[Dixielandjazz] A Good Rule For Volume
Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis
larrys.bands at charter.net
Thu Jun 7 18:01:32 PDT 2007
Volume means different things at different times.
Someone who tells you that you are too loud may be saying I don't like what
you are playing. Have you ever noticed that no one complains when you are
playing let's say Glen Miller but play a rock tune and all of a sudden you
are too loud?
Some band leaders try to play one tune after another with no pause. Bad
Idea. Give people a chance to talk if that seems to be what they want to do.
If you play for older people you will find many of them have tinnitus (SP?)
It can be painful and they can get pretty nasty.
Sometimes they play loud to overcome the crowd noise.
There is also such a thing as room resonance that will fill the holes in a
group. Acoustic bands that play outside suddenly can hear themselves and it
sounds like you are all alone. Unless you are used to it that can be un
nerving. Bands try to get that sound which reinforces them but
unfortunately that is fairly loud.
I play with a loud band and the three horns have to really pump air and then
out in the audience they are just background for the singers. I can play
extremely loud for long periods of time but I don't like it. The leader is
afraid that if he gives us a mike we will over play the singers. It's just
a lot of work.
I worked at a country club for awhile and they wanted things extremely soft
and finally I told the manager where the volume control was and that he
should set the volume. He did, we played very very soft, we got paid and we
I am familiar with bands that turn things up after turning everything down.
We could go back to the old thread of why people don't hire bands.
----- Original Message -----
From: "billsharp" <sharp-b at clearwire.net>
To: "Larry Walton" <larrys.bands at charter.net>
Cc: "Dixieland Jazz Mailing List" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2007 3:14 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] A Good Rule For Volume
> Years ago I left a 50's-60's rock group I was playing in because, as they
> began getting more and more work, they began thinking that they had to
> play louder.. Perhaps it was because the steadily increasing volumes were
> causing steadily increasing hearing losses. Loved playing the
> tunes - -hated the volume.
> I had begun to notice that people who at one time were able to
> comfortably talk to one another at a comfortable standing distance were
> later on in our events, as we got "better" (I.e. louder) having to lean
> into one another and put their mouths next to another person's ear in
> order to tell them something, then have to swap ear-to-mouth to get an
> answer. Something was wrong with this picture. The only time I want my
> mouth that close to another person's ear is to whisper sweet nothings.
> ( And these days that's easy for me because I mostly have nothing to say)
> It was then that I developed the motto I've applied to every group I've
> had any control over, regarding volume:
> ALLOW THEM TO HEAR YOU - -DON'T MAKE THEM HEAR YOU.
> Have the volume set at a level so that perhaps they might want to ask you
> to turn it up, but never the opposite.
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