New to our Social Group? ~ Read Me First!!

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    As suggested by a new member, I'm starting this discussion thread to help our new members get into the swing of our great Social Group! My request is that our seasoned members add to this thread, with their helpful suggestions, and if newcomers have any questions, they can be posted here, so they are more easily found by future new members!

    Our group's messages are limited to 5000 characters per post, so I am going to have to break this up to include all the info!

    There are 3 "Table of Contents" discussion threads, and I try to keep them near the top, or at least on the first page, of our discussions. These are linked to the individual discussion threads. It's nice, when you are starting a new discussion, if you give it's title some thought, so that when someone is looking through the table of contents, the title gives you some kind of clue as to what is discussed. So "I need help with my new Mac" is preferable to just "help!"

    As far as the tunes posted in the group, they are broken down into two categories; "Official Tune of the Week" and "Other Tunes".

    We have a poll each week, posted in the regular message board section of Mandolin Cafe (Song & Tune Projects), usually with 5 tunes to choose from, and I post the winner on Fridays. I populate this poll from a discussion thread entitled "Poll Tune Suggestions". If you have any suggestions for tunes in future polls, please post them to the "Poll Tune Suggestions" discussion. Each week, I link to the poll from the thread Polls ~From now on they'll be posted here!

    Our "Other Tunes" is just that. Tunes that our members post. Sometimes, other's post their versions of the tune, sometimes, there's just the one.

    Then there's what I have grouped into "Discussions". These are threads that are just us discussing stuff, not specific to any tune.

    When we post videos of tunes, it's nice to have some history of the tune, and links to where you might find Tab, Notation and ABC. Usually, the ABC gets posted right into the discussion.

    ABC, you ask, just what is that? Other's can probably describe it better, but it's a text version of the makeup of the tune. People adept at reading it, as is, probably can do just that, but I believe it's most useful when you 'copy' the ABC, then 'paste' it into an ABC converter. The one I use now, is's abc converter, found HERE!

    Here is a link to a discussion about ABC In it, it describes ABC:

    abc is a language designed to notate tunes in plain text format. It was designed primarily for folk and traditional tunes of Western European origin (such as English, Irish and Scottish) which can be written on one stave in standard classical notation. However, it has been used for many other types of music and, for example, Steve Allen has coded Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, Movement 2 in abc!

    Since its introduction at the end of 1991 it has become very popular: there now exist tens of thousands of tunes in abc, from a variety of online collections and many abc software tools (for Windows, Mac, Linux, Palmtop and other platforms) which can read abc notation and either process it into staff notation or play it through the speakers of a computer.

    One of the most important aims of abc notation, and perhaps one that distinguishes it from most, if not all, computer-based musical languages is that it can also be read easily by humans. In other words, with a little practice, it is possible to play a tune directly from the abc notation without having to process and print it out. Even if this isn't of interest, the resulting clarity of the notation makes it very easy to notate tunes. In addition, the ability to write music in abc notation means that it can be easily and portably stored or transported electronically, hence enabling the discussion and dissemination of music via email.

    Google "ABC Notation", and you should find all you need to know, and decide what converter works best for you!
  2. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    TAB.... short for Tablature. From www.wikipedia: Tablature (or tabulature, or tab for short) is a form of musical notation indicating instrument fingering rather than musical pitches.

    Mandolin cafe has a good library of mandolin Tab here

    Standard notation is the music written out on the clefs, and is not instrument/tuning specific, as TAB is.

    Here is a link to Within it, you will find a link to TablEdit files. You will need a TEF reader to read these files, but I believe you can download one from the site. These files have both TAB and Standard notation (you may need to 'tweek' the settings, to get them to read the way you want them). Hopefully, members who are knowledgeable with TablEdit, and the various programs you can use to utilize them, and the ways to utilize those programs, will add their knowledge here!


    So, all you current members with know-how, please post your helpful suggestions as far as best ways to participate within this group, and any other thing you can think of!

    And, welcome to you new members! Any questions, please post here, and we'll see what we can do to help you!
  3. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
  4. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Some more tips just posted:

    From Mandophyte:

    Go to the ABC Plus site:

    ABC Explorer:
    and Guido Gonzato's Making music with ABC PLus:
  5. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Another great thing would be for our members to post the online sites they search, when looking for info about tunes.

    Here is a link to an earlier discussion, with links to the sites.
  6. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    It has been suggested that I outline the steps to participating in our discussions, with your own video.

