- Bodhrán-Irish drum struck with the hand or a double ended stick called a "tipper."
- Bouzouki-Greek string instrument with four groups of two strings tuned in unison or octaves.
- Concertina-Similar to an accordian but smaller.
- Hurdy Gurdy-Similar shape to a violin but played by rotating wheel in contact with the strings. Pitch of strings is changed by a set of keys rather than direct contact with the fingers.
- Uillean pipes-Similar to the bagpipes, but using bellows operated by the elbow. Produces a sweeter and quieter sound than bagpipes.
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Background to Nadurra
- Nadurra was released in September 2000.
- The line-up was acclaimed as a "match made in heaven" because of their individual virtuosity on their own instruments, and the way they worked so well together.
- This particular line-up stayed together for years.
- Donald Shaw: accordion, piano, synth
- Michael McGoldrick: flutes, whistle, uillean pipes
- Karen Matheson: vocals
- Ewan Vernal: acoustic & electric bass
- Charlie McKerron: fiddle
- Manus Lunny: bouzouki, guitar, bodhrán, vocals
- James MacKintosh: drums, percussion
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Intro (Bars 1-8)
- Starts with sustained keyboard chord which hints at key of E minor.
- Fiddle joins in with tremolo note (mainly for effect).
- Drum and 2nd keyboard sound join after a few bars working in counterpoint with the bouzouki.
- Bass plays staccato almost imperceptible notes working as though one instrument with bass drum.
- By the end of the sequence, the key is established as Em-G.
- The time signature is ambiguous - seems as though it should be 6/8 or 12/8 but the hi-hat and shaker give it more of a triple time effect.
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Verse 1 (Bars 9-11) & Break (Bars 12-15)
- The instruments continue in the same way as they for the introduction.
- Voice enters to sing first line of verse.
- Voice sings characteristic lilting rhythm.
- Lilting rhythm of voice works against what the other instruments are playing which makes the time signature still a little ambiguous.
- Backing instruments continue.
- Fiddle becomes slightly more prominent, but still concentrates on the effects not melody.
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Verse 2 (Bars 16-20) & Verse 3 (Bars 21-24)
- Voice begins to establish itself as the main rhythmic feature.
- The voice sets the 12/8 time signature.
- Continues seamlessly from verse 2.
- Last line is sung unaccompanied, this serves as a link for verse 4.
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Verse 4 (Bars 25-28) & Verse 5 (Bars 29-32)
- Accordion joins in with strummed accompaniment on acoustic guitar/bouzouki.
- Backing vocals join in for nonsense syllables, leaving main singer for lyrics.
- Drum clearly setting 12/8 time along with rest of band.
- Bass part now has more substance than previous parts.
- Chord sequence changes to C-G-Em-G for harmonic effect.
- Accordion provides counterpoint melodies to vocal.
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Verse 6 (Bars 33-36) & Instrumental (Bars 37-43)
- Same as verse 5
- The uillean pipes and fiddle play a solo in a heterophonic texture.
- Accordion provides accompaniment and occasional melodic doubling.
- The instruments (especially accordion) emphasise the 2nd and 5th beats which adds rhythmic interest.
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Verse 7 (Bars 44-48) & Verse 8 (Bars 49-52)
- Chord sequence changes to Am7-Em-Em-G for 1 verse.
- Dynamics drop considerably with all instruments for intimate vocal sound.
- All instruments drop out for the last line to add contrast.
- Chord sequence returns to C-G-Em-G.
- Full band plays.
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Outro (Bars 53-end)
- Vocals improvise to nonsense syllables as instruments weave counterpoint with each other.
- Chord sequence alternates between C and G for the rest of the song.
- A long fade out brings the song to an end.
End of song.
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Important points to note
- Harmony in this style is less important than melody and rhythm. The harmony is simple throughout but the few changes in the chord sequence are clear.
- Melodic lines are played in folk style. The instruments improvise around the melody simultaneously, sometimes playing a very similar melody in slightly different ways which creates a heterophonic texture. They also sometimes weave an improvised counterpoint around the melody and scale (G major)
- The vocal part is sung using the scale of E minor pentatonic (or G minor pentatonic) throughout.
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