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Signalling to the Band

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Looking at this video of James Blunt, he appears to signal to the band "another repeat" (3'01") and then "desist, I don't want this any more" ( 3'02").  I was impressed that they managed to follow that sudden change of mind. 

So, how do others here signal repeated choruses or verses, extended solos, or quiet sections?

 


 

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It looked as if his first 'upward corkscrew' signal was an 'about to finish' signal, followed by a 'finish' signal.

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1 minute ago, KevL said:

It looked as if his first 'upward corkscrew' signal was an 'about to finish' signal, followed by a 'finish' signal.

Dunno, all that signaling left me in the dark....

Edited by yorks5stringer
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In folk circles, the chord sequence (maybe an A part and B part) tends to repeat throughout the song without an agreed end, and people join in as they feel like.

To bring the song to an end the 'leader' of the song sticks his leg out - then at the end of that repetition everyone ends together.

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Just now, Nail Soup said:

In folk circles, the chord sequence (maybe an A part and B part) tends to repeat throughout the song without an agreed end, and people join in as they feel like.

To bring the song to an end the 'leader' of the song sticks his leg out - then at the end of that repetition everyone ends together.

Yes, I've seen that before too.

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1 minute ago, KevL said:

It looked as if his first 'upward corkscrew' signal was an 'about to finish' signal, followed by a 'finish' signal.

Good point!

Just as well I was not in the band - I would be midway through the next chorus while the rest of the band were starting to pack up . . . .

It perhaps illustrates that signals work best when everyone knows agrees them.




 

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If someone stops playing for some reason, they signal the rest of the band to carry on playing with a circular motion of the hand... kind of vertical like a bike wheel.

Edited by Nail Soup

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2 minutes ago, Nail Soup said:

In folk circles, the chord sequence (maybe an A part and B part) tends to repeat throughout the song without an agreed end, and people join in as they feel like.

To bring the song to an end the 'leader' of the song sticks his leg out - then at the end of that repetition everyone ends together.

Interesting - and, for me, not something I have seen before.   However, it feels more like the music that I play - the leader gives a rough structure, but we follow him (or her), for added repeats and dynamics that they will call for during the song. 

As for folk music, if that is the case, I plan to attend my local folk club's open mic session, and suggest that we play the okey cokey.  

"why did you stop, then start, then stop, then start?"

"The leader stuck his left leg in, his left leg out, in, out . . .  . . .  "  


 

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@bass_dinger  I just looked at it with fresh eyes and thought the first signal was the main one, the second 'chop/finish' was just instinctive by JB and the band didn't really take much notice of it as they knew what was coming. Just my take on it, the signals could be anything.

I've watched a few of those R2 Breakfast Show covers, Beverley Knight has to be the best - some of the stuff is pretty dire (Liam Gallagher).

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34 minutes ago, KevL said:

It wasn't that bad...

 

Confession: I fast forwarded... 😂

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Our singer points upwards, to signal the end is nigh. If its a rehearsed ending that is essentially a 'last time through this bit' signal If we're just jamming a song out her signal is the alert and the drummer cues the end with an obvious fill. 

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4 minutes ago, Mickeyboro said:

Confession: I fast forwarded... 😂

So, it might have been good, and you missed out!  

In spite of what some may think, James Blunt is not all about hand signals at the end of a song, Mickeyboro . . .  🙂

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We have another trick we use to make us sound decent without really putting any work in. Dynamics, aka playing some bits louder than others. 

Rather than go insane trying to remember dynamic drops and builds for 40 different songs, we always take it down after an instrumental section or solo.

So we only have one thing to remember. But as not all songs have a solo and some have several it creates the illusion of a set peppered with carefully constructed dynamics. 

Utter genius if I say it myself. 

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Used to run a soul/Motown function band that used a lot of does and the regular frontman and I had a pretty well worked out set of hand signals that we both used to lead the rest of the band - ones to indicate the chorus (a C shape), repeats of the current section (wave your finger in a circle), that the end was nigh (a clenched fist held up meant we're all ending after this bit), or to drop the dynamics down for a section (frantically gesturing downwards 🤣). Very handy, could be quickly explained and saved a lot of fuss when short notice deps were involved. 

