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15 messages

Making up a song on the spot.

29 Sep 11 - 03:18 AM (#3230930)
Subject: Making up a song on the spot.
From: GUEST,bernieandred

I worked with a magician a while ago. He would ask the audience members for a "person" an "activity" & a "product or thing" & then make up a simple song from it. (A bit like Improv comedy/Theatre sports).He always used the same tune, but I can't remember which it was. Obviously there are any number of trad. tunes which would work. Anybody have any ideas, I'd like to try it in our show.


29 Sep 11 - 03:23 AM (#3230933)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: GUEST,999

How complicated must it be?


29 Sep 11 - 03:30 AM (#3230936)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: Bainbo

The tune that's known in Britain as Villikins And His Dinah and in the U.S. as something else, though I can't remember what, is versatlie and has been endlessly adapted. You'll recognise it when you hear it.


29 Sep 11 - 03:44 AM (#3230939)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: GUEST,mg

Wayne Brady has an incredible ability to do this, and they are not simple songs...they sound like real songs..give him any topic and any style and he instantly comes up with something..don't know how he does it. mg


29 Sep 11 - 10:58 AM (#3231105)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: Bert

Can't do it. The fastest I ever wrote a song was two hours.


29 Sep 11 - 11:36 AM (#3231128)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: terrier

Parodies are pretty simple, but to write a meaningful song from scratch I just find impossible. I wish there were some simple magic to invoke the muse. Maybe your magician friend knew lots of songs and was making up instant parodies using words suggested by the audience.


29 Sep 11 - 12:07 PM (#3231140)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: Tattie Bogle

A friend of mine does it very well: it often happens spontaneously in sessions when he's there, using tunes such as "Johnny Lad" or "She'll be coming round the mountain".


29 Sep 11 - 12:20 PM (#3231150)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: Big Al Whittle

Start with a talking blues, then try it to calypso. Try writing verses of the Wild Rover about your friends (then in walked the vicar, the post man, the barmaid, ....). You can develop the facility - but real songwriting. That'll take as much time as you've got.


02 Oct 11 - 05:56 PM (#3232759)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: Tattie Bogle

After the defeat of Scotland by England in the Rugby World Cup yesterday, I found myself putting a few different words to "Caledonia".


02 Oct 11 - 06:01 PM (#3232763)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

BTW, calypsonians do this all the time. I want to do it myself too, having problems. Maybe later after my exams :). I rhink you need a good knowledge of poetry/rhyme and the ability to think on your feet. But you probably already know that.


02 Oct 11 - 06:11 PM (#3232767)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: Deckman

VODKA HELPS!


02 Oct 11 - 09:17 PM (#3232829)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: EBarnacle

Practice about any subject: The water's wet and I am lonely... [to the tune of The Water is Wide"] sung and improvised in the shower, for example.


02 Oct 11 - 10:15 PM (#3232851)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: gnu

Some have the knack... Amos is one who seems to be adept at it, although it's not "immediate" within this forum. It takes him time to type. >;-)


03 Oct 11 - 05:50 AM (#3232941)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: Allan C.

Only when forced ...

I was singing an unfamiliar song at a wedding. I had learned it at the bride's request - or at least I thought I had! I invented the last two verses out of whole cloth! BTW, few noticed; none cared.


03 Oct 11 - 05:42 PM (#3233305)
Subject: RE: Making up a song on the spot.
From: GUEST,SteveG

Improvising and adding verses to existing songs was once a strong part of oral tradition. In fact in some oral traditions prior to widespread literacy ballad singers, we are told, used to remake songs every time they sang them using well used formulae and the basic plot.

Of course shanty singing is a good example of this improvisation.

The ubiquitous tune and chorus of the 18thc was 'Derry Down', that Derry Down that is used for 'The Deadnaught' and 'King John and the Abbot of Canterbury' and many thousands of other texts.

Bawdy singarounds often produce improvised verses particularly with catalogue songs like 'Sing us another one do'(Limericks) and 'The Four and twenty virgins'.

In fact we used to run a bawdy late-night session at Whitby festival. One night Johnny Handle was stood at the bar listening in for a couple of hours without contributing but getting well sozzled. We were just about to end the proceedings when Johnny lurched into the middle and launched into a song which he must have been making up on the spot as each verse was about a different person in the room. Needless to say it was well within keeping with the night's theme.