Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Famous Polka

One of the big jobs for an impro musician is to help support the MC, and provide some substance for the bits of shows that fall in between games. The MC's busy trying to wrangle players, or explain a game, or talk about next week's show... and it's nice when you can support them.

I find I'm playing fill music like this quite a bit during shows. Sometimes it's just tinkering, sometimes it's playing melodies that are yours that you fall back on, and sometimes it's playing actual real songs.

A while back I saw another musician doing a show, and doing a fine job. At one point when the MC was explaining a game, the muso started to play a well known Eric Clapton song. Instantly I started paying attention to the music and not the MC! I knew the song, he was playing it well, I started to fill the words to the song in, in my head... and realised a little while later that I hadn't paid any attention to what the MC was saying at all.

To me, while it makes sense to play music behind an MC to support them, I generally prefer to play either completely made-up stuff, or really obscure songs, so in either case the audience isn't going to recognise the tune and get distracted by it.

I'll often play music inspired by songs from bands like The Bobs or They Might Be Giants, because there's only a slim chance that anyone will recognise them. (And now and again, when that one person turns around and gives you the thumbs-up because they recognised it, it's kinda cool.)

2 comments:

Dan said...

I wear the same sized water-skis as Eric Clapton.

Kris said...

Dang, and I thought that was way too obscure for anyone to know, even for TMBG!

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