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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
PeadarOfPortsmouth Versions of songs, and etiquette (67* d) RE: Versions of songs, and etiquette 19 Nov 07


Mrrzy - Others may disagree, but my personal rule of thumb is that if someone has gone to the trouble of learning a song to present to a session, then the polite thing is to let them lead and then join in at the refrain or chorus. If you absolutely must join in on the verses, it should be quiet enough that you don't distract others around you from hearing the interpretation being presented ... that way you respect the effort the singer put into learning the song.

My question to the group, however: What is the statute of limitations regarding "ownership" of a song at a session? If someone hasn't sung it in two years, should I feel comfortable in singing it, or do I have to wait until they've passed away?

The session I go to, for example, has been running for nearly 25 years and is regularly attended by some talented and dedicated singers. During that time, each person has brought (and taken ownership of) enough songs to fill the local library. So when I started attending, I found it very difficult to get a footing with songs that weren't already "taken."

So while I definitely wanted to be respectful of their territory, it was incredibly frustrating to
a) choose a song that I hadn't heard at the session,
b) research it,
c) find a interpretation that seemed relatively unique,
d) and go through the process of learning it,
only to be told afterwards "You know, that's so-and-so song".

Luckily, the crowd I'm with has been very generous and encouraging in my development and would usually couch it in a good way. But there were times when the frustration got too much and I wanted to ask them for a worthy song that HADN'T been sung there. Obviously, I'm glad I never said that out loud. ;-) Instead, I just run my song selection by a couple of the long-time attendees.

But just as there is a general understanding that you don't sing another person's song, is there a common guideline in session etiquette that a song is up for grabs again if "the owner" hasn't sung it in public for a while?

Peter


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