Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Recording a Contra Dance

Last response: in Home Audio
Share
Anonymous
January 6, 2005 11:13:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Tomorrow I will be doing my first "recording only" gig
and just thought I'd toss a "how would you do it"
to the brain trust here

I have a large assortment of mics, lrg dia cond, sm dia cond, and
dynamics of all sorts both cheap and expensive
I want to ask
this will be a 3 piece acoustic band , seated (I think) fiddle, guitar,
banjo

My first impression is I would record stereo with two 012's with omni
caps centered high(head height) on the stage

would I be better off with my 184's to eliminate some room echo?

would I be better with one omni?

I also have 2 groove tube am62's and one 414

the rest of the signal chain will be my allen&heath Icon feeding my mac
g4/400 through the griffin Imic recording to either Audicity or TC Spark ME

any advice will be appreciated and considered

Thanks
George

More about : recording contra dance

Anonymous
January 6, 2005 11:13:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

George Gleason wrote:
>
> this will be a 3 piece acoustic band , seated (I think) fiddle, guitar,
> banjo
>
> My first impression is I would record stereo with two 012's with omni
> caps centered high(head height) on the stage
>
> would I be better off with my 184's to eliminate some room echo?
>
> would I be better with one omni?


What kind of room, where is the band, and how close do the dancers get?
Anonymous
January 6, 2005 11:13:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

in article 41ddbc86$0$42059$c3e8da3@news.astraweb.com, Jim Gilliland at
usemylastname@cheerful.com wrote on 1/6/05 5:30 PM:

> George Gleason wrote:
>> Kurt Albershardt wrote:
>>
>>> George Gleason wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>> this will be a 3 piece acoustic band , seated (I think) fiddle,
>>>> guitar, banjo
>>>>
>>>> My first impression is I would record stereo with two 012's with
>>>> omni caps centered high(head height) on the stage
>>>>
>>>> would I be better off with my 184's to eliminate some room echo?
>>>>
>>>> would I be better with one omni?
>>>
>>> What kind of room, where is the band, and how close do the dancers
get?
>>>
>> room is about 40long 30 wide 12-14 foot ceiling hard wood community

>> room in a church
>> have never been to a contra dance so I do not know how close or how
much
>> noise dancers will make
>> G
>
> I'm not sure why, but your original message never arrived here. So
I'm
> picking this thread up in the middle. Why are you recording this
event?
> If your goal is to try to capture the entire ambience of the event, I

> think you can get an interesting recording with just a stereo pair in

> the right location. If your goal is to capture a clean recording of
the
> band, that's a lot more complicated.
>
> The caller will likely be in the same sound system as the band - are
you
> planning to capture the caller as well?
>
> The dancers will be loud and very active. The room will probably be
> quite "live", so it will be a challenging environment no matter what.
>
> If your goal is to capture a clean recording of the band, I'd suggest

> that you do it in a different room with no dancers present. If
that's
> not an option, you might want to go with direct pickups from the
> instruments (if available). They certainly won't sound as good as a
> decent mic, but I suspect you'll find that mics are going to capture
too
> much of the sound of the room, the caller, and the dancers to be
> particularly useful as a "pure" recording of the band.


Having played for a lot of contra dances, I will concur emphatically
with everything Jim has said.

If it were possible to capture a reasonably faithful reproduction of
the sound in the room, I can't think of a single dance I've been to of
which I'd want to listen to such a recording!

Around here, at least, contra dancers choose their venues primarily, if
not exclusively, based upon the quality of the floor (oh yeah and its
gotta be cheap if not free).... Acoustics be damned! If you're lucky
and the sound gear is decent, it still has to be carted in and set up
in a hurry...

The band winds up sounding like reverberant mush, and then the caller
has to cut through that and be legible. A perfect recipe for a
headache.

Still, playing for the mic just doesn't have the same kind of energy as
playing for enthusiastic dancers. I'd go for mini-mic's attached to
the individual instruments.

Dan
January 6, 2005 11:58:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Why not do close miking on the 3 insts. and also do ambient stereo
micing?
Get the best mix of both, maybe bring up the ambients between songs.
Dean
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 12:00:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Kurt Albershardt wrote:
> George Gleason wrote:
>
>>
>> this will be a 3 piece acoustic band , seated (I think) fiddle,
>> guitar, banjo
>>
>> My first impression is I would record stereo with two 012's with omni
>> caps centered high(head height) on the stage
>>
>> would I be better off with my 184's to eliminate some room echo?
>>
>> would I be better with one omni?
>
>
>
> What kind of room, where is the band, and how close do the dancers get?
>
>
>
room is about 40long 30 wide 12-14 foot ceiling hard wood community
room in a church
have never been to a contra dance so I do not know how close or how much
noise dancers will make
G
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 12:00:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

George Gleason wrote:
> Kurt Albershardt wrote:
>
>> George Gleason wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> this will be a 3 piece acoustic band , seated (I think) fiddle,
>>> guitar, banjo
>>>
>>> My first impression is I would record stereo with two 012's with
>>> omni caps centered high(head height) on the stage
>>>
>>> would I be better off with my 184's to eliminate some room echo?
>>>
>>> would I be better with one omni?
>>
>> What kind of room, where is the band, and how close do the dancers get?
>>
> room is about 40long 30 wide 12-14 foot ceiling hard wood community
> room in a church
> have never been to a contra dance so I do not know how close or how much
> noise dancers will make
> G

I'm not sure why, but your original message never arrived here. So I'm
picking this thread up in the middle. Why are you recording this event?
If your goal is to try to capture the entire ambience of the event, I
think you can get an interesting recording with just a stereo pair in
the right location. If your goal is to capture a clean recording of the
band, that's a lot more complicated.