    In order to video, you are going to need some kind of video camera. Most digital cameras these days have a video function, so you've probably already got that covered. You can also use a webcam if you've got one hooked up to your computer. There are also very affordable small digital video cameras on the market. If you have an older tape video, but know how to upload it onto your computer and turn it in to a digital file, you are good to go, as well. We've even had people submit videos taken on their cell phones.

    If you've never uploaded to YouTube, well you start out there, click a button to join YouTube, and fill out all the info, and get your user name & password. Once you have that, you are all set to upload your video to YouTube.

    If you are already into audio recording yourself, and/or video recording yourself, you probably are savvy with editing those recordings. It's really not necessary to have video editing, but it's nice. I've noticed that some of today's video software, include a button to upload right to YouTube!

    However, if you do have a built in video editing program on your computer, it's nice to download your video from your camera to your computer, and open your video editing program, and do at least a little editing. This is one of the parts of making videos, where you can do nothing, you can do very little, or you can make a big production, if you have the computer program and know-how! We've got members that make excellent video productions, as well as playing the tune in the recording. Once you have your video on your computer's hard drive, edited or raw, it's just a matter of going to YouTube, logging into your account, and finding the button that says 'upload video'. The YouTube directions are pretty easy to follow.

    All depending on the size and format of your video, and your internet connection, it may take some time before your uploaded video is live on YouTube. Once it is, the way to get it here in the forum:

    Starting out in a window with your YouTube video you've uploaded open, look in the address bar at the top (, and 'copy' the code after the '=' of the url of your video.

    If you want to contribute it to a discussion already underway, you click 'reply' (not quick reply), and type your message. If you want to start your new discussion, you just click "post new discussion", and type your message. Once you have typed your message, then click the red icon above the message panel you are typing in, that says 'Tube'. This opens a window where you now 'paste' the code you copied from the url address of your video (the code after the '='). Click OK, and your video should appear in the message panel. You should get in the habit of clicking 'preview' before posting, to make sure you've done it right, and your video is embedded.

    If you've never videoed yourself playing an instrument, be prepared to be shocked! It's difficult at first, but it truly does get easier! Some people find it easier to not record their faces when recording, that way, you only have to be concerned with how you are playing, not how goofy you are looking! But, learning how to look decent when playing, is handy, as you never know when you are going to end up playing in public, where people can see you! Learning how to be conscious of how you look, isn't a bad thing!

    At first, you'll probably find that it's almost impossible to get through the tune without making a mistake. I'd say, don't wait till it's perfect. Post it, get it out there, and the next one, you'll find, was really a little easier...

    When you post your video, please include what instrument you are playing, as it's not always evident what the name is on the headstock! If you have the ABC notation, or a link to standard notation for what you are playing, it's nice to include that. I know it probably seems redundant to type every time "I'm playing my (insert maker) mandolin", but it's very nice, when listening to the videos, to be able to look down at the message and read exactly what the instrument is.
  7. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Here's a recent discussion on recording equipment.

    Let's say you aren't into videoing yourself, but you have some way that you have recorded yourself (audio) and have an mp3 that you would like to contribute, instead of a video. That's done a little differently.

    You go to the regular forums (not the social groups), go to "Song and Tune Projects", you'll find the first sticky thread is "Thread for Social Group MP3 posting". The first post tells you how to go about uploading your MP3 to the discussion. Go to the last page, and the last posting, and click "reply" (not quick reply), and then at the bottom, click "go advanced". Type in your message, and then scroll down and click 'manage attachments' (you can attach these files: bmp doc gif jpe jpeg jpg mid mp3 pdf png tef txt) When you click manage attachments, it opens your standard window that lets you find your file on your computer's hard drive, and upload it. Once it's done, your MP3 is attached to that message.

    You then can 'right click' on the attachment name, and copy the link location (at least, that's what it's called on my Mac). Then, you go to the message in the Song A Week Social group, where you want to attach your mp3, and type your message. The way I would do it is then type something like "here is a link to my mp3". Then, I would highlight that text. Then, I would click the link icon at the top of the message panel you are typing in (it looks like a link of chain). That opens a window, where I would then 'paste' the code that I copied of the mp3's link location. Then, click OK, and it turns the text (here is a link) into a link.

