It’s a waltz. It’s in three, or 3/4, or any of the many other ways to describe or notate it. Other genres and other cultures may have additional styles of song that also fit into this category. But where most of us very naturally fall into making music with four beats to every measure, this week let’s get a little odd.
The Prompt: sing something in triple metre, with three beats in each measure. Very open-ended and free this week. Your song may be unaccompanied, one-note-after-the-other style; or you may make an elaborately layered or looped song, if that’s your druthers. Really, however you want to do it, for as long or as short a time as you’d like: let’s make friends with three.
Here’s an example response from Amado (yours truly), for one approach which perhaps isn’t very waltzy, but is unambiguously in a 3/4 time signature.
It’s good to have options. Here are ways to perhaps make the prompt a bit easier, or ways to go a bit further with it.
Option A: The Sincerest Form – for an easier stretch, let’s spend some time getting these rhythms into our heads and bodies first. Check out mostly-a-cappella covers of Norwegian Wood – Beatles; Sweet In The Morning – Bobby McFerrin; Kiss from a Rose – Seal (here’s another); My Favorite Things – Rodgers / Hammerstein (here’s another); and All Blues – Miles Davis (here’s another). Then just sing, finding a kind of three-feel borrowed from one or more of these songs.
Option B: Fascinating Rhythm – For a deeper stretch, use whatever you know about musical rhythm to make this idea more rhythmically complex. Perhaps use some subdivision of the beat other than two or four; a swing feel (as in All Blues, what Roger Treece would call a “3×3 matrix”) or even a cut-funk (a “3×6 matrix”). Or, explore polymeter—create layers where some are in three and others in four (or some other meter) such that they somehow fit and work together. It’s your world, and you know how deep you can go with this, so take this prompt to stretch into the time dimension. (Far out, man.)
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 waltz / triple metre / song in three.
- 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 Monday, May 25, 2015.
Length: The length of your finished work should be about two to five minutes, or whatever length seems appropriate to you.
Description: It would be awesome to include a short description of where and when you sang your piece—and how it felt.
Title/Tag: When uploading to SoundCloud, put “[sss-triple]” in the title of your track. Also include the term “sss-triple” 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 17: Sing in Triple Metre.” More on the Society for Spontaneous Singing at http://singthis.org. You can join the SSS at https://soundcloud.com/groups/society-for-spontaneous-singing
Thank you, sweet singers!