The caller will likely be in the same sound system as the band - are you
planning to capture the caller as well?

The dancers will be loud and very active. The room will probably be
quite "live", so it will be a challenging environment no matter what.

If your goal is to capture a clean recording of the band, I'd suggest
that you do it in a different room with no dancers present. If that's
not an option, you might want to go with direct pickups from the
instruments (if available). They certainly won't sound as good as a
decent mic, but I suspect you'll find that mics are going to capture too
much of the sound of the room, the caller, and the dancers to be
particularly useful as a "pure" recording of the band.
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 1:04:11 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

George Gleason wrote:

> Kurt Albershardt wrote:
> > George Gleason wrote:

> >> this will be a 3 piece acoustic band , seated (I think) fiddle,
> >> guitar, banjo

> >> My first impression is I would record stereo with two 012's with omni
> >> caps centered high(head height) on the stage

> >> would I be better off with my 184's to eliminate some room echo?

> >> would I be better with one omni?

> > What kind of room, where is the band, and how close do the dancers get?

> room is about 40long 30 wide 12-14 foot ceiling hard wood community
> room in a church
> have never been to a contra dance so I do not know how close or how much
> noise dancers will make

Use a cardioid pair, small caps, in either ORTF or XY. Position about
head height in front of the band for decent imaging and adjust distance
to balance band versus room sound. Avoid the omni caps. I'd probably
prefer the KM184's.

--
ha
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 7:25:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Jim Gilliland wrote:
> George Gleason wrote:
>
>> Kurt Albershardt wrote:
>>
>>> George Gleason wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>> this will be a 3 piece acoustic band , seated (I think) fiddle,
>>>> guitar, banjo
>>>>
>>>> My first impression is I would record stereo with two 012's with
>>>> omni caps centered high(head height) on the stage
>>>>
>>>> would I be better off with my 184's to eliminate some room echo?
>>>>
>>>> would I be better with one omni?
>>>
>>>
>>> What kind of room, where is the band, and how close do the dancers get?
>>>
>> room is about 40long 30 wide 12-14 foot ceiling hard wood community
>> room in a church
>> have never been to a contra dance so I do not know how close or how
>> much noise dancers will make
>> G
>
>
> I'm not sure why, but your original message never arrived here. So I'm
> picking this thread up in the middle. Why are you recording this event?
> If your goal is to try to capture the entire ambience of the event, I
> think you can get an interesting recording with just a stereo pair in
> the right location. If your goal is to capture a clean recording of the
> band, that's a lot more complicated.

"cleanish" recording of band but want ambience (low low) present as well
>
> The caller will likely be in the same sound system as the band - are you
> planning to capture the caller as well?

my pair on the band and a main mix off the desk, remixed on my desk
>
> The dancers will be loud and very active. The room will probably be
> quite "live", so it will be a challenging environment no matter what.

thanks for the heads up
it will help knowing this at set-up
>
> If your goal is to capture a clean recording of the band, I'd suggest
> that you do it in a different room with no dancers present. If that's
> not an option, you might want to go with direct pickups from the
> instruments (if available). They certainly won't sound as good as a
> decent mic, but I suspect you'll find that mics are going to capture too
> much of the sound of the room, the caller, and the dancers to be
> particularly useful as a "pure" recording of the band.

no not a "band" recording but rather a Event archive
george
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 8:03:13 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

db wrote:
> Why not do close miking on the 3 insts. and also do ambient stereo
> micing?
> Get the best mix of both, maybe bring up the ambients between songs.
> Dean
>

They are already close micing for the pa
i am going to take a board feed to get the close mics
I don't want to intimidate them with too much stuff
George
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 9:09:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> From: George Gleason <g.p.gleason@worldnet.att.net>

> They are already close micing for the pa
> i am going to take a board feed to get the close mics
> I don't want to intimidate them with too much stuff
> George

George:

I've recorded contras before (while playing and doing sound) and found that
the easiest way was to do just what you are doing. I took a board feed into
a little Marantz cassette deck. It sounded great! Captured the music,
caller, and energy of the crowd.

This was a few years ago, and if I were to do it again I would use a
multitrack recorder and take a feed from each channel insert (especially
easy with only three instruments and a caller) and a feed from the main outs
and a room mic. It would be a LOT of sonic material to make a very nice mix
afterwards.

