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Singarounds - optimum number of people?

Scrump 12 Mar 07 - 11:52 AM
wysiwyg 12 Mar 07 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,mg 12 Mar 07 - 12:05 PM
Nick 12 Mar 07 - 12:40 PM
Nick 12 Mar 07 - 12:42 PM
Marje 12 Mar 07 - 01:03 PM
gnomad 12 Mar 07 - 01:06 PM
Mo the caller 12 Mar 07 - 01:14 PM
Georgiansilver 12 Mar 07 - 02:01 PM
Les in Chorlton 12 Mar 07 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,Wayne 12 Mar 07 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,Wayne 12 Mar 07 - 03:54 PM
Gulliver 12 Mar 07 - 04:10 PM
Crane Driver 12 Mar 07 - 04:13 PM
Bill D 12 Mar 07 - 04:27 PM
Stewart 12 Mar 07 - 05:34 PM
wysiwyg 12 Mar 07 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 12 Mar 07 - 06:52 PM
Dave Hunt 12 Mar 07 - 10:11 PM
Gulliver 12 Mar 07 - 10:57 PM
Gurney 13 Mar 07 - 02:18 AM
GUEST,padgett 13 Mar 07 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,Tent Face 13 Mar 07 - 05:03 AM
Scrump 13 Mar 07 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,player 13 Mar 07 - 07:48 AM
Scrump 13 Mar 07 - 08:22 AM
Bill D 13 Mar 07 - 11:38 AM
Marje 13 Mar 07 - 12:29 PM
Scrump 13 Mar 07 - 12:30 PM
Dick and Carol Holdstock 13 Mar 07 - 12:58 PM
My guru always said 13 Mar 07 - 01:10 PM
Mo the caller 13 Mar 07 - 01:51 PM
BB 13 Mar 07 - 03:15 PM
JudeL 13 Mar 07 - 04:00 PM
Scrump 14 Mar 07 - 04:42 AM
Carol 14 Mar 07 - 06:00 AM
Barry Finn 14 Mar 07 - 07:03 AM
Mark Dowding 14 Mar 07 - 08:07 AM
Scrump 14 Mar 07 - 08:22 AM
Snuffy 15 Mar 07 - 04:13 AM
Carol 15 Mar 07 - 04:26 AM
MuddleC 15 Mar 07 - 06:42 AM
Marje 15 Mar 07 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,Bardan 15 Mar 07 - 07:23 AM
Mark Dowding 15 Mar 07 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Northerner 15 Mar 07 - 10:33 AM
Marje 15 Mar 07 - 10:36 AM
Mark Dowding 15 Mar 07 - 10:44 AM
Scrump 15 Mar 07 - 11:03 AM
Scrump 16 Mar 07 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,ian Fyvie 16 Nov 08 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Nov 08 - 11:06 AM
Valmai Goodyear 16 Nov 08 - 11:38 AM
VirginiaTam 16 Nov 08 - 11:47 AM
Phil Edwards 16 Nov 08 - 11:57 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 Nov 08 - 11:59 AM
JedMarum 16 Nov 08 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 Nov 08 - 05:28 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Nov 08 - 05:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Nov 08 - 06:19 PM
Dave the Gnome 16 Nov 08 - 06:23 PM
semi-submersible 16 Nov 08 - 07:30 PM
Bill D 16 Nov 08 - 09:35 PM
GUEST,Ian Fyvie 16 Nov 08 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Nov 08 - 05:08 AM
Dave Earl 17 Nov 08 - 05:56 AM
Spleen Cringe 17 Nov 08 - 07:57 AM
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Subject: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Scrump
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 11:52 AM

I haven't seen this point discussed, but apologies if it has.

In other threads discussing singarounds, people have said how great it is that everyone can have a go, regardless of how good / bad they are, and I agree.

The singarounds I've been to vary widely in the number of participants, ranging from a small number of people to quite a large number.

The fewer people, the more songs each participant gets to sing. I admit I've been to a few that were poorly attended, and each person there was able to do quite a few songs. That's fine, except that I found I hardly had time to relax between songs.

The other side of the coin is when there are so many people there, that each person may only get one or two songs all evening. That's OK too. I've never yet been to one where there were so many people that the people at the end of the room didn't get a chance to sing at all, but maybe it's happened somewhere?

What do people think is the 'optimum' number for a singaround, in terms of the number of songs per participant? I realise it depends on the time available, the length of each song, etc.

If there are a large number of attendees, instead of going around the room, maybe names should be drawn out of a hat. Do any singarounds do this?

Any comments folks?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 11:57 AM

Just one from a GREAT place I used to go-- they had more than one room and when things got past critical mass for their particular group and setting, they just split into two groups. Their split was beginners and intermediates to one room and advanced to another.

Splitting also worked at a weekend music houseparty I attended once-- at one point there were THREE groups going, and in a small enough house that you could hear from room to room, but it was no problem at all! Their split was oldtime in one room, and jugband in another; when the oldtime got too big that one split into one group inside and one in the back yard.

So the splits can be along whatever lines participants feel like trying.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 12:05 PM

7 good singers who can lead songs and let them take a disproportionate number of songs. If you lock it into an endless circle, and the quality is not good, you won't have people coming back except for those who like the theory of it morethan the sound. In which case it doesn'tmatter. mg


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Nick
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 12:40 PM

Less a case off how many people I reckon than how long between involvements... I'll explain

We have a weekly singaround/instrumental thing in our pub and somewhere between 10 and 20 participants come each week. We go round in a circle and each person has a chance to have a turn. Some people always sing solo - some sing chorus songs - the fiddlers play and encourage accompaniment etc

It probably takes an hour - hour and a bit to go round and have your own turn but during that hour most of us will have played with others or sung a chorus or whatever. Seems to work ok and people keep coming back and it grows - we have people coming specially from something up to 50 miles away this week so it can't be too bad.

I think a lot also depends on how much people keep the momentum going. Some places I have been have a dozen people there and struggle to manage two songs each in 3 hours +. We like to keep the songs and tunes rolling along. I think it also works if you have a range of types of music (unless you are a specialist place that only wants a certain type of music) and that tends to keep things rolling along.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Nick
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 12:42 PM

Sorry to continue...

