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Why do we sing unaccompanied?

GUEST 19 Oct 11 - 03:15 PM
RTim 19 Oct 11 - 03:14 PM
Diva 19 Oct 11 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,SteveG 18 Oct 11 - 03:30 PM
Suegorgeous 18 Oct 11 - 02:39 PM
terrier 18 Oct 11 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Songbob 18 Oct 11 - 02:14 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Oct 11 - 01:35 PM
MMario 18 Oct 11 - 12:38 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Oct 11 - 12:28 PM
Bonzo3legs 18 Oct 11 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Diva 18 Oct 11 - 08:17 AM
wysiwyg 18 Oct 11 - 08:06 AM
Nigel Parsons 18 Oct 11 - 08:03 AM
Gibb Sahib 18 Oct 11 - 08:03 AM
Nigel Parsons 18 Oct 11 - 08:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Oct 11 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Diva 18 Oct 11 - 07:00 AM
the lemonade lady 09 Oct 09 - 07:22 PM
synbyn 09 Oct 09 - 11:26 AM
JHW 08 Oct 09 - 03:28 PM
MuddleC 07 Oct 09 - 04:42 PM
seligmanson 07 Oct 09 - 11:51 AM
Herga Kitty 06 Oct 09 - 06:02 PM
skipy 06 Oct 09 - 05:43 PM
Rowan 06 Oct 09 - 04:59 PM
Roger the Skiffler 06 Oct 09 - 05:39 AM
Liberty Boy 06 Oct 09 - 02:30 AM
GUEST,Peace 06 Oct 09 - 02:18 AM
Georgiansilver 06 Oct 09 - 12:09 AM
Tootler 05 Oct 09 - 05:21 PM
seligmanson 05 Oct 09 - 12:00 PM
Mr Happy 05 Oct 09 - 08:13 AM
Georgiansilver 05 Oct 09 - 02:21 AM
GUEST 05 Oct 09 - 12:12 AM
Herga Kitty 04 Oct 09 - 05:54 PM
Herga Kitty 04 Oct 09 - 05:52 PM
seligmanson 04 Oct 09 - 05:47 PM
FairEllender 20 Sep 09 - 10:28 AM
Tim Leaning 17 Sep 09 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Teribus 17 Sep 09 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,callingbird 16 Sep 09 - 02:26 PM
silverfish 16 Sep 09 - 01:27 PM
Morris-ey 16 Sep 09 - 08:42 AM
TopcatBanjo 16 Sep 09 - 08:19 AM
Penny S. 16 Sep 09 - 07:45 AM
semi-submersible 16 Sep 09 - 03:06 AM
Tootler 15 Sep 09 - 05:03 PM
seligmanson 15 Sep 09 - 05:00 PM
The Sandman 15 Sep 09 - 01:54 PM
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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 03:15 PM

Usually because we don't know the chords.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: RTim
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 03:14 PM

Because I can!!
It is not as easy as it sounds......

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Diva
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 03:02 PM

There is nothing wrong with a good, sensitive accompniment to a song and to my mind it should not detract from the song or the story that the singer is trying to tell.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 03:30 PM

I love singing unaccompanied and frequently do.
I love singing in harmony and frequently do.
I love accompanying myself on various squeeze boxes and frequently do.
I love being accompanied by others on various instruments and frequently am.

Ain't I lucky!


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 02:39 PM

First, it was because I don't play and I didn't want to be dependent on finding a musician if I wanted to sing.

Nowadays, it's because I've grown to love the freedom it gives me to explore and present the song, all its nuances and corners, in my and its own time. And the edge of exposure.

And, as Crow Sister said two years ago on this thread... "I do think there is something of the sacred in it - though that itself is equally to do with nakedness and intimacy likewise"... (you still there, Crow Sister?!) :)


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: terrier
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 02:25 PM

Nice to see this old thread rear its head again, although I guess not much has changed in the last two years. The last time I did a floor spot I intended to sing the first verse of the song a cappella and then bring the guitar in, but after the first verse I realised that I enjoyed singing the song unacompanied more than with the guitar so continued for the whole song a cappella.
Why not ask "why do we SING ?". Why not just narrate songs. I've even heard talking blues done without guitar acc. Unaccompanied singing wasn't invented in 'folk' clubs, neither is it restricted to our style of western music. There's something magical about marrying a tune to a set of words and letting the voice (the most complete musical instrument) do the work. I've got nothing against using further instrumentaion when singing as long as it something meaningful to the song.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 02:14 PM

MMario sez: "The problem is - the guy with the instrument SHOULD be following me ..."