Carlos
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 11:58:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

George Gleason wrote:
> db wrote:
>
>> Why not do close miking on the 3 insts. and also do ambient stereo
>> micing?
>> Get the best mix of both, maybe bring up the ambients between songs.
>> Dean
>>
>
> They are already close micing for the pa
> i am going to take a board feed to get the close mics
> I don't want to intimidate them with too much stuff
> George

The board feed isn't going to be very useful - it isn't going to be a
balanced feed of the band - the caller will be much louder than anything
else in the mix, and the instruments will be balanced more to help
everyone stay in time than to give a good acoustic mix of the music.

If I were doing this, I would split the mics at the stage and capture
each instrument individually from as close as possible. That might be
an internal pickup, or an instrument-mounted mic, or a very close mic on
a stand. I'd also capture the caller's mic on a separate track. If
there were two feeds available for an instrument (say both internal and
external mics), I'd capture both separately. You don't have to
intimidate them by adding stuff, but take advantage of whatever is
available.

Then I'd set up additional mic pairs to capture the sound in the room.
Since I really couldn't predict in advance what the room was going to
sound like, I might actually use several stereo pairs and decide later
which one(s) to include in the mix. One pair could be aimed at the band
from a close position, using directional mics that are intended to
isolate the band as much as possible from the room, the dancers, and the
PA. A second pair might also be aimed at the band, but using mics and
positioning that would include the ambience of the room. A third pair
might actually be aimed at the dancers - perhaps from the stage aimed at
a downward angle to capture the sound of the rhythm of the feet hitting
the floor (that's an important part of the sound of a contra dance, and
the band will be responding to it, so you do want some of it in your mix).

A lot of people will tell you to mix this by starting with the stereo
pair of the band and then bringing in the individual mics to enhance
that until you get what you want. That's often a pretty workable
approach, but in this case I think that main pair is still going to turn
out to be quite noisy and muddy. In the long run, you may want very
little of it (if any) in your mix. So you might want to start with it,
but as you bring up the individual instruments, plan to gradually reduce
the stage pair until you have a mix that avoids whatever muck got
captured there. You may find that you wind up dropping it completely.

If you have more than one feed from an instrument, balance those to get
a realistic sound. Then try to create a mix that has a stereo balance
much like the one captured by your stage pair, but without the noise and
mud. If you have multiple feeds from the same instrument, don't feel
that you have to use exactly the same panning for both - you may get a
better sense of space if they are placed somewhat apart in the mix.

Once you've got the instruments balanced the way you want them, then
bring up the caller and the dancers. Keep just enough of the sound of
the dancers to give the sense that, yes, this is a real contra dance.

I really don't know which of your stereo pairs will turn out to be the
most useful, so experiment and see what you get. You may want to use
just one of them, or you may want to use all three sparingly. You may
even find that you don't need them at all.

It sounds like a fun project. Good luck with it.
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 12:32:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1105073904.078426.161070@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com> deanbowlus@sbcglobal.net writes:

> Why not do close miking on the 3 insts. and also do ambient stereo
> micing?
> Get the best mix of both, maybe bring up the ambients between songs.

The original poster of course didn't present the whole story. As
presented, it read like he didn't want to make an issue of recording,
but just do it incidentally.

Around here, at least into the 80s when I played for a lot of
dances, we always had a mic for each band member for the PA system, so
there's no reason why this couldn't be recorded. The reason it usually
wasn't was because the playing wasn't really something you'd want to
listen to again and again.

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 9:03:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"George Gleason" <g.p.gleason@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
news:6_gDd.53$c13.35@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...
> Tomorrow I will be doing my first "recording only" gig
> and just thought I'd toss a "how would you do it"
> to the brain trust here
>
> I have a large assortment of mics, lrg dia cond, sm dia cond, and
> dynamics of all sorts both cheap and expensive
> I want to ask
> this will be a 3 piece acoustic band , seated (I think) fiddle, guitar,
> banjo
>
> My first impression is I would record stereo with two 012's with omni
> caps centered high(head height) on the stage
>
> would I be better off with my 184's to eliminate some room echo?
>
> would I be better with one omni?
>
> I also have 2 groove tube am62's and one 414

If it's a contra dance, there will be a PA system...for the caller if
nothing else. And a LOT of room noise. If you do overhead mics it's almost
certainly going to sound awful.

I'd suggest close micing, with a splitter if the band is going through the
PA. 012s on the fiddle and banjo -- use the hyper capsules. Put the 414 on
the guitar, set up the AM62s out there someplace for ambience, set on omni.
You may get so much PA in them that they're not usable, though.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 9:37:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Many fiddlers and even some concertina players are using there own
ATM35 clip on mics which will be great for isolation. I'd mic the
guitar and banjo with something hyper cardioid and split off the mics
at the board by coming out of the inserts if there isn't a splitter
available to you, or by using a pair of aux sends to make a separate
stereo mix.
If you want the crowd and caller you can do as others suggest with an
additional stereo pair discreetly place perhaps on stage facing out?
You can always add the callers track with the spitter or aux method.

