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Thread: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

  1. #26
    Joe B mandopops's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    Depends on the gig. On Bluegrass gigs, no. My old strolling gigs, of course no. When I do the “Classical” gigs, I have charts/sheet music. Some of it I do have memorized, but often I am familiar enough with the tune so I can skim through the Music. Same with Jazz/Pop Standards, keep the charts & skim for some. When I go to the out of town convention things, like CMSA, I definitely read the charts. I can’t memorize all that stuff in a couple of days. I think I can play with expression/soul with or without the Music.
    I like charts sometimes because I don’t want to limit the tunes I (we) play to only tunes I have memorized. Sometimes charts are handy to refer to handwritten (scribbled) notes on the arrangements.
    Joe B

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevedenver View Post
    ...I know "white freight liner" dead cold, yet, i blanked on verse 2, sang verse 3, and during breaks I leaned over and asked a bud, whats the next verse, was told and got right back to it. Theee leeeetle grey cells are fickle.

    Convinced me to have the prompt.
    Yup, that's why I was doing a single sheet on the floor with the start of each verse in a big bold font on songs I might have trouble with. I know the song but if I blank on the first words of the verse I'm done.

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  3. #28

    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    I've done it a few times, when I did I printed the chords and put them on the floor

  4. #29
    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    We make a point of never using them, but the cost is that there are going to be flubs if you have a lot of material, especially if there are last-minute changes. I hate music where it's three guys reading out of their fake books and waiting for their break. I wouldn't want to watch Shakespeare where everybody had scripts in their hands, either.

    This doesn't go for classical music, big bands, theater pits, or special circumstances like filling in for somebody on short notice, of course.

  5. #30

    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    It depends, of course: in my case-

    Orchestra, City Band- everyone reads their part.
    Ballroom dance band- lead sheets are used if needed
    Rock dance trio- no sheets
    Country quartet- lyric sheets on a few songs
    Metal power trio- no sheets!!!

  6. #31
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    For the band stuff I have it on the iPad on the floor just in case I get a goldfish moment.
    I have a page turning pedal so I don’t even need to bend down to move on to the next one.
    Most of the time it’s irrelevant, bbut every now & then it’s the difference between looking slick or blanking.
    We do the charts like this so they’re easy to glance at without really having to look.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    All my orchestral stuff is off score. All my duet stuff is from memory, unless it’s a very recent addition when I’ll do like the band stuff, just in case. It’s a bit like walking with a cane, yep it would be nice not to, but better to have it if needed rather than take a fall.
    Eoin



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  7. #32

    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    yeah , need em. did the entire set list today at rehearsal, 2.5 hrs straight no stops, as if on stage, no charts.

    no problem with the changes, not even with a few unexpected "Here steve take a break". Lyrics, I know them dead. I wake up singing them. add pressure and its a gamble. well not even......

    I screwed up, missed a verse and into the chorus early. I seem to choke either under pressure or at fast tempos.

    No question, I hate it too, but, im gonna use em. even the rock star messed up on some of the stops, etc. knows his lyrics, but, it happens even to a pro.

  8. #33
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    Right now, our band uses them and needs them. We're still learning new tunes often enough to not have much down cold. Especially the lyrics (in Finnish). Now, for a short, 1/2 hour show, I might have the music for one or two tunes. But otherwise the stand is to hold the set list. There are a few tunes where I do play the lead on mandolin from memory. The sheet music still comes in handy when I'm playing rhythm. Don't have the chord change structure of Finnish music down yet. That's going to take a while.

    If I'm playing guitar in an old time jam or square dance, nope don't need it. If I'm playing guitar backing up a fiddle contest, you bet I have the sheet music. Certain fiddlers want a certain backup for tunes. Just easier for me to use the music at this point.
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  9. #34

    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    Follow up,
    Gig was successful, relatively. My groupies praised me highly. Felt good.
    Venue was a delight. 100 folks in a cozy room, almost like a living room, felt at ease.
    .
    I put a stand down about knee level, fairly flat to catch the overhead stage lights on the psges, while standing, didnt need it but once, no one even noticed it, im told, still a comfort.

    Used it to point to a verse the banjo player needed to sing.... he mistakenly took a break first....a subtle reminder no one noticed but which we chuckled about, since hes the pro and im the usual problem.....

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  10. #35
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    My Americana band (alteredrootsband.com) uses tablets and an app called Songbook. The band leader also has it on his PC to add songs and edit setlists. Then it goes to Dropbox which we all have access to and Songbook will "sync" with a dropbox folder to update each tablet.

    It works pretty well but like every other system it glitches on us from time to time. The worst is if one member's tablet did not sync correctly and has different lists.

    On stage the tablets are not that visible (mine is an 8" ASUS on a thin stand, the main singers share an iPad) but the system lets us stay connected and learn new tunes on our own time then be up to date for rehearsal. Lately with new members and people out of town we did four gigs with new members and no rehearsals. Basic country/blues/rock plus a few originals. We can also see the setlist for upcoming gigs to work on new tunes in advance.

    One key to this is youtube where everyone can hear the same version of a tune for intros and riffs. In Songbook, the BL creates songs with Title/artist version at the top so when we see a unfamiliar tune we can easily bring it up on YT. Originals we have to share MP3's on dropbox.

    One more thing. With Songbook you can set the display to be inverse, white on black, which we often do because otherwise when you make a video of the gig we all have a ghostly aura on our faces from the tablets.

