We singers often let others hold down the time. In the typical jazz/pop/rock band, the drummer and bassist keep the music churning, and our job as a singer is to soar over that steady foundation. Which is all well and good when we have a band backing us. But when we sing solo, who will hold down the groove?
The answer, this week, is: Our bodies will keep the rhythm. So here’s your assignment:
1) Start to step.
2) Add a clap.
The stepping and clapping should feel natural, spacious, and simple. Take some time to let them settle in before singing. They are not meant to impress in themselves; rather, they are the steady foundation on which the voice may ride.
We can take inspiration from the many traditions of human music that use steps & claps & voice together. Take this example from Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers, which holds strong traces of its African roots. Or this example from an Austrian form of rhythmic meditation known as TaKeTiNa.
whose call-and-response vocals build in complexity.
The steps are as follows:
- Step 0: Sign up for a free SoundCloud account here. Join the SSS group.
- Step 1: Record yourself singing while your body holds the rhythm.
- 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.
Deadline: Your tracks should be uploaded by midnight wherever you are on Monday, April 11, 2016.
Length: The length of your finished work should be about as long as it takes for your body to settle.
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-bodyrhythm]” in the title of your track. Also include the term “sss-bodyrhythm” 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 63: Body keeps the rhythm.” More on the Society for Spontaneous Singing at http://singthis.org .
Thank you, sweet singers!
Jascha & Amado