This week we return to our explorations of what happens when there are multiple simultaneous parts in a piece, as often happens. We’ve used the strategy that is probably most common: that of parallel harmony. Now let’s get two parts dancing together.
Create some music that has two parts in an Interlocking relationship with each other. Here’s what that means. Each of the two parts must have enough space in them, enough rests between the notes, for the other part to fill in some or all of that space. The two parts together needn’t fill every available moment in time; similarly, the two parts together are not prohibited from having notes at the same time. But in general, there should be an interplay between the two; they each leave room for the other, and together they make a “two-voice engine” that creates a sense of musical motion.
Try it and you’ll see!
Each of the two voices may have a parallel harmony on it, if you so choose. In fact, you may find that a pair of Interlocking parts, each harmonized in Parallel, makes a lovely platform for a melodic through-line solo to be sung on top of it. Hmm…
Here is a demo response from Amado, to perhaps make it clearer what kind of relationship we’re referring to. The naked-and-obvious example of Interlocking is clearest starting at 0:52.
It’s good to have options. Here we offer ways that you can meet this prompt right where you are; or, alternatively, ways you can challenge yourself more deeply with it.
Option A: Cascades – For an easier stretch, try this variation on Interlocking that almost writes itself. Create a part that has some spaces in it, and then sing the same part on top of it, but starting two (or four, whatever works) beats later. Another way to do this same thing is to do the latter, later part at a different pitch, so that it would have been a parallel harmony if it hadn’t started at a different time. You can stop at two, and see how that feels as a platform for soloing; or, you can add a third or fourth cascade to the flow. Options within options!
Option B: How many Interlocks does it take to mush a musical texture? – For a deeper stretch, create three or more Interlocking parts, such that all three (or more) interweave to create that sense of musical motion. The challenge in this is to make parts that are simultaneously  interesting in their own right that  don’t step on each other too much… AND to find a balance between playful interchange between the parts and that point where the whole gestalt turns into an indistinct mush of disorganized-sounding stuff. Tread lightly! Invent ingeniously! And know when to back away from the mush.
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 Interlocking recording.
- 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, March 23, 2015.
Length: The length of your finished work should be as long as you want, within reasonable limits. Try to go for at least a minute.
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-interlocking]” in the title of your track. Also include the term “sss-interlocking” 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 8: Create Interlocking Parts.” 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!