I'm amazed there are so many of us who play contra dances. I always
imagine this is generally a haunt for folks who do more rock.
Especially since I haven't heard any fiddle tunes on the rap albums.
What does everyone play? I play fiddle mostly, but also play mando,
tenor banjo and guitar.
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 9:37:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Paul Gitlitz wrote:
>
> What does everyone play? I play fiddle mostly, but also play mando,
> tenor banjo and guitar.

I just play records on the radio. I'm happy to report that I have on
occasion played records that featured you, and also some that featured
Dan Gellert who replied earlier in this thread.

Paul Stamler is a Folk DJ as well. And Mike Rivers has been involved
with folk music for a long time. There are lots of other "folkies"
around here, but those are some of the ones who have contributed to this
thread.

Oh, and I'm also a contra dancer. But definitely not a musician.
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 10:21:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Paul Gitlitz wrote:
> Many fiddlers and even some concertina players are using there own
> ATM35 clip on mics which will be great for isolation. I'd mic the
> guitar and banjo with something hyper cardioid and split off the mics
> at the board by coming out of the inserts if there isn't a splitter
> available to you, or by using a pair of aux sends to make a separate
> stereo mix.
> If you want the crowd and caller you can do as others suggest with an
> additional stereo pair discreetly place perhaps on stage facing out?
> You can always add the callers track with the spitter or aux method.
>
> I'm amazed there are so many of us who play contra dances. I always
> imagine this is generally a haunt for folks who do more rock.
> Especially since I haven't heard any fiddle tunes on the rap albums.
> What does everyone play? I play fiddle mostly, but also play mando,
> tenor banjo and guitar.


Mando(rigel r-100 custom) guitar(larrivee LV-09) and a goodtime open
back 5 string banjo
tried fiddle , truly a instrument of tourture while going through the 20
year learning process:-)
george
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 1:15:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 19:21:02 GMT, George Gleason
<g.p.gleason@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

> truly a instrument of tourture while going through the 20
>year learning process:-)
>george

When I pick up the mando anfter playing the fiddle, I occasionally get
the comment (usually from non players) "You play THAT AS WELL!"
To which I reply "Hopefully a lot better". I started fiddle at 28, I'm
now 52, I still feel like a hack. I bought a newly made Gurnari style
fiddle made by Scott Marckx it was to be a possible replacement for my
1732 Joannes Schorn which has been in the shop for 3 months undergoing
major restoration. It was literally the wood worms holding hands that
kept it whole.
I have a 1924 Gibson A2 snakehead Mandolin, a matching 1924 Gibson TB4
Trapdoor Tenor banjo, a 1980 Martin M38, guitar and a no name 1930/40?
Archtop Guitar great tone neck like a baseball bat. Also a Slingerland
Maybell tenor for sale. And a Laurence Nyberg octave mando I use on
rare occasions on a recording.
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 5:26:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 17:40:49 -0500, Jim Gilliland
<usemylastname@cheerful.com> wrote:

>I'm happy to report that I have on
>occasion played records that featured you,

Wow that's a nice surprise. What records if you recall?
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 8:23:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Well I recorded the dance tonight
came out just fine
use the cardioid 012's in xy along with a aux send from the desk to get
the close sound
And don't get me wrong , I love this music but not for love or money
would I listen to this recording for "enjoyment"
it really is not something that really exists without the dancers
the guitar player brought a arch top and ran it through a GK amp
the tone was ,well, annoying is being polite
and the fiddle player didn't show so they substituted a snare drummer"????"
the piano was a typical grade school /church upright that was last tunes
when Hoover was president

great musicians but the presentation (IMO) was a mess
George
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 10:03:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <41df1002$0$64425$c3e8da3@news.astraweb.com> usemylastname@cheerful.com writes:

> Oh, and I'm also a contra dancer. But definitely not a musician.

NOt even a drummer?

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 10:10:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 05:23:08 GMT, George Gleason
<g.p.gleason@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

>the fiddle player didn't show so they substituted a snare drummer"????"
>the piano was a typical grade school /church upright that was last tunes
>when Hoover was president
I'm afraid the piano situation is typical, but no fiddle? This make no
sense for a contra band. Was anyone playing melody?
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 10:37:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Paul Gitlitz wrote:
> On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 17:40:49 -0500, Jim Gilliland
> <usemylastname@cheerful.com> wrote:
>
>>I'm happy to report that I have on
>>occasion played records that featured you,
>
> Wow that's a nice surprise. What records if you recall?

That's a tough one - if I remember correctly it was back in the days of
vinyl. I recall you being listed as a mandolinist, but it's definitely
been a while. I'm not really sure why your name stuck with me, but it
did. A string band of some sort, I'm sure, but I just can't recall the
specific title. Sorry.

