Mudcat Café message #857724 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55223   Message #857724
Posted By: Allan C.
03-Jan-03 - 08:23 AM
Thread Name: Using a music stand
Subject: RE: Using a music stand
I have to agree for the most part with Dick Greenhaus, Cluin and others that it seems difficult (to me) to portray the sense and sentiment of a ballad, for instance, while reading it from a sheet. I agree in part with Sorcha's comment about Christmas music. We only sing them a very few times per year and so they are not planted very firmly in our memories - except for the ones that are inculcated through repetition since childhood. I had two new-to-me seasonal songs that I wanted to perform recently and tussled with whether to use a cheat sheet. I opted to all but beat the songs into my head instead and was glad for having done so.

I admire Mick's compromise of the mini-stand attached to the mike. Somewhere among my collection of stuff, I have a device that hooks onto the sound hole of the guitar. Because of the manner of leverage it uses, it is even sturdy enough to hold a normal size book. It can also be equipped with a small reading light! If I were to use it or the device Mick mentioned, one thing I would include in my notes would be the first word or two of the song. I can't tell you how many times I have played the introductory notes to a song whose title was firmly in my mind but then fumbled when trying to recall the first line of the durn thing!

If I can unbury the book holder thing, I will post the info on where I found it.

Should these devices be used? It depends greatly upon the venue and audience, I am sure. In the old days, I would have been laughed out of the Cellar Door Sunday night hootnanny had I appeared with notes in hand. However, Janie and I readily used hand-held lyrics at the Getaway without suffering censure.

I am sitting here chuckling out loud at the memory of the story about...well...

For those of you who haven't heard it, I will quote from a post made a couple of years ago by Ferrara:

Here's another classic piece of Getaway evening concert silliness which I have heard mentioned on folk radio programs in far-off areas. Bill and I weren't at the Getaway that year. Before our time, dammit.

A singer got up to do a long, obscure and not too tuneful or exciting ballad. Worse, he hadn't thoroughly learned it. So he taped the very long lyrics sheet to the mike stand and started reading and singing the song. He had gotten through two or three verses when Nan Goland, in the front row, casually reached up with her cigarette lighter and set the bottom of the cheat sheet on fire. Not a sound from anybody but the singer til he got through another verse or two and suddenly realized his lyrics were on fire. The room - including the singer, I think - broke up. End of song. Beginning of legend.