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Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship

Stringsinger 19 Jun 09 - 06:11 PM
Tradsinger 19 Jun 09 - 03:50 PM
Goose Gander 19 Jun 09 - 02:53 PM
Tradsinger 19 Jun 09 - 01:58 PM
Diva 19 Jun 09 - 01:32 PM
Vic Smith 19 Jun 09 - 10:51 AM
mattkeen 19 Jun 09 - 09:58 AM
Vic Smith 19 Jun 09 - 09:08 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 09 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,Russ 18 Jun 09 - 08:50 AM
meself 17 Jun 09 - 03:58 PM
meself 17 Jun 09 - 03:33 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jun 09 - 02:58 PM
Diva 17 Jun 09 - 01:32 PM
Jack Blandiver 17 Jun 09 - 01:28 PM
Diva 17 Jun 09 - 01:04 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jun 09 - 12:40 PM
Diva 17 Jun 09 - 12:39 PM
meself 17 Jun 09 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Russ 17 Jun 09 - 12:17 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jun 09 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,Russ 17 Jun 09 - 12:02 PM
Jack Blandiver 17 Jun 09 - 11:34 AM
Diva 17 Jun 09 - 10:58 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jun 09 - 08:16 AM
Diva 17 Jun 09 - 05:23 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jun 09 - 06:29 PM
The Sandman 16 Jun 09 - 01:55 PM
Diva 16 Jun 09 - 01:33 PM
The Sandman 16 Jun 09 - 08:37 AM
Diva 16 Jun 09 - 07:42 AM
Diva 16 Jun 09 - 07:12 AM
Brian Peters 16 Jun 09 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,Russ 16 Jun 09 - 06:24 AM
Diva 16 Jun 09 - 05:36 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jun 09 - 03:28 PM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jun 09 - 06:33 AM
Diva 11 Jun 09 - 07:24 AM
BobKnight 11 Jun 09 - 06:49 AM
Diva 11 Jun 09 - 06:08 AM
The Sandman 11 Jun 09 - 06:04 AM
Diva 11 Jun 09 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Russ 10 Jun 09 - 01:09 PM
The Sandman 10 Jun 09 - 12:58 PM
Diva 10 Jun 09 - 12:10 PM
Marje 10 Jun 09 - 08:36 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 10 Jun 09 - 08:23 AM
The Sandman 10 Jun 09 - 08:06 AM
Diva 10 Jun 09 - 04:12 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jun 09 - 03:31 AM
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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 06:11 PM

An observation about Peg Seeger. Her mother transcribed in musical notation many of the songs that she grew up learning. Peg was able to learn them as her mother dropped the needle over and over again on the passage to be transcribed.

It brings me to this point. The style of singing is wholly dependent on the music that's being sung. In traditional music, the interest lies in the actual notes of the rendition, not just the manner of singing. Learning the actual notes being sung accurately through transcriptions is valuable as an insight into style. Most of the notes can be expressed through pitches in music notation although phrasing, breathing and ornamental slides are harder to catch and record in notes. Charles Seeger had a machine that actually transcribed pitches. It was like an oscilloscope which was able to measure precisely relational pitches. It printed graphs on paper which he eventually learned to read and sight sing. This would be a useful device for trad vocal singers. You could actually transcribe quarter or micro-tones and learn to reproduce them.

The problem with trying to sound "authentic" is that without proper vocal health care, you can ruin your voice. One famous revivalist folk singer who is well-known did just that. He can't sing well any more. Another problem is that if you try too hard to emulate another's voice and style you run the risk of sounding phony. (This is often a subjective appraisal, however.)

I would think a better solution than just listening and apprenticing with one singer would be to acquaint your ear with various singers in that specific tradition. This is analogous
to what many blues guitarists have done. There are those not from that tradition that can sound convincing in their interpretations. Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal come to mind.

That said, it would be advantageous to be in the same room with a traditional singer. I learned so much listening here in the States to Horton Barker (now deceased) and Nimrod Workman (also now gone). Both had full resonant voices until the last.

