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Author Topic: Responding to song requests  (Read 2504 times)

Tom

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Responding to song requests
« on: May 22, 2014, 06:36:51 PM »
I've seen folks give (or shout) requests to a performer, and I've done it myself (usually via a written note) without thinking about whether the performer knows the song. The Delta Strummers have approx 120 songs in our portfolio from a variety of genres. Yesterday, after I sang my solo to close out the concert, a lady in the front row whispered "a request" in my ear. It was a Hawaiian song I didn't recognize.

I have a number of "fake books" containing thousands of songs, from my days learning to play the keyboard. I also have a number of "song books" for ukulele, also containing thousands of songs. But I'm wondering how performers normally deal with random requests outside their portfolio  ???
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Molaker

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2014, 06:49:32 PM »
Hum or whistle it.  ;D
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Tom

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2014, 07:04:39 PM »
That might work if I know the song, but not if I don't  ;D   Did I mention that I don't/can't whistle  :(
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Molaker

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2014, 07:13:09 PM »
That might work if I know the song, but not if I don't  ;D    Did I mention that I don't/can't whistle  :(
Maybe karoke?  You asked for it, you sing it.  ;D
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Tom

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2014, 07:16:30 PM »
Our band doesn't do karaoake, although I've personally sung in countless karaoake bars around Asia over many years.

FWIW this was a genuine request, hoping that one of our pro/semi-pro performers would respond.
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Ned

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2014, 08:26:36 PM »
If you were Tiny Tim you would know every song every written :)  He would take any request, no matter how exotic, and immediately start playing it on the ukelele.
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Tom

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2014, 08:34:09 PM »
I'm not Tiny Tim  :(
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Ned

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 08:53:01 PM »
I certainly hope not :)
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Tom

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 09:04:08 PM »
My next solo:  Sukiyaki. Singing it in Japanese is easier (for me) than playing some of the chords  :-[
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Ned

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2014, 09:17:50 PM »
Interesting history on that number.  I like the reference to Moon River :)  When we get somewhere with better and faster internet, I'll have to give it a listen.
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Tom

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2014, 09:52:48 PM »
It doesn't sound anything like Moon River  ???
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SeilerBird

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2014, 06:20:42 AM »
It is very simple. You ask the person who made the request to come up on stage and sing it and then you fake your way through the back up. I have spent hundreds of hours playing along to songs I have never heard of. Put on an album and play away. Put on the radio and play along. It is called ad libbing or faking it. That allows me to play along with anything that I need to play along to. It is a strange skill and one most professional musicians cultivate since it is better to be playing something rather than be playing nothing.

When I auditioned for the last band I joined they offered me a copy of their song book and just to impress them I turned it down and did the whole audition without sheet music. I was able to play along with anything they came up with. Most of their songs I knew and the ones I didn't know I was able to fake it.
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Ned

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2014, 06:37:24 AM »
It doesn't sound anything like Moon River  ???

I was referring to this quote from the article:

Quote
The title Sukiyaki, a Japanese hot pot dish, actually has nothing to do with the lyrics or the meaning of the song (nor is the word ever uttered throughout); "Sukiyaki" served the purpose only because it was short, catchy, recognizably Japanese, and more familiar to most English speakers. A Newsweek Magazine columnist noted that the re-titling was like issuing "Moon River" in Japan under the title "Beef Stew."
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Tom

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2014, 08:25:58 AM »
I'll try asking for 'moon river' next time I'm in a Japanese restaurant or singing 'beef stew' in a karaoake bar  ;D   Unless you're in a metro area, few Japanese restaurants will have English-speaking wait staff. When I was on my own on weekends, I liked to go out into the boonies where no English was spoken. But almost all Japanese restaurants have artificial models of every menu item in their street window. So I'd just motion to the waitress to follow me outside, and I'd point at what I wanted. Worked every time.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 08:27:32 AM by Tom »
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Bob Buchanan

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2014, 12:03:06 PM »
But I'm wondering how performers normally deal with random requests outside their portfolio  ???
     One summer my brother and his family visited me in Sacto - from their home at the time in KY. One of the things I did to impress them about CA (in hopes they would move here) was to take them to Lake Tahoe and to see Sammy Davis at Harrah's South Shore. He did ask for requests and got, "Candy Man" from a lady on the front row. His response was, "I don't know that well enough as yet - so I'll cheat a bit if OK". He was then handed a piece of paper with the lyrics from backstage - then proceeded to sing the song while reading the lyrics. And got a standing ovation.

I doubt I could ever play random requests on the trumpet -- no chords allowed.  :) However, that's on a trumpet whereas on a one valve bugle, any note attempted is automatically in the key of C. So it's impossible to do a wrong note if a request was in that key. If I knew the melody I could easily pick out the song. I played bugle in the Navy for awhile and had fun with that horn.

BTW, my brother and his family "did" move to San Jose - and have lived there for many years now.
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gwcowgill

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2014, 12:15:55 PM »
I'll try asking for 'moon river' next time I'm in a Japanese restaurant or singing 'beef stew' in a karaoake bar  ;D   Unless you're in a metro area, few Japanese restaurants will have English-speaking wait staff. When I was on my own on weekends, I liked to go out into the boonies where no English was spoken. But almost all Japanese restaurants have artificial models of every menu item in their street window. So I'd just motion to the waitress to follow me outside, and I'd point at what I wanted. Worked every time.

aand you will hear "Moon Liver" or "lellow Liver" :) :) :) :) :) :)
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Tom

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2014, 05:33:47 AM »
Quote from: Bob Buchanan
He did ask for requests and got, "Candy Man" from a lady on the front row. His response was, "I don't know that well enough as yet - so I'll cheat a bit if OK". He was then handed a piece of paper with the lyrics from backstage - then proceeded to sing the song while reading the lyrics. And got a standing ovation.

Interesting story Bob. I wonder if he had a stack of pieces of paper containing lyrics, or if this just happened to be a request for a song he was currently learning.
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Bob Buchanan

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2014, 12:22:25 PM »
Interesting story Bob. I wonder if he had a stack of pieces of paper containing lyrics, or if this just happened to be a request for a song he was currently learning.

    No sure, Tom. The whole thing might have been a setup and the lady on the front row may have been involved. That was in the late 60's. That song became one of his signature recordings and the only song of his that reached the top of the charts. I saw him again a year or two later and this time he came out into the audience with a basket full of candy throwing pieces to various kids. He was such an incredible talent. The other thing I noticed in all of his shows was that he smoked almost constantly - sometimes even while singing. And then died of throat cancer later in life. Such a waste. Mr. Bojangles was my favorite.

Anyway, was thinking in todays world an entertainer could put every long lyric they thought might come up on a tablet or monitor somehow . . .
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brujomar

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2014, 09:52:29 AM »
When I get 'requests' for songs that I just don't  know well enough to play, or anyone in the band doesn't recognize, I say "We have another song with
most of the same notes in it" ....smile graciously and play something else. Never had a problem.
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PancakeBill

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Re: Responding to song requests
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2014, 10:06:59 AM »
I have always like the same notes comment, but typically, if we know the key we can fake along.  When we get the requests at jams, we just ask what key they want and we will back them.  Usually gets declined.

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