For some reason, I have an image of a Flying Fish LP in my head when I
try to recall it. Did you ever record for Bruce?
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 10:42:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

George Gleason wrote:
>
> Well I recorded the dance tonight
> came out just fine
> use the cardioid 012's in xy along with a aux send from the desk to get
> the close sound
> And don't get me wrong , I love this music but not for love or money
> would I listen to this recording for "enjoyment"
> it really is not something that really exists without the dancers
> the guitar player brought a arch top and ran it through a GK amp
> the tone was ,well, annoying is being polite
> and the fiddle player didn't show so they substituted a snare drummer"????"
> the piano was a typical grade school /church upright that was last tunes
> when Hoover was president
>
> great musicians but the presentation (IMO) was a mess
> George

<grin> That's perfect. Most contra dances seem to run along those same
lines. It's music for dancing, not for sitting and listening. And with
a great band, the interaction between musicians and dancers and the
energy level that can develop in the room can be absolutely overwhelming.

I hope you got the chance to do some dancing!
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 11:03:00 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Paul Gitlitz" <paul@nospam.net> wrote in message
news:bsktt052k9qbm8cq3jaa5ecvnsa5el29n8@4ax.com...
> Many fiddlers and even some concertina players are using there own
> ATM35 clip on mics which will be great for isolation. I'd mic the
> guitar and banjo with something hyper cardioid and split off the mics
> at the board by coming out of the inserts if there isn't a splitter
> available to you, or by using a pair of aux sends to make a separate
> stereo mix.
> If you want the crowd and caller you can do as others suggest with an
> additional stereo pair discreetly place perhaps on stage facing out?
> You can always add the callers track with the spitter or aux method.
>
> I'm amazed there are so many of us who play contra dances. I always
> imagine this is generally a haunt for folks who do more rock.
> Especially since I haven't heard any fiddle tunes on the rap albums.
> What does everyone play? I play fiddle mostly, but also play mando,
> tenor banjo and guitar.

I don't play many contras these days, but I call some. I play fingerpicked
guitar (acoustic, electric and National steel) for English country dances
(ancestors to contra) and acoustic and National for waltz-and-vintage nights
that draw mostly a contra crowd.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 3:27:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <bsktt052k9qbm8cq3jaa5ecvnsa5el29n8@4ax.com>,
Paul Gitlitz <paul@nospam.net> wrote:

> I'm amazed there are so many of us who play contra dances. I always
> imagine this is generally a haunt for folks who do more rock.
> Especially since I haven't heard any fiddle tunes on the rap albums.
> What does everyone play? I play fiddle mostly, but also play mando,
> tenor banjo and guitar.

Yes, I was surprised, too - even that there were so many folks that know
what contra dancing is! When I read the original post, I had to
double-check the date, because the previous night (Wednesday) I had
played a contra dance in Berkeley with the exact same configuration
(fiddle/banjo/guitar, with myself on banjo) and started wondering if
someone had recorded the dance unbeknownst to me. Not the case, I guess,
but I wonder where the dance was, and who played it, as there's a pretty
good chance I either know or have heard of the musicians.

Paul, I'm curious if you've ever attended the Fiddle Tunes festival in
Port Townsend, WA, which must be relatively close to where you live.
I've been going there since 1978 (missed one year) and have many
musician friends in Seattle (and a few in Vancouver), so it seems likely
that we have some friends or acquaintances in common. I play southern
old-time banjo for the most part, but I know plenty of folks that play
non-southern traditional music as well.

By the way, I agree with you, Dan Gellert, and others about the rigors
of dealing with the usual dreadful sound and acoustic environment at
your average contra/square dance, and that the best bet would likely be
to use careful close micing with tight-patterned small-diaphragm mics on
banjo and guitar, and probably a GOOD, well-placed (important!) clip-on
mic on the fiddle. Fiddlers like to move, and a stand-mounted mic placed
close enough to a fiddle to get decent isolation is likely to capture a
good bit of variation in tone and volume as the fiddler sways and
gyrates. Doesn't matter much for the dancers, but it may well be
noticeable and distracting on a recording.

Seeing Dan posting here recently, I'd like to put in a plug for Dan's
recent CD, "Waitin' On the Break of Day", which I highly recommend -
terrific stuff! <http://orphonon.utopiandesign.com&gt; Dan's a musician's
musician in the traditional old-time music world, and you won't find any
better. His delightful daughter Rayna is one hell of a fiddler as well,
and is one of my favorite people to snag a festival session with on
those very rare occasions that I have a chance to do so. Good work on
both efforts, Dan!

--
Brendan Doyle
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 3:40:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <bd-CD6FE1.04275808012005@newssvr13-ext.news.prodigy.com> bd@nospam.net writes:

> Yes, I was surprised, too - even that there were so many folks that know
> what contra dancing is!

I'm surprised at the musical breadth of the posters here. People who
know classical music, opera, string band music, Indian music, Chinese
instruments, whatever.

> Paul, I'm curious if you've ever attended the Fiddle Tunes festival in
> Port Townsend, WA, which must be relatively close to where you live.
> I've been going there since 1978 (missed one year) and have many
> musician friends in Seattle (and a few in Vancouver), so it seems likely
> that we have some friends or acquaintances in common. I play southern
> old-time banjo for the most part, but I know plenty of folks that play
> non-southern traditional music as well.

