sometimes it's going to sound magical, sometimes it's going to sound ..... something else ! The person starting the song or tune isn't THE performer and isn't solely reponsible for the success (or otherwise) of the result, and need expect neither praise or blame, however it turns out.

There is fun to be had in both ad hoc jamming and highly polished, highly rehearsed performance. The important thing, I think, is that the fun isn't lost in either situation.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 11:23 AM

but it was lost in the situation being described, wasn't it - that is the point


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Jeanie
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 11:45 AM

Precisely, Guest. That is the point I am making ! If I am singing/playing at an ad hoc group participation session or performing a rehearsed piece in front of an audience, my expectations and responsibilities (and the expectations and responsibilities of others) are different in the two situations. The fun is only there when I recognize this, and is lost if I don't.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 12:39 PM

100, I thank you! Oh... shit... too late.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: open mike
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 12:53 PM

what's "more volume than the PITAs"
pita is an arabic flat bread but
what does it mean in this instance?


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 12:55 PM

42


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 01:34 PM

Pain In The Arses, OM.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 01:47 PM

Surely "Pains in the Arse" for people with a conventional anatomy.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 02:07 PM

Attendees at any kind of session/singalong/whatever should resonably expect an enjoyable time playing together with other *musicians.* While it's unreasonable to expect all said musicians to be equally skilled, it's *not* unreasonable to expect totally UN-musical noisemakers to somehow be constrained, if not excluded.

It's also not at all unreasonable to expect beginners -- and all players unfamiliar with a given selection -- to self-censor and back off when appropriate.

How to achieve this aim peacefully and tactfully -- well, that's a problem and always will be. These problems have to be solved on the spot, on a case-by-case basis. I doubt we'll be able to come up with a solution that'll work in every situation.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 03:12 PM

One problem is that, on the whole, people who are into playing in sessions are the kind who let things go until they can work up enough steam to get angry. So rather than asking politely at the right time, they wait and wait, and then lose their temper.

That's the worst of both worlds. It ends with the objector feeling embarrassed and upset, because in retrospect they overdid it, while the twit with the bongoes is bewildered, because, by that time, he (or conceivably she) had been given the message that the bongo playing was quite all right - and then, out of the blue, it wasn't.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: synbyn
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 03:25 PM

Is it true that anyone who plays an instrument with a hide must have a thicker skin?


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 03:27 PM

Part of it is whether or not the person with the bongos has a sense of appropriateness. Calling on my experience in the Pamir House milieu again, if Mike Atwood drew upon his large repertoire of Kingston Trio songs and sang Zombie Jamboree, for example, the bongos would go well with that. If Jim Wilhelm sings a lullabye or I do The Three Ravens, it would not be. Unfortunately, most bongo players that I've run into don't have that sense of appropriateness.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: kendall
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 04:22 PM

When a hammer is the only tool you have, everything looks like a nail.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: MaineDog
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 05:13 PM

Is seems like all of these contention threads are really about spoiled children doing what they are best at.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 09:56 PM

Dick Greenhaus--

Yes, exactly! Give 'em a break; that'll do more to shut 'em up than any amount of evil looks.

And I wholeheartedly agree too that a jam session is NOT


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Lin in Kansas, Cookieless
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:15 PM

Ah, crud...not only did I hit the ENTER button when I didn't mean to, but I just noticed something ate my cookie.

To continue:

...As Dick said, a jam session is NOT, repeat NOT, a performance venue! If performing solo is the main objective, then find a stage and perform. Jams are for people to participate in the music, and to contribute to the fun and enjoy learning new songs, chords, runs, rhythms, etc. I play a concertina, and there are any number of songs our jam group plays that I do not and would not accompany with the concertina. That's why I take my lap dulcimer along, too. It's quiet, and I can play along with nearly anything "in the background," including behind the guitarist's back, without causing problems for anyone due to my "noise." Perhaps you might suggest to the bodhran and rattle players that they take up a quieter instrument?

