Members ~ I need your input regarding the polls

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Ok guys, here's the deal, as I see it.

    We are still an active group, with a handful of members who are quite regular in submitting videos of them playing tunes. We also have more active members who contribute by posting, commenting, etc. I'm certain we have a huge following of members who just enjoy, and learn from, those posts and videos. Mostly silently.

    So, while I feel we have an active membership, I feel the interest in the poll part of our group, has waned to the point of there really being no point in it.

    I feel it is time to drop having the (now monthly) polls, and have our group just be for people to submit what has been called "other tunes" and discussions about tunes (those discussions that I put in the table of contents ~ discussions.

    There was the suggestion last month to stir interest and participation in our group, with the "theme tour", but that didn't seem to go anywhere.

    Therefore, I am not going to post a new poll. I will continue to monitor this group, and keep the table of contents updated (probably monthly).

    I am open to your your input on this, and will certainly do what the members want, but our activity seems to be on "other tunes" and not "official tunes". There were only 3 people who voted in this month's tune.

    I would say that the biggest difference, usually, in "official tunes" and "other tunes", is that with the official tunes, if there is participation, there are submissions by more than one person, and on the "other tunes", people seem to be more inclined to just comment on the original posters submission, rather than submitting their video of that tune in the discussion.

    I don't really care, one way or another. It could be that people watching/reading the original posters discussion, don't want to 'intrude' on their discussion, out of respect.

    I will continue to maintain the table of contents with clickable links to the discussions. If we have multiple submissions (discussions) for the same tune, then each discussion will appear in the table of contents, and those that search the group, will find all the different discussions of the same tune.

    I am going to update the description of our group to indicate that the polls are on hold for now.
  2. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I think you are quite right in your analysis of the Official Tune Polls, Barbara. For a long time now the votes have generally been in the single figures, with odd months rising to double figures. I have quite often not voted as I did not know the tunes on offer, and I was aware that the current one, Lament for Abercairney, attracted only three votes with the other two candidates registering none. Furthermore, as soon as the poll result was posted and Martin Jonas and I uploaded our versions, there was an old thread revived and reposted of this same tune, and I saw that I had posted there too, several years ago. We have so many tunes in the database now that folk have more than enough to work through and produce their own versions.

    I think it is a good idea to suspend the poll for the present time - it was not attracting many votes even before the dreaded Covid struck, and it takes up a great deal of your time. The SAW Group seems to be in a healthy state at present and as you point out, we have a hard core of regular participants and probably very many more who just lurk and get some enjoyment from visiting the group. You may even find some more time now to get back to posting your own offerings - I remember when you did this fairly regularly.

    Thanks again for your continuing interest and support - the SAW Group owes you so much.
  3. Gelsenbury
    Gelsenbury
    I'd say let's try this without the polls and revive them if that doesn't work out.

    As someone who hasn't been here from the start, I don't know whether the intention ever was to cover literally a different tune every week, compare notes on them, and then move on to the next one. I do know that some of the old hands easily had the musical ability to achieve that. Before I joined, I believed that this was a group just for experts.

    The experience of the past several years suggests that it's rare for a single tune to gather that momentum. It takes me, and probably many others, much longer than a week to learn a tune, let alone record it. It's brilliant when several members post their own versions of a tune, but this usually develops over a longer period. I don't get the impression that this has happened any more often for the tune chosen by poll than for "other" tunes.

    The other issue is the unfamiliarity of tunes in the poll, as John says. There are plenty of tunes left to play, but perhaps the poll was more meaningful when it was populated by tunes that many members knew. My usual experience with the poll is that I don't know any of the tunes. And since the poll doesn't include a recording, researching these tunes is an extra step that I usually don't take although I have done occasionally. "Other" tunes are at an advantage here because they invariably start with someone posting a recording.
  4. Jess L.
    Jess L.
    Barbara wrote: "on the "other tunes", people seem to be more inclined to just comment on the original posters submission, rather than submitting their video of that tune in the discussion."

    Yeah I've noticed that.

    Barbara wrote: "It could be that people watching/reading the original posters discussion, don't want to 'intrude' on their discussion, out of respect."

    Ah. That might be the reason then. I've often wondered what was going on with that.

    And I suspect that sometimes it might just be that people aren't sure where to obtain suitable free sheetmusic/tabs, which is one of many useful tools to have available to help learn stuff. (Yes, yes, I know, learning by ear is essential too, but seeing a basic outline of the notes on paper/screen can work together with ear learning.)

    Myself, on the rare occasions when I start a thread about some particular tune I'm playing, I would be delighted to see other people's versions posted in that thread, even if those versions are a lot different than mine.

    In my view at least, one of the things that makes music fun and a worthwhile endeavor, is that there is so much room for variety and interpretation and re-imagining things in different ways. It's not like just having one version that everyone has to play.

    When I started with music, of course I worked hard at copying my various mentors' playing note-for-note as exactly as I was able to at the time, to try to make it sound exactly like theirs. I did that for more years than I care to admit to, but I did eventually learn more about what made their playing sound the way it did and I was able to (sometimes) duplicate what other people had already done. So, but then what? I didn't know what to do after that. I did a little bit of original(ish) stuff but not really a whole lot, it was more about playing in the style that I'd learned rather than deviating from that. Then I didn't play music at all for many years, and when I came back to it I found myself gravitating towards stuff I *hadn't* tried before - still fiddle-tunes melodies but with different (more modern) accompaniment styles.