I think I've discovered the difference between the folk approach to accompaniment and the "standards" approach. I like to accompany singers, and several people have said I do it well. I listen.

But one time I was accompanying a choir member at church, and I realized that she was waiting for me to LEAD her, while I was waiting to follow. Once I get the idea that I was to lead her, prompt her, then we pulled it off (the second half of the song was much less halting than the first, as we tried to go our mutually-exclusive ways).

But it occurred to me, at that moment, that some kinds of music (church music, pop "standards" -- as opposed to pop/rock songs, perhaps jazz, although I'm not so sure of that one) require the accompaniment to lead, not follow. The singer waits his/her cue, takes the pitch and beat from the guitar/banjo/piano/whatever, and it's the job of the musician, not the singer, to set the frame for the song. Folk just isn't one of those musics.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 01:35 PM

I learn songs unaccompanied, practise unaccompanied and sing unaccompanied, partly because I like the sound of unaccompanied singing & partly because I can't play anything that I could accompany myself with. I have recently accompanied myself on organ & whistle, but only through the magic of multi-tracking.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: MMario
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 12:38 PM

The problem is - the guy with the instrument SHOULD be following me - and usually it is either both going their own way or singer following instrument.

Which is why I welcome anyone who can follow me to accompany me; but usually sing unaccompianied.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 12:28 PM

'the guy with the instument is following me .......'

now that would worry me.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 09:07 AM

Yes why.....please don't.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: GUEST,Diva
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 08:17 AM

No..I'm not speechless, just pressed the submit by mistake......interesting thread...I love to know why folk sing with or without accompaniment. I prefer unaccompanied probably because I never sing anything the same way twice. However, I have learned, and it has taken me an age, that the guy with the instument is following me and not the other way around.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 08:06 AM

I sing unaccompanied for so may reasons that I am not sure I have time to catalog them, but one of them is when I am at a workshop and a song is needed, and I have not brought any other gear than my neck, mind, and heart. If more info is wanted, PM?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 08:03 AM

Because we can:

100
Un Cant


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 08:03 AM

As soon as I see an acoustic guitar, I know I've accidentally stumbled upon folk music...and I run the other away, look for the chips 'n' dip!

Unless of course the person starts beating on the guitar, and then I know it's flamenco. I once started unconsciously beating on a borrowed guitar when I was singing/playing Jamaican rocksteady...suddenly becoming aware of the horror on the owner's face...it was an antique "Martin" or some such thing, heh.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 08:03 AM

Years ago my professor in music appreciation 101 said the all great musicians were frustrated singers. wonder if it's true?

I think he may have meant "All great instrumentalists are frustrated singers" Some great musicians are still just singers.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 07:50 AM

folksong without a guitar ...? a bit like sausage wthout the mash.

you wouldn't have an unaccompanied sausage, would you....?

Personally, I go for the mushy peas and HP sauce as well


As Jethro Tull said, Life's a Long Song. And if your lucky, it can be a long sausage (Lincolnshire naturally!).


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: GUEST,Diva
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 07:00 AM

Because we can? There is something very special about sharing a song particularly in the company of singers without the limitation of an instrument laid upon it


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 09 Oct 09 - 07:22 PM

Because all I can play is a shaky egg!

Sal


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: synbyn
Date: 09 Oct 09 - 11:26 AM

To each song, respect... even in the sessions in pubs where the folk session is once a month and therefore the audience is half locals who expect to be able to chat in their own pub, a single voice commands attention. It occurs so often, and when the instruments return, so does the conversation- we are trained these days to go shopping against music-noise. I agree with the contributions that suggest the difficulty of accompanying many songs- too often the accompaniement forces a quantisation, takes away the connection. Imagine a conversation or oration which was regular pulses for 3 minutes...


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: JHW
Date: 08 Oct 09 - 03:28 PM

Folk Singers Do It Unaccompanied


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: MuddleC
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 04:42 PM

I sing unaccompanied because there are instrumental numbers that don't require words, sometimes the words don't even matter, take Enya, or Scots Gaelic 'mouth-music'.

