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Author Topic: My playing for songs  (Read 1783 times)

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Cooper

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My playing for songs
« on: January 21, 2015, 11:57:07 PM »

Hi People,

I am looking for advice. I have been playing for dancers in a (neo-)trad environment for quite long, but playing for (more modern) songs is something else entirely.

So since almost 2 years i've been playing in a new band, and would love to hear some feedback. Both on my playing for these songs, as on the sound from the band as a whole. We only sing in Dutch and it's a sortof folkrock sound, but in the Netherlands we dont have much to compare us with, and i guess the English have a strong tradition for this kind of music. So,...shoot! rather not to kill ;-) but i can take a hit.

A couple of months ago someone made some video's of a gig we played, and i just saw them on youtube, so i can refer you to them.

With my Giordy some sort of Ballad: http://youtu.be/kvMFBd8_dj0
With the Gaillard (that i use most in this band) http://youtu.be/92AojDpIIe8 or http://youtu.be/anCRtUOIt2c http://youtu.be/YyN9Zm3w6IY
you can click on from there ofcourse, i think he put the whole gig on there. (For those who like that, i played 2 songs with my pipes as well)

Like i said, i hope to hear a lot of comments. Perhaps some youtube referals for examples of where i could pick up some tricks?

thx a lot!
W
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Broadland Boy

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Re: My playing for songs
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2015, 12:44:54 AM »

Haven't had a chance to listen to them all but the track with the Giordy is lovely, both you and the rest of the band - thanks for sharing  :||:  ;D
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oggiesnr

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Re: My playing for songs
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2015, 07:45:47 AM »

As you're from Holland you'll presumably know the early Fungus records?

Kees's accordion playing on the first album works quite well I think.

Steve
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Chris Ryall

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Re: My playing for songs
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2015, 08:24:18 AM »

Goed dag Wouter!

You've asked for honest critique rather than 'that was nice' so here goes. I'm struggling with the same issues myself - see the "English style" thread

Well. I enjoyed them too  :o but I don't think 'English' tradition has much to inform either piece. The first was arranged in what I'd call classic US 'West Coast' style essentially as a vocal harmony piece. It worked well as that, and didn't try to do anything brave as music.  Your melodeon breaks were clean and pleasant … but the whole piece became a bit of a continuum, the only surprise was the flute.

'West Coast' relates to pentatonic , so  you might have added variety by running a pentatonic riff (+/- a blue 4th/7, they were little solos) instead of arpegio'd chords but there's no right way and you need to avoid anything 'Country & Western'?  That little Giordy was definitely the right box for this number.

So good overall, but I felt that you were over-used! Basically I thought the whole piece could have done with more arrangement. Perhaps a  guitar break on one chorus? The flute break was good too, but flute isn't the easiest of instruments to self-accompany! So a bit less of Helga, maybe Erin/Dane leading the song, you a breaking couple of times (different ways), a guitar, and a flute break might have been a winner? But this is more about the group rather than its accordeon star.

Second piece? Well it's close to chanson/music hall, though similar songs exist in most European traditions. Even here, Britons have to do this style for the  Eurovision every year or risk the dreaded "null points" ::) The mighty Helga started with a wacky, almost scat intro … most of which worked.

I thought you did very well to keep up with her. I expected some b9's in her song, but they never came. You chorded cleanly into the dominants and back, in no way drowned the impro. I suspect Stéph might have extended some of the measures into full minor ii/V/i's as a broader based underpin for the scat, but nothing is ever wrong in this field.

The main lyric was great, all musicians light and supportive, plenty of 'silence' to allow melody to develop … which it did 8) de voorstelling eindigt niet tot de dikke dame zingt as we say here ;)
« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 08:27:18 AM by Chris Ryall »
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Cooper

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Re: My playing for songs
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2015, 01:20:03 AM »

Haven't had a chance to listen to them all but the track with the Giordy is lovely, both you and the rest of the band - thanks for sharing  :||:  ;D
Thx!
As you're from Holland you'll presumably know the early Fungus records?

