Using music stands for lyrics...

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by jimdandy, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. jimdandy

    jimdandy Tele-Meister

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    My band's singers use a couple of music stands for lyrics. I hate that they do, but I can't blame them -- we're playing 4-hour gigs and doing 50+ songs -- they also play instruments. Seems like expecting them to memorize all the lyrics is a bit much for a local cover band.

    How many cover bands use stands and how many do not?
     
  2. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

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    Our band will be using music stands. I don't see any other option right now.
     
  3. chuck_zc

    chuck_zc Tele-Meister

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    Won't go anywhere without mine. Same situation as yours. Lead singer and guitar in a 3 piece local cover band. Working 40-50 hours a week and a family doesn't leave much time to remember 50+ songs. I find myself using it as a reference mostly now as time goes on. I don't look down on anyone else doing it. Could be likethe "big guys" and bury a tele-prompter into a stage monitor cabnet.
     
  4. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks chuck_zc. You summarized up my situation better than I could.

    We're a bunch of 30-60 (and one 19 year old) somethings with families/jobs/work, etc. We want to play some gigs, we don't want to be paid much, we just want to play for people. If people want to villify us for using music stands, they can eat a bag, as far as I'm concerned.
     
  5. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

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    I'm not a big fan of them. Our lead singer has a music stand and a huge book of lyrics, and it's really a bit of a crutch for her, she needs to have the lyrics in front of her for some songs that I know she's sung hundreds of times.

    But she's a hell of a singer, and we don't get complaints from the audience, so...

    Tim
     
  6. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Controversial subject ... some folks swear it's a necessary evil; as a bandleader I always hated it because IMO it's a crutch that keeps singers from really learning the material. I think it looks bad too. But as a recent thread revealed, many disagree, citing their reasons for needing lyric sheets. I'm old-school, though, so chalk it up to geezer orneriness.

    I'll know my song well before I start singing — Bob Dylan
     
  7. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

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    That's fine for Bob. He's a freakin' professional musician. That's his livelihood.

    Lyrics I can memorize, but I still need to at least glance at a sheet from time to time to remember the chord progression for a lot of the songs I need to play.
     
  8. mr_big_trouble

    mr_big_trouble Tele-Meister

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    I occasionally use a music stand, but I hate to do it, and I try to avoid it.
     
  9. Gringo13

    Gringo13 Tele-Holic

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    I keep a music stand with lyrics low and to my left when we practice... that way, it's a nuisance to look at it, which prevents it from becoming a crutch. When playing out, if I forget lyrics (usually to my own songs), I just fake 'em. Hell, half the time barroom crowds don't even care. That said, they probably wouldn't care if I had a music stand on stage, but I'd just end up knocking it over when I start feeling the groove.

    The most important thing about my lead vocal philosophy... you're better off singing the wrong lines like you've got a pair and don't give a damn, instead of whispering the correct lyrics because you're unsure.
     
  10. zoppotrump

    zoppotrump Tele-Afflicted

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    we are a cover band too and play 4-5 hours with a setlist of 50-60 songs and we all play instruments and we have decided to not use any music stands for lyrics or music sheets. we all have regular jobs and sometimes it takes a little time to memorize a song, but imo it is not such a big issue.
    As woodman stated, using a music stand supports the fact that you tend to look in your songbook, even when you played the song a 100 times and it makes it difficult to get in contact with the audience while staring at your stand. And it does not look good either imo, it always gives you the look of not really knowing, what you´re doing....
    to each its own, but i will not allow a music stand in our band.
    hopefully needless to say, that i don´t want to offend anybody in his use of a musicstand
     
  11. jimdandy

    jimdandy Tele-Meister

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    I know this is a controversial subject -- and I can see both points. If I was the singer, I would try my best to not use a stand. Since I'm not the singer, I can't bring myself to tell the singer to not use one.

    I fully agree it looks unprofessional.

