a division of Twelvemonth Music


What does the D.L. stand for, and when and where was D.L. Stieg born?

David Lawrence Stieg was born October 22, 1948, in Brooklyn, New York.

Why do the recordings sound so different compared to other popular music recordings?

There are two reasons, the first being that the recordings do not include bass, drums, lead guitar tracks, or solo instrumental tracks. The sound thus created is much like the sound produced by a solo or duet acoustic act playing in a music venue. But more importantly, the sound thus produced is analogous to the sound produced by acoustic musicians making music in their own space without the contributions of backing musicians like a bass player, a drummer or percussionist, or a solo instrumentalist. The second reason is that the recordings are not professional studio productions. I have been operating on a shoestring budget from the outset, so I could never afford booking studio time or purchasing sophisticated recording equipment. I have therefore had no choice but to record music using primitive software and antiquated equipment (ie. the PA head and a microphone I used in the 1970s when I was playing solo gigs).

What sort of gigs were available in the 1970s for acoustic performers?

In the 1970s there were numerous small clubs and coffeehouses that had bands on weekend nights, and ran acoustic solo or duo acts on weeknights. It was also not uncommon at that time for restaurants to feature live acoustic music, usually solo performers. I had successful runs as a solo acoustic act, albeit on a local level, in Colorado (Greeley), Massachussetts (Springfield), and California (Santa Barbara and Palo Alto). Gigs typically called for 3 or 4 sets of 40 or 45 minutes each, and paid about $30.

Why does D.L. Stieg no longer perform live, even on a podcast or a streaming platform?

I suppose I could for a song or two maybe, but unfortunately I have physical limitations (COPD and easily fatigued hands and left forearm) that would make it nearly impossible for me to complete an entire set. My performance on recordings is sometimes made possible by using multiple takes. For some songs that are challenging vocally, I have to record every other phrase of the vocal line each time through so I can catch my breath in between. For some songs that are challenging for guitar, my fretting hand and/or forearm give way before I can finish the song, so I have to go back and record the end of the song on a second take.

Who invented the song chart system used on this website, and when was it invented?

The song chart system was invented in 1981 by D.L. Stieg, who about seven years earlier invented visualinear tablature, the guitar notational system on which the song chart system is based.

How is it possible to show the required chord changes for playing practically any song on a single page?

The required information (what are the chords, and when do you change from each chord to the next) can be shown by breaking the song down into component parts or sections, by using repeat signs whenever possible, by notating only once parts or sections that are repeated non-consecutively, and by showing the order in which the parts or sections should be played at the bottom of the page. (See the About Charts page of this website)

Why are the chord docs in table format?

The initial considerations were cost, my technological ineptitude, and my unwillingness to hand-draw chord diagrams for songs. Nevertheless, I believe it’s probably true that most people would prefer chord diagrams over table format. Upon further consideration, though, I continue to prefer the table format for the chord docs. I believe that some people will find that the table format allows them to “see” the chord fingerings fairly easily. But I also believe that those who are not comfortable working with the table format will benefit from translating the information in table format into chord diagrams. Doing so will help familiarize them with new chords, and give them a better understanding of how to go about forming new chords, and how to most efficiently make the transitions between each chord and the next. (See the About Chords page of this website)

Why are the chord diagrams horizontal rather than vertical?

The typical configuration for chord diagrams is vertical. Chord diagrams were first devised centuries ago by classical guitarists. In the formal classical style of play, the guitarist holds the neck of the guitar pointed upward, in a nearly vertical position. The vertical configuration for chord diagrams therefore corresponds to how a classical guitarist views chords while playing them. Non-classical guitarists, however, and it should be noted that most guitarists are nonclassical guitarists, almost always hold the neck of the guitar in a more or less horizontal position. The horizontal configuration for chord diagrams therefore corresponds to how most guitarists view chords while playing them.

Why are minor chords referred to in the charts with lower case letters?

The conventional chord symbol notation for an e minor chord is Em. The conventional chord symbol notation for an E Major chord is E. The Em chord symbol therefore sends a mixed message, since the upper case E implies a Major chord. The use of lower case letters for the chord symbols for minor chords eliminates this mixed message effect, so the chord symbol e more simply and more clearly identifies the e minor chord than does the chord symbol Em.

Why should I purchase a chord doc for a song that only requires a few chords?

Unless you’re a complete beginner, you probably shouldn’t, because the chord doc for such a song would likely not contain any information you could not figure out for yourself. The same is true for many other more complicated songs as well, because the catalog listings contain enough information to give you a pretty good idea of what the chording requirements for a song are. The most useful chord docs are for songs that require a lot of non-common chords, and for songs played in alternate tunings. On the other hand, all the song charts are equally useful, because they allow you to develop the ability to play along with the recording for a song far more easily and far more quickly than would otherwise be possible. This is no less true for a song played with very simple chords than for a song with a larger chord vocabulary.


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