But I think Dick's solution of yelling "Take it!" to the bodhran player would work wonderfully! Seems to me it would be a little difficult to keep the song going on only a bodhran, even if the rattler did "chime" in!

P.S. I've been guilty of the rattle thing myself. The first year I attended the Winfield Festival, I wanted so much to be a part of the campground picking that I took my rattle with me from camp to camp, not realizing that it was driving the "bluegrassers" nuts. A kind lady at one of the camps asked if she could use it, and she and her guitarist/singer friend made it abundantly (and politely) clear to me that it was not appropriate to shake the cursed thing to the music they were playing, even if I did manage to keep the rhythms right. I think the singer's comment was something to the effect of "Get that thing away from me--it sounds like a damned rattlesnake!" That was the year I bought my dulcimer. Spent the next year learning some songs to play along next time...

Thanks, lady! And she didn't hurt my feelings, either--in fact thanked me for the use of the rattle and gave me a big grin I couldn't help but return.

Lin


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 04:14 AM

Lin/Dick

In this instance it was not a Jam session, but a session where people played and or sang as individuals, even had it been a Jam session if one person leads with a 12 barre it is not appropriate for someone else to start laying down a reggae rythym, all that happens then is a discordant noise.
What Raggytash encountered was someone playing at odds with the rythym he was using, not the best guitarist (as he himself will admit to) in the world he was put off by this and the person in question was asked to stop but carried on regardless. Raggytash is seeking a way to ensure he can get someone to stop without offending them


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Jeanie
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 04:58 AM

The way Raggytash described the event, people were not playing as individuals: "The session in question was a take-your-turn session, but as always with such sessions, if someone played a tune, e.g. on accordion, several others joined in on diverse musical instruments."

If, in sessions like this, Raggytash (or anyone else with this problem) wants to "get someone to stop without offending them", I think he would have to stop *everyone* from starting to accompany him in the first place. When it came to his turn to start a tune or song, he would have to say: "I know you're all playing/singing along with all the other tunes, but for my turn, I am going to play/sing XYZ on my own," and his would be a solo performance each time his turn came round. The only fair thing to do then, of course, would be for him to refrain from playing/singing along with any of the other people when it was their turn to start a tune !

I think you have to make a choice of either saying "My turns are always solos" or welcoming all-comers and being an all-comer yourself. There are consequences that you have to be prepared to accept, whichever option you choose ;)

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 05:21 AM

Jeanie

Thats not how I read Raggytash's start, his objection was not to someone joining in, but joining in in (as he put it) a different rythym and putting him off


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Jeanie
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 05:48 AM

I don't think you can be selective about who joins in with you, in a joining-in type of event, *without* offending someone !

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 06:01 AM

So long as you are genuinely courteous about asking someone to be quiet, if they get offended that is their choice.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Ross
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 06:03 AM

Blimey - this must be the whinge of the century

How can you tell when a plane load of folkies land - you can still hear the whining after they've turned the engines off


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 06:09 AM

Eh Up Ross, I was not whinging merely seeking advice on how to diffuse a potential upset


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Sam
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 06:33 AM

It sounds like a mega whinge to me that is not really answering the original question, but simply giving people the opportunity to moan and groan at bodhran players and the like who go to folk clubs for enjoyment, same as everyone else in a session. We must be very careful not to appear elitist and in my opinion this thread is drifting that way. That's my whinge out the way....


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 06:38 AM

I can never tell whether raggy is singing or not, because his huge moustache totally covers his gob! That's probably why I always seem to playing flamenco over him.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 06:39 AM

Both my wife and my son play Bodhran, I don't have a problem with the instrument itself


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 06:40 AM

A man in the Middle Ages became fed up with humanity and decided to spend the rest of his life in a monastery. The abbot warned him that he would have to take a vow of silence and live the rest of his life as a scribe. The man replied, "No problem. I'm sick of talking."

Ten years went by, and the abbot called for the man. He told him that he was model monk and perfect scribe, and they were very happy with him. As per tradition he was allowed to say two words. So he nodded and said, "Food cold." The abbot sent him on his way.