Alan Mills from Canada also recreated the tradition of his region well. Jean Carignan accompanied him to the States. " Jeanny" was one of the greatest Acadian fiddlers of his generation.

One of the interesting aspects of trad singing is ornamentation. How to use it tastefully requires getting the notes down in the first place to see what they are.


Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Tradsinger
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 03:50 PM

..that last sentence should read BY me... etc, not FROM. Too hasty typing.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Goose Gander
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 02:53 PM

Tradsinger, you may have a whole new career ahead of you!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Tradsinger
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 01:58 PM

Coming back to the original question of the posting, I am doubtful that this is a viable proposition in England due to the paucity of source singers, and I doubt whether any of them would be willing to take on an 'apprentice'. Also, traditional singing is not something that you can learn in a vacuum without social context. Almost no-one these days who is learning folksongs has the same life experience as, say, Sam Larner or Wiggie Smith. It is one thing to learn a song from a traveller singer who learnt it from his grandparents around a campfire but quite another then to perform the song in a folk club or festival to an audience, most of whom you do not know and who do not know you. The song can be the same, but the emotional baggage is quite different.

However, I do applaud and support those wishing to learn folksongs from source singers so long as they don't try to slavishly copy the mannerisms and accent. I would be very suspicious of anyone trying to sing like Fred Jordan, but on the other hand, one can learn a lot from his singing about how to pace a song, how to bring out the story, and so on.

Just a final note on apprenticeship, note that about half the songs I sing have been learnt from me personally from source singers, so perhaps I should take on an apprentice!

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 01:32 PM

I am slowly coming round to this technology yoke! Just had a listen, what a smashing singer and like all the best, using his own voice. Magic

Interesting (for me)is that the tune Jeff uses is the same as Gordeanna used to use and the one that I first learned.

Very heartening to hear of the renewed interest amongst Stanley's family for the songs and stories. This is something Sheila (Stewart) and I have talked about at length.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 10:51 AM

Jeff Wesley - a rare solo folk club booking -

8th October 2009

The Royal Oak,
Station Street
Lewes
East Sussex
BN7 2DA

Websites:-

http://www.myspace.com/royaloakfolklewes (where you can hear Jeff singing Young and Growing)

and

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~tinvic/fd.htm


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: mattkeen
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 09:58 AM

BRIAN PETERS

I listen to Jeff Westley quite often as I live in Northamptonshire too. You are spot on Jeff sounds like himself, he has a wonderful kindly sort of voice and it reflects his love of the land (he's a farmer) and also his general attitude.

A varient I also like is Billy Bragg - he sounds like where he comes from and that is reflective of his speaking voice.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 09:08 AM

Coming back to the idea mooted at the beginning of this thread.....

I have just received in the post today a review copy of

"REEK ROON A CAMP FIRE
A Collection of Ancient Tales"
by STANLEY ROBERTSON
published by Birlinn ISBN 9 781841 587950
£9.95

www.birlinn.co.uk


One of the book's dedications is To Samuel Lee, the great singer from London.

Now, obviously this is because of Sam's great respect for and friendship towards Stanley but I believe it is also because of something that Stanley told me when he was down here at the end of last year. He told me that one of the consequences of Sam's frequent visits to Aberdeen and the enthusiasm that Sam showed for Stanley and his songs and stories engendered a renewed interest in the material amongst some of Stanley's immediate family who had been tending to drift away from their culture.

Clearly the master/apprentice relationship has a symbiotic nature.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 12:50 PM

"Hammons. No "D"
Thanks for that.
"Me, a Brit?"
Sorry, confusing you with another guest - no offence meant.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 08:50 AM

Brian Peters,
I was thinking mostly of female singers. I mentioned Maggie because I figured you'd be acquainted with her singing. I mentioned Eastern KY because of my wife and the singers in her family.

Can't think of any male ballad singers who went high, but males singing a high tenor harmony are common in bluegrass music.

