Testing a new method – Imprint

This week we been testing Folk Song Lab new method Imprint also in the inner circle of Folk Song Lab. This method actually fits quite well in the Corona days since it can be done through virtual meetings with the help of the excellent “Aloha” (www.elkaudio ) making it possible to sing together without latency! This is how we did it:

  1. Connect through Aloha in pairs.
  2. One of us teach a short song to another by just singing it together for 5 minuts.
  3. Then we say bye bye to each other and the one who have teached the song record it.
  4. At the same time singer who just learnt the song finds someone else to teach the song they just learnt to.
  5. Singer and new singer sings the song for five minuts. And then we continue from 3-5 for as long as we like.

In Folk Song Lab we did this in a chain were everyone of us started a chain, resulting in four songs in four different versions. So what happened then when the song moved through different singers? What was still there of the original singer’s imprint?
What was stable and what was varied through the process?

The stability lied very much in the holistic phrasing – the way you balance the phrases. Also, the “rhytmisation” patterns, some of the dialect words or important words was still to be found. The interpretation of first phrase of the song, in all respect, often appeared the same, and the tonal center did often stay nearly the same.

The variation appeared regarding tempo, micro-rhythmic, ornamentation, intonation, “small words” and after the first phrase also in the melody.

It was also quite clear that when we sang songs that was less familiar (like some songs from the Irish tradition) less was stable and more become varied. This implies that when you learn a song that you are less familiar with you don’t have the “safety-net” of things you already know (such as the tonality, phrasing, melody-structure, lyrics etc.). While on the other hand when you learn a song in a tradition you are familiar with you can use the skills of knowing these things and don’t need to spend so much time on this.

If you want to know more on this topic, read – The Singer’s imprint (by Susanne Rosenberg) –
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339529279_The_singer’s_imprint_Stability_and_variation_in_contemporary_folk_singers’_interpretations_of_folk_chorales

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