As I've aged I come to depend more on my tablet computer. Sometimes it is just notes I make about the song. Strangely I recall all of the lyrics on some songs, but forget what key to do it in. Sometimes my notes will say something like "watch for the G# chord in the bridge".
I agree that totaly reading the lyrics detracts from emoting the song.
Whatever gets you through the night.
Back in the days when you had 5 guys doing a gig and each guy had his favorites and only had to know a few songs ...well, those were the days alright.
But now you have one guy doing the work of 5 having to know up to 500 songs or more to please what ever comes his way... well this is today.
Add to that the info of how to set the beat, tempo, key, voices etc and etc. Doing all that usually requires sobriety, which back in the old days wasn't observed at all.
I'm sorry but the average human just has to write this stuff down.
If you're blessed with a total recall memory, I'm impressed and in awe of you. But for the rest of us playing real live music too, a little assistance isn't turned away.
im sorry macmike but i disagree .
I probably know off by art maybe 150 songs .
And i certainly would not throw another song in the mix before i had learnt it beforehand.
A little assistance is fine. But to have an ipad on stage with scrolling words is another level imo.
Each to their own , but in Englands clubs a solo vocalist just wouldnt get away with it as we play with only a mic stand to lean on.(equipment tends to be behind us or to the side).
That's why you're gonna love the new iPadiSee; a pair of sunglasses with a twist. Now, you can keep that cool rock star look while the lyrics and chords scroll across the glasses lens completely hidden from the audience! Perfect for the scenario you describe, I would think!
Didn't mean to make it look like I was addressing you or your comments, I was just warning anybody who happens to read my comments. I know this can be a sticky subject.
I sometimes will get a request for a tune I haven't done in a while. The person requesting will say, "I heard you do that at such and such", and maybe I haven't played there in years, so I'll say, "what's the first line of the first verse"? Many times that's all it takes to bring out the whole song.
The way Dylan changes up the lyrics to his songs allows me to feel just fine if I want to change up a lyric to fit a personal event or mood. That's part of what I meant when I said, "select songs you like and make them your own".
I have a musician friend I have known for 39 years. A couple of months back we were on a short trip down to Florida and he had a new ipad with him. He asked me about an old Merle Haggard song that I used to do but I couldn't remember it. I said, "google it". He said, "what?" So I picked up the ipad and googled the title. We got it on youtube and I was amazed, that he was amazed, because he had never googled a song title before.
We spent the next couple of hours trying to stump the internet with old songs and never failed to find at least the lyrics.
But to get to my point, all these old songs that neither of us had performed for many years he could sing at least a couple of verses of.
Since 2003, he and I have traveled well over a hundred thousand miles together in cars, trucks, motorhomes, and motocycles. I am contstantly amazed at his ability to recall a tune when he can't remember where we said we were going when we left the house. I guess we'll never know how many songs he could sing from memory but with out a doubt it would be in the thousands.
I think I have forgotten more songs than most people know, and I still don't have a problem singing for four or five hours without repeating a song, but it is still easy to stump me because I never learned the big hits of any decade. I don't sing a single Elvis tune, no Beatles, No Brown Eyed Girl. There are six guys down the street singing those tunes. It's hard to stand out if you do the same old thing.
I do have in my repertoire about ten or twelve of what I call trigger songs. If the audience is slipping away I can "pull the trigger" and get them back with Sweet Caroline or another sing along anthem. Then I can go back to boring them with what I like. Singing what I like is fun, singing what they like is work. On those special, rare occasions when the audience and I like the same tunes, then it's like magic.
I think there is a huge difference when you perform songs you really like, or you can relate to on a personal level vs. singing songs because they are popular and people recognize them. I think it makes a difference in the way one performs and the ability to remember the lyrics.
When I am performing on a regular basis I try to make sure that every 3rd or 4th song is recognizeable by the general public, the other 2 or 3, I might be the only one in the place that knows them.
I suspect that many of you who are using aids, could sing most of your repertoire without the aid, if it went down or got lost and you really had to. I just don't believe anyone can play night after night without a good portion of it sticking somewhere.
ipadisee ? i want some hahha can i watch a movie while i am singing? , but then u get called called a <<colloquialism>> for wearing sunglasses on stage ! hahahhaha
Edit: Forum-Admin removed a colloquialism that could be offensive to some readers in different parts of the world -- please see our Terms of Service link at the bottom of every page.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Forum-Admin,
I've used lyrics on paper and then on a computer screen my whole life - basically. I think any of you who have heard me would find it hard to say I'm disconnected from my audience when performing. Most people never know I'm using a computer for words. Many assume there's backing music on it which there isn't.
The point is to connect with your audience and get into the moment of the song - no matter how you do that.
You could extend this argument to anything that distracts you from truly communicating with your audience - from gear to even other players you're playing with who keep you from really paying attention to the content of the song and the reaction of the audience.
I'd love to be able to play without lyrics, but it's something I've learned to live with and make work for me. Does it make me lose connection with my audience? Very rarely.
I've even found that concentrating on remembering a lyric when I didn't use words could throw me off, so again - whatever causes you to lose the moment of the song.
That's my stance.
Sweet Caroline! Haha...that's a backburner one here in New England because of the Red Sox (don't ask me how that happened to catch fire but something to do with the Fenway crowd).
Couldn't agree more about the 'off-road' path you choose. I do the same but sprinkle in those Beatle, Elvis, even Kings of Leon tunes to make myself sellable to the internet crowd. But I definitely prefer the more obscure tunes. I noticed years ago at the North East Bose Gathering that you sang the Danny O'Keefe song, The Road (more people know if from Jackson Browne, I'm sure). THAT is what I'm interested in.
