Certain of our members (ahem, Amado) have been working with looping technology long enough—and using it so often in reply to these Prompts—that we at SingThis Mission Control are concerned that we’ve created an unspoken expectation that you should become good at Loopy HD or something in order to participate. This is not so; our desire is to create Prompts that urge you to deeper singing, not necessarily deeper audio engineering.
Therefore, as antidote, this Prompt: sing a song entirely solo and unaccompanied, letting your voice and the unfolding of one note to the next be enough to express what it is that you have to sing about right now.
If you’ve got the audio engineering mojo and you feel you must use it… sure, go ahead with your good mic and fancy recording software, but we urge you to do no overdubs whatsoever. This Prompt should be possible for anyone with a mobile device with a voice recorder on it, or even a microphone plugged in to their computer so they can just directly use Soundcloud’s big orange record button.
That prompt is a little open-ended, isn’t it? That’s fine, sing what you like but, if you’d like a bit more direction, let’s give it some focus by proposing these optional Options:
Option A: Make Melody – in your improvisation, focus your intention/attention on the creation of a melody, in whatever way that word means something distinct from other kinds of things you can sing. A simple Wikipedia definition suggests that a melody is a group of notes, one after the other, that together make a tune in the same way that a group of words makes a sentence. So, if this option appeals to you, make up melody in-the-moment.
Option B: Memory, the Original Looper – here’s an interview with Bobby McFerrin where he talks about developing the ability to do solo shows as a vocalist, without a looper. Watch from about 1:00 to about 2:15. If this option appeals to you, let’s experiment with this technique. Sing a short, repeating motif about eight times through, to establish it in our minds. Then, in rhythm, leave the motif for one or two melodic phrases; then, return to your motif quickly, so that we don’t lose it in our minds. But you probably won’t have to repeat it as much, now that it’s established… so now, play with departing again to melodize, returning again to re-establish, and see what’s possible!
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 solo vocal line 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 Monday, August 31st, 2015.
Length: The length of your finished work should be about 2 to 5 minutes, or however long you need to sing your song.
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-solovocal]” in the title of your track. Also include the term “sss-solovocal” 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 “Prompt 31: the Solo Vocal Line.” 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!