We’re getting near the shortest days of the year, when night threatens to overtake day. The festivals of light around this time may not feel like they amount to more than a brief flicker. We sleep more, eat more, and sometimes our minds and hearts go to darker places.
If we want to make it through the winter, we may need to resolve to know this darkness around us. We might, as the author Thomas Moore suggests, begin to see our own “dark nights of the soul” as rites of passage, journeys which could bring us to unknown shores.
At times like this, we can choose to surrender to the dark. So this week, let’s try to sing in the dark — to sing our own darkness out into the night.
Option A: Lights out. “Keep your eyes open,” a certain master teacher has been known to insist. And most of the time we do, letting the light flood in as our voices flood out. But this week, let’s try something else. Let’s try singing in the dark, and see what sounds come out. If you have an app that can upload directly to SoundCloud (such as Voice Record), then wander out into the evening, and sing to the darkness there. If you’re indoors, just turn out the lights, and see what emerges from your throat.
Option B: Dark verse. For this advanced option, take the following poem as inspiration. If you’d like, you could do a straight musical setting of the text for solo voice. You could build loops with words and phrases drawn from the poem. You could translate it into gibberish. Or you could read it twice, sit for a while in the dark, then sing freely, maybe without any words at all. Or …
To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
The steps are as follows:
- Step 0: Sign up for a free SoundCloud account here. Join the SSS group.
- Step 1: Record yourself singing for two minutes.
- 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, Dec 14, 2015.
Length: The length of your finished work should be about the time it takes to know the dark.
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-dark]” in the title of your track. Also include the term “sss-dark” 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 46: Sing the dark.” More on the Society for Spontaneous Singing at http://singthis.org .
Thank you, sweet singers!
Jascha & Amado