We start at 8.30 ish and finish about 11.30 - 12 and even on a full night will each manage at least 2 and probably 3 goes each.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Marje
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 01:03 PM

If the numbers are large, one strategy is to get all the singers to add their names to a list as they come in, and ask them to sing in that order. This means that those who come early are certain of a spot, whereas late arrivals may not be.

Some groups ask singers to do two songs for their spot. This means you get a bit more chance to warm up, and to choose two songs that will contrast or complement each other in some way. It may also mean that you don't get another go, but that's fine if there's plenty of variety.

I'm perfectly happy to get only one song or spot on a busy evening, provided that the general standard is good. But a quiet night with a small group can also be quite enjoyable, when you get to try out and compare songs in a more intimate setting - again, as long the standard is OK. If the singer from hell is there, it's even worse if you know you're going to have to listen to them again and again, doing the same songs they do every time.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: gnomad
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 01:06 PM

I have been to the odd very small one, say 5 singers, harder work but decidedly rewarding.

I have also been to a few whoppers where once around took all afternoon and, despite a quite high standard of performance I didn't feel the energy level was the same. There just seemed less joy in participation, though of course that might have been down to the personalities of a different group of people.

My favourite would be around 10-14 people, which gives you something like a song per hour, depending on people's choice of song, and on how much comment goes between them. It allows for a decent spread of differing tastes and levels of ability, but is small enough to keep people attentive.

Splitting up into smaller groups can work if the premises suit, but I would be cautious around splitting on grounds of ability as so many people have a mismatch between ego and ability. I would hate to be the person doing the grading, but would also doubtless disagree with another judge's views. Self-grading would certainly be revelatory, but would not really work, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 01:14 PM

We go to a small tunes/ songs session. Last time the person usually loosely in charge was not there and we went 'round the room'.
This was a mistake as the people sat near each other did similar things, e.g. 6 lots of dance tunes / 3 not-quite-folk-songs, etc.
It would have worked better if we'd mixed it up - 1 from this table, 9ne from another.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 02:01 PM

Have you ever been to a singaround where the number of people present caused a problem? I have attended large and small and not experienced problems with numbers....some individuals might have if they felt they didn't sing enough or were expected to sing too many times as the case may be.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 02:12 PM

Is their an upper limit on the size of room that feels friendly and has good accoustics?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,Wayne
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 03:31 PM

We're lucky enough at my local singaround to be on quite a few people's "things to do on a Tuesday" list, as well as having a healthy core of enthusiastic regulars. Occasionally, many of our "irregular" visitors come down on the same night and we have upwards of thirty performers. To me (the emcee)it feels like mayhem but we've never yet had to send someone away without having sung at least two songs, and people seem to really enjoy these "chaotic" evenings. What we've done to accomodate everyone is start earlier and finish later.

On quieter evenings, we still keep it fairly ramshackle. The emphasis is always on having fun and it's great that people come down to listen as well as play so everyone has a fair hearing.

The idea of having a spillover room is interesting but I'm not too enthusiastic in the idea of splitting into stars & plebs. I love it when someone who doesn't sing much, gets up and gives it a bash, and I believe that they deserve as much, if not more, applause than the experienced performers. I've never forgotten that pit of the stomach feeling of singing in public for the first time!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,Wayne
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 03:54 PM

I've just read my own posting and it sounds like I'm carping about how much work it is, when it's busy. Not so! I love those evenings! The variety of music, the community feeling, the Cheshire cat smiles. It's truly wonderful!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Gulliver
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 04:10 PM

Similar to Nick's, I think. Two of the sessions I go to in Dublin have about six musicians each, plus about 10 from the "audience" will sing about 2 songs each. There'd be 30-50 punters in each pub altogether. This works out quite well except for occasions like football or rugby matches when the place gets a bit fuller and everybody wants to have a go (often at the same time)!

The third session often has over 25 people looking to sing and that's too much, not least because they're squashing each other to get close to the singing circle. We tried starting earlier, and cutting down on the number of tunes we play, but we can't turn people away (it's a pub).

I organised some sessions last year in a quiet place where mainly musicians turned up, averaging 6-8 with just a couple of listeners, but IMHO it was far too quiet and the craic and banter with the listeners was missing so I gave it up.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 04:13 PM

I did once go to a local singaround where only two of us turned up - we did spend a couple of hours singing at one another, but that's undoubtedly too small. I have on a few occasions been to singarounds where it goes round once, but there's not enough time to go round everyone again. Several strategies have been used - just going as far as you can is one, as is having the organiser put his/her favourites on in the second round, but also I have seen everyone being given a raffle ticket, and the numbers chosen getting to sing, or songs in the second round being limited to 2 or 3 verses to get as many as possible in. All have their drawbacks, but most of us who frequent singaraounds are pretty flexible in accepting that just as not every performer will be top-class, so not every singaround will be perfect either.

What I don't like is when there are three singers left to go, and 10 or 12 minutes left, and the next in line hasn't thought of what to sing, needs to tune an instrument, and gives a long-winded introduction to the longest song they know, meaning that the last two singers get left out. That's just plain selfish.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 04:27 PM

I have attended one in the Washington DC area for 30 years now, and it has varied from 10-12 to 50 or so..(when we held it in a public building). Now that we seem to have settled into doing it in various private homes, it seems to be self-correcting at between 15-25, with a 'few' more where it is a central location with more space.

When it was larger...(and we were younger)...it often went from 8:30 to 1-2AM, but now 2-3 rounds, ending about 12 is the general rule. We do offer everyone a turn, knowing full well that some folks simply will not attend if they have to endure those who have not practiced, who sing from books or who cannot approximate an identifiable melody....it is still often quite nice with the majority NOT falling into the latter group. Most of us know each other and are regulars, but new faces show up all the time....some stay.