I really enjoyed the old time music scene for the six months that I
lived in the Seattle area a few years back. I've never been to any of
those music camps and festivals, but I do attend Banjo and Old Time
Music camps in Massachusetts and I'm looking forward to seeing Dan
Gellert there this year. I haven't seen him for over 20 years.

> By the way, I agree with you, Dan Gellert, and others about the rigors
> of dealing with the usual dreadful sound and acoustic environment at
> your average contra/square dance

I haven't done the dance scene in years but I wouldn't be surprised
that acoustically it's getting worse. Larger venues, more dancers, and
more (but less quality) sound equipment run by people who don't know
much more than which direction the sound goes into a microphone,
usually a band member who has a few hundred extra bucks. There oughta
be a contra dance on every block, with no more than a dozen dancers,
three musicians, and no sound system. Ah, for the good old days!


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 3:54:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rivers wrote:
> In article <41df1002$0$64425$c3e8da3@news.astraweb.com> usemylastname@cheerful.com writes:
>
>
>>Oh, and I'm also a contra dancer. But definitely not a musician.
>
> NOt even a drummer?

<g> Well, I'm often found tapping out rhythms on anything handy. And I
love to sing. It's a good thing the mic is off during much of my show,
because I'm always adding harmonies to the stuff that I play on the air.

Even so, it would be quite a stretch to use the term "musician".
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 4:48:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 12:27:22 GMT, Brendan Doyle <bd@nospam.net> wrote:

>Paul, I'm curious if you've ever attended the Fiddle Tunes festival in
>Port Townsend, WA, which must be relatively close to where you live.
>I've been going there since 1978 (missed one year) and have many
>musician friends in Seattle (and a few in Vancouver), so it seems likely
>that we have some friends or acquaintances in common. I play southern
>old-time banjo for the most part, but I know plenty of folks that play
>non-southern traditional music as well.

I really went only once as a crasher. I camped nearby and went to all
the late night jams. I showed up about half way through the week and
realized that folks had been bonding as they do, and even though I
knew lots of folks, I was a bit of an outsider. At least that's how I
felt at the time.
This occurred almost 20 years ago. I was then saving my dough for a
festival at Port Townsend that happened at the end of summer and
offered international dancing and music. They had Irish for a couple
of years which fiddle tunes avoided. I got to take lessons with Dale
Russ and Kevin Burke it was Grand!
I sometimes make it down for Folklife, though I've often had paying
gigs that weekend. Hey didn't I see you jamming out in front of the
dance hall?<G>
You must know Armin Barnett. I just bought my new fiddle from him. It
was made in Port Townsend by Scott Marckx .
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 5:00:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 07:37:23 -0500, Jim Gilliland
<usemylastname@cheerful.com> wrote:

>That's a tough one - if I remember correctly it was back in the days of
>vinyl. I recall you being listed as a mandolinist, but it's definitely
>been a while. I'm not really sure why your name stuck with me, but it
>did. A string band of some sort, I'm sure, but I just can't recall the
>specific title. Sorry.
>
>For some reason, I have an image of a Flying Fish LP in my head when I
>try to recall it. Did you ever record for Bruce?

I played in more than a few string bands and mando was my main axe,
but we never really got anywhere and most recordings where just demos.
I do have a long history of successful recordings of children's music.
I know a bunch of them ended up on Rounder. I sang on an old LP of a
band called Flying Mountain it might have made it to Flying Fish, if I
played mandolin on it I don't recall. The band leader was a very hot
mando, fiddle, guitar guy named Dan Ruben. I remember sitting in with
them the odd time at concerts and playing for fun.
I never met Bruce.
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 5:00:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Paul Gitlitz wrote:
> On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 07:37:23 -0500, Jim Gilliland
> <usemylastname@cheerful.com> wrote:
>
>>For some reason, I have an image of a Flying Fish LP in my head when I
>>try to recall it. Did you ever record for Bruce?
>
> I played in more than a few string bands and mando was my main axe,
> but we never really got anywhere and most recordings where just demos.
> I do have a long history of successful recordings of children's music.
> I know a bunch of them ended up on Rounder. I sang on an old LP of a
> band called Flying Mountain it might have made it to Flying Fish, if I
> played mandolin on it I don't recall. The band leader was a very hot
> mando, fiddle, guitar guy named Dan Ruben. I remember sitting in with
> them the odd time at concerts and playing for fun.
> I never met Bruce.

Hmmm, well I do play children's music from time to time, but I doubt
that we're going to identify it. Maybe it was just someone recording
one of your tunes - I know that you write a bit.

Did you ever do any work or performing here in Northeastern Ohio?
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 8:20:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Paul Stamler" <pstamlerhell@pobox.com> wrote in message
news:UsMDd.5243$c13.3419@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...
>
> I don't play many contras these days, but I call some. I play fingerpicked
> guitar (acoustic, electric and National steel) for English country dances
> (ancestors to contra) and acoustic and National for waltz-and-vintage
nights
> that draw mostly a contra crowd.

