Italian Sample Project - CoRe
Choir of rest homes guests and carers in the “Empolese-Valdelsa” district
About the music
1. How CoRe musical material is chosen
CoRe musical repertoire is not always of the same genre and ranges over a variety of genres, even in the same performance.
Choice is based on criteria functional to the project, on themes dealt with and on specific activities and performances that we intend to do.
Main criteria are:
- suitability for the musical work that CoRe aims to doing with old people: CORe is a musical activity whose purpose is that of involving and musically "activate" many different persons who may possess different physical and cognitive capabilities, which we don't know about when beginning. Activities are designed and implemented in a way that maximizes inclusivìty and flexibility.
Therefore, we mostly choose musical material that can be manipulated (e.g. broken yup in small pieces that can be used as ostinato), that offers opportunities for improvisations and variations in terms of speed, dynamics, phrasing and articulation, which favors simple polivocal structures, such ads the antiphonal model or the alternation between two groups.
Popular music is often very suitable for that: it can be used by groups and easily adapted to specific needs. However, non-folk music can be often treated in the same way,.
- relevance to the theme on the basis of which CoRe develops its activity that particular year (theme usually changes each year)
CoRe promotes collection of old people life stories and the development of collective practices of building of memories (of a community through old people), and this work usually starts from a specific themes.
Songs too are chosen on the basis of the theme that is dealt with, paying particular attention to lyrics.
- expected contribution to the effectiveness of the performance. Some tunes or musical practices (percussive, improvisational, etc.) because they are deemed particularly effective in achieving the objectives of the performance, among which the active involvement of the public.
- songs, especially those sang by soloists, are chosen considering:
- the pleasure (positive effective on wellness) showed in singing them or the sentimental ties with the song itself;
- the quality of the testimony that that particular solo performance seems to offer.
Sometimes songs are taught by od people themselves. They might be completely unknown songs, sometimes intimately connected to the person who sing them).
2. How CoRe musical material is used
We claim that music is in CoRe is all treated is it was “popular music”. All music sang by CoRe sounds popular, and it becomes “popular” because of the way we treat it: for the methods we use, the relation that we develop with the public through it, for the motivation of singing it and the purpose it serves.
Let's consider some elements that in my view folk music and the music we use in CoRe have in common:
- As for the method, i. e. the way we use the musical material:
- the oral dimension is predominant, in teaching, transmitting, learning songs and singing them, in rehearsals and performance;
- we always “arrange” the music, we are not concerned with being faithful to an original/authentic model;
- we manipulate the musical material in a uninhibited way to make it “useful” to our communicative objectives;
- the same melodies are executed with a large number of variations (by soloists or choir or between different executions) and we always have an open and welcoming attitude towards variants.
- As for the relationship with the public and the motivation to sing:
- the music and the way it is used in CoRe is chosen mainly to guarantee that meetings are inclusive and favor socialization;
- in performances, people of CoRe sing first of all for themselves, because they feel that singing is good for them, and help socialization and communication inside the group. The relationship with the public has an emotional charge, but we don't pay any attention to the (conventional) standards that a public exhibition would normally require. CoRe makes this attitude of old people, also typical of traditional folk singers, its own. We don't care about the conventional “quality” of the performance: instead, the objective is to involve the public in our game, in our way-to-live-with-music, so that the performance itself is never an accomplished products, but something that continuously transforms itself, unpredictably, as it happens in executions of true popular music.
3. Examples of repertoire
More specifically, depending on the various kind of meetings we had and the many performances that we created, CoRe repertoire includes:
- Italian popular songs, on different topics: songs, sometimes unpublished, of troubadours, stornellos, rhymes and nursery rhymes, work songs, political songs , love songs, lullabies;
- non-Italian popular songs in langfuages ranging from English to Wolof
- solo or choir arias or part of them taken from the Italian melodrama repertoire;
- songs form operetta or minor operas of diverse kind (including the Three Penny Opera by Brecht-Weill);
- pop Italian songs of years from 1920' to 1960, refrains or parts of songs, sometimes freely rearranged or disguised with different words;
- Italian songwriters' songs;
- playful songs, improvisations, spoken sentences “musically used”.