Improvising singers have noticed time and time again that being put into a novel musical context elicits different responses from their personal musical instincts. Say, for example, that you’ve never been in a piobaireachd before, but upon fining yourself in that sonic situation you discover that there’s a way that you’re naturally drawn to respond to it. (Man, if I had a nickel for every time…)
Let’s do something like that today, but waaaaay more straightforward. Let’s see what a particular tempo helps us find within ourselves. The Prompt: sing something at 83 beats per minute. Break out that metronome! (I know you have an app for that, or there are options online.) Dial up 83bpm, sit a spell with that pace, and then sing the sounds that that pace stirs up in you.
Here’s an example response from Amado (yours truly). Again, I play with Loopy because that’s my normal way of doing things. As always, do not feel as if you need to do something as over-done as this. Two minutes solo with a microphone, or 15-minute choral symphony, or anywhere in between—whatever you are comfortable with. It doesn’t always have to be weird and scary. This time, just let it be whatever it is at 83bpm.
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: Taking the Pulse – for an easier—or, at least, different—stretch, maybe 83bpm aint working for you. Let’s do something more organic, something intimately connected to your physical self at the time you sit down to sing this. When you’re about to start, check your pulse rate. Set your metronome to that number, and let your heart’s pace at that moment determine the pace at which you sing for the following couple of minutes.
Option B: The Spice of Life – For a deeper stretch, take an extra pause before you start to consider these options: tempo is just one dimension that may affect the feel of the music. You’ve got time signature to play with, and feel (e.g., straight 8ths versus swing 8ths versus swing 16ths). And the sound of a piece can be greatly affected by what kind of modal or harmonic language you use. So check in with yourself, see what 83bpm naturally elicits for you, and then consider making some different choices. You know where your stretch-point is—use one of these other dimensions to gently deepen through that point.
The steps are as follows:
- Step 0: Sign up for a free SoundCloud account here. Join the SSS group.
- Step 1: Record yourself singing at 83 beats per minute.
- 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 onMonday, June 8th, 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-83bpm]” in the title of your track. Also include the term “sss-83bpm” 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. (Thisoption 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 19: Sing at 83 Beats Per Minute.” More on the Society for Spontaneous Singing at http://singthis.org. You can join the SSS at https://soundcloud.com/groups/
Thank you, sweet singers!