    Alternately, you can embed Google player and we can directly listen to the mp3 in the message. Here is a link to a discussion in which a member describes how to do that.
  8. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
  9. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I remember that when I tried to post my first mp3, Barbara, I had trouble with it and got advice from Scott and yourself about uploading. What my problem was, as far as I can ascertain, was that I had spaces in my mp3 title, which certain servers seem not to like, so I have renamed anything I have posted since as mp3 material with no spaces - "dingleregatta.mp3" rather than "dingle regatta.mp3". This seems to have sorted out the issue for me and may help anyone else who is having trouble uploading stuff.

  10. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    A newly joined member has asked some questions that he couldn't easily find the answers to, and so I'm going to try to address those!

    The one thing that doesn't seem to be covered in this discussion, is how I come up with the 'official tune of the week'.

    There is a thread entitled "Polls ~ From Now on They'll be Posted Here!". Every week (usually) I create a poll in the regular forum section of mandolin cafe, in the Song & Tune Projects section, and then link to it from the discussion thread here in our social group, "Polls ~ From Now On They'll Be Posted Here!".

    There is another thread here in our social group, Poll Tune Suggestions. Scroll to the last page, and there is an updated list that I am working from to populate the poll. Every so often, I will repost the updated list, so it's toward the end of the discussions. I encourage all members to post tune suggestions here in this discussion, and then I will add them to the master list I work from. When you suggest a tune, please try to include the genre along with it (ie, BG, Old-Time, etc)

    Normally, I post a new poll every week (sometime between Friday afternoon & Monday), and I try to announce the winner as a new discussion here in the social group, on Friday. I aim for noon, but sometimes it's earlier or later!
  11. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Just a reminder, if you haven't checked out our Introductions discussion, please take a moment to go there, and tell us a little about yourself!
  12. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Here is how to search the social group:

    Searching Social Groups for content:

    First, the search box within the Social Group pages only searches for titles of Groups themselves, not posts or real content.

    - Go to Advanced Search using the link in the upper right-hand corner of any forum page.
    - Select "Search Multiple Content Types"
    - Check "Group Messages"
    - Enter your seach term in the "Keyword(s)" box
    - Hit Search Button
  13. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin
    Barbara -can you please explain how to embed a youtube video when there is no "=" in the code or address; which happens a lot recently. Thanks
  14. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin
    Let me answer my own question. Do not use the code which comes up when the video is first uploaded but wait until it has gone into video manager and use the code from there which does contain the"=".
  15. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Just a reminder that this discussion has many great hints for how to get the most out of this group! It's been a while since anyone posted anything new here, so I invite you seasoned members to add anything new you can think of to help our members!
  16. Mike001
    When I go to the "Thread for Social Group MP3 posting" I can't get any of the mp3's to play. When I try all that comes up is a page with a gazillion bits of code. Is it because I'm using an iPad?
  17. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Mike, so sorry it's taken me so long to reply~ I really don't know the answer about this, but the leader of the whole Mandolin Cafe, Scott Tichenor, suggests that any website questions that don't get readily answered here, you contact him via private message, for any help!
  18. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Just a reminder, I am a traveler, and many times, I am trying to maintain the group on my iPhone or some little tablet, and I oft-times don't get my links right, or am just MIA! When I know I am going to be MIA, Marcy helps me keep the polls going!

    While I (try to) post a link every week to a new poll, it's not necessary to start in this group to get to the poll. If I have made a mistake with the link, you can always go straight to the main forum of the Mandolin Cafe, and look for "Song And Tune Projects" That is where I post the poll each week.
  19. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
  20. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I was requested to bump this post up near the top, so it will be easier to find. Keep in mind that some of the directions on how to do things, 8 years ago, have changed.... you know how technology is!

    If those of you who are still plugging away at submitting videos, could chime in here, at how you do it.. that would be great!

    For myself, I have a Mac computer, and now, I think I make my video in Photo Booth. I then just trim off the beginning and end, if necessary, and upload it to YouTube. If you've never uploaded anything to YouTube, you have to join YouTube, and answer some questions, and get a user name and password. From there, you should be able to figure out how to upload your video to YouTube. Once it has processed, and you get the notification that it is live, you go to your video, and copy the text after the "=" in the url of your video. To link to that video in a discussion... let's say its one already underway, you click reply (not quick reply), and type what you want to say. There is an icon above the box you are typing in , with a YouTube Icon... you click that, and you paste the code you copied from the url of your video (the code after the "=") in the box and click "OK", and your video should be imbedded in your message.
  21. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    We've been discussing the direction and future of this great group in a separate discussion. If you are new to our group, whether you are new to mandolin, or just new to this group.... here's a brief rundown of how we operate!