    I think it's always interesting to hear many different versions and interpretations of a particular tune.

    This MandolinCafe group provides a friendly venue for posting all sorts of musical/artistic creations, without too much risk of getting shot down or scolded for "you're playing it wrong" or other silly anti-music concepts. Music is art, which (IMO) means it's neither "right" nor "wrong", rather the whole point of creating music in the first place is either to express something and/or to bring joy to others (and oneself). Lots of different musical approaches to achieving that.

    Barbara wrote: "I feel it is time to drop having the (now monthly) polls, and have our group just be for people to submit what has been called "other tunes" and discussions about tunes"

    Seems reasonable.
  5. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    I also agree that suspending the polls is a good idea - it's not like the decision can't be reversed later on if so desired, so no harm in it, right? Perhaps as far as going forward with "other" tunes being posted the OP's can make it clear that other folks can feel free to post their own versions on the thread, that way no one would feel like they're gate crashing the OP's thread.
  6. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    A good point, Jill. Maybe we should include the notation too if that is available? I know I do not regularly put up notation for the tunes I post, usually to respect the copyright of the original composer.
  7. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Me too, I agree to suspend the votes, I’m not sure why we ever had a voting system. There’s probably a discussion on it buried away somewhere.

    As to copyright I’m a bit of an archivist. I really like to have as much information (whether we like it or not) saved for posterity.
    I think it’s nice also, to order the information so that people can find and make use of it.
    Chaotic organisation can be discouraging and distracting for beginners who already have plenty to focus on.

    As to the rights of the singer/songwriter, I don’t know. There are strong arguments in favour of worker’s rights. Professionnalisation and all that.
    And then there’s the idea that people who write a tune that becomes popular (especially for commercial reasons) are in competition with ‘The Tradition’.

    What if all tunes had to be bought?

    Food for thought.
  8. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I still like the concept of having a "set" tune, but am not fussed about voting for it. The attraction is to try something new, and possibly outside the comfort zone, and to compare how different members approach this.

    The latter is I think central to the purpose of this group. When I post an "other tune", I actively welcome other group members to post their own version which is also why whenever possible I post a link to the transcription or arrangement I have used. It's a completely different level of engagement from posting a brief comment.

    To enable comparison and cross pollination, I tend to post cross links to previous threads for the same tune and/or to my own recordings (whether new or old) when a new "other tune" recording is posted, as encouraged in Barbara's "mission statement" from the outset. That's why we have an index of "other tunes" and why Barbara has kept up the much-appreciated effort of updating that index for so many years now. There are various reasons why sometimes a new thread for an existing tune is started (alternative tune names/spellings, posting sets with multiple tunes, difficulty searching etc), but where possible we should try post to the old thread, if one exists, or least cross-link these duplicates to the old threads if a new thread was accidentally started.

    However I have also noticed that there has sometimes been a bit of tension on that point recently, with a sense of intruding on somebody else's patch, so it's helpful to have this discussion now rather than risking crossed wires or offence.

    Martin
  9. bbcee
    bbcee
    Seems reasonable and the way it's been heading anyway, Barbara. Let's try it out.

    Interesting point Jill makes - I thought that all submissions were free to add versions to. Me myself, I love to hear how others interpret a tune. It's so good for shaking up preconceptions. Seems like making it overt is probably a good idea. And as John says, adding notation is a nice courtesy as well.

    Long live the other tunes!
  10. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Yeah, I would always have assumed that other submissions have been free to add versions to, but thinking forwards to any new folks joining the group it might be helpful to specifically clarify that for them.
  11. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Thanks for the input, ya'll!

    I had edited the description of our group, when I changed it up. I thought the wording indicated that it was encouraged to comment on, and add videos to existing discussions AND also, if the tune doesn't have a discussion, to start a new one with the video. I'm open to suggestions on making that clearer! I'm limited on how many words I can have in the description! One thing that I'd like to suggest (and I think I have it in "new to the group-read me first" post, is to look through the table of contents to see if a song has a discussion, and add to it, rather than starting a new one. That way they are all together. Here's how it reads now:

    Welcome! For over 10 years, we had a poll, and an Official Tune. These polls are on hold for now. Please browse through the three Table of Contents, & learn, comment on, or submit your video, regardless of when it was originally posted.

    While there will not be any new "official tunes", we still welcome new tune submissions! If you've got a favorite tune, please submit it, with the name of the tune as the subject of a new discussion.

    We also welcome general discussion posts!

    Start by finding & reading the post "New to Our Social Group? ~ Read Me First!"

    We have three 'TABLE of CONTENTS' discussions with links to the discussions.
  12. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I tweaked the intro wording a bit. Hope it's clearer!

    Welcome! For over 10 years, we had a poll, and an Official Tune. These polls are on hold for now. Please browse through the tune discussions in the three Table of Contents, & learn, comment on, or submit your video in the discussion, regardless of when it was originally posted.

    While there will not be any new "official tunes", we still welcome new tune submissions! If you've got a favorite tune that doesn't already have a discussion, please submit it, with the name of the tune as the subject of a new discussion.

    We also welcome general discussion posts!

    Start by finding & reading the post "New to Our Social Group? ~ Read Me First!"

    We have three 'TABLE of CONTENTS' discussions with links to the discussions.
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