    I also fully agree it's not very realistic to expect a recreational band/singer to have 4+ hours of music memorized. Hell, pro musicians only sing a couple hours and they have prompters.
     
  12. sax4blues

    sax4blues Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not a big fan of music stands or lyrics on stage because I believe you can't put your whole conviction into a song if you're second guessing what comes next. The performance is tentative and the little things, inflection, pacing, dynamics, etc.. are lost when you can't remember the big things.

    Our other guitar player sings a couple songs, and insists on having music stand/lyrics. After five years he is still reading the lyrics to Pretty Woman, and to me he sounds like a 5th grader reading out loud, not a horny guy makin time with a hot woman. You gotta be able to close your eyes and be in the story, be that guy who is hittin on a gal.

    What would you say if you went to a theatrical play, even in junior highschool, and the actors were reading the lines off a page?
     
  13. greggorypeccary

    greggorypeccary Friend of Leo's

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    I'm torn on this myself. In my band the former drummer (who switched to percussion/vocals since his heart attack) uses one. He only sings lead on a few songs and background vocals on the rest and I gave him **** about it because he often sings like hes reading the songs - not just glancing at the words to jog his memory. I think he should be able to remember the words to a handful of songs. But the bass player uses one for the few songs he sings too. At least his crutch is a small one on his mic stand.

    With nine people, the horn section with their charts on stands, along with everyone else's I'm often stuck behind a f#*@ing wall of s*!@ on the gig! I just make sure I can be heard if not seen! :)

    As for myself, unless I'm just at a garage jam pulling songs out of my book to play with friends, I'm not going to go out with crutches.


    BUT - I don't think the audience gives a crap if the music is good and they have a good time at the gig.
     
  14. Dave Hopping

    Dave Hopping Friend of Leo's

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    If you're part of the accompaniment,like a horn section or a pit orchestra,you have to have the written parts in front of you to do a letter perfect job on doing the accompaniment.You're not part of the show and likely no one (except off-duty musicians in the audience) will even look at you.
    If you're singing lead-or harmony-the spotlight is on you.You ARE the show,and it's on you to look like you know what you're doing.If you have to have a hidden Teleprompter to have words accessible,that's no problem.If it's good enough for newscasters and national leaders,it's good enough for the Friday night band at the VFW.But you need to look pro,and a book on a music stand takes you in the opposite direction.
     
  15. Suicideking

    Suicideking Friend of Leo's

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    +1 I think if you are gonna get up onstage and sing it you should know the lyrics. I mean the other players know how to play the music without reading music. I think it takes away from the soul of the performance and looks pretty bad IMO. It is fine for practice but if you wanna go up and perform live be ready to do it without reading..
     
  16. jimdandy

    jimdandy Tele-Meister

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    This rationale doesn't fly with me. Playing a guitar and singing are two different animals. A guitarist can blend into the music -- if he hits a wrong note/chord chances are nobody will bat an eye. If the singer forgets the words, chances are it's going to be a glaring error. Plus, one is melodic memory, the other is cognitive memore -- two different things there.
     
  17. Suicideking

    Suicideking Friend of Leo's

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    I think it is still being unprepaired for the job you are doing either way....
     
  18. jimdandy

    jimdandy Tele-Meister

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    Dave, I hear what you're saying, believe me. But, the fact is: the average local cover band are not pros. They're average joe's with day jobs that simply don't have time to memorize 50+ tunes to the point where it's automatic.

    I suspect most bands are like mine, where the singers know the majority of the lyrics, but still feel like they need to lean on them if it gets rough.
     
  19. Suicideking

    Suicideking Friend of Leo's

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    I hear what you are saying too, but personally I dont think you should be on stage performing until you are ready. That is what pracice is for. I would agree that in an absolute bind a teleprompter would be the best for it does not look nearly as bad..
     
  20. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    It's OK to have a music stand onstage...if you're the kind of person who wouldn't have a problem if you saw a play and the actors were holding scripts.
     
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