Ten years later, he was brought before the abbot again and told how pleased they were with his performance, and he was again allowed two more words. The man said, "Bed hard," and was sent back to work.

Another ten years went by and again the abbot sent for the man, telling him he was the best monk they had ever had, and that he was allowed another two words. The man nodded and said, "I quit."

Abbot replied in a disgusted tone, "Doesn't surprise me. You've done nothing but WHINGE since you got here."


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: moocowpoo
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 08:33 AM

I love a bit of an upset at a session, it's part of their dynamic.....I think it   would be pretty dull to have nothing to have a light hearted whinge, or better still, laugh about.
I was once in a sesh in Ennis, there was a guy playing spoons over the top of the most beautiful slow airs. A man began a lovely song and, sure enough, in comes spoonboy, the singer just started laughing. I enjoy playing tunes *and accompanying them, I love to hear a good song (even a bad one), most of all I love to see and be part of a situation like that one, people at their best, being humans ABOVE musicians.   
Of course there are all the times you just want to sing the songs or play the tunes, Personally I wouldn't tell anyone to shut up but I think the best approach is the one your wife took, a quiet "shh"
I dont know why they persisted, hurt pride I suppose. If someone "shhhed" my playing I would be quite hurt, although I am very sensitive to different styles and I think I have a good idea of when my accompanying of a singer will be appropriate (or not).
The same thing happened with a session I went to for years, a player, out of time and super loud, I believe sessions are about practice and sharing, it was a bit loud though...Nobody told her, nobody made a huge thing of it, she stopped coming anyway......the point of my post has presently scampered off like an errant, naughty puppy. I'd better put up posters now and contact the pound.
muhkuhpuh


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 08:35 AM

200. I thank you.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 08:39 AM

Anyone reckon a bouncy shaky-egg accompaniment is a good idea on Shipbuilding? I suppose anyone can make a mistake though........


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Ross
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 08:51 AM

No problem Raggytash - it was quite a valid question

It's just a bit stunning how it seems to have ignited opinion

The answer is probably up there with the `meaning of life' question

Stay happy and don't pour your beer over any offender's head (cos that's a waste)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 03:30 PM

Following upon Sttraw Legend, here:
        A baby boy was born to a young married couple. This, of course, was nothing unusual. What was a bit unusual was that the baby rarely if ever cried. He was an extremely quiet and seemingly contented child. When, by the age of two, he had not yet begun to talk, the couple took him to the pediatrician and expressed their concern. The pediatrician examined him thoroughly and pronounced him perfectly normal. He said, "Some children just don't start talking until later. I wouldn't worry about it."
        Another year passed. When he still hadn't spoken, the couple took him to a child psychologist. The psychologist gave him a battery of tests, and other than the fact that he would only respond to the psychiatrist' s verbal questions by nodding or shaking his head, the psychiatrist also pronounced him perfectly normal. In fact, the child seemed quite bright.
        More years passed, and the child still didn't speak. At the appropriate time, they enrolled him in school. He did quite well and got good grades. Straight B's, in fact. His teachers said that he got straight A's on his tests, but since he never participated actively in class discussions, the best overall grades they could give him were B's.
        The couple was mystified. Physiologically the boy was normal and several psychologists had declared him mentally healthy and quite intelligent. All through grade school and high school, he rarely got into mischief and never got into any serious trouble. He had lots of friends who liked him because he was friendly, helpful—and quiet. He seemed, almost, the ideal child. But he never spoke.
        One evening at the dinner table, the boy said, "These carrots taste kind of bitter."
        His parents dropped their forks simultaneously and stared at the boy, wide-eyed and amazed. When they had recovered from their shock, the father said, "You talked! You can talk! "
        The boy nodded.
        The mother asked, "Could you have talked all this time?"
        The boy nodded began.
        Then . . . why haven't you ever said anything?"
        "Well," said the boy, "everything was just fine until now."
Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: HuwG
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 04:10 PM

I recall posting on another thread on session etiquette a couple of years ago, that somebody once tried to join in my rendition of, Duw, it's hard, with an accompaniment on bongos. It is rather hard to imagine a song and instrument worse suited to each other.

