Notes on the BMAC Song Compilation downloads

(Prepared by the anonymous auther of the work.)

This compilation is designed to assist someone playing songs with other musicians in a jam setting. The tunes tend to be simple in structure and easy to play and sing. Many songs require only two or three chords. Both the lyrics file and the matching music file are included so the song can be performed very close to how the original artist performed it and how most people would remember it. The music files can be played on any device with "mp3" capability. Opening the matching lyrics and chords PDF files requires a computer (laptop or tablet for example), and they can found in folders separate from the songs.

All score sheets are one page per song. The fonts are the largest possible, so the lyrics and chords can be seen at a distance or shared among musicians. All printing is black-and-white only to make it cheaper to print copies. A tablet computer with a large screen size (>10") works best to allow access to all songs. You'll want a PDF reader app that can be set to automatically crop margins, and a file manager that allows you to quickly get to a song (ideally "jump to letter" capability).

The lyrics exactly match the most popular recording of the song with the best sound. Although the mp3 files are fairly low bit rate copies to keep them small (and to deter people from simply pirating the songs for their music collection), all have been pitch corrected so they can be played in tune with standard A4=440 instruments. Noise reduction was used whenever practical, but several songs still exhibit the scratchy quality of the original recording (which can sometimes be a good thing).

The lyrics initially came from various places on the web, but have been corrected for a multitude of errors so they exactly match the songs in this compilation (except for the occasional obvious slip during a live performance). Conversational punctuation marks (quotes, periods) are removed to minimize clutter and save space so the text can be as large as possible. The vocalist's phrasing is represented by a dashes and commas. A dash (-) connects word syllables when split by a chord change, and if between separate words it indicates that they should be sung quickly together. Commas are used to show three things: vocal pauses within a line of lyrics, additional measures played but not sung when at the end of a line, and they separate each measure in instrumental sections. In the last case, a single chord shown between commas lasts a whole measure, and two chords between commas would each be a half measure. Quickly played notes are shown with narrower gray highlighting.

The musical notation is an in-line version of "Nashville Numbering". The highlighted chord numbers represent the interval in a diatonic scale, as represented by the white keys on a piano. So for example, in the key of C, D would be a 2, F would be 4, and G would be 5. A superscript of 7 (i.e. 17) indicates a seventh chord variation (like G7). Included on this disk is a Quick Reference sheet for using a guitar capo to get to a comfortable finger positioning, and a guide for the actual notes played in Nashville Notation. Many songs in this compilation require only four chord intervals: 1, 2, 4, and 5.

Although the key of the matching mp3 recording is shown at the top of the sheet to allow playing along with the original artist, any key can be readily played to suit a performer's preference using the single score sheet included in this compilation, which is why Nashville Notation is crucial for playing with others having their own vocal range preferences. It does take a little practice to get comfortable with the notation, but it happens faster than you'd expect. Another benefit of the notation is that when a key change occurs in the original recording, it will be noted on the sheet but can be easily ignored when performed.

Finally, no provision for copyright royalty payments have been made in this compilation. The author will not accept any form of payment for these files, which are meant to be used solely for education purposes. The files can be easily copied and I encourage wide distribution, but please do not attempt to profit from it – that would be a clear violation of copyright laws and would be unfair to the original artists.