    We are called the Song a Week Social Group... but that doesn't mean that every week, you have to learn the current Tune of the Week! It just means that every week (or almost every week) we have a poll, and vote on a new tune.

    We've been going strong for a number of years now. We have over 400 official tunes of the week, and over a thousand other tunes.

    Other tunes? Yes, in addition to our official tune of the week, our members are encouraged to submit their videos on whatever tune they want to! And, our members are encouraged to participate in THOSE discussions, as well.

    So, don't limit yourself to the tune of the week. And don't feel like you have just a week to learn a tune enough to post a video. Please, please, check out our two Table of Contents posts, which contain clickable links to the discussion for those tunes.

    We've covered many of the old classics, mostly in the genre of Irish (and related "Celtic" genre), Old Time and Bluegrass. We've also got a number of pretty obscure tunes!

    So, check out the Table of Contents. Check out any of the tunes that interest you, no matter WHEN it was originally posted. Many of the older discussions have a number of submissions, and lots of good discussions that go along with them. And please, join in! Whether it's making the leap to submitting your first video, or just making your presence known with a comment or question!

    And remember, I populate the poll with tunes that our members suggest. And the winner is chosen by our membership voting in the poll. So, if you have a tune you'd like to see on the poll, you can either sent me a private message, or you can post it in the "Poll Tune Suggestions" discussion. My only request, is that before you suggest a tune for the poll, please do a quick search of the official tunes (you can easily do that by going to the Official Tune of the Week Table of Contents, and using your computer's search function), to make sure it hasn't already been an Official Tune of the Week. I'm ok if it's already been covered as an "other tune".... And, if you could be so kind as to include the genre of the tune.. I'd so appreciate it!
  22. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    One of our members has posted a detailed tutorial on how to embed videos in your post. It's specific for Vimeo, but after the main post, I've replied with how to embed a You Tube video. Here's the post!
  23. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
  24. Gelsenbury
    Bump ... For new members
  25. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I know it's been a while since anyone has posted anything new in this thread. There have been changes along the way, on how the website and this forum works, so some of the above info may no longer be completely accurate, but it should give you an idea of how this group works.

    It's hard to believe that this group has been going as long as it has. We used to have weekly polls, but currently, we have the polls every two weeks (approximately). My crazy lifestyle makes it so that this time schedule is just a loose guideline, sometimes!

    The poll is posted in the regular forum part of Mandolin Cafe. You get there by clicking on the 'forum' tab at the top of every page on Mandolin Cafe, then scrolling down to find "Song and Tune Projects". I populate this poll from a thread here in the group, called "Poll Tune Suggestions" This would be the tread that you would suggest tunes for me to add to the polls.

    You will also notice that far outnumbering our 'Official Tunes' are what I call our 'Other Tunes'. These are tunes that our members submit, that are not an official poll winner.

    I encourage all our members, new and old, to check out these tunes, and to participate by adding your own videos (or audio file, if that's how you choose to participate!). Add yours to the appropriate discussion in progress, or, if it's a tune not covered, then start a new discussion, with that tune as the title.

    I do have 3 table of contents discussions, and try to keep them relatively updated. These table of contents contain clickable links to the discussions.

    How to search Mandolin Cafe (and this group) to see if a tune has already been covered: The best way is to click 'advanced search' which is located at the top right of every page on Mandolin Cafe. To check to see if a tune has been covered in our group, check the 'Group Messages' box, type the name of the tune in the 'keywords' box, then click 'search now'.
  26. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I'm bringing this back to the top, so our new members can read it, and our seasoned members, can add some new, current, advice!
  27. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Greetings faithful members, old and new! I hope you've read through the above messages, and that most of the information is still valid!

    This group has been going strong for over 12 years now! That's amazing, in itself! It's changed a bit over the years, but all in all, has remained a positive, informative place to learn mandolin tunes, and discuss mandolins and music with like minded, friendly people, from all over the world.

    While we started this group, with the idea of having a poll, voting on a tune and everyone learning it, and submitting it (and we currently are up to #550 of THOSE), we have a huge repository of 'other tunes'..... tunes that individual members record and submit (almost 2000 of those!). That's a lot of mandolin playing!

    Our participation on voting and official tune submissions has dwindled, but I do feel that we still have some interest in that. So, I'm changing the polls to be once a month.