Jim Carroll,

Knowledge of American traditional singers is limited even in the states.

Hammons. No "D"

Me, a Brit?
What in the world have I said to give that impression?

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: meself
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 03:58 PM

Okay, now I've had me a listen - great stuff! I'm not certain if it's the same singer or not, although it is at least a similar voice.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: meself
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 03:33 PM

Nope, that LP on e-bay isn't the one, so the one I'm thinking of is from another year. However, that one is from the year I attended Mariposa, I'm sure. What a line-up ...

Now I'll go check out that PB link.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 02:58 PM

Guest Russ
My Apologies - For some reason I had assumed you were a Brit - my mistake.
While I am nuts about American traditional singers like Chandler, Gladden and The Hammonds family, all of whom, I believe, maintained the stylish elements of singing long after we had lost it in the Uk, my knowledge of the state of the tradition there is very limited.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 01:32 PM

Brilliant thanks for the link.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 01:28 PM

The only copy of a Mariposa Folk Festival LP I've been able to track down is from 1976; there's a copy on Ebay Here which gives full track details - but no PB & no Flying Cloud! Did PB ever sing Flying Cloud? A quick search reveals a blank on that too...

As for hearing PB, there's a couple of things on YouTube, including THIS in which PB's rendering of The Fox Jumps Over the Parsons Gate (1970) is married with the images from Randolph Caldecott's book of the same name (1883) - by all accounts a seminal influence on the young PB!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 01:04 PM

I have always thought traditional music and song was an area well worth studying and am now in a position, having done a degree as a mature student, and made a concentrated study of ballads, where I can count accademics as friends. Neither arrogant nor outsiders but having an interest and a love of a subject and immense knowledge to share.

I am sure that in their time Hamish Henderson and Kenneth Goldstein (to name only two) were very well regarded by the travellers that they talked to and came to regard as friends.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 12:40 PM

"My experience is that when it comes to traditional singers there are (at least) two schools of throught.
There are those who sing high and those who don't."

Are you talking specifically about women singers here? Maggie Hammons Parker is an interesting example, since she sang right across the break in her voice. In fact she is one singer that I would like to have heard as a younger woman, since the top end of her range is pretty shaky on - for instance - 'Young Henerly', but she sounds devastating when she hits the low notes. That ballad has an unusually wide range, though it's interesting that a version was collected in Avery County, NC in 1939 with an almost identical tune, so the lady that sung that one must have had her own way of dealing with the range.

"It is Edn Hammons"

I'll take your (and Edn's) word for it - it says 'Edden' on my CD but I suppose some Arrogant Academic Outsider was responsible for that.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 12:39 PM

Now I know this is probably heretical but while I know who he was, I have never actually heard Peter Bellamy sing. Something I intend to remedy.

Over a fair few years I have listened to and learned from the Scots traveller singers like The Stewarts, Stanley Robertson and Lizzie Higgans. All of whom sang in their own voice and style.

My influences in traditional singing and singing styles are mainly Scots and Irish hardly surprising given my background and not many English. I only heard Will Noble forhe very first time last year at Whitby.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: meself
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 12:26 PM

Every time a mention of the singing style of Peter Bellamy comes up, I wonder if it is he that appears on an LP made of the Mariposa Folk Festival from some time in the '70s, singing The Flying Cloud - an unannotated copy of which I have on cassette tape. Anybody know?


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 12:17 PM

Jim Carroll,

I appreciate the clarification and your patience.

I am a yank.
Born in the USA!

For what it is worth,
In light of your clarification I now formally claim that I am a traditional musician in your sense of the term. I formally deny your claim that I am a revival musician in your sense of the term.

I should admit that my initial response to your original "suggestion" was decidedly and consciously NOT traditional.

Where I come from, a request for clarification is not the preferred first reponse to a perceived slight.