I have threatened for years to start a 2nd, invitational gathering run more like an old "Hootennanny" where there are few rules except social pressure, and those who are learning are expected to do more listening than singing................but the 'take turns' philosophy is pretty well set around here, and I know feelings would be hurt once the news got out.

We do ok with 15-25 as long as there is room for the people who attend


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Stewart
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 05:34 PM

I'm not sure of the terminology. In the US we have open mics, song circles, music circles with both singers and instrumentalists (tunes and songs), jams, and "hoots" where most anything goes.

Just two are fine if the other person is compatible with your music. On the other hand, many more than two dozen can mean only one song for each in the evening. What I like best is the "jam" where instrumentalists if they are good can join in and back up the singer, and where all the singers can join in on the chorus if appropriate (but I would hate to have to do only chorus songs).

Going around a large circle, where everyone takes a turn (some are prepared but others not) can sometimes be a drag. The anarchy alternative works well with a good host who makes sure everyone who wants to sing or play gets a chance. It can be more interesting since one musician can take off from another's music. In open mics you need to have some procedure to set the order (order of sign up, random order, semi-random order (MC makes choices), etc.)

I would tend to go with Mary's (Guest-mg) suggestion, but then that's not considered democratic, and we have to be democratic don't we?

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 05:49 PM

Splitting, just to be clear, need not have a "stars vs plebs" basis AT ALL.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 06:52 PM

Traditional "communication theory" indicates that 15 maximum in a group permits EVERY member to have communication with EVERY other member.

Given the above standard, you need to identify your PURPOSE for the "singaround."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 10:11 PM

Stewart - above - says 'What I like best is the "jam" where instrumentalists if they are good can join in and back up the singer'

Now if that was me singing I would find it extemely off putting if any musicians felt that they could just 'join in'. In fact I think it is just bad manners. More usual in music sessions, but here again, at the session which I have been 'organising' for the last nine years, we have got people to NOT join in the first time through a tune that someone has started - it might not be the version you think it is!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Gulliver
Date: 12 Mar 07 - 10:57 PM

It seems to be the norm here for the musicians to join in and accompany a singer--at least in every session/singaround I've been to--except in the case of songs traditionally sung unaccompanied (ie, She Moved Through the Fair) or if the singer has a weak/low voice. Can sound a bit chaotic at times, but it's all part of the evening's fun.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Gurney
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 02:18 AM

At the Auckland and Hamilton Festivals in NZ, there are open mike events named The Homebrew and Drinking Song Workshop.
These are organised by a large and popular man, Lew, who brews the homebrew and dispenses it, and makes sure that no-one gets too drunk. He also makes the rules.
No sitting down. No instruments. Politeness is required. Chorus singing is required from drinkers. He will make new rules as necessary.

The workshop, so called, because it isn't a workshop really, begins after the main concert at about 11pm, and the last 20 hardy souls leave about 4.30, long after the beer has gone, and their voices too. It is held in a small marquee and always well attended, up to 200 people.

In the 7 or 8 years I've been attending, there has never been any trouble or even arguments. There is an official arbiter (who keeps a low profile) for the microphone and Lew and assistants behind the bar until the beer runs out. 4 years ago a microphone was introduced, because the louder voices in the middle were taking most of the songs, and this introduced an element of discipline. Singers queue for the mike, and newcomers are encouraged by the arbiter, who is watching for new enthusiasts. It doesn't really matter if a singer has a good voice, because there is the best chorus you ever heard in your life. Because everyone is standing up, they sing louder, and because they are old hands, it is remarkably hard to find a song they don't know, or quickly learn. They also sing along with the verses!

The high spot of my musical year.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 03:49 AM

I feel that singarounds with only singers in isnt the best idea (UK) I personally prefer a mix of non singing audience with singers as this makes for folk 'entertainment' the best example I have of this is Gainsbrough folk club when I visited a year or two ago

I do not like open mike as I sing unaccompanied and prefer smallish venues

Whitby singarounds in the old Tap could take 2 hrs to get one song not surprising then that people were complaining

Wall to to wall singers isnt a good idea but does make a great wall of sound in choruses!!

Ray


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,Tent Face
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 05:03 AM

I think that something magical occurs when everybody joins in when someone starts singing. However, as with Mr Hunt, not everyone wants massed backing. That's fine too, just tell people that you'd prefer to sing unaccompanied.

It's only bad manners when you ignore stated club policy.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Scrump
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 07:22 AM

Some interesting replies - thank you all.

Taking some of the points raised:

Splitting singarounds into more than one group: this would be fine of the luxury of more than one room is available. The ones I normally go to don't have this option, though. They're usually held in a pub, or room above a pub, etc. Also, as others have said, the idea of splitting groups up according to ability seems wrong to me - it's good for beginners to learn from more experienced musicians/singers, IMO. I would favour some sort of drawing of lots if there are more people than time allows - at least that's fair to all, and if you miss out, you don't blame the b******d who sang the 78-verse Child Ballad :-)

People singing more than one song, when it's their turn: that could be interesting. I find my voice needs a little time to warm up (and probably my playing does too) - I usually find the first song does this for me. But if you only play/sing one tune/song, and there are a lot of people present, by the time your turn comes round again, you more or less have to start from 'cold' again. The problem would be that if there are a lot of people, there would be even less time to fit them all in, if they do more than one song/tune each. This would be good if there are a small number of people. The only downside I can see is that some people who are only interested in performing and not listening to others, might b*gg*r off as soon as their turn is over.

Late arrivals: I was at a singaround not long ago when the leader went round the room, anti-clockwise, and I happened to be clockwise of her. As the evening progressed, late arrivals turned up and positioned themselves at the far end of the room, thereby 'breaking in' to the circle, and getting a turn before me. I eventually got my turn, but that was it for the evening, as far as I was concerned. The late arrivals being ahead of me in the sequence, got a second turn. I didn't mind that much, but the idea proposed of having a book to sign in might be fairer, so the people who arrive early get first crack of the whip. Or, if time is limited, draw people out of a hat.

