PDA

View Full Version : Question for Grassers



Pittsburgh Bill
Oct-30-2018, 3:17pm
First off, I'm not a Grasser while at the same time I admire the playing skills of many Bluegrass Performers. I should mention that I have recently become a fan of Billy Strings.It is just that the music and the chop chord never did it for me and not that I don't think it is good. I don't want to offend the Grassers on here just like I don't expect everyone to be into old country and rockabilly.

My question evolves around another thread currently running asking what Bill Monroe tunes people play. I know exactly one, BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY. This was a tune that I always liked and didn't even know it was a Monroe tune until I saw the credits on the sheet music. Out of 15 responses to the other thread not one person mentioned BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY as being part of their repertoire. Is this not one of the tunes he was most recognized for? Kind of like YESTERDAY OR HEY JUDE that we would anticipate a Beatles Tribute band to play?

ralph johansson
Oct-31-2018, 2:04am
Typically, almost all the tunes suggested are instrumentals, and BMoK is almost never done that way. On a song you can contribute just about anything that fits the chords and the mood of the song. Monroe's 1954 version has a mandolin solo of 8 bars, with some of his ususal C major stuff. The original from 1946 (in a lower key, Bb) does feature a longer solo fairly close to the melody, in a high register.


The strangest suggestion is Heavy Traffic Ahead, which is just a 12 bar blues.

onassis
Oct-31-2018, 5:46am
Yes, with this being an instrument-specific forum, folks here tend to think more in terms of instrumentals when discussing Monroe, while the rest of the bluegrass/country world might think more in terms of songs. Also, since Elvis had such a striking version of BMoK, I think many lose sight of the fact that it's a Monroe original.

Tom Sanderson
Oct-31-2018, 10:09am
My understanding is that a “tune” is a melody without lyrics and a “song” has lyrics. The post said ”Monroe Tunes”.

Pittsburgh Bill
Oct-31-2018, 11:11am
My understanding is that a “tune” is a melody without lyrics and a “song” has lyrics. The post said ”Monroe Tunes”.. Not saying you are wrong as I am not always correct. My understanding is that a song is a tune since it has melody but only a song has lyrics. Come to think of it, I don’t play anything without lyrics.

Pete Martin
Oct-31-2018, 9:32pm
A lot of folks do think of "song" and "tune" as different things. Definitely not everyone:grin::disbelief::mandosmiley::popcorn:

Andy B
Oct-31-2018, 9:49pm
Heard at this year’s Monroe Mandolin Camp: In the Monroe lexicon, both “tunes” and “songs” can be referred to as “numbers.”

doublestoptremolo
Oct-31-2018, 10:11pm
My 2 cents, if you wanna play with others, itís better to learn more singin songs and fewer instrumental deep cuts. But every personís interests are different.

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-01-2018, 2:34am
I use the term 'tune' for an instrumental,& 'song' for a song. Another word for 'tune' is 'melody',& as instrumentals & songs both have a 'melody',maybe we should be a tad more clearer & use say, 'Inst.' for an instrumental - 'song' is self explanatory.

So Bill is quite correct in one instance,but maybe not in the context of what the OP in the other thread was asking,
Ivan

Mandoplumb
Nov-01-2018, 4:23am
Most of what we call " fiddle tunes" have lyrics though most are not widely used or even known.

Mark Gunter
Nov-01-2018, 8:50am
Funny, but you almost have to read people's minds sometimes to understand what's being said. Or at least read between the lines. In English, there is no technical distinction between a "tune" and a "song" and most of us have heard or used phrases like "sing a little tune" all our lives. "Song" and "tune" are synonyms; they can be used synonymously in English. By the way, have you ever heard lyrics while listening to birds sing their birdsong?

BMoK was Monroe's first big hit, if I'm not mistaken ... I'm not a grasser, either, but I love hearing BG, and I love that song. I like the grass version sung by folks who have a dynamic vocal range and can get those high tenor notes, more than the Elvis-inspired versions.


My 2 cents, if you wanna play with others, it’s better to learn more singin songs and fewer instrumental deep cuts.