Bobert and Spaw have provided provided mudcat with many fine examples of more traditional responses.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and traditional musician)


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 12:10 PM

> he only ever sang like himself - which is to say, a dynamic, rarefied, idiosyncratic stylist and absolute master of his uncompromising craft <

The odd thing about PB - who was, as you say, an outrageously individualistic singer - was that he paid more attention to studying traditional singing style than pretty much anyone. The thing was, the styles he studied were so eclectic (Larner and Cox, Appalachia, Sacred harp, the Blues) that the results - allied to his preference for pitching at the very top of his range, and a militant rock-n-roll attitude - sounded nothing like any traditional singer you'd ever heard.

He was outstanding at telling a story in song, though. He did indeed polarise opinions, but I found that people who thought they hated his style were often won over when they could be persuaded to listen to it.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 12:02 PM

Brian Peters,

Excellent post.

HOWEVER, two things:
1.
My experience is that when it comes to traditional singers there are (at least) two schools of throught.
There are those who sing high and those who don't.

Sheila Kay Adams (NC)exemplifies the latter.
She sings a song in about the same pitch range that she uses for her speaking voice.

Maggie Hammons Parker exemplifies to former.
She prided herself on her ability to "sing high" but bemoaned the fact that she couldn't sing "as high as she used to."
An extreme example would be her version of "Wicked Polly." In the version found on the Hammons Legacy CD sampler of her singing, she starts high, goes higher, and finally ends up somewhere in the stratosphere.
I haven't done any real research but my impression is that this approach is not uncommon in eastern KY.

2.
For the record.
It is Edn Hammons
The story that I have heard (not read) is that Edn waged on ongoing battle to control the spelling of his own name.
Academics (who shall rename nameless) insisted on referring to him as Edden, Edwin, Eddn, etc.
He insisted that he was "Edn".
This story is usually told as an example of Outsider Academic Arrogance on the part of people who would think that an adult didn't know how to spell his own name.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and traditional musician)


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 11:34 AM

One problem I had with the singing of Peter Bellamy was that he sounded like a ninety year old.

I have in my keeping presently an extensive archive of concert recordings spanning PB's entire career and on that evidence alone I'd say that he only ever sang like himself - which is to say, a dynamic, rarefied, idiosyncratic stylist and absolute master of his uncompromising craft, as any self-respecting Bellamist will attest. I saw him many times from the mid-eighties onwards and each time the atmosphere was electric - and audience opinion invariably polarised. I also have on cassette the first few songs of his performance at the Durham Folk Party in the summer of 1991, only a month or so before he died. Sad to say, on that occasion half the audience got up and left (in protest? it certainly seemed so at the time...) as he took the stage, necessitating that I run off around the singarounds to raise some support. PB was 46 at the time; I am now 47 - which is a sobering thought, personally speaking...


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 10:58 AM

I can get myself into more than enough trouble without strange noises eminating from wherever I am staying!!!

Ahem back to the purpose of this thread... being that the voice is an instrument then it makes sense to look after it as one would a fiddle or guitar etc.

I have a vague memory of being at at festival were they had a series of master and apprentice talks. A well known and established singer would share with an up and coming singer.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 08:16 AM

"she is the only person who we know who does warm up exercises."
Par for the course for the Critics Group.
There is a story in Luke Kelly's biography of one time, when he was a CG member, he was staying with friends in Grimsby. One morning they heard the most excruciating sounds emnating from the bathroom, so, after hammering on the door for a few minutes and getting no response, they finally shouldered it open, only to find Luke in the shower doing his voice exercises.
Ewan and Peg used to say that, when on tour they were often greeted with the most peculiar looks from hotel staff because of the noises they made (one has to presume voice exercises!)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 05:23 AM

Hi Jim
I'm not sure if you have heard me sing. I was at Whitby last year and in the ballad sessions most days. Amazing and a wonderful chance to hear people I wouldn't normally hear. This years expedition is in the planning stages..yippeee

Talking to Drumshanty last night and she tells me that Christine Kydd is a vocal coach and she is the only person who we know who does warm up exercises.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 06:29 PM