Joining in with others: if it's what I would call a session as opposed to a singaround, where everyone expects anybody and everybody to join in as and when they want to, that's fine. But most singarounds I go to, people normally prefer to sing/play solo (unless they are there as part of a band). I do find it off-putting if someone joins in uninvited, but that's because I'm not used to it. I suppose if there are a lot of people, allowing people to join in would be agood idea, so they get more chance to play or sing. It depends on the tune or song, though. If I'm singing a well-known chorus song, for instance, I'm happy for others to join in. But maybe if it's a song more suited to a solo performance I'm not so happy for others to join in. I'm not sure where to draw the line though. I would say that people shouldn't join in unless invited, but in some places the default is 'join in unless asked not to'. The rules just need to be made clear at the start.

What I don't like is when there are three singers left to go, and 10 or 12 minutes left, and the next in line hasn't thought of what to sing, needs to tune an instrument, and gives a long-winded introduction to the longest song they know, meaning that the last two singers get left out. That's just plain selfish.

Agreed. I've seen a few like that myself. When it's my turn I just get on with it - I hate it when the person waits for their turn, then gets out their instrument from the case, tunes it up, etc. - it's like those people in the supermarket who wait for the bill before they get out their wallet/purse, when there's a long queue waiting. Maybe in singarounds, the leader should skip over people who aren't ready, and go back to them - they would hopefully get the message then, e.g. "Ah, Fred, it's your turn but I see you're not ready, so we'll hear Gladys and come back to you"


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,player
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 07:48 AM

"I hate it when the person waits for their turn, then gets out their instrument from the case, tunes it up, etc. "

Agreed, but the same applies to singers, who all too often wait for their turn then start leafing through a folder of songs    muttering "hmm, I wonder what I'll sing" !


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Scrump
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 08:22 AM

Agreed, but the same applies to singers, who all too often wait for their turn then start leafing through a folder of songs    muttering "hmm, I wonder what I'll sing" !

Folder of songs? Make 'em sing without it! :-)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 11:38 AM

We have 'topics' for our sings. It helps to focus the mind and often prevents hearing the same favorite song done over & over & over by someone. (The first singaround I ever attended many years ago had one old guy who did "The Strawberry Roan" month after month.)

But having a topic and making some folks scramble to lear...or re-learn... something to fit can also mean they don't quite have it 'cold', and thus need the book or cheat-sheet. I have a simple rule...if I can close my eyes and not REALIZE they are using a book, I don't mind. If all they are doing is being sure they don't forget that tricky phrase in verse 3...fine.....but when they pick a song they don't know 2 hours before coming...then puzzle out the tune & phrasing as they go...arrrggggghhhh! (I..ummm...did this myself once, thinking that I had heard it enough to know the tune. Well, I DID know the tune - well enough to know every time I missed a note. It was embarrassing, and I have not repeated that error.) I am not your 'polished musician', but I have learned ..mostly...what to avoid.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Marje
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 12:29 PM

I like the idea of topics, but you do need to be flexible, as it's much more likely you may find someone before you has chosen the song you were going to do. But if everyone had done their homework, it can make for a very interesting session.

I also like an idea that I once came across at a singaround: a "chain" theme, in which each song has to be linked in some way with the one that went before it. That really keeps everyone on their toes and prevents the lazy singers from falling back on the same old songs every time.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Scrump
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 12:30 PM

Yes, I think topics or themes are a good idea. I've been to a few of these. But I think the leader should enforce adherence to the topic. I get fed up with these people who say "I don't know any songs about this week's topic, so I'll sing the usual songs instead" :-)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Dick and Carol Holdstock
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 12:58 PM

Davis (California) Singers and Pickers Circle has been operating over a 30 year period. We have evolved into an every other week, themed gathering. We rotate between each other's homes signing up for hosting usually every three months (thanks to email). Our few rules are: taking turns, when it's your turn sing a song-pass-request a song, say if you want others to sing or play along if not all should listen. We prefer that people learn the song but printed words are OK. We take a break after first go around have snacks and drinks. Start at 7:30 end 10:00 on Wednesdays. We usually draw about 16 people and maintain a slow turnover. We get people at all performance levels and have seen many blossom within our little community.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: My guru always said
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 01:10 PM

Hey Gurney, I've just GOT to get along to that Sing, sounds right up my street despite being the other side of the planet *grin*

Lots of good points raised here - I've been to all types myself but mostly avoid the 'jump-in Sings' as I don't feel confident enough for those, others usually jump in before I get the nerve to!

There are several extremely large Singarounds that I really enjoy where you might get one song every two hours or during an evening. For instance the Middle Bar at Sidmouth, the Whittlebury Sing or Travelling Folk Song & Ale. These may sound a bit too long, but these Sings are normally frequented by very experienced and excellent Singers who are a pleasure to listen to and 'find' songs from. Also, they usually know when to change the mood or start a rousing Chorus song during the Sing. Believe me, being a part of those long Singarounds is pure pleasure for me!!!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 01:51 PM

"""I hate it when the person waits for their turn, then gets out their instrument from the case, tunes it up, etc. "

Agreed, but the same applies to singers, who all too often wait for their turn then start leafing through a folder of songs    muttering "hmm, I wonder what I'll sing" ! ""

So is it more polite to get out / tune your instrument, rustle through your folder,and consult the other members of your group while others are singing?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: BB
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 03:15 PM

For me, singarounds aren't about ego, or the number of songs you personally get to sing or lead in a session (whether that be a local singers' club or a festival 'sing'. They're about the sharing of songs (or possibly any other kind of performance) with each other. Yes, of course there are frustrations with some people singing the same songs time after time or not being quite ready when it's their turn, but there are ways and means of dealing with things like that if you've got the right person running it.

There is a difference, too, between a straight 'singaround' and a 'big sing', the former in my view being pretty well straight round the room, although the MC should have some discretion, and the latter picking and choosing, probably from a large number of people, to ensure the best balance for the session. That doesn't mean leaving people out, but knowing enough people to be aware of strengths and weaknesses, and then slotting unknowns in between the stronger ones.

