Ways not to introduce your song To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=160393
26 messages

Ways not to introduce your song

11 Aug 16 - 04:35 PM (#3804610)
Subject: Ways NOT to introduce your song
From: Andy7

Here are some ways NOT to introduce your song/tune/poem:

"I don't know this one too well, but ..."
"I apologise in advance if this goes wrong ..."
"Okay, let's give something new a try ..."
"I'm still working on this ..."
"Here's a song I've been trying to learn, it's quite difficult ..."
"This was fine at home, but well, let's see ..."
"If this doesn't work, I'll try another one ..."
"I'll never do this as well as the original, but ..."

No!!! Just smile, introduce it confidently if you need to introduce it, and then go for it!

If you make a real hash of it, well, we've all been there! Then you can just laugh it off with a joke, and try to sing your next song better.

No one but you really cares at all that you messed up, and neither is anyone but you likely to remember!


11 Aug 16 - 05:22 PM (#3804616)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Gallus Moll

Totally agree! As long as you do your best and believe in the song - you will communicate the message.

More don'ts- - never apologise for anything eg sore throat!


11 Aug 16 - 06:31 PM (#3804623)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Joe Offer

NEVER apologize or put yourself down when you're singing or speaking or otherwise performing for an audience. Just do the best you can. If you really mess it up, I suppose you could say something afterwards; but I'm not sure what good that would do.

I think it's best to do your best, and then you have no reason to apologize. Most likely you were better than you thought you were.

-Joe-


11 Aug 16 - 06:40 PM (#3804625)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST,Auldtimer

Yes.....but always introduce your songs. It gives you a break, and gets your voice a good chance to clear out before singing.


11 Aug 16 - 07:46 PM (#3804635)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST,Gerry

"I've suffered for my music --- now, it's your turn." (The Rutles)


11 Aug 16 - 10:38 PM (#3804649)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Stanron

I remember Pete Farrow once, in the middle of his set, back of hand to forehead in full Tony Hancock mode turned to his audience and said, "I'm an artiste. This is pergatory to me!"

I'm not sure I could get away with that.

Another one to avoid is "You peasants don't deserve a talent like mine!"


12 Aug 16 - 03:28 AM (#3804659)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson

Never belittle your song -- "This is just a WEE song etc." -- and never tell the whole story of a ballad in advance.
Either way round, why would an audience bother too listen?


12 Aug 16 - 04:20 AM (#3804662)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST

If it's not a "wee song",you could warn them in advance though.... ;-)


12 Aug 16 - 04:24 AM (#3804664)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Jim Carroll

Agree with most here (no song should ever have to be "warned" about - if it does, don't sing it.
Would add - never tell the story of the song in advance - why bother singing it otherwise?
Jim Carroll


12 Aug 16 - 04:35 AM (#3804666)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Johnny J

Re "warning", that was me. I hadn't logged on but I was joking....

I agree with most of what has been said. However, while singers should at all times avoid being "apologetic", it's helpful if they are able to guage the make up of their audience and tailor their introductions and even some of thier repertoire to suit.


12 Aug 16 - 04:41 AM (#3804667)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST,Peter

If singing a modern political song it shouldn't be necessary to hammer home the message in the introduction. If the song can't stand alone then it isn't doing its job.

A historical political song is another matter of course but the intro should be brief, not a lecture.


12 Aug 16 - 06:08 AM (#3804678)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: BobKnight

I posted something about this on my facebook page a few weeks back, but more along the lines of the singers who talk for ages before they sing. It seems to be an older person's thing, but they all have one thing in common, they seem to love the sound of their own voice and a captive audience forced to listen.

Get on with it - less talking, more singing please.

I especially hate the, 'I don't really know this song too well," or the, "I'm till working on this one." Great - but work on it at home, or come back when you know it really well. Rehearsing it in front of an audience, is the height of bad manners and disrespect.

Forgotten the words? We're all human, and if I do, I normally say something like, 'It's at times like this that you discover the memory is directly connected to the sweat glands.'


12 Aug 16 - 07:41 AM (#3804688)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Mysha

Hi,

So, does that mean we should start with the following?

"I know this one very well, so ..."
"I'm not apologising for whatever is going to go wrong ..."
"Okay, let's give something old a try ..."
"I'm doing this one on routine ..."
"Here's a song I'm doing unrehearsed ; it's too easy ..."
"This didn't work at home, but well: Let's see ..."
"If this does work, I'll do another one ..."
"I'll always do this better than the original, so ..."


A lot of it is down/up to expectations, of course. Pete Seeger singing from a newly encountered song from a crib sheet does explain to the audience, even if that explanation slightly diminishes his standing; he dos so as his audience doesn't expect him to use a crib sheet. Still, whole orchestras play with paper in front of them without anyone expecting anything else.
Folktalker Vin Garbutt is expected to occasionally sing a song in between his spoken words, and if someone in the audience has different expectations, that person is in the wrong audience. But if you're playing background music, you're mostly expected not to speak at all.
Introducing "I don't know this one too well, but a young lady in the audience insisted I play it tonight." is much better than first confronting the audience with a song full of unexpected (by the audience) errors (by you), and only afterwards trying to make it right by an explanation.