Makes a lot of sense to me.

Jim Imhoff
Nov-01-2018, 9:52am
The tune vs. song distinction was taught to me early on when I started learning BG, as if "everyone knew that." I was also puzzled when people referred to I IV V as "the Nashville system;" those symbols were first used a bit before Mozart's time. They represented a new way of thinking about harmony, developed from a figured bass. But people tend to think the culture they are in is "the way it's always done," and that is not at all unique to bluegrass.
I was a vocal/choral person all my life so most of the music I knew was song. Now I play all kinds of music on mando and mandocello--bluegrass, baroque, classical, Dylan, Decemberists... BUT...
I have a problem singing songs in a bluegrass jam circle; the take-a-turn, you-do-verse-she-does-chorus instrumental breaks bother me. I experience song (including BMoK) like a living thing, an art form, with flow and structure, and breaking it up into pieces, with 3 or 4 instrumental breaks and then "I'll sing a verse" really bothers me. So in a jam I tend to call tunes; when I actually practice and perform with a band, I mostly do songs. TUNE/SONG: They're just words, but they do make a difference.

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-03-2018, 2:39am
From Mark Gunter - "... In English, there is no technical distinction between a "tune" and a "song"..". OK - remove the 'tune' (melody) from a 'song' & what have you got = words !. A 'tune' (melody) is a tune with or without words,but add words,& you have a 'song'. So,for me,there is a distinction. But i do understand Mark's meaning.

In Bluegrass music,i've heard folk say that they're going to play a 'song' when they actually mean an instrumental. I don't know where that kicked in,but it would be better if it was kicked out again. A 'song' is a melody with words - or, as a 'Vocalise', without words,something that we all understand. An 'instrumental' is a tune played purely on instruments,hence it's name. To remove any hint of ambiguity,maybe we should use those terms ?,
Ivan;)

Mark Gunter
Nov-03-2018, 4:19pm
To remove any hint of ambiguity,maybe we should use those terms ?,
Ivan;)

Ivan, good luck on getting any number of people to agree to use specific technical terms just as a matter of course. ;)

FWIW, I do use the term "instrumental" quite often as opposed to "vocal tune".

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-04-2018, 3:16am
Hi Mark - Getting anything 'standardised' is hard to do. I worked for close to 50 years in an industry where 'ambiguity' - 'Lack of clarity of meaning' - was almost a capital offence,& it's hard to shake off the need for it. However,folks have their own terms that they're comfortable with - just as it should be - but it does make for a bit of confusion at times,
Ivan;)

David L
Nov-05-2018, 2:15pm
The tune vs. song distinction was taught to me early on when I started learning BG, as if "everyone knew that." I was also puzzled when people referred to I IV V as "the Nashville system;" those symbols were first used a bit before Mozart's time. They represented a new way of thinking about harmony, developed from a figured bass.

The Nashville number system uses 1 4 5, not I IV V, but numbers have been used for a several centuries.

drbluegrass
Nov-05-2018, 7:57pm
The bluegrass band I'm in (Fine Line Bluegrass) does the song. Our female mandolin player does a great job of singing it.

Timbofood
Nov-05-2018, 10:15pm
It does too use the I /IV/V but, it’s more like Roman numerals on a clock dial (it’s not a face).
It’s I / IIII /V in hand signals because no one can hear anything over the banjo!
Think about it...

- - - Updated - - -


The bluegrass band I'm in (Fine Line Bluegrass) does the song. Our female mandolin player does a great job of singing it.


???

Ivan Kelsall
Nov-06-2018, 2:22am
From Timothy - "...because no one can hear anything over the banjo !." Darned right there buddy - hog it while ya can !!, :))
Ivan;)
172382

drbluegrass
Nov-10-2018, 10:42am
It does too use the I /IV/V but, it’s more like Roman numerals on a clock dial (it’s not a face).
It’s I / IIII /V in hand signals because no one can hear anything over the banjo!
Think about it...

- - - Updated - - -




???

Sorry. Didn't mean to confuse. Didn't read all the posts before responding.