Oh -- and I *dance* contra almost every week.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 8:25:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Brendan Doyle" <bd@nospam.net> wrote in message
news:bd-CD6FE1.04275808012005@newssvr13-ext.news.prodigy.com...

> Seeing Dan posting here recently, I'd like to put in a plug for Dan's
> recent CD, "Waitin' On the Break of Day", which I highly recommend -
> terrific stuff! <http://orphonon.utopiandesign.com&gt; Dan's a musician's
> musician in the traditional old-time music world, and you won't find any
> better. His delightful daughter Rayna is one hell of a fiddler as well,
> and is one of my favorite people to snag a festival session with on
> those very rare occasions that I have a chance to do so. Good work on
> both efforts, Dan!

I can testify to the latter; one of the great musical experiences of my life
was sitting in on a jam session in the lobby of the hotel at a Folk Alliance
conference, a session anchored by Rayna and Bruce Molsky, fiddles an inch
apart, making music like you wouldn't believe.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 9:43:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1105193277k@trad...

> I haven't done the dance scene in years but I wouldn't be surprised
> that acoustically it's getting worse. Larger venues, more dancers, and
> more (but less quality) sound equipment run by people who don't know
> much more than which direction the sound goes into a microphone,
> usually a band member who has a few hundred extra bucks. There oughta
> be a contra dance on every block, with no more than a dozen dancers,
> three musicians, and no sound system. Ah, for the good old days!

Hey, let's not go overboard -- I want at least a small sound reinforcement
system for the caller. At weekly English dances we use a little one, with a
wireless mic, otherwise no house PA at all.

And can we have *two* dozen dancers? Otherwise you get up and down the line
way too fast, and there's a paucity of choice among partners.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 1:26:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <ogovt01ji6fe53reptds2eij6ofhrktefi@4ax.com>,
Paul Gitlitz <paul@nospam.net> wrote:

> On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 12:27:22 GMT, Brendan Doyle <bd@nospam.net> wrote:
>
> >Paul, I'm curious if you've ever attended the Fiddle Tunes festival in
> >Port Townsend, WA, which must be relatively close to where you live.

> I really went only once as a crasher. I camped nearby and went to all
> the late night jams. I showed up about half way through the week and
> realized that folks had been bonding as they do, and even though I
> knew lots of folks, I was a bit of an outsider. At least that's how I
> felt at the time.

This is a common experience at intense festivals like Fiddle Tunes (or
Clifftop in WV), even for folks that are well "plugged-in" to the scene,
but show up late in the festival. However, from the point of view of a
full-week participant such as myself, I'm always delighted to see "new
blood" arriving in mid or late week to boost the energy level even
further and provide more choices of people to play with - so you may not
be seen as nearly so much of an outsider as you feel!

> This occurred almost 20 years ago. I was then saving my dough for a
> festival at Port Townsend that happened at the end of summer and
> offered international dancing and music. They had Irish for a couple
> of years which fiddle tunes avoided. I got to take lessons with Dale
> Russ and Kevin Burke it was Grand!

I never made it to that week, but often wished I could have, as I
usually knew many of the faculty and participants. The Festival of
American Fiddle Tunes (the full name of "Fiddle Tunes") has loosened
their definition of "American" quite a bit over the years, and often
includes terrific Irish music now. Last year Tommy Peoples was on the
faculty, and this year, I believe Brian Conway will be there, both with
Mark Simos accompanying. Dale Russ has been there numerous times, both
on the faculty and as a tutor or participant, I believe. They really
ought to have Kevin there as well; I can't remember if he's been on the
Fiddle Tunes faculty or not (the years all run together after a while).

> I sometimes make it down for Folklife, though I've often had paying
> gigs that weekend. Hey didn't I see you jamming out in front of the
> dance hall?<G>

You know, I've never yet made it up there from CA for Folklife, though
if I had, we'd have certainly crossed paths. I'd likely be found playing
with Greg and Jere Canote and/or some combination of Seattle players.

> You must know Armin Barnett. I just bought my new fiddle from him. It
> was made in Port Townsend by Scott Marckx .

I do indeed know Armin. I don't think I knew that Scott builds fiddles,
though I see him every year at Fiddle Tunes with his banjo-playing wife
Jeanie.

Paul, I'd encourage you to come back to Fiddle Tunes again. There's a
huge variety of regional styles and fine players to be found (e.g.,
great Quebecois music!) and these days, there's a hopping campground
scene with many folks that don't even sign up for classes and workshops,
but play all day in the campground and just get an evening pass that's
now available for Building 204 and the schoolhouse, with dances and
sessions going far into the wee hours each night.

--
Brendan Doyle
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 2:08:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <znr1105099661k@trad>, mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers)
wrote:

> In article <1105073904.078426.161070@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>
> deanbowlus@sbcglobal.net writes:
>
> <snip>
> Around here, at least into the 80s when I played for a lot of
> dances, we always had a mic for each band member for the PA system, so
> there's no reason why this couldn't be recorded. The reason it usually
> wasn't was because the playing wasn't really something you'd want to
> listen to again and again.