I also sing unaccompanied because it doesn't take up limited seating space with guitar cases ... if you have a decent singing voice use it, avoid pubs with carpets and heavy curtains.. there's no 'fold-back' as the mixing Engineer would say, and the song is acoustically flat....
I remember going to see Kate Rusby in the early days, her voice stood out, then later she added 'the wall of sound', I really went to her concerts for the odd 'minimalist' numbers she did, on some of the numbers she was drowned out.. but then it was a band and they all had to display their various instrumental talents and have a 'sess'..
... You can't do a wall-of-sound number with one voice, and a one voice number shouldn't have a wall-of-sound..... if you listen very hard, the song will come to you at last....


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: seligmanson
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 11:51 AM

Thank you Skippy for making my point for me, albeit unwittingly. Those of you accusing me of lacking a sense of humour missed that point by a mile. I get plenty of respect for my music thank you very much from people outside the 'folk'-scene, one of the reasons being that I treat them with respect. Sadly, my experience is that, for every hundred individuals in the 'folk' world who love the music and are willing to share it with anybody anywhere and anytime, there are five who have no respect, who love riding around on high horses criticising everything they even slightly disapprove of, especially the following: performers who don't meet their high critical standards (regardless of whether they themselves do or not - usually not), clubs which suffer the terrible disadvantage of not being their club, and - most offensively - any-one new to the music who'd like to have a go at it. I have known too may people who have gone to clubs and sessions once who have told me that they will never go again, having been embarrassed by the off-handedness with which they have been treated by the organisers. You can decide: are you involved in this music just to please yourselves? Fine,that's a reasonable choice, have fun: the chances are you'll make welcome any-one you meet who'd like a go at it, and you'll serve a wider purpose without even trying. Or have you chosen to make a specific effort to involve people in spontaneous music-making of a kind the mass-media specifically excludes them from? That too is a reasonable choice, if you can do it without patronising those people or having expectations of them they can't or don't want to meet. Sadly in this regard, I have known too many organisers who have taken steps to encourage local people to be involved in their activities, and, when they have failed, have blamed the locals for their apathetic attitude rather than question their own approach. This is the subject of another discussion: my point is that there is a tribalism in the folk-scene which forbids many performers and organisers from respecting any-one who comes to them from outside their charmed circle. That's why there is so much backbiting and backstabbing around, and good luck to you if you haven't come across any: it's driven many good people away. It's hardly surprising then that the music receives so little support from any-one else, and we fool ourselves if we believe that what we do, simply because a lot of us do it, is truely popular. It isn't: the vast majority of the population have little or no idea of what goes on with us. You only have to look at the T.V. and radio schedules, the newspaper's arts pages, the average music shop, and the newsagent's magazine racks to know that, not to mention the school curriculum and the karaoke pubs; and it's as much our own fault as the mass-media's for letting the folkie snobs who love to exploit the music for their own ends stand between it and its natural audience, who usually appreciate it and make something of it once they know what the music's really about,namely, people like themselves. It's ignorance which breeds the kind of mockery I complained of before (not Tim Leaning's joke, the other stuff), and that ignorance generally comes from two sources: misrepresentation by the media and our own unwillingness to represent ourselves to the public in a way that means something to it. Now if that's not important to you, then all of this is meaningless; but for many of us it is important, and we ought to give it some real, constructive, thought. I'm finally done: I'm sorry if this particularly bitter flow of bile strikes you as humourless, but then on this occasion I wasn't trying to be funny. Perhaps some-one could start a strand, if it hasn't already been started: the best and worst folkie jokes. Meanwhile - Skippy:go ahead, do what you want, don't let any-one stop you; learn the most important lesson that unaccompanied singing has to teach- the art of enjoying the sound of your own voice,the only musical instrument that no-one ever has to have made for them or pay for.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 06:02 PM

Skipy - yes, you are a singer, and I hope to hear you singing at Banbury!