To take it to extremes, I mixed monitors in 2019 for an artist with very exacting requirements and we had a complex language of hand signals for everything from turning up and down individual band members to increasing/decreasing reverb times in her IEM to adjusting the tonal balance of her vocal sound (with signs for bass, mid and high end). Took some remembering but was very effective for quick communication!

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1 hour ago, Nail Soup said:

In folk circles, the chord sequence (maybe an A part and B part) tends to repeat throughout the song without an agreed end, and people join in as they feel like.

To bring the song to an end the 'leader' of the song sticks his leg out - then at the end of that repetition everyone ends together.

I used to years ago dep with a blues band as and when , and this leg motion was used all the time . Also arching of the head , for another turnaround to bring it to a finish . Deps , even function band ones are all about looking for cues - and picking up on them fast .

Chuck Berry used to do the leg thing too I think .

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Just now, E sharp said:

 

Chuck Berry used to do the leg thing too I think .

"If you are playing when I stomp my foot, stop.  If I stomp my foot and you are not playing, start".  Or something like that. 

Just to prove that I have watched the whole of YouTube, here he is, doing the end-stomp with the E Street Band - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6swgiM9vSEE   2'44" 
 

 

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1 hour ago, bass_dinger said:

Looking at this video of James Blunt, he appears to signal to the band "another repeat" (3'01") and then "desist, I don't want this any more" ( 3'02").  I was impressed that they managed to follow that sudden change of mind. 

Actually I think the first signal is to Blunt’s pilot Andre asking him to start the helicopter (3:01) before he reveals his murderous final intentions by making the internationally recognised off with his head gesture (3:02) to Brian May. At this point Blunt’s evil sidekick Bruno was supposed to run in with a machete and decapitate the lanky Queen guitarist for still having an effin’ perm. Anyway Bruno was round the back having a ciggie with Roger Taylor so the whole endeavour was up the creek from the outset.

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31 minutes ago, stewblack said:

 

Utter genius if I say it myself. 

We do much the same.  The third verse is always quieter.  

For me, it is predictable, and getting dull - but I suspect that the congregation don't realise how formulaic it is.  Actually, I am not sure that the band consciously realised it either - so, it all felt very natural and organic when the planned spontaneity happened.

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8 hours ago, mike257 said:

Used to run a soul/Motown function band that used a lot of does and the regular frontman and I had a pretty well worked out set of hand signals that we both used to lead the rest of the band - ones to indicate the chorus (a C shape), repeats of the current section (wave your finger in a circle), that the end was nigh (a clenched fist held up meant we're all ending after this bit), or to drop the dynamics down for a section (frantically gesturing downwards 🤣). Very handy, could be quickly explained and saved a lot of fuss when short notice deps were involved. 

 

You’ve been watching our church band, except not ‘held up’ but hidden as much as possible, so only the band can see them.

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30 minutes ago, Baxlin said:

You’ve been watching our church band, except not ‘held up’ but hidden as much as possible, so only the band can see them.

The signals should all be part of the stage show - but then perhaps that's not the point of a church band.

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10 hours ago, bass_dinger said:

So, it might have been good, and you missed out!  

In spite of what some may think, James Blunt is not all about hand signals at the end of a song, Mickeyboro . . .  🙂

I doubt even the genius that is James Blunt could not elevate that song...😂

Edited by Mickeyboro
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I did a dep job on Eb bass for a brass band once, it was a beer night where they had to keep playing without breaks between pieces. Each part had a number on it and the MD hand-signalled the number of the next piece while you were playing the current one. You then had to find a sequence of a few bars rest to get the next part out of your pad. Or in the case of the basses, one player at a time, since there are virtually never any bars rest in the bass parts for the kind of pieces you play at a beer night.

You would think that it would be better to just sort the order out before the start, but the MD wanted the flexibility to go with the flow and select an appropriate piece in real-time.

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