Here’s getting a little nuts-and-bolts. Maybe these concepts are meaningful and useful to you, maybe they’re just a distraction. But we’ll present them, and you can decide what to do about it.
Sometimes, when we make a part, it isn’t so much brilliant in its own right, but it exists to set up some kind of musical context that other parts can easily co-exist with. Motors and Interlocks often are like this, when we’re singing in a group. Other times, a part we make commands attention for the brief while it’s around. Memorable, maybe a bit of a fanfare, though not necesarily melodic. And then there’s one more kind on discussion for today—the kind with longer tones that takes the listener through a discourse with a beginning, middle, and end, even if it’s a looped bit.
This week, consider the degree to which this way of describing parts is meaningful or useful to you, and then we’ll sing about it!
Your Prompt: Make a piece that has in it contect parts, motif parts, and melodic parts. Gain a sense for how the different kinds of parts function in your piece, what they do for you and for the overall sound.
It’s good to have options. Here we offer ways that you can meet this prompt right where you are; or, alternatively, ways you can challenge yourself more deeply with it.
Option A: The Solo Vocal Line. Layering aint for everyone, but that needn’t stop us. Remember that your listeners’ memories are a half-way decent loop machine, if you establish parts firmly enough. So sing some context for a short bit, and when that’s established, try some motif or melody types of things. And the choice is always yours, but consider coming back to the context every once and a while— it will probably need to be re-established.
Option B: A Recipe for Layers. If you can record in multiple layers without losing the spirit of improvisation, go for it—or, sing with the aid of a Circle of singers. Try this specific recipe (or add a little bit more lemon zest if you like things a little more acidic):  two context parts, simple and (dare we say) boring, either in harmony with one another or interlocking with one another;  one motif/fanfare part in two-part parallel harmony, to be brought in and out occasionally, and  one looping melody part of mostly longer tones and forward, unfolding development. See where it takes you!
The steps are as follows:
- Step 0: Sign up for a free SoundCloud account here. Join the SSS group.
- Step 1: Record yourself singing your song.
- Step 2: Upload to SoundCloud and post the track to the SSS group.
- Step 3: Listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow singers. (Play nice!)
Deadline: Your tracks should be uploaded by midnight wherever you are on Tuesday, August 02, 2016.
Length: The length of your finished work should be about 2 to 5 minutes, or however long it takes you to sing your song.
Description: It would be awesome to include a short description of where and when you sang your piece.
Title/Tag: When uploading to SoundCloud, put “[sss-context-motif-melody]” in the title of your track. Also include the term “sss-context-motif-melody” as a tag. This will help us find it.
Group: Once the track is uploaded, click on the “Add to group” button below the waveform and make sure to select the Society for Spontaneous Singing group. (This option will only appear if you have already joined the group! So do that now.)
Linking: You are welcome to include this info in your description:
This track is a reply to “SSS Prompt 77: Context, Motif, and Melody.” More on the Society for Spontaneous Singing at http://singthis.org .
Thank you, sweet singers!