Circle Songs: What actually is this singing experience taking place in Florence?
The Circle Songs, a “new” singing experience, have been increasingly taking place in the last years in Florence. This city, as we all know, is world wide famous for its arts and artistic environment, therefore it could not be a coincidence if Circle Songs have lately been heard around. Yet Then, what are actually the Circle Songs and what are they good for?
What are Circle Songs?
The Circle Songs are a simple and basic form of choral improvisation based on a continuous dialectic between a facilitator and a choral ensemble, through both the voice and coded gestures. From his own improvisation the facilitator extrapolates music modules to be repeated in loops, assigning them to various sections of the ensemble (circle). These assignations create variations and lead the Circle through its own path and conclusion Usually the sections are 4, but they can also be more and most rithms swing between motifs inspired by African, Latin, groove, traditional folk and jazz influences.
At the beginning of the article I wrote “new” when referring about the singing experience and I did it because Circle Singing isn’t actually new, yet a practice present in every culture. Think about it, the practice of singing in a circle is present in every culture the practice of singing in a circle is present. Here in Italy we had lost it (especially in its public form), yet now there’s a will to make this practice glorious again (at least in Florence).
What are Circle Songs good at?
This practice allows to develop a very high attentional capacity towards sound signals and non-verbal ones expressed by the body. They’re also used as a real educational tool for music, theater, cooperation, mental / vocal / linguistic elasticity, etc. Through this practice the practitioner develops a sense of empathy and discovers a universal language.
In the practice of the Circle Songs can be moreover found the Principle of Tao. The yin aspect of the voice (feminine polarity) is associated with the melody and the extended sounds (as an expression of the principle of union), while the yang aspect (masculine polarity) is associated with rhythmicity (as an expression of the principle of separation) . Both polarities dance to create a Musical World that in some Circles can be more Yang, in others more Yin, but both polarities are always present.
Apart from these ancestral benefits, Circle songs are also good many more practical reasons: they increase your sense of rhythm (by teaching how to sing a part while listening to other parts, for instance, and how to keep pace with the rhythmic pulse of the group singing different
vocal parts.). They also improve your vocal sound, by letting discern he wealth and variety of vocal timbres. The singers are led to achieving a state of listening in which they are conscious of all the timbres at once, without losing track of their own. Last but not least, Circles Songs are good for confronting individual improvisation over a group accompaniment and for working with modes of collective improvisation.
This as ancient as new practice has both spiritual and practical benefits and it could also be a very funny experience to have while in vacation in Florence, Italy. Good for the couple, good even alone.
Here at Florence Dream Lab we’re glad to be one of those forces joined in spreading the Circle Songs’ word out loud. We hope you might get interested in it. If so, please