Mudcat Café Message Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
lamarca Dan Milner - Song first / Singer second (39) RE: Dan Milner - Song first / Singer second 04 Apr 02

Greg, I think there's a difference between singing with friends and performing. To me, if you're singing with friends and sharing music in their language, that's great. However, if you try to perform a song that you've learned by rote in a language that you don't understand or speak, that's exactly what it will sound like - rote-learned. And for an suburban white girl like me to assume a West Virginia hillbilly accent or an Irish brogue to sing a song the way the source singer from whom I learned it did rings just as false in my ear. I try to learn songs that really grab me from many different places, and translate them into my own natural voice as much as possible (sometimes more successfully than others). This is just one of my personal bugaboos, and is probably more a matter of personal taste.

Peg, of course we have to sing songs in a key that's comfortable for our range - what I meant by changing keys are the people who start a song in one key, and then change to another key within the song several times for "dramatic effect". Again, it's a matter of how tastefully it's done, and whether it enhances putting the song across, or is done to call attention to the singer's virtuosity.

As far as learning material, when I first started singing in public, I didn't have much of a repertoire. The FSGW has monthly song swaps called Open Sings, where there is a topic, and the songs you sing a supposed to relate (however vaguely) to the topic - like "Passion (songs about love, crimes of passion, addictions, hobbies, etc.)" for February, or "As I Roved Out (songs about roving, wandering traveling, etc.)" for May. Sometimes I would learn a song that I really loved that happened to fit the topic; all too often I'd go find something funny or complicated or fit the topic in a devious way that I would learn so that everyone would see how clever I was. Funny thing - the songs I've learned because I really love the melody or the story or some twist of phrase in them have stayed in my memory, and I still sing them either in performance or with friends. The songs I only learned to fit a topic or to show off have long since slipped out of my memory.

Bob Zentz wrote a wonderful song about this -"My Favorite Song" (which doesn't seem to be in the DT):
Chorus: I wouldn't sing 'em if I didn't like 'em,
I wouldn't like 'em if I didn't care
I wouldn't care if you didn't listen,
There's a lot of good songs out there
Some songs are just like the people I know,
Some people like the songs I sing
And I never sang a song that I didn't love -
Or no song that didn't love me.

To me it's all a matter of being true to yourself and who you are as a singer, and what the song means to you that you're trying to convey to an audience. Sometimes passion and love for the material makes a better singer that training and fancy vocal chops...

OK, I'll get down off my soapbox now (until the next time...)

Post to this Thread -

Back to the Main Forum Page

By clicking on the User Name, you will requery the forum for that user. You will see everything that he or she has posted with that Mudcat name.

By clicking on the Thread Name, you will be sent to the Forum on that thread as if you selected it from the main Mudcat Forum page.

By clicking on the Subject, you will also go to the thread as if you selected it from the original Forum page, but also go directly to that particular message.

By clicking on the Date (Posted), you will dig out every message posted that day.

Try it all, you will see.