I silenced the accompaniment with a ferocious glare. After I finished, someone who had been listening but not watching, asked me why I put so much venom into the words, "... roll to rest amidst the dust ...".


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 09:34 PM

The substance of the thread is about the performance, what is the "norm" by the performer, and what is expected of those who suport the performance.

As an example, was it not the Great Ralph McTell this year at Cambridge who basically had to ask the audience to let him do "HIS" version of Clare To Here, rather than let the audience lead the chorus in their version.

Here was an international artist having to request a fee paying audience to let him do the song his way !

Even in a local "Session" the "Lead" performer has a right to expect that people will let them do their own personal version, and accompaniests play along with that, rather than impose another verion of the song/tune on the "lead" performer.

If they can't "accompany" they should shut up !!


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 09:58 PM

While the bongos CAN be played softly and subtly, every instrument has its limitations...


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Eye Lander
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 02:30 AM

My partner generally announces 'THIS is an unaccompanied folk song'. Usually works but I have to say not always. It's the person playing concertina that doesn't know the tune that is the problem - after my partner had sung a note the player then tried to find the note on their concertina by that time partner was singing next note. Consequently everything sounding out of tune and singer totally distracted!


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Musician
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 04:59 AM

It's just a shame that so many have such bad manners. A session (music or singing) is about having fun and if one persons bad manner ruin the fun for others. I was at a session a few weeks ago and someone was trying to sing a song "The backing" from surrounding musicians and percussionists (I'm being polite) was so loud you couldn't hear a word that was being sung.

Maybe some of these "Teachers" at festivals and work shops could teach a bit of etiquette and good manners then the need wouldn't arise when someone feels he/she needs to ask someone to be quiet or F.O. as suggested. They have a lot to answer for when it comes to the onslaught of new members to sessions carrying a barrage of Bodrans, rattles, spoons, tambourines, eggs and other noise making machines, with the attitude it's ok to join in at a session as long as your having fun ability doesn't matter as long as you're enthusiastic and make sure everyone can hear you not the poor sod who's been learning his instrument for years and rehearsing a new song.


Sorry Raggytash - you shouldn't have to put up with such bad manners and the attitude when asked to be quiet was just what I would have expected from this type of person.

ET


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: John J
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 08:47 AM

I had a similar problem a couple of years ago, the matter was discussed extensively on this site. The net result is that whilst I was a regular at the folk club involved, I now rarely go to the club. My loss.

Good luck dealing with this very difficult situation.

Best wishes,

John


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 02:19 PM

Shaky eggs do have the merit of being fairly quiet. Remember, the eggy person who can't keep time could have been playing a bodhran, or even bongoes.

(I'm sure it's possible to play bongoes in a way that doesn't spoil things, but I think it must be pretty difficult. Much harder than the bodhran, where, once a beginner realises that they are supposed to play to the tune rather than play to the rhythm, it can fall into place pretty quickly. But bongo payers seem to find it hard to accept that way of thinking.)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: mg
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 03:53 PM

maybe if you have that problem a lot set aside a few songs, like "Tie me kangaroo down"...etc. and say give it your all with the rattles, tamborines, whatevers.....and let it be known that there will be a few more but in general.....mg


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 06:11 PM

Tricky one, that. You could try playing louder, and at the same time giving the offending party a look that would curdle new milk... but then again that might spark off one of those horrific 'louder than thou' battles...
What i would object to most in this situation would not be the fact that the guy was not keeping rythym or that he joined in in the first place, but that he continued to play after he had explicitly been asked to stop, and that his wife escalated the situation by joining in. If these people were rude enough to ignore your wifes perfectly reasonable request, it might be hoped that they will be given the cold shoulder and either crawl off into the woodwork or learn some manners.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Teacher?
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 05:29 AM

Somebody with an agenda here, eh guest musician?