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: skipy
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 05:43 PM

Well, I for one would love too! but many of my "friends" in the folk world have kicked the shit out of me for trying too! Others have suported me, but on avearage I am too scared to sing, the flashbacks are to painful. A very good friend of mine just 2 weeks ago tried to "coral" me into a sing around, he meant well without a doubt, but that has probably set me back a year or two & at my age I am running out of years! Banbury is looming on the horizon, but I will not be welcome at the mudgather & that hurts! I am not welcome because I am a smoker, but I would not smoke in the venue. I am not a singer but most of you have no idea at all how much I want to be one


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Rowan
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 04:59 PM

Bob Coltman's post put my position rather well. There are some songs I sing (and have heard sung by others), that become diminished if sung by more than one person at a time. "My old black billy" is one such (although I have enjoyed Mike and Tony harmonising the chorus) and it's very difficult to prevent such songs as "The streets of Forbes" becoming truly awful when accompanied by instruments. But there are also songs that, to me, beg for harmonising by voices only and suffer when instruments are employed; those who've heard Coope, Boyes and Simpson, or the Spooky Men's Chorale will have heard examples. I appreciate the arguments for not singing to the "Last Post" (which I've always understood to be a bugle call rather than a song) or "Taps" (the US equivalent, for which there are words) and echo Joe's comments about not using instrumental accompaniment to Gregorian chant. I've yet to discern any "sacredisation" (or equivalent) of voice-only singing, though.

I'd extend the notion that some vocalisations are best left without unnecessary ornamentation, so to speak. Oz has a tradition of bush poetry and prose recitation, probably inherited from the British Isles; I'm not sure how much of that tradition is shared by US contexts. Many poems that originated as recitations have been ornamented by having tunes applied or written for them, as that seems to satisfy some modern tastes, as well as satisfying the needs of those who wish to perform them but aren't satisfied with the power of the naked words, or perhaps they're not satisfied with their ability to convey that power without a tune.

Lots of songwriters have regarded Henry Lawson's poems as fair game but, to me, most have lost much of their power by being sung rather than recited. Often the tune forces its rhythm, overriding the freer phrasing that recitation allows. In the hands of a sensitive performer this can be overcome (Cathy O'Sullivan's "Deeper Down", Lawson's poem of sinking artesian bores is an excellent example of how a poem can work well with a tune) but all too often the music (for me) distracts from the poem rather than augments its power.

The metaphor of graphic images, alluded to above, is interesting. Some images need full colour and some songs require arrangement of much instrumentation. Some images, such as Arnhem Land rock art and bark paintings require a (comparatively) subdued palette. Traditionally, that was all that was available, although Nourlangie and the Desert Mob show what happens when choice is widened; some instrumental and a capella harmonisations are similar. Some photographic images work best in black and white the way some songs work best as solo voice pieces. And, the way some purely line images (black on white or vice versa) starkly and sublimely convey their power, so can the spoken voice; Emmet's speech before his sentencing, or Lincoln's Gettyburg address are two excellent examples.

But, to each their own.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 05:39 AM

In my case it is partly that no-one can work out what the hell key I sing in;partly beacause I don't play a tuneable instrument and partly because no-one stays around long once I start.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Liberty Boy
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 02:30 AM

Why do we sing unaccompanied? Because we always have, and enjoy it! It's simple really.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 02:18 AM

Tim hasn't got a mean streak in him. He was joking. I agree with GS: not bad, either.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 12:09 AM

seligmanson... Beware of loss of sense of humour ..... as taking everything personally makes for becoming a grumpy old person!!!!!! Life is such fun.. and variety, especially on the Folk Circuit..... you only live once and critics are always around... live with it and them... they will respect the person.. and maybe not the singing or performing.. (or they might respect those as well if you are fortunate)
Enjoy your life!!!
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Tootler
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 05:21 PM

I think you are being oversensitive, seligmanson. Your description does not match my experience of the folk world which is much closer to that of this thread

Furthermore, the two times I have sung an unaccompanied song outside of a regular folk venue, I have been well received. People have even expressed admiration at my willingness to expose myself in that way. Not I felt I was doing anything special, just doing what most people do at the folk clubs I go to every week.

The people who make the type of negative comments you describe are generally those whose opinions I do not value anyway.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: seligmanson
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 12:00 PM