Kees's accordion playing on the first album works quite well I think.Steve
I do know them, but apparently not that well. I dont recall an accordeon. Will check them out again. thx! It's been a whle since i listened to them, but i should have their records someweher :-)
Goed dag Wouter!

You've asked for honest critique rather than 'that was nice' so here goes. I'm struggling with the same issues myself - see the "English style" thread

Well. I enjoyed them too  :o but I don't think 'English' tradition has much to inform either piece. The first was arranged in what I'd call classic US 'West Coast' style essentially as a vocal harmony piece.
Why doesnt teh English tradition doesnt work on this? Because of the song itself, or because of the way i play it? If i wanted it to be more English style, what shoudl i do? (where would the sus-chords go? ;-) )
It worked well as that, and didn't try to do anything brave as music.  Your melodeon breaks were clean and pleasant … but the whole piece became a bit of a continuum, the only surprise was the flute.
You're totally right, in newer versions we let the flute take over one. but thx, more of that!

'West Coast' relates to pentatonic , so  you might have added variety by running a pentatonic riff (+/- a blue 4th/7, they were little solos) instead of arpegio'd chords but there's no right way and you need to avoid anything 'Country & Western'?  That little Giordy was definitely the right box for this number.
Thx, it was fun finding a good use for the Giordy :-) And yes, i do see them as little solo's as well. blue notes are not really the thing on a Giordy i think, but i must confess that blue notes are not very much in my toolkit/repertoire yet, so yeah, i could dive into that. Do you have any easy/clear examples for me perhaps? preferably on box, :-) but anything will do. 

 
Second piece? Well it's close to chanson/music hall, though similar songs exist in most European traditions. Even here, Britons have to do this style for the  Eurovision every year or risk the dreaded "null points" ::) The mighty Helga started with a wacky, almost scat intro … most of which worked.

I thought you did very well to keep up with her. I expected some b9's in her song, but they never came. You chorded cleanly into the dominants and back, in no way drowned the impro. I suspect Stéph might have extended some of the measures into full minor ii/V/i's as a broader based underpin for the scat, but nothing is ever wrong in this field.
Can you explain some more? When would Steph go into the II/V/I's?

thx for your feedback! Anyone else perhaps as well?

One thing i am also struggling with: what to do with the rythm? Since i am chording a lot, it feels a bit crowded rythmwise between drums/guitar and to a lesser extent the bass. Any good solutions?

Also a different question, especially if any of you listened to some more tracks,..what would you call our style of music? You know, it needs a nametag to be sold and all,...i don't think "folk rock" covers it, but then again, what do i know...

W
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Please correct my English, it's been a while, and i like to learn.
And don't be so polite! I know i must be typing tons of stuff that a native speaker would say differently...please enlighten me.

www.wouterkuyper.nl
www.lirio.nl
www.trekzakacademie.nl

Chris Ryall

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Re: My playing for songs
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2015, 12:34:31 PM »

In song (or for that matter in dance) English traditional is really not all that different from Dutch traditional. Do come over and try some (:) I felt very much at home going over from Cambridge to attend NeVo festivals in the 1970s, or indeed Gooik in the recent 2 summers.

New English is a guitar style, popularised by Nic Jones, Martin Carthy and a few others, very percussive and strictly modal in approach. They use(d) sus chords for cadence with very few true dominants, big chunks of silence (you do that well too (:)),  and virtually no notes outwith the diatonic scale.

It links in with open guitar tunings, and harmony often in 4th rather then 3rds. Still experimenting on melodeon but have already found that you'll commonly have one right finger on a different row from the others, or be playing chord against the "wrong" bass. Crossed bass chords (accords composés) seem to work well too.

i tried some of this in Vogüe (Stage d'Impro) a few years ago and was surprised at a very positive reception. They said I was "taking risks"! I think it is more applicable to solo voice + solo instrument than bands.