Russ
"You giveth and you taketh away."
Sorry - not attempting to take away anything.
Don't know where you are, but as far as I can make out the singing traditions died in the UK somewhere between the wars, in Ireland, somewhat later; what we were left with was singers remembering songs from a tradition which, in all but a few cases they had not been part of, got through family, neighbours, etc.
The main exception to this was the Travelling communities who, thanks to their relative isolation from the settled communities and the effects of modern technology, kept singing and remaking the songs, and composing new ones to reflect their own lives and communities. Unfortunately this screeched to a halt in the mid-seventies when they acquired portable televisions - we were there and saw it happen.
The folk song revival, which started some time in the 50s by singers like MacColl, Lloyd and others, with teh encouragement of Alan Lomax, and based largely on the collecting project carried out by the BBC in the earlier part of that decade, was one set up and run my outsiders like ourselves - and that, with a few exceptions (mainly the Scots Travellers, is how it stands today IMO.
As I say, not a value judgement, just an assesment of where we are.
Diva,
The worst thing you can do is continue to sing through a damaged throat - get some simple voice excercises to restore your voice.
Have I heard you sing - I have an idea that I have; if so, your voice sounds aright to me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 01:55 PM

well,contact Jim Carroll,he was /is friendly with Ewan and Peggy,and might be able to pass on useful information.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 01:33 PM

I don't think I know anyone who sings traditional songs/ballads who practices vocal exercises but I know many classical singers who would not dream of singing anything without first warming up. Given the mess I have made of my throat I am begining to think they might have a point.

Like I say always learning


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 08:37 AM

Brian Peters ,makes some good points,but misses one vital point.tohave and keep a good voice you have to practise singing,just as a musician practises an instrument,an old person can maintain a good voice through using vocal exercises.this has nothing to do with style.
I use vocal exercises.,but I got the idea from Ewan and Peggy
Dick Mileshttp://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 07:42 AM

Whoops.....that looks like ageism in reverse....its not meant to be.

Although a very well known singer (no names no pack drill!!!) once said that folk under 30 couldn't sing the muckle sangs.

I'll tak my foot out of my mouth.....and go and get another throat sweetie


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 07:12 AM

I think your own voice comes through eventually, something to do with time and with confidence. I think that mine has changed over the years and that is no bad thing. I eventually realised that I didn't have to be a clone of other singers.

Listening to other singers (source or revival) is something I always suggest when running workshops and i like the idea of burning discs.

And I definately agree with being non ageist when listenig to singers I've heard some in their 70's that sound better, more rounded, than those far younger.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 06:53 AM

matt milton wrote: "I often wonder whether the style of singing we think of as 'folk' is actually entirely accidental and arbitrary: people trying to sing like old men and women… the voices on the VOTP recordings are very varied: it's not like they all sing the same way"

I'm not entirely sure where the standard-issue 'folkie voice' (the nasal tone, the mummerset vowels) came from, though I rather doubt it was an attempt to sound like an elderly person. The point is that there's a large gulf between that style and the way in which any actual traditional singers sing, or sang. I was listening to Jeff Wesley in the car last night (a CD, not unfortunately the man himself) and was struck by, not only the musicality of his voice, but the unmannered style of delivery. Here was a man singing just like he speaks. The same goes for pretty much any traditional singer you listen to. It's quite true there's no single 'traditional style' (I never bought the old dogma that "they all sing deadpan") but, if there is common ground to be found, it's in this use of the natural voice (ornaments, vibrato etc. notwithstanding) and an unhurried sense of pace.

The American singer Jeff Davis - who will be known to some of you as much for his authentic back-porch singing style as for his fiddle and banjo playing – recently persuaded me to join him in presenting a vocal style workshop during a week-long summer camp in North America. Participants were given a CD onto which we'd burned recordings by various North American and British traditional singers (Jeff's included Lee Monroe Presnell, Texas Gladden and Almeida Riddle, mine Phil Tanner, Lizzie Higgins and Bill Cassidy) and invited to spend their free time during the week learning a verse or more in the exact style of the singer(s) of their choice. The results were interesting – there were some valiant attempts! But what was the point of the exercise - was it to turn out a couple of dozen geriatric soundalikes?