georgiansilver: Well, the truth is I am a bit touchy about jokes such as Time Leaning's, rightly or wrongly. I have had too much experience of people laughing at singers such as myself who prefer to sing unaccompanied. You must have heard them; even after so many years they still go on: the ones where we are described as jumper- and sandal-wearing communist beardies who stick our fingers in our ears and wail incomprehensibly (yes, I have actually had to face some-one imitating in what they thought was a satirical manner their own idea of what my singing sounds like, before they'd even heard me - if they were members of the BNP taking the mick out Muslims at prayer they couldn't have been more insulting, and I kind of let them know it). The fact is that the majority of people in this country have been educated by the mass-media, and by the education system - I was a teacher for twenty-five years,so I know - to ignore, even despise, its native musical traditions. Thankfully, at least in my experience,the great majority of people who discover them for the first time are immediately appreciative, even enthusiastic; but of course,some aren't. One reason for that is they simply don't like what they're hearing, which is fair enough, can't complain about that. But the other reason (and I base this on my long experience of folk-clubs, sessions, morris-dancing and so on) is that many who'd liketo get involved soon learn through hard experience that a significant number of the people who inhabit the world of 'folk' music are profoundly insular, turning their backs (all too often quite literally at many of the pub-sessions I have been to) on any-one who isn't part of that world, and all too ready to openly slag off other performers who don't match up to their idea of what's hot and what's not. So yes, I'm sensitive to jokes such as Tim Leaning's, and whether my comment was appropriate or not is moot: but I hope you can appreciate where that sensitivity comes from. Ta.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 08:13 AM

From a personal perspective, I feel some kinds of songs lend themselves more to unaccompanied performance & if accompanied detracts/ interferes with the sentiment/ message/ phrasing of the piece.

I like to perform stuff of all shades either accompanied or otherwise from trad folk, old pop, rock, diddly-diddly tunes seshes or w.h.y. - but I can get a little miffed if when doing something like 'Pleasant & Delightful' - some 'ignoramus' may start plonking away on guitar or even worse random rattling eggs, spoons, bashing bodrhans to the extent I'll just stop & sulk & glare at them politely request they desist & qualify why.

Guess I'm not alone in this position? Anyone?


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 02:21 AM

Seligmanson... I guess you wee a bit of colour or a bit 'touchy' when you had a go at Tim Leaning... it was so obviously a joke and I thought not a bad one at that....... certainly not something I would have questioned.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 12:12 AM

Years ago my professor in music appreciation 101 said the all great musicians were frustrated singers. wonder if it's true?


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 04 Oct 09 - 05:54 PM

Forgot to say, the CD includes a song written by Crowdercref too!

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 04 Oct 09 - 05:52 PM

It was a tautology, wasn't it - if you're unaccompanied you're on your own?

If anyone would like to acquire a copy of our a capella CD, called "The Sound of Singing", with sleeve notes explaining why we sing unaccompanied by instruments, please PM me...


Kitty


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: seligmanson
Date: 04 Oct 09 - 05:47 PM

Tim Leaning 17 Sep 09. Any chance of you explaining your comment? Was it a joke? Or was it a snide comment? I'm presuming that as it is such a poor joke, you couldn't have meant it as one, so it must be the snide comment. If so, do you think you could explain precisely what you have against one of the human species' most ancient and popular means of musical expression? Are you suggesting that because YOU can't see the point of it then it doesn't have a point? That's a fairly arrogant view, isn't it? Or do you have the musical knowledge to back it up? What do you say, Tim?


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: FairEllender
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 10:28 AM

Bob Colman pretty much sums it up for me, and I liked Bob Knight's example of Gaelic psalm singing - some of the most incredible sounds I have ever heard come from the human voice alone. To quote Busoni on the potential the human voice has: 'We have divided the octave into twelve equidistant degrees, because we had to manage somehow, and have constructed our instruments in such a way that we can never get in above or below or between them...Yet Nature created an infinite gradation - infinite! Who still knows it nowadays?'
The voice is capable of doing absolutely anything with timbre, scales and rhythm, to which an accompanying instrument cannot always be sympathetic. (One of my absolute bugbears is instrumentalists trying desperately to accompany a song which is simply not meant for accompaniment - e.g. a sean-nos song or ballad that follows no set rhythm - as if acappella singing has somehow deemed to be lacking in some way!)

For me, unaccompanied singing, listening to it or doing it, has a power that nothing else can equal. This point has been made earlier, but I have often noticed in slightly noisy pub sessions that an acappella singer can totally silence a room while those singing with instruments often get talked over. Now of course this is very unfair on the instrumentalist, but I think it highlights the innate power that the naked voice can have. It is certainly one of the main draws for me that Whittlebury has over many other festivals.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 17 Sep 09 - 11:47 AM

If you sing unaccompanied You are on yer own mate.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 17 Sep 09 - 10:26 AM

"Why do we sing unaccompanied?" - Because we, or at least some can.