Whittlebury Song & Ale, for instance, has theme sessions which are run as singarounds, where people don't know before the weekend what the themes will be, and that produces some really unusual and satisfying songs often out of the usual run of things. Usually, there are less people at these sessions, and it's often the most dedicated singers who attend them (or that's how it seems to me, but I wouldn't swear to it), others preferring to take time out from the singing to have a good natter, especially if the weather's good! It also has 'big sings' which are intended to be for chorus songs so that everyone is involved all the time, even if they're not leading a song. If you're lucky, you get to lead a maximum of seven songs
during the whole weekend, and if that isn't enough for you, then you probably won't go to the event again, and you probably won't be missed! Because, as was said above, that's not what it's about. And I'm sure that's true of any of the large singing events. Some Scot once said, 'The sang's the thing', and that's very true for me in a singaround or big sing situation.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: JudeL
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 04:00 PM

One recent development in a number of UK festivals is the idea of slotting several "extended length artist guest spots" in places in the program that had previously been singarounds or big sings. For me one of the joys of the singaround or big sing style sessions is the opportunity to hear singers who are not paid artists on the circuit. Yes there's a range of abilities and they include some wonderful singers who you would never hear on a stage singing different songs or versions that you don't hear in a concert. Since the sessions are frequently already so well attended that the MC would have been struggling to fit in just one song from all those singers present the impact of this is that a lot of those who have gone there ready to sing are left out in favour of these artists, most of whom are featured in concerts elsewhere in the festival.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Scrump
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 04:42 AM

So is it more polite to get out / tune your instrument, rustle through your folder,and consult the other members of your group while others are singing?

No, of course not, but you can do it in the short gaps between the end of one song/tune and the next (assuming there is one, for applause, etc. - but I know not all singarounds operate that way). I get my guitar or other instruments out at the start and tune them then, and I would have a rough idea of what songs to sing beforehand. If I change my mind for any reason (e.g. someone else does a song I was planning to do - this did happen once!), I do usually have a song folder with me, which I can (quietly) refer to while others are performing, without disturbing others (I wouldn't do it while people sitting next to me are performing, though).

If you arrive late and can't get ready in advance, you could at least get the guitar (say) out of its case (quietly). I made the remark because I've been to singarounds where people wait until told it's their turn (when they know in advance!) and then get the guitar out, tune it, leaf through the music, etc. Then they put the guitar back in the case, and repeat this when it's their next turn. It's boring for the others, who have to sit and watch this 'performance', before the guy even starts. And it's especially annoying when there's not long to go, and you're wondering if you'll get another turn!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Carol
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 06:00 AM

Right on there Jude, I don't know why they do it, the only reason that I can think of is to get their 'money's worth' out of the guest/paid performer.
However I find it even more annoying when as happened recently someone asked for, and was given a 10 inute 'spot' which probably got to 15+ minutes and he only came into the SAR to perform and then b--d off almost straight away - he certainly didn't come to hear anyone else sing.
However if Sy Khan can sit in a SAR and wait for his turn, as happened at Beverley last year then why can't anyone/everyone do this?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 07:03 AM

If you're going to a "big sing" & you need your books or notes, then you're not ready for the "big sing". Practice in your "little sing" until you've got it right.

OK,OK, I'm leaving

Barry


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 08:07 AM

Scrump - I've been in the situation where I've been the wrong side of the organiser and they start going round the other way and pick up all the latecomers - so much so that at one singaround I had to leave before it got to me as I was due on somewhere else.
If I'm asked to run a singaround I will take note of the early birds and ask them before going to the people who come in late, jockey for position, do their song and go! I explain my reasons to everybody - "you've just come in so I'll miss you out until Fred has sung" - which may be half an hour down the line. If they stay fine - if they get up and go - still fine.

I would imagine everybody has a list of songs that they are comfortable with and can be written in a small A6 size notebook (the list not the words) which can be referred to through the session without all the rustling of turning over sheets of A4 to find a song.

As for optimum number of people - depends how often you want to sing. If you're happy with one song then it's a time consideration to get everyone in. If you want to do more then I would think that half an hour between songs would be OK but if you reckon on 3 or 4 minutes per song then 9 or 10 singers is the optimum. Short of locking the door when more than 10 singers are in it isn't really practical.
A long singaround tends to get people coming and going anyway so you get a change of participents through the day.

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Scrump
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 08:22 AM

If I'm asked to run a singaround I will take note of the early birds and ask them before going to the people who come in late, jockey for position, do their song and go! I explain my reasons to everybody - "you've just come in so I'll miss you out until Fred has sung" - which may be half an hour down the line. If they stay fine - if they get up and go - still fine.

That seems the easiest and most sensible solution to the problem of latecomers 'jumping the queue', Mark. Having a signing in book or similar seems a bit OTT to me.

That, coupled with the "Fred, I see your guitar is still lying out of tune in its unopened case, and your music stand remains unerected (ooerr, missus!) with the sheets unshuffled, so I'll ask Gladys to sing now and we'll come back to you when you're ready" approach to the timewasters, would solve most of the problems, IMO :-)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Snuffy
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 04:13 AM

There are some "big sings" with forty or fifty singers where you can get the tingle factor, and there are some intimate ones where just half a dozen people bounce songs off each other all night. Both can be magic.

But somewhere between 15 and 25 singers (you get to sing every hour/90 minutes or so) is the optimum for me: you have enough singers to make the choruses really satisfying, but the group is still small enough for you to be able to interact with everyone else in the group.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Carol
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 04:26 AM

Hi Snuffy
Yes I would agree with that 15/25 sounds ideal, although you can have a really good night with 6 or more - this is getting to sound exotic!!
Better go now, before I put my foot in it any more - on our way to Darlington for the Spring Thing


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: MuddleC
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 06:42 AM

Speaking as a wanderer-in, if I find a session or folk club, singaround.. I try to go a couple of times in order to find the lie of the land, how is it organised?, take-your turn in a circle, put your name down, take a ticket, get pointed at, jump in..

