We can sing about any number of things: actions, emotions, places, objects, images, the ineffable. Have we ignored the possibilities that are in words, in stories? Perhaps not, but let’s pay them a visit. Stories—real or imagined, historical or present-day, in English or a ConLang or our own idioglossia—give us an evocative entryway to singing.
So! Check this out. It’s about “tropes,” story-telling devices that are instantly recognizable by just about everyone. I’ve gotten lost in TVTropes.org a number of times. The Periodic Table of Storytelling referenced here is just a handy way to enter into some of the most useful and common storytelling devices.
Your Prompt: Pick one or more items from the Periodic Table of Storytelling and read up about it until you have a good feel for it in your bones. Then, sing (and/or talk). You may loop/layer or simply go it solo-vocal-line; you may literally sing a story in your native language or figuratively evoke the story in a language of your choosing—but use the structure, setting, plot, and/or types of characters you read about as at least a background for your singing, or at most the explicit subject of your singing.
Guinea pigs, um, at SingThis Mission Control (well, just Amado, so far) have given this a test run, and discovered a pitfall that you may wish to bear in mind. Our teachers (Rhiannon in particular) counsel us to try, as we’re able, to let the words come as soon as they occur to us, streaming with our consciousness, without putting too much effort into making them make sense. This Prompt may make it difficult to do so, and the results might run long. And that’s fine. Adjust your intention according to your own value system, and to what would make this Prompt meaningful and productive for you.
As usual, Options below.
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: “I already have a story” – Well, don’t let us boss you around. For an easier stretch, why not sing about a story you already know very well? It’s daunting enough to make up words and/or notes on-the-spot, so, give yourself an easy hook into this exercise by singing about your favorite tale.
Option B: A Tangled Web We Weave – Perhaps you’re already comfortable with improvising storytelling, and need to find a growth edge. So, for a deeper stretch, let’s involve a lot of variables. Pick several things from the Periodic Table of Storytelling, preferably a Structure and a Setting and a Plot Device and at least a couple of characters. Put is all together in your head-space and see what comes out. Try, if you can, while you are singing, to surprise yourself. (Amado’s test run went this route—his contribution is here. DO NOT feel as if this is an ideal to strive for.)
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 story-inspired 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, November 23rd, 2015.
Length: The length of your finished work should be about 2 to 5 minutes, or however long you need to sing your story-inspired 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-tropes]” in the title of your track. Also include the term “sss-tropes” 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 43: Story Tropes.” 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!