I teach bodhran and bones and part of my 'lesson' plan is to play with sensitivity to others. Percussion can lift a piece of music and add to it. Why not whinge about twenty guitars in a session, playing a different rhythm to the penny whistle? Or the self taught instrumentalists who believe that no-one can teach music - it's in you, or not.
What about the self appointed rule makers who welcome newcomers who show huge talent and reject the ones who don't conform to their ideas of proper behaviour.
Sessions are not concerts. The sessions I frequent (Praise be) are inclusive ones (not many about.
There thats my whinge.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 06:08 AM

Congratulations!
You have purchased an extremely fine device that would give you thousands of years of trouble-free service, except that you undoubtedly will destroy it via some typical bone-head consumer maneuver. Which is why we ask you to please for god's sake read this owner's manual carefully before you unpack the device. You already unpacked it, didn't you? You unpacked it and plugged it in and turned it on and fiddled with the knobs, and now your child, the same child who once shoved a polish sausage into your videocassette recorder and set it on "fast forward", this child also is fiddling with the knobs, right? And you're just now starting to read the instructions, right??? We might as well just break these devices right at the factory before we ship them out.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 06:28 AM

???


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 06:38 AM

Total drift but thinking of poking things in slots reminds me of a good laugh a few years ago. I was on a course which mostly had kids (16yr olds) but there were a couple of mature students on it. One of them was very well respected as being serious, concentrating on learning, etc. generaly a model student. It was to the amazement of all of us that in a programming class he suddenly called the tutor over explaining he had got one of those geometry triangle things stuck in a floppy disk drive. Even the tutor laughed.


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 07:44 AM

I `ad a folk sessioner in my cab once. I `ad the radio on and was listening to a "Strarse Waltz". `e started banging away on his bodhran but to the rythm of "The Wild Rover". I said, `old up mate, thats well out of order, this waltz is three beats to the bar. `e said, I know, I`m just practising for tonight!!
What am I like?


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Musician
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 09:18 AM

Guest Teacher?,

Please read what I said: "The backing" from surrounding musicians and percussionists - I wasn't selective.

Maybe some of these "Teachers" at festivals and work shops could teach a bit of etiquette and good manners - You claim to do this well done.

I'm sorry but if someone was asked not to play (for whatever reason), and then their spouse further added to the problem by joining in, is just pure bad manners and to my mind should not have to tolerated.

re. "What about the self appointed rule makers who welcome newcomers who show huge talent and reject the ones who don't conform to their ideas of proper behaviour"

I'm not sure I can compare Talent to behaviour - I personally think a talented musician with bad manners is as bad as anyone with bad manners, talent doesn't negate bad manners.

I presume when you are teaching, you have some class rules, expect your students to have consideration for other students and they don't all bash away in their own tempo at the same time, or when you are trying to show them how to play?

If someone had been singing a different song at the same time as Raggytash in a different key and at the top of his/her voice would you think that was alright?

ET


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 09:27 AM

Oh, Sttaw Legend!

I haven't seen that for years! Wasn't it part of something bigger?

Robin


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Teacher
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 11:24 AM

I was interested in your agenda, musician. No-one had mentioned teachers until you introduced them as something to blame. Bad mannered teachers, bad mannered pupils, are not defendable. The original poster had only been to the session in question once before. Perhaps he was wrong? Or had he (or the bodhran player) been badly taught?


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,Musician
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 02:36 PM

Guest Teacher?

No agenda - and no blame was being directed at "Teachers" for the bad manners, just the suggestion that they could also incorporate sympathetic playing techniques (which you say you do).

I see now you wish to imply that Raggytash could have been wrong - maybe he was at fault playing in the wrong tempo/rhythm for the bodran player and not inviting the bodran player's wife to join in?

There is no excuse for bad manners, in music or anywhere else and the posted example was bad manners.

I also believe there's a big difference between Music sessions, Song sessions and sing arounds with a vast variation in attitude to whether it is a "free for all" or not - if you invite someone to sing a song or play a tune it should be their choice if they want everyone, some or none to join in.