Some are more organised some less so.
Some are acoustic music orientated, some mic'd or amp'd.
There is an irish/english music session near me that I frequent, but will not sing unless asked, that as payment for being able to listen to their skilled playing.
At other clubs, I do not tend to join in with others songs, unless the majority join in the chorius first, this on two counts, first I have a loud voice, and like to know the whole chorous in order to do the singer justice. Sometimes I do join in with a singer, but only if I know they don't mind (so please tell me if you mind!!), or if it's someones first shaky inroad to singing and they look as though they need help, bit then only if I know the song ..and then I still let them lead the pace and fade my voice down soas not to swamp theirs.
I don't mind people joining in with my singing, so long as it's my timing and my words!!!
I have broken many unwritten rules too it seems.. 'that's so-and-sos song' 'don't sing it when they are there'..
I treat the evening as an opportunity, perhaps to sing, perhaps to listen, perhaps to collect a new song or too, or hear how one should be sung, drink beer and cider, eat crisps and not be put off by the dominoes team, the skysports channel, a noisy group of revellers.... a noisy smoke extraction fan..
Each venue has its merits and demerits, I went to one in a pub-room on the wrong night (it was melodeon/squeeze-box night), and I was the only non-playing listener.... eventually some one asked me if I played, 'No', I said, 'I sing'.. and they let me sing!!! very convivial night... different place different night, acoustic night.. there were five of us, and one was the landlord!
we still enjoyed ourselves,
Sometimes the 'circles are too big, too slow, too organised, not organised enough, too noisy.. so instead of singing, try to collect a song, or try to insert 120 verses of that child ballad if they piss you off...then just don't go again!!.
My pet hate is 'sing something cheerful', 'less verses''not as depressing'. True , my song list has many dire tales in it, and some not so...traditional stuff as she is.
I will listen to your songs and respect your rendition, please give me the same courtesy. I try to 'ruffle' my pages a few 'turns' before mine, and not take over someone's singing of a song, or try to do a harmony if that throws the original singer's ear.
Optimum number... 5-10 for personal enjoyment, 10-15 for communal, 15-20+ it's an event and background 'chatter/noise has to be controlled or it becomes mic-night and sell tickets.
I seemed to have waffled a bit..sorry!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Marje
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 07:08 AM

No need to apologise, MuddleC, you've made some interesting points.

I agree that "sing something cheerful" can be counter-productive. What I find really makes me lose the will to live is the bad singer -the one who woffles on before starting, apologising in advance for how bad it's going to be; can't find the right key; too quiet; too slow; doesn't know the words and seems a bit hazy about the tune; etc etc (OK, I'm guilty of some of these from time to time, but not all of them, and not more than one in one song). Even the most "cheerful" or supposedly funny song can be excruciating when done badly, just as a song with dismal subject-matter can be truly thrilling when well done.

I don't mind at all when other people join in or harmonise, as long as they're not trying to superimpose their own "correct" version of the song onto mine.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 07:23 AM

Who's this poor fellow "Fred". He's been accused of note shuffling, time wasting, trying to cut the queue... I think he must be a maligned and misunderstood person.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 08:02 AM

Well my Fred is a good example to everybody. He gets to the singaround in time, knows what he wants to sing and has several alternatives lined up in his head just in case someone sings a song he was going to do, listens politely to other singers and joins in the chorus only. His guitar is in tune, out of the case and securely fixed to the table with a "pub-prop" type clamp to avoid that embarrassing crash - twang - crunch of the other Freds knocking it over and treading on it as they figure that as my Fred is next to sing they'll sit next to him and reduce the time they have to spend in the room i.e. five minutes before they wait for their applause and bugger off.
Please don't tar all Freds with the same brush!

On a different tack, when you're singing a song in a minor key and people join in doesn't it annoy you when someone sings a harmony note that makes it into a major key.

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 10:33 AM

Best singaround I ever went to was in Morpeth, many years ago. Went for the Gathering. It wasn't part of the formal event. Just a bunch of Morris men and singers having a fun singaround in a pub, completely unofficial. Fringe. I don't think we had an MC. We just went round the room, and when one singer had finished the next one round counted a beat or so and just started singing the next song. Went on for several hours. Mind you, I was sung out by the end...

There's a definitely a maximum number. At my local a week or two ago we got to 19 people and that was a squash. We had a new MC on and it was definitely a harsh debut. I didn't even get to perform - just too many people.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Marje
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 10:36 AM

Mark-
This business of changing a minor chord into a major one by putting in a major third, usually at the very end, or at the end of a section: it's known as the Tierce de Picardie (Google will supply more info if required, and it may well have been explored in the Forum). I don't care for it much myself in a folk context, but am resigned to the fact that some people will do it.

The worst thing about it is that there is no consensus on this, so you may get both a major third and a minor third at once, which clashes and is not what anybody wants to hear. If it's a song you're leading, there's not a lot you can do about it, because you'll be singing a note from the melody, generally the tonic note at the end, and you have no control over what harmonies people put in. I suppose you just have to be glad they're taking that much interest in the song.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 10:44 AM

Thanks for the info Marje - I know what you mean about the clash of notes. It sounds horrible but like you say you have to put up with it!

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Scrump
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 11:03 AM

At my local a week or two ago we got to 19 people and that was a squash. We had a new MC on and it was definitely a harsh debut. I didn't even get to perform - just too many people.

I'm surprised you didn't get to perform even one song/tune with that many people, but I suppose it depends on how much time was allowed for the whole session.

The ones at my local folk club, which are by and large OK, tend to last from 8:30 to 11 pm, 2.5 hours. For 20 people that would normally be 7.5 mins each, which would be enough for 1 or 2 songs each, depending on the average length of each song, of course.

Either you must have had a short session, or everybody was singing the proverbial 78-verse Child Ballads! :-)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Scrump
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 09:55 AM

50!

(Well, I can't see this one getting up to 100)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,ian Fyvie
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 10:49 AM

I'm resurrecting this thread as we've discussed the topic recently at our singarounds.

Observations over the years by highly experience MC Dave Earl are that you get about 14 songs an hour into a typical singaround. Given that a maximum of two-thirds of people are singers themselves then a good number for a singaround is probably around twenty.