Early working songs meant that they had to be sung unaccompanied because those working were using both hands as they worked.

It is downright bloody annoying to start into a song and have somebody attempt to accompany you who does not know how you sing the song and them attempts imposes their "version" of the song on the singer.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: GUEST,callingbird
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 02:26 PM

I sing unaccompanied because I like too. I can give my whole attention to the lyrics and the atmosphere of the song.

I never perform whilst 'holding a pint' but do whilst holding a glass of red wine and taking liberties with timing and rhythmn is exciting. Especially if some plonker desides they wants to join in with guitar, whistle etc.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: silverfish
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 01:27 PM

I prefer to sing with me mates than to play with me mates...
I can perform whilst holding a pint...
I can take more liberties with timing and rhythmn if I feel like it...
I don't sing unaccompanied when I can't remember the words or don't know the tune or want to extend my time as the centre of attention!


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Morris-ey
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 08:42 AM

People originally sang unaccompanied because there were no "musical" instruments (drums don't count); when there were musical instruments many could not afford them or had not the skill to play; nowadays it seems more a matter of choice or you have no mates who can play.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: TopcatBanjo
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 08:19 AM

I am involved in Sacred Harp singing which is a tradition from the Southern USA (and New England) but which has now become popular in several other countries including the UK - where we have a small but very enthusiastic group of singers! Sacred Harp (referring to the human voice but also the hymn book of the same name from 1844)is four-part unaccompanied harmony and personally I find it a very powerful and spine-tingling musical form. It is very much a participation rather than a performance thing and it is all about belting it out in full-throated voice rather than the more controlled style of a choir. To my shame I don't know that much about the reasons for singing unaccompanied but I believe that Sacred Harp traces its origins to Britain and possibly especially to the Western Isles tradition that has been mentioned above.

If the OP wants more info on Sacred Harp, check out this site:

http://fasola.org/


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Penny S.
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 07:45 AM

I sing unaccompanied because my guitar playing isn't what it was, and what it was wasn't up to what others are playing. Some of what I sing is better a capella, I think. Some could do with something, but I have no idea what keys I am singing in, and so people cannot join in. I think that it leads to lack of variation, even if I do vary tempos and moods. A problem.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: semi-submersible
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 03:06 AM

Gibb Sahib asked:
"How come lectures don't have guitars strumming along?"

In recent years around the world you may see a small but increasing number of doctoral theses being defended by dissertations presented in song or dance! (I think this is a good sign - but of what, exactly, I'm not sure.)


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 05:03 PM

"The solo voice CAN have complete freedom rhythmically"

A very important point. Variation in tempo is an important tool in interpreting a song and can be used very effectively to give emphasis where it is needed.

Even if you are singing strictly to written words and tune, you can make it your own by the use of tools like vocal decoration and varying the tempo to convey the meaning of the words as you understand them.


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: seligmanson
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 05:00 PM

Simple: We sing unaccompanied when it suits us to do so. Since in traditional culture singing was a common accomplishment, it could happen anywhere. Singing happened at work or during periods of leisure, in or out of the company of other people. It developed quite naturally as a perfectly self-sufficient activity, as therefore did the composition of songs, which was and is a very private matter. Accordingly the great majority of songs are also self-sufficient, fitted to be sung unaccompanied. This has never excluded the possibility of being accompanied. In the British tradition there is a wide range of instruments used as solo, as ensemble, and as voice-accompanying instruments, and accompanied singing as as likely to take place on social and on private occasions as unaccompanied. The point is that, because of the way songs are formulated, in complete contrast to modern pop-songs, accompaniment is a choice, not a necessity; and many singers, such as myself, choose not to accompany many of the songs we sing, because, according to our taste, these particular songs require the kind of concentration and intensity that providing an accompaniment would make impossible. It's an aesthetic judgment. Also, we should not forget that there have been periods in our history when many individuals would through poverty or persecution be deprived of the opportunity to own any instrument except one: the voice.(By the way, Hello Jim C.: from Dick - Richard these days - Snell)


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Subject: RE: Why do we sing unaccompanied?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 01:54 PM

most singers[in my experience] sing at their best when singing unaccompanied.
one reason is that they only have one skill to concentrate upon,
The solo voice CAN have complete freedom rhythmically.
wehy do i do it,because I enjoy it.


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