performance play list

Linda W. Collins
Linda W. Collins
@linda-w-collins
10 years ago
24 posts

I'm coming late to this discussion, but I also had noticed no comment, until Brian's, about key. Carrie, I know what you mean about folks being scared to lower a string. It's frustrating, as it isn't that hard - it just takes a bit of practice to get used to it. But, it is not necessary to retune any string to play in a different key. E minor, G major, A major and others are all pretty accessible in DAd tuning. A tune in a minor key can really help add variety to a set. Just be sure to add tunes in a variety of keys to your usual playbook so you can insert them in a set list. Have fun!

Linda

www.cabinhillmusic.com

Carrie H
Carrie H
@carrie-h
10 years ago
4 posts
Thank you, Brian. Good idea and maybe the most difficult one to get the group to do. I do not know why it seems so hard to get some to drop one string down one note. Kids would have no problem at all doing it. I had forgotten this idea and appreciate the input.

Brian G. said:

One thing I don't believe I saw mentioned yet is key. As in, vary the key of the tunes you are playing. An entire performance in D can get old pretty quickly, even if you are varying tempo, mood, etc. And you don't even necessarily have to retune (I mention that only because is seems there are some people/groups who can't stand the idea of retuning out of DAD or DAA), just play in a key other than D. Your audience will appreciate it. :)

Brian G.
Brian G.
@brian-g
10 years ago
94 posts

One thing I don't believe I saw mentioned yet is key. As in, vary the key of the tunes you are playing. An entire performance in D can get old pretty quickly, even if you are varying tempo, mood, etc. And you don't even necessarily have to retune (I mention that only because is seems there are some people/groups who can't stand the idea of retuning out of DAD or DAA), just play in a key other than D. Your audience will appreciate it. :)

Carrie H
Carrie H
@carrie-h
10 years ago
4 posts

Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions. Sorry, I do not have veto power. I can suggest but suggestion may not be taken. It seems like some want to just have one book, the practice book, alphabetical, and then put tabs where the songs are to be played for the next performance. (Don't ask me why. I agree--makes no sense).We always end up waiting for someone to find the next tune while the walk-by audience is moving on.

I would like to have a couple of basic play lists, with the tunes printed in playing order. Then add to or subtract from the chosen list as time or event dictates. But others do not wish to copy songs they already have or to have more than one book. And definitely do not rearrange the book.

I am looking for more on what should and should not follow another and the over all look of the program.

We try to add things to make the songs more interesting such as train whistle on Ruben's tain or another instrument such as banjo on appropriate tunes. I like the idea of silly songs and will look for some of those. Some audiences like to sing with your playing more than others. So we try to be sure to include tunes they will probably know.

Being flexible is a good idea and keep working to improve.

Thanks, everyone.

Ken Hulme said:

Dusty has a good additional category of song to throw in the mix -- humorous or silly songs. Abigail , Side by Side , Five Constipated Men , Hole In The Bucket , even a funny rendition of Darlin' Clementine or Oh Susannah can really wake up an audience.

I think it's wise for everyone to have a "set list" of at least half a dozen songs that are practiced and well developed. A long time ago I had a single page that listed something like 200 songs that I know, plus their opening measures. I'd get in a jam circle and blank out when it came my turn to lead a tune, so I created that page as a memory aid. Well the original is long gone, but earlier this week I decided to recreate that list to help me pick out tunes to play at a weekly Open Mic I attend. Still adding to the list...

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10 years ago
2,126 posts

Dusty has a good additional category of song to throw in the mix -- humorous or silly songs. Abigail, Side by Side, Five Constipated Men, Hole In The Bucket, even a funny rendition of Darlin' Clementineor Oh Susannah can really wake up an audience.

I think it's wise for everyone to have a "set list" of at least half a dozen songs that are practiced and well developed. A long time ago I had a single page that listed something like 200 songs that I know, plus their opening measures. I'd get in a jam circle and blank out when it came my turn to lead a tune, so I created that page as a memory aid. Well the original is long gone, but earlier this week I decided to recreate that list to help me pick out tunes to play at a weekly Open Mic I attend. Still adding to the list...

Pete Staehling
Pete Staehling
@pete-staehling
10 years ago
5 posts

I have run across the same alphabetical order weirdness with a local group, so your group isn't the only one. It might only be for practice though, not sure if they will do it at a performance. The reason given was so folks could all find the songs quickly. Seemed pretty weird to me. I figure that the binders don't have the songs in alphabetical order any way and if folks have to arrange the pages they could just as well arrange them in any order. I will just go with the flow on this one though.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
10 years ago
1,732 posts

Yeah, you should just veto the idea of playing songs alphabetically. Decide on a set list and arrange the music or tab in that order and no one will have a problem.