As an MC also, I've noticed most people are happy with a song an hour - so people arriving by 8.30pm in the typical British pub setting would probably get three songs a night - the same as a floorspot at the classic folk night.

From an audience point of view that's probably quite good as well - with plenty of variety.

On the ground we currently run three singarounds a week - all in function rooms now due substantially to rude, selfish behavior from small numbers of egotistical folk singers in the otherwise idyllic bar setting (see Folk club manners thread).

One club averages 20 (Tuesdays) and works beautifully most weeks but loses the feel when numbers get to 30ish. A problem here is that singers coming only a bit later than start time, who would normally get a spot or two on a usual night, are often reduced to one or even no songs on a particularly busy night - and are understandably disappointed (yes everyone should come early - but some can't due to work etc). We could cure this by operating a List system of course but that loses a degree of atmosphere in its own right.

Our other two (Wednesdays and Sundays) average about ten a session and work well in a completely different way - we allow plenty of time for singers to tell the background to the song - but lose the feel those nights that many can't make it as we don't have the big pool of people.

Hope this thread can take off again as with recession low cost entertainment such as folk singaround could be both a saviour of quite a few pubs - and an enlightenment for those who blindly spent their money on expensive concerts seeing the latest industry-hyped singer-songwriter no better than they could see at their local folk gettogether.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 11:06 AM

That's interesting, Ian. I've often noticed the way that tune sessions fluctuate in cycles. If the numbers drop too low the atmosphere dies, and then numbers stay low for a while until something happens to drive them up again (a visit by a good player that's been flagged up by email, or a new gang from another session that's closed down, for example). But then often it gets TOO popular for a while, and people arriving later can't get a seat. So then it tails off for a while, and may then again drop below the quorum.

I guess you're suggesting that singarounds may also be self-limiting in term of numbers, though for a different reason. If so, it may help to explain some things I've been puzzled about.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 11:38 AM

The Lewes Arms folk club has been running the annual event described below for quite a few years now. At any one time there are at least fifty people in the room, and towards the end of the day nearer a hundred. A good few stay for the full twelve hours; the rest come and go.

It takes about three hours to get all round the room in straight singaround manner with one song a head; we have a sort of MC's mate drifting round the room quietly collecting names on a list and letting people know how many singers are still to go before their turn. We also have a rota of MCs doing 90-minute shifts. For the final hour, the MC will pick people he can trust to do meaty chorus songs well.

Personally, I like the effect created by the straight singaround with stars taking their turn on the same terms as the rest: it's a bit like the distribution of wild flowers in a meadow rather than a formal planting in a flower-bed. The attentive atmosphere and the knowledge of roughly when your turn will come helps people to prepare and not to sit anxiously wondering whether it's safe to go to the bar or the loo. The fact that there are a lot of chorus songs means that people's voices warm up and starting to lead a song from cold isn't a problem. In my opinion, most people who sing at this event give a discernably better performance than they do in an ordinary club floor-spot.

SUSSEX All-day SINGAROUND
Saturday 17th. January 2009
11.00 a.m. ? 11.00 p.m.
The Royal Oak, High Street, Barcombe (near Lewes)
East Sussex BN8 5BA
Free admission ? good pub food on sale all day.
First an hour of informal tunes while people arrive. Then the singing starts, finishing with a good hour of glorious choruses. Ballads & the occasional instrumental party piece will be very welcome too.

ENGLISH TUNES SESSION
Sunday 18th. January 2009
noon - 3.00 p.m.
The Lewes Arms, Mount Place, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1YH
Free admission ? good pub food on sale.

Details from The Lewes Arms Folk Club
Bryan Creer, Dave Earl, Sandra Goddard,
Valmai Goodyear, Suzanne Higgins,
Robert O'Mahony, Diane & Steve Nevill,
George Oakley, Derek Seed.
(01273) 476757 e-mail: valmaigoodyear@aol.com
Website:http://www.lewesarmsfolkclub.org/

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 11:47 AM

Fantastic.... I now have a legitimate excuse for missing turns at sessions. "Just giving the late arrival a go." WooT! Thanks for that.

This is why I am increasing my repertoire of joiny iny songs too. Every body gets more singing in that way. This is good stuff.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 11:57 AM

when you're singing a song in a minor key and people join in doesn't it annoy you when someone sings a harmony note that makes it into a major key

Having choruses taken out of your hands is a minor bugbear of mine. I did Lowlands at a singaround the other month; I was singing
Lowlands, lowlands away my John
Lowlands away

for the first couple of verses, but everyone else seemed to be singing
Lowlands, lowlands away my John
Lowlands, my lowlands away

After a while I decided to go with the majority.

Then there was the time I did When I was in my prime in 3/4; the repeat sounded beautiful with everyone joining in, but I couldn't make 'em do it in 3/4. (After that I saw the error of my ways and started doing it in 4/4.)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 11:59 AM

Forty two.

:D


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: JedMarum
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 03:31 PM

surely it's singsaround, is it not?


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 05:28 PM

"In other threads discussing singarounds, people have said how great it is that everyone can have a go, regardless of how good / bad they are, and I agree."

I beg to differ! You can't expect beginners to be wonderful 'straight out of the box' but people who are still singing from an A4 folder, still can't sing in tune, still have no sense of rhythm and cannot interpret a song after a year or more are obviously not putting any effort into it, are a pain in the arse, and should be discouraged!!

For about 10 years I attended a singaround where the level of technical skill varied a bit but every singer pulled his/her weight. We were all enthusiastic about the songs and every singer could put a song over, make it enjoyable and spur the other members of the group on to greater efforts.

Many singarounds I go to now are made hideous and embarrassing by selfish and lazy 'no hopers' who think they've got some sort of right to dominate proceedings no matter how awful they are. Frankly, I'm sick to death of crap!!


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 05:41 PM

Gosh Shimrod, Compliments Returned (collected 1906 if my memory serves me)


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 06:19 PM

Compliments Returned


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 06:23 PM

Blimey - don't start that here, Shimrod - I have enough trouble keeping up on the other thread. Expect a visit from some of the contributers to the folk club manners thread soon!

