SESSIONS & SONGS


(Of all the items oferred in this auction, the material described in these sections is in some way the most personal, and certainly the most reflective of Janis Ian the Recording Artist. These are first drafts of the songs themselves, charts and scores from the recording sessions. All lyrics were hand-written or typed by Janis herself, then corrected and/or annotated by her. All annotated pieces are suitable for framing. Most of the charts & scores come in groups.)

This page is devoted to explanations and a "key" to the descriptions of the actual items, which are listed alphabetically in three separate pages:

EXPLANATIONS:

CHARTS: I've always written my own charts (musical pages showing chords, instrumental ideas, lyric cues), since that's the easiest way for me to communicate with a band. I scribble notes to myself, chords, lyrics, vocal licks, arranging ideas all over them; then the players have a "road map".

CUE SHEETS: Usually written for television appearances or band rehearsals, they indicate where players come in, changes in arrangement from the recorded version, any "hot spots" (eg "Vocal comes in here - do not solo over it!"

LEAD SHEETS: I've also always done my own lead sheets (notation of the song melody, with chords and lyrics), figuring that since I was the original singer, I knew the melody best. I did my first one around 1965 to send "Society's Child" in to Broadside Magazine. In later years, when times were hard, I earned money doing them for other singers. A handy bit of knowledge! I also always make my own corrections to songbooks of my work, because I believe "fans" buy them hoping to play the same stuff I play on the records and shows.

ORCHESTRATIONS: I decided in 1971 that I'd never learn to communicate with orchestral musicians if I didn't learn to score (remember, this was pre-synthesizer days); in typical fashion, I went about it backward. I bought a record called Instruments of the Orchestra, a book called Guide to Orchestration, and discs of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring & West Side Story. I then sat down & tried to write out the scores for both albums. I didn't realize at the time that you could buy the scores at a music store.... I then proceeded to write out the orchestrations for Applause, scoring for 44 instruments. A year later the album conductor, Ron Frangipane, looked over the score (thinking I'd actually gone to college & learned this stuff!) and found only two rough spots - one didn't give the french horn enough time to prepare, & one demanded too long a breath from the flute; needless to say, I was pretty proud of myself! We had to borrow extra money to record it for the Stars album, but it was a huge success.

TYPEWRITTEN LYRICS: I type out final copies for myself when I'm going into the studio, because they're easier to read (yes I type them myself). Then I make notes all over the copy, and just before the album art is turned in, I type out a fresh "final draft" that needs no corrections. All typewritten lyrics here have been annotated.

KEY & ABBREVIATIONS:

Annotated: Full of scribbles by Janis showing everything from lyric revisions and discards to notes about her singing and playing, usually in bright ink.

Chart: Sheet of music paper with chords, instructions, and various notes written by Janis, then copied & used by musicians while recording - all Janis' copies were annotated by her, the other charts were annotated by the players and Janis.

Draft: Could be anything from the first glimmer of an idea, jotted down on the back of a book cover, to a full page of notes, corrections, changes to a song, or a "final draft" with minimal corrections.

Handwritten: Handwritten by Janis

Key Copy: The "master" copy, used by Janis and various conductors to keep track of everyone's parts, including hers.

Lead Sheet: Sheet(s) of music paper with lyrics, melody, and chords written out and/or corrected by Janis, sometimes for copyright purposes, sometimes for songbook use, sometimes for other singers to learn the song.

Notation: Janis drew staff lines on the paper, then wrote out notes for a melody or guitar part, usually with chord indications above.

Orchestral Score or Orchestration: an instrumental score written out by Janis, usually on staff paper, which would include everything from the flugelhorn part on "At Seventeen" to the 44 instruments on "Applause".

Now that you know what it's all about, follow the links to:


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