    We are working on using the tablets as backup but with the new members and little rehearsal we are dependent on them for now. And with all this tech, we still play the wrong chords and lyrics sometimes!

  11. #36
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    Okay, I'll admit to having a set list with the Key and first 2 words of the first verse.
    Phil

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    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    How about music stands or books when busking at a Farmers Market?
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

  13. #38
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    I've been playing folk dances, both English and contra, and no way can I keep all those fiddle tunes separate, or the hundreds of tunes the English dancers use. I understand that, like the Real Book series, the Portland collection of contra dance reels and jigs is mostly digitized now (vol I and II), and could be rendered on a tablet in pdf form, with custom medley sets stored.

    Given that some fiddlers are prone to calling a set of tunes off the top of their heads, those of us reading would enjoy a voice-command callup of a new set. I'm sure it will come eventually, and I'll have to buy one of those tablets.

    For now, we print copies of tunes for medleys so that we can have them handy on the stand. I suppose if I had been doing dance fiddling my whole life I would have a thousand tunes memorized, but I can sight-read these simple tunes so I see no need.

    The material I want perform as my own act gets memorized automatically because I practice it exhaustively. That's the deciding factor---material for other gigs I just read, my own is deeply etched in my memory, including words for the songs I like.
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    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    Most of what we play has been transposed from the keys I normally play then in, in order to suit our singer's range. So sheets are key. Our audience doesn't seem to mind, and it's basically a way to refresh my memory or to find a chord if I get lost. Usually I look at the chart for the first round and then can let it go for the rest of the song. We sometimes add tunes at the last minute that we haven't practiced, so then it is a necessity. Sometimes we get requests for songs that we don't play regularly and a Real/Fake book comes in handy.

  15. #40
    Registered User KGreene's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    I keep a Surface Pro or an iPad in its mount attached to the mic stand.... Put everything in an excel spreadsheet with the name of the sons as hyperlinks to the PDF's...Most times its not needed, but it sure comes in handy for my senior moments.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevedenver View Post
    ...I shall take the stand and book, and then, try not to use it at all...
    Good luck with that; I find that if there's something in front of me, words, music, whatever, I can't take my eyes off it.

    I've been blessed (cursed?) with a memory for music (chords, at least) and lyrics that is almost un-purge-able, which is why I can sing Wildroot Cream Oil commercials from 1954, or play Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor? when some goof in the audience wants to hear it. But I do sympathize with those who need some kind of prompt. I do have printed set lists that indicate the key of each song, and if my band's doing medleys, what they are, what keys, how many times each, etc. But other than a brief look at the start of a number, I don't refer to them.

    Any memory aid that interferes with audience interaction, IMHO, is a real problem in most kinds of folk or popular music performances. When I see Mick Jagger with a music stand in front of him, I think some kind of "inflection point" will have been passed.
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Any memory aid that interferes with audience interaction, IMHO, is a real problem in most kinds of folk or popular music performances. When I see Mick Jagger with a music stand in front of him, I think some kind of "inflection point" will have been passed.
    He does, like many singers these days, already use an autocue on stage. Usually these are on the floor by the stage monitors. The problem seems to be that while big acts get away with this as they can afford fancy autocues which the audience don't see. Those of us mere mortals plugging away at the local band level wouldn't be seen dead with a low-tech variation of some sheets on a stand.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Donahue View Post
    How about music stands or books when busking at a Farmers Market?
    Absolutely.

    In a venue like that, where music is not the main draw but just part of the ambiance, I think it matters less if you have a music stand.

    Of course in a venue like that it is good to keep catching the eyes of passers by, to create an engaging experience.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    I just discovered a performing friend of mine who uses a music stand, not so much for sheet music, or lyrics, or chord charts, or a set list, but because he has a terrible time remembering the cute little jokes and stories he seamlessly incorporates into his act. I thought this was funny.
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  23. #45
    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    I sound a lot better when I can get all of the lyrics right, so that is why I use a music stand. I usually would not need it for the music, but too many lyrics to memorize. I don't think the audience cares, but I bet they would rather I get it right than not.

  24. #46

    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    Quote Originally Posted by KGreene View Post
    I keep a Surface Pro or an iPad in its mount attached to the mic stand.... Put everything in an excel spreadsheet with the name of the sons as hyperlinks to the PDF's...Most times its not needed, but it sure comes in handy for my senior moments.
    I use this too, but now opt for paper. Easy to read, no battery worries, no issues if it hits the concrete, etc. Too many times, i either flip past, hit the wrong file unknowingly, or cant read the screen. I make all in one pdfs of the set list, but prefer paper. Way too much time to correct a tablet flub in mid song.

    And, i dont have to worry about someone stealing my notebook binder.

    I agree, too, with allens observation. Having a crutch is an impediment to vocal flow and letting it rip and soar. Youre either IN it, leading the way or your reading and a fraction behind. Even if you know it cold. At least for me.

    but,

    On stage, if i blank, theres comfort in having the resource to get back on track in a Measure or two.

    If its not at eye level, im not using it....unless i blank...in which case, we vamp on the tonic , i get my bearings, make eye contact or nod, and sing that verse.

  25. #47
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: so, do any of you use a chart book when gigging?

    I have a notebook with all the lyrics. My partner and I know upwards of a hundred songs. That's a lot of words to remember for an old fart like me.
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