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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Chicken Charlie Folk terminology (90* d) RE: Folk terminology 02 Mar 08


At the risk of being de-Mudcatted, Jim, let me actually try to address your original questions.

Never experimented with cupping, but literally putting a finger in one ear does help me hear whether I'm in harmony or not, and since I don't have the best musical "ear," I resort to that when I'm trying to harmonize.

On length, it's the old saw: It's not how long you make it; it's how you make it long. Actually you answered that yourself with the 17 x 8 example. I'm used to the regulars at my usual open mic and I know there are some who'll have me climbing the wall in three minutes and others I could listen to all night. My mental preferences (which I will posthumously publish as the Claremont Protocol), are, so far, just: Don't scream or bellow at me; don't repeat ANY phrase four times; don't be obscene; don't get up there and tell me you haven't had time to rehearse--go home and get the damn thing down and then come back and do it right; and if you have multiple guitars, don't have everybody playing in the same position. Anything beyond that will be gravy.

I am a dyed-in-the-wool lover and performer of old stuff from 1901 back. I have no problem listening to singer-songwriters who say, "Here's a folk song I wrote last week." I WONDER at the use of the term "folk"--they could just say, "Here's a song I wrote last week." But I don't "have a problem" with the usage. I would occasionally enjoy hearing somebody else finger-pick, but hey, that's just me.

I only know one twisted individual who would qualify as Folk Police, and he goes around snorting "that's not TRADITIONAL" at everybody else while innovating like a mad thing himself. "Folk Fascist" is over the top. As someone mentioned, Fascists put people in ovens; even for Mudcat that is IMO not something to joke about or dub someone just because they like "Barbree Ellen."

I don't detect any enmity toward unaccompanied singers; I just don't think many performers are confident enough to try this.


Anyway--good questions. You used the word "rules" a lot, though. I won't say there are no rules--there are rules of etiquette, for example--but whatever builds a connection between you and your audience is valuable, regardless of length, accompaniment, principalities, powers and all that other stuff.

Chicken Charlie


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