AFAIR you weren't at Ghent in 2013, but they simply take a 4/5/1 or 5/1 cadence, and replace it with 2/5/1 … on "general principles". It of course makes it instantly less "folk" but opens a tune up for impro.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 12:44:50 PM by Chris Ryall »
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Cooper

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Re: My playing for songs
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2015, 10:34:08 AM »


New English is a guitar style, popularised by Nic Jones, Martin Carthy and a few others, very percussive and strictly modal in approach. They use(d) sus chords for cadence with very few true dominants, big chunks of silence (you do that well too (:)),  and virtually no notes outwith the diatonic scale.
I have been thinking about this a bit. Do you have an example that you can walk-through with me? or here?


i tried some of this in Vogüe (Stage d'Impro) a few years ago and was surprised at a very positive reception. They said I was "taking risks"! I think it is more applicable to solo voice + solo instrument than bands.
Still interesting. :-)
AFAIR you weren't at Ghent in 2013, but they simply take a 4/5/1 or 5/1 cadence, and replace it with 2/5/1 … on "general principles". It of course makes it instantly less "folk" but opens a tune up for impro.
Correct, too busy scedule with 3 kids,...I do intend to go again in a few years.

What i thought you meant was ... i vaguely recall someone tlling me about an option to replace 1 chord with an entire sequence. But i don't know how that would work, or which chord to replace by which sequence,...or when this would be applicable,..
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Please correct my English, it's been a while, and i like to learn.
And don't be so polite! I know i must be typing tons of stuff that a native speaker would say differently...please enlighten me.

www.wouterkuyper.nl
www.lirio.nl
www.trekzakacademie.nl

911377brian

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Re: My playing for songs
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2015, 11:27:03 AM »

I can't speak about the technical stuff that Chris covered with you Cooper, but I can say that what you do with a Giordy is nothing short of amazing.I've just ordered one from Rees of this parish, unaware that they are capable of that kind of sound. Very uplifting...
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Chris Ryall

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Re: My playing for songs
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2015, 01:25:05 PM »

Quote
New English is a guitar style
I have been thinking about this a bit. Do you have an example that you can walk-through with me? or here?

Not as a melodeon walk through. A lot of it is attutude, frankly and liberal use of sus chords for tension/détente.  https://youtu.be/ndoRoc97qAE  - this is a "God" of 1970's English trad song - Nic jones playing in the "English" style - actually this track is quite lyrical. Try "miles weatherhill" also linked off. Youtube also offers https://youtu.be/oAOny7J33Lk with someone explaining his guitar on Canadee-i-o and then playing the song.

https://youtu.be/_j9GNU0VlWE is also quite good - a Jones big hit guitar track played a bit slower than Nic did. I do this on box and … it always seems to go down well. It's also the 'Vogüe' tune I refer too above  … another one!!

AFAIR you weren't at Ghent in 2013, but they simply take a 4/5/1 or 5/1 cadence, and replace it with 2/5/1 … on "general principles". It of course makes it instantly less "folk" but opens a tune up for impro. 
Correct, too busy scedule with 3 kids,...I do intend to go again in a few years.  What i thought you meant was ... i vaguely recall someone tlling me about an option to replace 1 chord with an entire sequence. But i don't know how that would work, or which chord to replace by which sequence,...or when this would be applicable,..

The steer from Gent is that Sisca Huyghe won't run it there again. But the Isere course is a lot better, if a lot further!

As for replacing chords - well, you can replace anything. The V chord takes most punishment as it contains the unstable 3-tone interval, but you aren't going to put in 5b, #9 playing for song, surely?   Often a 'flat' sequence works best allowing full vocal expression. Simple chord inversions, arpeggios -up or down depending generally sound good. My present experiments include running (fast) through a pentatonic scale (that you have 'all one direction) instead of a chord. eg Eb maj-pent against Eb bass. It gives a nice dynamic, (in eg Bb) and you can move to another bass eg Eb=IV to F=V in the middle of it - works!!

My last month experiment has been  to run the 6 note blues scale against a bass. Curiously Bb blues against Bb bass "not so good" whereas the same little flourish against Eb=IV bass is quite nice Always it depends on what the song is doing - if you lose sensitivity to that then you lose everything :-\

Sorry re multiple posts here - am getting the awful 403 error a lot ::)
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