Today, Phish.net has announced the launch of a new project dubbed the Narration Chart, a resource intended to “compile transcriptions and summaries of every narration available on audio recordings,” much like they do with their Jam Chart.
Chosen to be launched on the 25th anniversary of “arguably the purest live performance of Trey’s Gamehendge saga, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday“—Phish‘s 3/22/93 Sacramento performance—the extensive catalog contains 173 transcriptions “of songs featuring Phish’s unique storytelling style, representing our best attempt to catalog every available performance.”
The folks over at Phish.net and their team of heroic volunteers have been working on their Phish narration chart for almost a year. After over 200 hours put in by almost a dozen people, the team has transcribed at least 20,000 words. This database includes transcriptions of all five Gamehendge shows, with standalone songs most commonly transcribed throughout the years including “Fly Famous Mockingbird”, “Harpua”, “Icculus”, and “Divided Sky”. As detailed in Phish.net’s announcement about the project’s origins,
Born inside a .net forum thread, a group of regular contributors committed to what seemed to us a worthwhile endeavor to compile transcriptions and summaries of every narration available on audio recordings. The thread began shortly after the release of St. Louis ’93, prompted by my listening to the powerful “Harpua” from the April date. As soon as the thread got legs, I knew I would have to put my money where my mouth is.
The Phish narration chart allows users to search for transcriptions by date and by song (complete Gamehendge performances are highlighted at the top), while also providing a link to listen to a show’s recording along with a brief summary of what makes the narration unique. While the list thus far is fairly exhaustive, the announcement notes that there are still “a significant number of versions that we can’t currently transcribe because tapes do not circulate,” though many of the transcriptions cover the more elaborate stories from over the years. The site also specifically calls out Phish’s 3/8/93 performance at Santa Fe’s Sweeney Center as an audio they hope to eventually locate.
The massive undertaking has produced a really special resource for Phish fans, with the site noting,
While not every one holds up to repeated listening, many versions reveal new qualities with each review. … The transcriptions provide good scripts to follow while listening, but we hope they provide enjoyable reading on their own. Indeed, we view this project as a significant addition to the encyclopedic collection of resources compiled here at phish.net. We hope that it contributes to the continued erudite examination of the history of our favorite band by providing a resource to explore a vital and unique facet of the experience, while helping to promote the important charitable mission of the Mockingbird Foundation to expand access to music education across the United States.
In the future, the site hopes that their Phish narration chart will continue to grow, and plans to move it to a permanent home on Phish.net at some point in the future. Check out Phish.net’s newly launched narration chart here. If you enjoy this service and want to show appreciation for the hard work that went into its making, please make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation, the charitable organization that aims to increase access to music education and serves the sponsor of the site.