Speaking strictly for myself, the 'look at my notes' thing is usually about 2-3 percent of my gig. In other words, VERY SELDOM. But for weddings, I like to have the tablature (not a good note reader) for Canon in D. I also like to have notes written in like "Pause in middle of Canon for bride to perform triple somersault", etc.
We've probably whipped this horse enough. Some use the tools, some don't and some (like me) use them sparingly but appreciate what they bring to the game, particularly non-club stuff like weddings.
If anyone is interested, I can set them up with the iSee sunglasses for a deposit of two-thousand dollars...
Tom, your post came in a moment before I posted mine and I always wanted to tell you that I thought it was cool that at that same NE Gathering you chose to perform a war-horse song for musicians, Edmund Fitzgerald, because you had an original take on it. I love doing that kind of stuff as well.
I have songs such as Sweet Home Alabama that I've changed to Sweet Home Rhode Island and rewritten almost every word. I use a bass and drums backing track to give it that sound along with my vocal and guitar. It is defintely an example of how and why I use an occasional lyric sheet. For one reason, I'd forget these lyrics as I don't sing it a lot (RI clambakes, etc) and for another I have notation indicating how many bars I'll solo over. Here's a couple of verses as an example:
Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about Rhode Island
I miss little Rhody once again
And I think its a sin, yeah
Well I heard some people don’t like quahogs
Well, I heard some people put ‘em down
Well, I hope them people will remember
A New England man don't need them around anyhow
Sweet home Rhode Island
Where the ocean is so blue (and there's Family Guy too)
Sweet home Rhode Island
Lord, I'm coming home to you
Works for me...
I'd hazard a guess that while some people here use a device with words scrolling by (or maybe there are tabs), I seriously doubt that "karaoke style" would be an apt characterization of what is going on.
I know the people who have replied to you (either personally or from long history here on the forum). I am pretty sure that we are all performing live. I agree with you: Our audiences will tell us what they think. They may or may not do that audibly (applause or derision) but ultimately they vote with their feet.
That's first-hand experience, up close and personal, and for me, it is the most relevant assessment of my ability as a performer.
Please see this new discussion for Davecfraser,
To all: Please post replies related to trigger song in the new discussion.
edit: added quote of Davecfraser's original post
I responded to the post by Dave in the new thread started by Forum-admin.
Reading back through my own post I felt that I might add a comment.
There is no song that is more important than a happy audience. There is nothing in performing that is more satisfying than knowing you are responsible for people having a good time. Those that are extremely successful in this business usually have a knack for making people happy. If one can't, or won't do what it takes to make the folks happy the success is limited.
I wouldn't suggest to anyone desiring musical success that they follow my lead.
I have never had a good memory for lyrics. I have a great voice and play the guitar really well so not being able to remember lyrics I considered a curse and the reason for not making it big. I made a few attempts at hiding the lyrics or making it less noticeable but as I get older and need better glasses I gave up and just set up the music stand and did my show. What I find a bit odd is I have never had an audience member come up and ask why I don't have the lyrics memorized. I have had other musical egos ask me if they don't but I still manage to get the applause and support of the audience. In smaller house concerts I get people asking to look through my books and make requests as they see songs they want to hear. At 60 I don't think I'm gonna change.
My news is Blues!
This is what it is all about. Very Nice O
And so my friends, this is why, when requested, I play American Pie on guitar and Dueling Banjos on banjo.
Right on Tom!!!!! Short and sweet! Tell it like it "really is" in the music world. I have been performing for almost 50 years so listen up guys! You play what your "know" that your audience wants to hear! I don't care how you do it.....just "do it". I used to have a guitar player in my band that always wanted to do "original" tunes. The dance floor emptied and during a break I pointed to the people in the room and said to him."see them"? .They are the people paying you......'we play for them". You want personal stardom then "Vegas is due west"..goodluck! Over the years I have received tons of work because I make my audience feel like part of the show!.
But I sure would like a pair of those glasses!!!!!!!! LOL!
"music is neither new or old".....it just "is"
I'm going to add that it's not necessary to always make the audience happy, just moved and satisfied.
I knew just after I had posted that "happy" was not the inclusive term that I really meant when I said it.
To me, music is emotional, so I want my audience to be emotionally involved with what I am doing, happy or otherwise.
Yeah, I figured you did too. We've been around long enough to know that we want to give and get more than just happy.
Here's to performing to the fullest.
I for one use lyric sheets now and again - the main reason is that my act is a relatively new one and with every gig I'm recording more and more backing tracks.
I also work a busy and stressful day job and don't necessarily have the time to learn all the lyrics straight off. So whenI already have 20 songs as a starter, and then add more, only gigging part-time, it takes a while to learn that volume of lyrics.
I DO endeavour to use the sheets as little as possible, and often only use cues (eg first words per verse etc) and once I have them they're removed from the pile.
I have a handful of songs now that I still need to read (usually once 8've gigged em a few times I'm ok). I simply don't have the time to spend in between various hobbies, work and social life, and I gig part-time so it takes a while to get em into the noggin.
As for requests, some songs I barely play anymore, so the reminders are helpful in those instamces. It's not unprofessional, if anything it enables solid delivery.
Are you gonna tell me that classical musicians and the likes shouldn't read their music? That they're somehow doing it karaoke style? I seriously doubtit.
The main advantage to the scrolling ipad solution is that you don't have to carry a large song book and I already run my backing tracks off it anyway.
Just my 2c
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