Here's what Jeff said: "Fiddlers sit for hours on end copying every note of their favorite players, but singers are always worried about this business of 'sounding like themselves'. The thing is, no matter how hard a fiddler tries to make their playing sound like Henry Reed's or Edden Hammons's, they are still going to end up sounding like themselves. And it's the same with singing: there's actually tremendous freedom in copying. I think everybody went away from that class better listeners and better singers, and sounding more like themselves than they did when they were trying to sound only like themselves."

The point is that none of us grows up in a musical vacuum. We are surrounded from infancy by the popular music of the day, which by and large is based on an American template. When I had to coach young Mancunian actors in singing Victorian broadsides for a theatre production a few years back, the first thing I noticed was that every one of them adopted an American accent the instant they moved from speaking words to singing them. Even those of us who have grown up enjoying folk music have often spent a lot of time listening to revival singers who have in some cases adopted highly mannered delivery styles. Listening to a few traditional singers (leaving aside for the moment the subtleties of phrasing and ornamentation that are there to be absorbed) is a good way of providing some kind of balance to all that musical baggage.

Lastly, can I agree with Jim Carroll's point about "Phil Tanner... an old man sounding like a youngster". The idea that elderly singers are past it, or a travesty of their former singing selves, is one that doesn't stand up to actually listening to some elderly singers. The best just get better!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 06:24 AM

Jim Carroll

Thanks for the response.

You giveth and you taketh away.

As important as you think it is, I cannot recognize your distinction until I understand it.

That a person has "grown up and learned ... music in an environment where tradition(al) music was a vital part of the expression and identity of that community" is not sufficient to be properly deemed a traditional musician.
What else is necessary?
Please clarify "Not part of (the) tradition".

Russ (Permanent GUEST and "traditional" musician)


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 05:36 AM

As far as I am concerned I'm still learning my trade and have been lucky, no....privileged... to have a number of singers that I consider have been mentors. They have always beeen constructive in their criticism and happy to answer the stupidist and most mundane of questions. Why? because they love the songs and the sharing of songs and it is always a pleasure to spend time with folk like this.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 03:28 PM

"Jim, I'm not at all sure about this "traditional" vs "revival" singing."
Marge - I am - it's a bad idea
You take your inspiration from wherever you can, whether the singers are or 19 or 90 - I never suggested otherwise (it was somebody else who suggested learning from 45 year olds).
The examples I cited from older singers, I believe, come with a lifetime of experiences and backgrounds and are unlikely to be available elsewhere.
Whoever you take as your guide, I've never been convinced that folk singing can be taught, though I fully accept The Cap'ns suggestion of learning by listening to other singers.
What I would hate to see is a return to the barren days of copying, when virtually every club was populated by Carthy copiers or Bellamy bleaters or Dylan doubles or Moore mimers, or Joanie clones, and when you knew that when three or four singers stood up to sing you were about to hear a Watersons tribute group.
By all means take the best and most useful of whatever other singers have to offer, but please make the end result your own, not a piss-poor imitation of theirs.
No - I don't believe we as revival singers, are part of the the song tradition, merely borrowers from that tradition, and what we do seldom, if ever extends beyond the walls of our individual clubs, festivals, singarounds, whatever.
This is not in any way a criticism, just an assessment of who we are and where we stand in relation to the music we have chose to be involved in.
Guest Russ.
Sorry about the delay in responding to your query - was forced to take a few days beak in beautiful Donegal - tough, but somebody has to do it.
"Define "outside(r)."
Not part of tradition that made, remade and kept alive down the centuries the music we are involved in, merely (the wrong word altogether) borrowers of it. There are, I believe, a whole bunch of reasons why it is important to recognise this, which have been hammered to death ad nauseum, and I have no doubt, will be again.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 06:33 AM