The post was looking for suggestions on resolving the problem I offered a suggestion - don't be so defensive.

I do believe there has been an increase in people coming and playing at sessions that is due to "Teachers" at Festivals and workshops many have such a short time to learn an instrument the easy way out is to buy a bodran, egg, spoons etc.. which they believe (wrongly)not to require any skill to play correctly so they can be a "part of it", which I am certainly not against and many new friends have been met this way, most are a welcomed addition to the sessions, but some have, as those mentioned in this thread, an attitude problem which I for one can do without when I'm out trying to enjoy myself with like minded people.

It is not defendable and if you (general not personal)can help as a "teacher" then I think you should do. Likewise session organisers (when such exist) should also do their best to control such situations and fellow members of the session.

ET


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 04:20 PM

Well - it happens enough for 153 messages to be posted !!!
No one's got THE answer - from being polite, to, the old fashioned "shut the f*ck up will you ".
It exists and that's the end of it - no universal solution - just take all occurrences on an individual basis, as, some are more annoying than others.
Know it's going to happen - without thinking it shouldn't happen.
It's irritating at times ,but don't forget it's sometimes proficient musicians playing along - stealing the thunder of the less talented individual who started the song or tune, which is the unwanted accompaniment - not as most of the thread supposes where duffers spoil good players. A thought........
Cheers


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: denise:^)
Date: 09 Oct 04 - 12:09 PM

I've definitely come across this problem, and I react differently, depending on how bad it is!

I've shaken my head slightly at some, ignored others, nodded at others to encourage them to join in fully (most 'round here join in softly, at first, to see if they're 'welcome').

Still other times, I've pushed bravely onward, wishing afterward that I'd had the nerve to speak up! (The worst was at an open stage, where a guy decided that Sally Rogers' "Lovely Agnes" needed an "oom-pah-pah" backup! While it *is* in 3/4 time, it's not a straight 3/4--there are pauses between vs. & chorus, etc.--places to breathe. These were all neatly obliterated by Mr. Oom-pah-pah--and I finished up gasping for air! That was an early-on experience; nowadays I would find a way to deal with it, and not 'endured to the end.')

From all the replies, I'd say there's not just one way to deal with this problem!

denise :^)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 05:11 AM

It's thoughtless people like this that spoil sing a rounds for me, they grab hold of a lump of wood and skin and think they're a musician, in my experience most people cannot even hold the beater correctly,never mind play. It creates so much antagonism for people who can actually play a Bodhran and keep time. They should be told in no uncertain terms that their contribution is not welcome


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 07:47 AM

Hmm - some of the problem is in the mind of the performer.

Last time I went to venue X I had unwanted accompaniment from someone. I got REALLY annoyed, slowed down, speeded up, did everything I could to shake him off my tail and finished the song fuming. Needless to say I was too chicken to actually say anything to him - other than glare & bitch behind his back (oops).

This weekend I went to venue X again & the same chap accompanied me loudly and uninvited, but this time I was in a better mood to start with, took time to listen to what he was adding, turned round and played with him rather than against him, and had a fantastic time - the end result of which was much better music. It was a huge lesson to me - and has started a complete turnaround of my opinion.

I think, on reflection, I was being a bit too territorial on the first occasion and felt he was invading my personal musical space. On the second occasion we found a middle ground we could share. I was probably being a stroppy pre-menstrual bitch the first time - poor bloke! I can only hope he didn't notice how mean I was, and that I can be a bit more accepting and generous in future & not be so damned anal! Afterall it was only a pub, and full of people who want a good time rather than meticulously rehearsed performance.

cheers all

Kris
(I might even get to like shaky-eggs one day - but one step at a time, eh? .....)


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 07:56 AM

Was the unwanted accompaniment in time with you, coz the author of this thread maintains that this was their concern not the accompaniment itself


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Subject: RE: Unwanted Accompaniment
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 07:10 AM

Good point. In time yes - but taking the timing & dynamics away from where I wanted to go. So, not really same situation as Raggytash - but related.

K


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