Returning to Pete Seegers: Turn, Turn, Turn.

Bye,
                                                                Mysha


12 Aug 16 - 08:12 AM (#3804696)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST,DTM

I don't mind a few lines and dialogue that give a backdrop to the song about to be sung. At least you have an idea where and when you are from the outset.
Re apologising for a performance in advance. I remember the pop group The Tremloes saying that they were about to sing their new single but warned it might be a bit rough then proceded to give a flawless performance of Silence Is Golden.
Nudge nudge, say no more boys.


12 Aug 16 - 12:04 PM (#3804726)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Jack Campin

Please, when doing a self-composed Spanish guitar solo, it's okay to say it's dedicated to your grandfather but please don't spend five minutes telling us how you owe everything to him.

And don't follow that with another solo intended as a portrait in sound of your ex-girlfriend and spend another five minutes telling us how you really loved her at the time though it didn't work out.

(Unfortunately I didn't make either of those up).


12 Aug 16 - 12:30 PM (#3804736)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST,Desi C

Yep we've all been guilty of at least one of those at least once ;)


12 Aug 16 - 12:38 PM (#3804737)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: robomatic

"Don't blame me. I didn't write this crap!"


13 Aug 16 - 07:45 AM (#3804840)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST,JHW (regular really)

Heard one Whitby-

"This is a poem called 'Have you got any news of the iceberg?'"


13 Aug 16 - 01:32 PM (#3804896)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST,DrWord

"Musicking The Meanings of Performing and Listening" by Christopher Small ~ Wesleyan 1998 238 pp. 6 x 9" Music / Cultural Studies ...
no time to Mud around right now but lots of stuff in Small's text germane to this topic. only just well into it, but can commend it to 'catters, at least those on this thread.
I agree, of course, with most of the points made--the OP examples are only toooo typical ...


keep on pickin'
dennis


14 Aug 16 - 12:29 PM (#3805065)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Marje

I started a thread here years ago called something like, "I'm sorry, but...." and then I had a rant about the pre-emptive apology (as instanced in the opening post). Yes, yes, and yes to all of that!

It simply unnerves the audience and makes them suspect they're not going to enjoy the song. Some will be thinking, "Well why doesn't he sing one he does know?" or "So why hasn't she practised it and found the right key?"

Fair enough to include a caveat if someone has requested something you weren't planning to sing; fair enough to apologise after a song if something did go badly wrong. But when you're presenting something of your own choice, try to make it sound as if it's going to be worth listening to.

This does not mean you have to extol your own talents. The song is what it's all about, and it may help to give a pointer or two to the aspects that you like or consider important. This does NOT mean telling the whole story, but giving a hint such as "I like the way she answers him back when he gets cocky," or perhaps a brief explanation of an important dialect or archaic word that will be used. Just a few words explaining why this song is special for you can make it more enjoyable to listen to, and help people focus on the strengths of the song.

But don't apologise before you've even begun.

Marje


14 Aug 16 - 04:09 PM (#3805107)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Amos

I often introduce a song with some context, but it would be a total waste to recount the story (if there is one) before doing the song.

I like to introduce "Tying Knots in the Devil's Tail" with the suggestion that it is a morality story--if you find yourself in a crisis between the forces of good and evil, don't bother calling on a priest or a rabbi. Just get a couple of drunk cowboys, and you'll be fine.


15 Aug 16 - 03:22 AM (#3805182)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST,FloraG

Know your audience.

A folk club might appreciate some background, a pub audience might not.

I once heard a well respected female group explain who wrote the song; where they got it from and its background as well as frequently changing instruments with a PA set up that was more used to rock music. The audience was not specifically folky. 100% miss.
FloraG.


15 Aug 16 - 03:35 AM (#3805186)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: peregrina

I'd be happy to hear fewer banjo jokes and fewer body-count/misery jokes about the ballads.

Chances are, a folk audience is there because they like banjos and ballads, maybe even like them very much, and already know something about them.

The banjo is a wonderful instrument well-played.

The long survival of the ballads hows that the dark ones need no apologies or special pleading.

The jokes about both fall into the deprecating category--deprecating the tradition.


15 Aug 16 - 03:45 AM (#3805188)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Mr Red

I used to pick songs with a connection to the audience. If there is an American or Kiwi etc hope to sing something with a connection. And that is perfect for introduction. "As we have a French visitor.........." eg

It is limited to your repertoire, that you can remember at the drop of a hat. But you are guaranteed one or two who listen more intently.


15 Aug 16 - 05:37 AM (#3805197)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: GUEST,Peter

[quote]
Know your audience.

A folk club might appreciate some background, a pub audience might not.
[/quote]
+1


15 Aug 16 - 08:16 AM (#3805214)
Subject: RE: Ways not to introduce your song
From: Mo the caller

Know your audience 2

Heard a young (excellent) duo introduce a song at Chippenham FF with an explanation of Cyril Tawney to an audience who'd mostly known about him before the performers were born.