'Like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.'
Vocal Gymnastics / Percussion
Chick-a-boom / Ah
Boom / Ah
(Try in two groups, and then swap over without disrupting the rhythm)
'Small Change got rained on with his own 38.'
Experiment with Volume 1-5, Pitch 1-5 and Rhythm 1-5. This is a useful exercise and really easy. You take a line and say is as quietly as possible - without it being a stage whisper - then as loudly as you can - without shouting and wrecking your voice: These are known as 1 and 5. You find the middle of soft and loud - this is the 3, and then you experiment until you find the 2 and 4. You then repeat this with Pitch - High/Low and Rhythm - Fast/Slow. What you may notice is if you speed up your delivery, then your volume increases, and sometimes at the extremes of pitch the volume and rhythm is affected - how can the performer stay in control of these variables, and ultimately select the optimal Rhythm, Pitch and Volume to successfully communicate the intended meaning of the line?
Deliver your line like...
* A cynical children's story
* a 1955 cadillac revving it's engine
* A rusty nail, stirring brandy
* Pink wind
* Dragging a dead priest
* Electric sugar
* Black summer heat
* The far away yelping of a wounded dog
* A long distance phone call
* Oily night
* Drunk on the moon
* A rope of sand
Waits writes in very striking metaphors, and the words are selected as much for their musicality as their meaning. And so I was interested in whether a strong visual, poetic or visceral image could inspire a performer to push their voice to a new place. The point isn't exact representation - how would we do that??' But we can play with rhythm and technique for only so long, before the imagination wants to get involved!
What was useful to us when we began working on the spoken word section of the piece (An edited version of 'Potter's Field', that we performed as Beat poets to a walking bass soundtrack) was that it opened us up to some new possibilities in a vocal and aural sense, and we didn't get trapped in imitation and contriving.
For the solo piece I am interested in exploring how to channel Waits's voice, how he can speak through me, and how I can use his vocal style to embellish my own voice, and the story I wish to tell.