I remember discussing songs such as Lamachree & Megrum and McGinties Meal an Ale with Stanley some 15 years ago. He also imparted the Bonny Wee Doo - (Me Daddy kil't me; me Mammy e't me; me sister Mary pickit ma banes...) with the promise that I would never forget it as long as I live - so far so good! Best of all was the information he shared with a fellow storyteller & myself regarding how to how to tell an evil ghost from a good one. All ghosts, it would seem, will put a chill along your spine, but with an evil ghost the chill will go down your spine, and with a good ghost the chill will go up. Or was it the other way round? Not so sure about ghosts but the last chill I got was when our local friendly BNP candidate smiled at me on my way in to the polling station the other week...


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 07:24 AM

That was one of the ones I missed but I think we met at Cullerlie


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: BobKnight
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 06:49 AM

Diva - were you at the Rolling Hills Club when I was there last November?


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 06:08 AM

Yep I agree with that CB the day we stop learning we are deid!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 06:04 AM

Diva,we never stop learning.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 05:59 AM

Ahh but the scarey thing now is that I have been singing for 30 years.........I still think i'm an apprentice


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 01:09 PM

Jim Carrol,
I am confused.
Define "outside(r)."

Russ (Permanent GUEST and musician of uncertain type)


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:58 PM

what larks, Diva.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:10 PM

On a lighter note, I hope, a good few years ago I was at one of the Auchtermuchty Ballad days that Aileen Carr used to run and it was mentioned that the guests that year (Sheila Stewart, Cy Laurie and John Dillon) had all been singing for thiry years. It was decided,for a lark, that the apprenticeship for traditional singers must therefore be thirty years.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Marje
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 08:36 AM

Jim, I'm not at all sure about this "traditional" vs "revival" singing. There are now a great many people who've been singing traditional music for all or most of their adult lives. A typical "revival" singer born in, say, 1945, who started folk singing in the 1960s, will have been singing for over 40 years now. He/she will likely have been doing much of this singing in the company of like-minded people from their own local community and from the wider folk community, learning from each other and exchanging songs at informal social gatherings.

While I can see that in the 1960s and 70s, "revival" singers were indeed coming to it from outside, I think it's possible to argue that we have now reached a stage where the tradition has re-established itself, albeit in a specialist way that's only experienced by a minority of people (which was also the case when much of the song-collecting was done, about a century ago).

Modern communications and travel mean that communities are now defined, for most people, not just by geography, but but shared interests. It's therefore possible, for many of us, to belong to a community that values folk song and music as part of its collective identity, and I don't see why this can't be described as "traditional" singing/playing. A revival is, by definition, a transitional stage, and eventually evolves into something ongoing or permanent. Maybe we've got there now?

Marje


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 08:23 AM

Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship: turning up at folk clubs and festivals.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 08:06 AM

Idiagree with some of the statements on this thread.
Peter Bellamy was a good singer,why,because he interpreted songs well,he was also a good harmony singer.
believe it or not 90 yearolds can be god singers even if their voices are not as good as they were,being a good singer is not just about having a wonderful voice.
I can think of several revival and one or two traditional singers who have good voices,probably more listenable[than Bellamy],but sing as if they are reciting a shopping list,something Bellamy could never be accused of.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Diva
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 04:12 AM

Jim Carroll wrote:

"I believe it's something more intangible you are looking for when you listen to other singers to learn from them - and it is this that you can't put a price on."

that's it in a nutshell

Oh and guest Russ I have known Drumshanty for a few years now and not only is she a very fine singer she also possesses the intuitive understanding of why these songs and their singers are so important

Kathy Hobkirk....singer of traditional songs


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing and Apprenticeship
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 03:31 AM

PS
"Russ (Permanent GUEST and traditional musician)"
You may well have grown up and learned your music in an environment where tradition music was a vital part of the expression and identity of that community community, but I suspect that you came to it like the rest of us, as an outside, which makes you a revival musician rather than a traditional one.
Jim Carroll


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