I wasn’t planning this chant at all. I was pottering about in the kitchen doing something else entirely, when it happened to me – most of the words and most of the tune simply landed in my head. Full on awen, and considerable surprise!
Turn, turn, turn with the year, turn with the seasons, turn with the earth.
Turn, turn, turn with the tide, light into darkness, death to rebirth.
It’s rather short, and singing it three times as it is would be dull, and still rather short – and this is so often the problem with chanting. However, I knew the tune would take harmonies. There is only one of me, and I do not have headphones suitable for recording with. So the only way to do this was to write the other lines singing against the idea of the tune in my head, record them one after another and shunt them about in garageband. I also did a bit of a round. I like messing about with chants in this way when there are other people to sing with, and most chants can be played with. What I’ve done here is by no means the definitive ‘how to do harmony on this chant’ more some examples of the kinds of things that can be done, to this one, and to others.
In chanting, remember, there are two kinds of harmonies. There are the warm, familiar affirming harmonies, and there are the spiky, unexpected and exciting harmonies. And with that philosophy, there are no ‘bum notes’.