    However you enjoy this group, we welcome you, and are so happy that you are here. We hope that you will participate.... with submissions of videos, be they official tunes of the week, or other tunes. And, as always, we love the discussions that come with it. So, even if you aren't ready to submit a video, please, take a moment to comment, ask questions, make suggestions..... whatever!
  28. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
  29. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Attention! It has come to our attention that some of our members, who visit our site on their iPad or iPhone, and updated to ver 15.1, are having problems viewing the vast majority of the videos that have been submitted. It seems to be a bug with the apple ver 15.1 update, and not anything that can be corrected on Mandolin Cafe's end. We do not know what the issue is, but we have been able to determine what a person can do, going forward, when they submit their video, that will result in all users being able to view it!

    You will find somewhere in the previous posts, directions on how best to insert your videos. That has changed (as of now). You can still insert your videos the 'old' way, but many users (maybe even you) will not be able to view them. That old way involved clicking the icon that says "youtube".

    The recommended way, now, to insert your video in your discussion or your reply, is to use the icon that looks like a little film strip. On my device, it is the last icon in the little section that starts with the world icon. If you hover over it, it will say 'insert video'. When you click on that, it will open another window, and you will paste the entire URL from your video. Please reach out if you have any issues!

    If you cannot get the “insert video” icon method to work for you, you can go ahead and use the “you tube” icon method; however, please also include a direct clickable link to the you tube video, as well! To do that, just copy the entire URL of the video and paste it into your discussion. That way, if a viewer can’t see your video, they can still find it on you tube!!
  30. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    It appears that they fixed the problem with the 'old' way of inserting you tube videos, not showing up for people who had upgraded their iphones and ipads. So, you now have both options available again. It was suggested (and it's a good one) that to avoid future software glitches like that, in addition to inserting your video/you tube, you also include a link directly to the video in your discussion!
  31. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Well, it's time for me to post something to bring this discussion closer to the top! I don't know if I have posted this recently, but I'll post it today! For those of you who struggle with finding discussions here (after all, there are thousands of them!), one way is to look for the three Table of Contents discussions, that I try to keep relatively updated (but I may only update once a month!) I work hard to manually update these table of contents, and they include clickable links to the discussions themselves.

    But, lets say you want to see if a particular tune had been discussed in our group. I have found the best way is to utilize the 'advanced search" option that is on the top right of every page on Mandolin Cafe. Click on that link, and it takes to to a search page. If you want to search what has been discussed in the social groups, in 'search types' choose 'group messages', and then type what you want to search in the 'keywords' box, decide if you want to search titles only, or entire messages, then hit 'search now'. You will get results from other social groups besides ours, but the group name is listed on the right side of the search results, so it's easy to see what comes from our group!
  32. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    We've added a new feature, in hopes of invigorating the group participation! It's called the SAW Theme Tour, and you can read all about it here!
  33. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    It seems that the interest in our polls has greatly waned. So, for now, I am putting them on hold.

    This does NOT mean our group is ending! We still have many members who are participating, by submitting new tunes , that will be listed in the table of contents ~discussions, and in continuing to add videos and comments on the thousands of tunes, both "official tunes" and "other tunes".

    So, for now, no polls or new "official tunes" There are 562 official tune discussions, and thousand of other tunes! So, please continue to enjoy. Utilize our Table of Contents, and the "advanced search" option available, to search for tunes that have been covered. Add your videos, either to existing discussions, or start a new discussion for your tune.
  34. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Good idea, Barbara. I have commented more fully on your other thread regarding this move.
  35. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
  36. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Greetings all! For those who are recent members, and those who have been participating for years, I thought I'd add some more food for thought concerning our group.

    It's my belief that when people start a new discussion, with the name of a tune, and then submit their video..... that rather than the discussion being so much about THEIR rendition of the tune.... it's really about the tune itself. So, in that vein, I would like to see when others know that tune, or learn that tune, that they make a video, and add it to that discussion. Much like we did for 10 years with the official tune discussions.

    One reason I'd like it to be that way, is so that when people decide to search our huge repository of tunes, we don't have a lot of separate discussions (videos) of the same tune. If someone is curious about a tune, and search for it (either using the advanced search box, or searching the table of contents with clickable links), the tunes/discussions and videos of that tune, are all in one place, rather than there being several discussions.

    So..... I suggest whenever you are thinking about submitting a tune/video/discussion, that before you just start a new discussion, you take a few moments to look through our existing discussions, and the table of contents, to see if that tune has been covered, and if it has, add it to a discussion already in our forum!
  37. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
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