Good point indeed, Mike! More often than I'd care to admit, I've played
dances in bands, often billed as "(fiddler's name here) and Friends,"
that never did manage to get together to rehearse, but just showed up,
tuned, and took off running. Just this Wednesday night, I played a dance
as one third of "Ray Bierl and Friends" (Ray on fiddle, Alan Senauke on
guitar, myself on banjo) for a contra dance in Berkeley. I think we did
a creditable enough job of winging it, but I sure as hell wouldn't care
to hear a recording of myself learning some of Ray's tunes on the fly! I
was wincing at the time, and counting on the likelihood that most of the
dancers don't really listen to the music much anyway.

But even in a band that's played together a lot, I wouldn't care to
listen to myself playing a dance. Straining to hear ourselves in the
funky monitor mix, over the hollering of the caller and the thundering
feet of the dancers, I too often find myself playing by sheer brute
force, with little finesse and for maximum volume and drive. Okay for
dancing, but not my finest playing by a long shot! Rarely would I care
to have it preserved for a future jaw-clenching rehearing.

--
Brendan Doyle
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 5:40:04 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 12:59:59 -0500, Jim Gilliland
<usemylastname@cheerful.com> wrote:

>Did you ever do any work or performing here in Northeastern Ohio?
No, I have played Minnesota, Iowa, & Missouri.
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 5:44:26 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 22:26:54 GMT, Brendan Doyle <bd@nospam.net> wrote:

>Paul, I'd encourage you to come back to Fiddle Tunes again. There's a
>huge variety of regional styles and fine players to be found (e.g.,
>great Quebecois music!) and these days, there's a hopping campground
>scene with many folks that don't even sign up for classes and workshops,
>but play all day in the campground and just get an evening pass that's
>now available for Building 204 and the schoolhouse, with dances and
>sessions going far into the wee hours each night.

Thank you for the delightful encouragement! I was thinking of taking a
change from the wonderful Swing week I usually do up here in Canada.
I'm really a fiddle tune guy left to my own devices.
perhaps I'll see you this summer.
Paul
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 9:16:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <bd-A5CEED.15085308012005@newssvr13-ext.news.prodigy.com> bd@nospam.net writes:

> But even in a band that's played together a lot, I wouldn't care to
> listen to myself playing a dance. Straining to hear ourselves in the
> funky monitor mix, over the hollering of the caller and the thundering
> feet of the dancers, I too often find myself playing by sheer brute
> force

Hah! When I was playing dances, we didn't have monitors, thank
goodness. At least we could have a pretty good time playing and hoped
that the dancers could get the beat. But when you play the same tune
for about three minutes, go into another tune for a while, then a
third tune for about half a time through and it's the end of the
dance, who wants to listen to that?

I haven't had my record of The Cantebury Orchestra out for about 25
years. I should give it a listen. That was a fun bunch.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 8:53:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1105239749k@trad...
>
> In article <bd-A5CEED.15085308012005@newssvr13-ext.news.prodigy.com>
bd@nospam.net writes:
>
> > But even in a band that's played together a lot, I wouldn't care to
> > listen to myself playing a dance. Straining to hear ourselves in the
> > funky monitor mix, over the hollering of the caller and the thundering
> > feet of the dancers, I too often find myself playing by sheer brute
> > force
>
> Hah! When I was playing dances, we didn't have monitors, thank
> goodness. At least we could have a pretty good time playing and hoped
> that the dancers could get the beat. But when you play the same tune
> for about three minutes, go into another tune for a while, then a
> third tune for about half a time through and it's the end of the
> dance, who wants to listen to that?

On the flip side, at our dance last night the monitor amp was DOA. The folks
at the right end of the band really missed it; the flute player couldn't
hear the guitar when I played acoustic, even when I turned to face her
directly. When I played electric, the viola da gamba player couldn't hear
himself. Sometimes those monitor doodads are worth having.

> I haven't had my record of The Cantebury Orchestra out for about 25
> years. I should give it a listen. That was a fun bunch.

It was; that was my first exposure to this whole galaxy of stuff. We still
do the "la-las" on Prince William.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 10:17:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> the viola da gamba player couldn't hear
> himself. Sometimes those monitor doodads are worth having.

A viola da gamba in a contradance band? Now that's cooler than a
hurdy-gurdy or a xafoon.
>
Carlos
Anonymous
January 10, 2005 10:17:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Carlos Alden" <calden3@msn.com> wrote in message
news:BE0733C7.34DCF%calden3@msn.com...
>
> > the viola da gamba player couldn't hear
> > himself. Sometimes those monitor doodads are worth having.
>
> A viola da gamba in a contradance band? Now that's cooler than a
> hurdy-gurdy or a xafoon.

Actually an ECD band. But he has a hurdy-gurdy on order.

Peace,
Paul
!