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Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Matt Sarad, Apr 17, 2021.
I'm going to start.
I don't do actual charts. I do lyrics and chords though. I may add notes for Bass when it's difficult or does something unusual.
I did at the last gig I played 3 years ago. We put on a show for our 50th high school reunion and the leader had composed a bunch of originals. We only had two practices to get it together, so the chord charts came in pretty handy.
I organized the chords on the page with one bar per chord and chopped up into logical groups:
C F C C
F F C C
G F C Gaug
It helped me a bit. It sure made me learn the songs fast and helped a lot with learning the arrangements. I'm not sure how much good it did for the other guys.
I did it again for a failed country band where we were supposed to learn 30 songs in two weeks. Counting them out and writing down is great exercise. It also exposes "trip-up" points where the song can fall apart due to being out of meter, like a lot of old bluegrass and country songs.
I wish I had started doing this 50 years ago.
Always did this from the start in bands, it prevents arguments about the structure / layout of songs.
Some musicians like bluffing it & making it all up as they go along & everyone is supposed to sync up automatically, that doesn't always work well IMO.
This is something that should be done by more bands... particularly if you are playing original music or adapted versions of stuff.
I do all the charts for my band---I make sure they are easy to read,chords above lyrics,and any special notes written in too (kicks,stops,left turns,ect.).
I have done it. Ideally members of a group ought to be able to communicate. But... not always. I can read. Not everyone can. I don’t mind helping if I’m able. If it’s my work then I’d absolutely prepare at least a baseline for other parts.
I've never played in a band but I may do doing so later this year. Would someone mind posting an example of a "chart" ?
Thanks in advance!!
I made a bunch of charts for a western swing band using iRealPro. I'd share.
Last recording project I did my co-writer and I did charts for all the songs. The band was people I have played with for years, but they didn’t know these songs. The horn section needed the charts for sure.
I'm in a cover band. Nobody has charts made for them. I do a lot of the singing, so I start with lyric sheets, which become crib sheets, and then are not allowed.
I'm in the process of FINALLY writing out originals for a three piece I've been playing with. It takes some time for sure. I'm just writing out the lyrics and chords over top. It's kind of hard for me to definitively decide that THESE are the lyrics. I hate writing verses. First verse - no problem, chorus - ok, bridge - gimme a few months. Second verse- Do we really need a second verse?
I do. For two different projects. Been using Unreal Book for about 10 years or so.
In my current band we all (except one guy) memorize the songs. Most of the songs are original.
For some of the harder ones I make my own cheat sheets and keep them in a folder for reference. I might make tabs for some of the hooks or melody lines if the fingering is difficult, as well as list the chords. I pull them out if I have to when prepping on my own before a band rehearsal and realize I forgot a chunk. But when performing we are all on the ball with no music, (except the rhythm guitar player who is still tethered to his music stand because apparently he hasn't learned how to memorize songs).
However, I also prepare the set lists. For the most difficult songs on the list with super weird chords, I'll put a few crib notes next to the name of the song. Here's the absolute longest "chart" that I just cut/pasted from a setlist we had a year ago, for a weird song called "Flack"--
Flack: A Section: |: Am7-E7#9: | B section: Gm7 C#M7 G#M7 F#13 Gm7 C#M7 F#M7 Cm7 F7#9
C Section: BbM7 AbM7 Gm7 C#M7/M9
We use OnSong with a shared dropbox of files..
.... or i should say, they do. I learn my parts.
We go by memory on stage, but for practice and rehearsal I make simple charts in either a Nashville number style but with Roman numerals for myself, or chord letter names to make it easier to share.
It's important for songs with different numbers of verses between choruses, or different bridge patterns thrown in. We eventually settle on a framework we like, as we do a lot of improvised solo breaks, and go with that.
A fun combination of bad, bad memory and high anxiety make some form of chart pretty much necessary for me. The two groups I play with use them.
With the neo-newgrassers, who ever is bringing the song brings the chart. Usually a lyric sheet with chords inserted and anything weird noted. The guitarist and I take pretty detailed notes during rehearsal and the rest of the band refers to our books as "the bible."
My Irish pub group only plays an handful of times a year, over the winter and through to St. Patrick's day. Being so informal, and sparsely rehearsed, I make the charts for everyone - and they all pretty much rely on them for the show.
I use slash notation for most songs and tunes. When putting together songs that may get rare usage or be used with different singers, I go with Nashville numbers. For reference I also will add notations about which recording the arrangement came from, noted performances or recordings, maybe something interesting about the original artist/composer, etc.