I think Ken hit on the main points above. Try to vary tempo, subject matter, playing style, songs with vocals and instrumentals, and so forth.

I just recently began putting together a set list for myself. Oh no, not because I have a gig, but because I like to fantasize that someday I'll get a gig. And I've begun to practice the set in order so that I know how long things run. I have put a couple of slow, fingerpicked tunes back-to-back on a couple of occasions, but as Ken suggests, I make sure they are couched in between upbeat, flatpicked tunes. I also like to pepper things with silly, nonsensical tunes here and there just to keep things lighthearted.




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Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
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Carrie H
Carrie H
@carrie-h
10 years ago
4 posts

Thank you so much. Lots of good ideas there. Have fun on your float done the river. Sounds like a great place to be.

Ken Hulme said:

Mix up the fast, faster, slower and slowest tunes. Playing two slow pieces back to back isn't bad, but make sure there's a peppier piece on either side of them. Same things with tunes that may have "down" connotations or words; they should be followed by something more upbeat. For example Streets of Laredo and St. James Infirmary should not follow each other. Both are beautiful tunes but the subject matter in both is depressing (death & dying).

Make sure you really DO play tunes at different speeds; many groups have a tendency for all the songs to slump down to a common, below normal, speed.

Start and finish with songs your audience will know by heart -- tunes from the 1940s - 1960s. You Are My Sunshine is always good. Also Tennessee Waltz and Danny Boy . A mixture of folk and popular tunes with a hymn or two like Amazing Grace and Simple Gifts thrown in goes over well. Mix up the "ethnicity" of the songs too -- American, English, Celtic, etc. Do, please be aware of copyright and performance rights issues. Public domain songs are the best, always. You can play Aura Lea , which the audience may recognize as Love Me Tender , but tell them Elvis "borrowed" a much older, public domain tune, and wrote his own words for it. There are several other examples

Playing songs alphabetically is. frankly, a bit weird. Number the songs as they will fit in the set/play list. Make them a printed "playbook" with each song, in order, stapled together at the corner.

I would start with your BEST tune, not necessarily a fast or peppy one. Don't assume the audience will know all the tunes -- announce the name of each one, with a bit of background if you can.

Just a few thoughts while floating on the river aboard the s/v ManCave thinking about what I'm going to perform at Monday's Open Mic...

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10 years ago
2,126 posts

Mix up the fast, faster, slower and slowest tunes. Playing two slow pieces back to back isn't bad, but make sure there's a peppier piece on either side of them. Same things with tunes that may have "down" connotations or words; they should be followed by something more upbeat. For example Streets of Laredo and St. James Infirmary should not follow each other. Both are beautiful tunes but the subject matter in both is depressing (death & dying).

Make sure you really DO play tunes at different speeds; many groups have a tendency for all the songs to slump down to a common, below normal, speed.

Start and finish with songs your audience will know by heart -- tunes from the 1940s - 1960s. You Are My Sunshine is always good. Also Tennessee Waltz and Danny Boy. A mixture of folk and popular tunes with a hymn or two like Amazing Grace and Simple Gifts thrown in goes over well. Mix up the "ethnicity" of the songs too -- American, English, Celtic, etc. Do, please be aware of copyright and performance rights issues. Public domain songs are the best, always. You can play Aura Lea, which the audience may recognize as Love Me Tender, but tell them Elvis "borrowed" a much older, public domain tune, and wrote his own words for it. There are several other examples

Playing songs alphabetically is. frankly, a bit weird. Number the songs as they will fit in the set/play list. Make them a printed "playbook" with each song, in order, stapled together at the corner.

I would start with your BEST tune, not necessarily a fast or peppy one. Don't assume the audience will know all the tunes -- announce the name of each one, with a bit of background if you can.

Just a few thoughts while floating on the river aboard the s/v ManCave thinking about what I'm going to perform at Monday's Open Mic...

Carrie H
Carrie H
@carrie-h
10 years ago
4 posts

What are things to consider when making a playlist for performance. we are a small dulcimer group and have been invited to perform for a senior group. I am not asking what songs to play. I know to consider for whom you are playing, what is their event such as valentine day etc. I am really asking what kind of song to start with (peppy I assume), how to build up the interest, what kind of song to finish with, what kind of songs should not follow each other ( such as two very slow ones etc) and whateverelse I may be forgetting to think about. For convenience, our group wants to play alphabetically. They are very dependent on the paper. I think there is a better way and a much more interesting playlist. Thanks for your help.


updated by @carrie-h: 01/15/16 08:28:04PM