I do agree with your sentiment though:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: semi-submersible
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 07:30 PM

I observed the "Pick, Pass, or Play" model (described by Dick and Carol Holdstock above) working well to raise music quality in circles of as many as 50 mostly non-experts "filksinging" at Science Fiction & Fantasy conventions. If not up to leading a song, in your turn you can request another person and/or a song for the group to do. Picking someone you want to hear gives more turns to better performers. The truly shy signal "pass" to the next person, so with full audience participation things still move fairly quickly and pleasantly.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 09:35 PM

About 'late comers'..:
We have a practice (I wouldn't call it a 'rule') that late comers are called on after the 1st round ends.....unless they are late quite early, if that makes sense. (that is, 10 minutes late or so).
Most folks don't want to be called on 30 seconds after they walk in, no matter where they end up sitting.

It is really not difficult to work out what is fair & reasonable, and those who want special dispensation FROM fair & reasonable should be made aware of the group's preferences. Sure, if someone has to leave early, it is often common & nice to offer them a chance....

   The real requirement for a good sing is that everyone should enjoy listening as well as performing. If someone's only purpose in attending to to "be heard", it will be noticed. If there are several of those 'someones', it can spell the death of a regular sing.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,Ian Fyvie
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 09:55 PM

Just got back from the Sunday Singaround - some good comments folks!

"Semi" - Pick/Pass/Play at Filk sessions (filk is derived from a misspelling of "folk" in publcity for a Sci-Fi convention). Yes - we have effectively Pick a Deputy some nights at Brighton Cellarfolk Song Club. I don't encourage it but its ok sometimes. It depends if you've a crowd who know each other and get on well as a 'folk family". If you have a large number of new and occasional singers at your club then you could get a reputation for being cliquey.

Shimrod - here's a challenge for you if you think singers at a singaround or floor siners generally should all be of a high standard.

Take a listen to some of the origainal folk albums which feature the singers from whom many of our traditional songs were collected. Are these folk straight off the farm or out of the factory good enough for your club? Probably not I'd guess so I suspect you would have deprived the folk world of their songs - because these genuine working class singers were too low calibre for your folk audience. Am I right?   

Pip - singers joining in then imposing their rhythm / wordsets on your song. Where this is a problem, as the MC I point out that the person singing as their spot is also the 'Song Manager' - and people joining in should respect that.

And Valmai's Lewes Club Folk day in January - excellent! I went for the first time this year and shall definitely go to the next one (8) weeks time.

By the way I believe that the word "Singaround" (not the concept of course!) originated in Lewes, East Sussex in the mid 1970s. It was used by local
singer Fred Baxter to describe his informal sessions at the town's Black Horse pub. Can anyone locate the word in use before 1975? Perhaps a new thread is needed....

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 05:08 AM

"Shimrod - here's a challenge for you if you think singers at a singaround or floor siners generally should all be of a high standard.

Take a listen to some of the origainal folk albums which feature the singers from whom many of our traditional songs were collected. Are these folk straight off the farm or out of the factory good enough for your club? Probably not I'd guess so I suspect you would have deprived the folk world of their songs - because these genuine working class singers were too low calibre for your folk audience. Am I right?"

DEAD WRONG!

I have a large collection of recordings of traditional singers and while a few might be 'difficult' to listen to many of them are brilliant, once you you shake off any prejudice connected to living in a musical environment in which 'polished' recordings are the norm. The thing about these old singers was that they were enthusiastic about the songs and could put them over. Back in my youth I acquired a set of ten LPs called 'Folk Songs of Britain'; these were recordings of trad. singers, made mainly after the Second World War, by such collectors as Alan Lomax, Peter Kennedy etc. These recordings were a revelation! I just thought that it was amazing that Britain and Ireland were full of such songs and singers (and even more amazing that some of the singers sounded just like my parents or grandparents!). Those marvellous recordings have been an almost integral part of me now for over half my life. If any one of those singers, on those LPs, were still alive and turned up at one of the clubs that I attend I would be delighted!
The big problem inherent in much of what happens today is, I believe, based on a fundamental misunderstanding: just because the old singers sounded like 'ordinary' people (like your mum or your granddad) it is believed that what they did was unskilled and that anyone can do it, without any sort of effort or practice. This is so wrong!

At one time there was a culture among, for want of a better term, the 'working class' of self-improvement - and this culture is now passing from living memory. People who had very little were determined to improve themselves. They chose some field which appealed to them and they worked at it (often under very difficult circumstances): it might be poetry, natural history or music. I believe that many of the singers in the old recordings belong to this culture (although I can't prove it, of course). There's a quality in their singing which is missing from that of the lazy 'wannabees' who make many of our singarounds such a trial today.


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Dave Earl
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 05:56 AM

I think the whole thing is simple.

There are many ways of "administering" Singarounds and Sings(Big or not so big)all of which can be made to work - it just needs everyone present to understand which method is in use at the event.

As has been said sometimes larger numbers make for a good time and at others a more intimate gathering is just as satisfying.

I have attended many events and been MC or Chair/Driver at some of them I have experienced different(Control?)methods depending the history of the event - Sidmouth Middle Bar "Twig" and Whittlebury "Sing Boss" and Hat for example.

Find a way that makes your session work and let folks know what it is - It'll probably work .

Dave


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Subject: RE: Singarounds - optimum number of people?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 07:57 AM

"Many singarounds I go to now are made hideous and embarrassing by selfish and lazy 'no hopers' who think they've got some sort of right to dominate proceedings no matter how awful they are. Frankly, I'm sick to death of crap!!"

Try the Beech in Chorlton, Manchester, Shimmy! First Wednesday of the month. Largely but not exclusively traditional ... and whilst you ocassionally get talentless neophytes like me trying to sing the songs, many of the participants are actually pretty good. And those that aren't still clearly love the music.

And in answer to the OP's question, I'm with Les: however many you can comfortably accommodate in the room. Add to that a decent MC who also ensures everyone knows the groundrules...


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