Music Area of Study 4

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Skye Waulking Song, Capercaillie

A layered texture is created through: a rhythmic pattern, a bass line, chords, the main melody, countermelodies. Instruments include: drum kit, bass guitar, synthesiser, accordion, voice, violin, Wurlitzer piano, uilleann pipes, bouzouki.

Vocal line alternates between 4 different phrases in a call-and-response pattern. Introduction, verse 1, verse 2 and coda.

The vocal melody: is pentatonic, uses a low register of the voice, is syllabic. The instruments play short motifs and countermelodies.

The metre is 12/8. There is frequent syncopation. At the start the hi-hat pattern creates cross rhythms.

The song is in G major. It is diatonic. The 3 main chords used are G, Em and C. Because the dominant chord is avoided it has a modal feel.

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Rag Desh, Indian music

Indian classical music is built up of 3 layers: a melodic line played on a solo instrument; a rhythmic pattern played on the drums; a drone played on a stringed instrument.

The melody is based on the rag. C, D, F, G, B, C, Bb, A, G, F, E, D, C.

The rhythmic pattern payed by the drums is based on a tal. The first beat of the tal is called Sam. It is often stressed.

The parts progress from slow to fast tempo: Alap, slow, no metre, no percussion; Gat, fixed composition, percussion, clear pulse; Jhalla, fast final section, virtuosic and decorative.

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Rag Desh, Anoushka Shankar

Instruments include: Sitar, plucked string instrument; Tabla, a pair of drums.

This version uses 2 tals: Jhaptal and Tintal.

Alap: sitar only, slow, no metre, introduces mood, melodic line is decorative.

Gat: tabla enters, fixed composition, at the end the tempo increases.

Jhalla: fast, sitar strings are strummed to create excitement.

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Mhara janam maran, Chiranji Lal Tanwar

This version is a bhajan.

Instruments include: sarod, plucked string instrument; sarangi, bowed string instrument; pakhawaj, a long drum; tabla and a pair of cymbals.

Uses a cycle called keherwa tal.

The structure is: Alap, sarangi, voice introduces notes of rag, slow tempo, no metre; bhajan, tabla, sung verse followed by short solos for sarangi and sarod, Tanwar decorates important words with melismas and ornaments.

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Rag Desh, Steve Gorn and Benjy Wertheimer

Instruments: bansuri, a bamboo flute; esraj, bowed string instrument; shruti box, electronic instrument; swarmandel, plucked string instrument; tabla.

Uses 2 tals: rupak and ektal.

Structure is:
Alap, starts with drone; bansuri introduces mood and notes of rag, esraj then takes over, the tempo is slow, no metre;
Gat 1, slow gat in rupak tal, begins with bansuri solo, tabla enters, composed gat starts, bansuri and tabla improvise, finishes with a tihai;
Gat 2, fast gat in ektal, starts with tabla solo, improvisation becomes elaborate, bansuri plays tans. The piece ends with 3 tihais.

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Yiri, Koko

Instruments are: balafon, djembe, talking drum, singing.

The piece is in 3 sections: introduction, balafon solo; main section, ostinato, strong clear pulse, alternates between balafon solos and choruses, vocal solo in call-and-response form; coda, short phrase for balafon, drum ostinato is interrupted by rests, and a bell is sounded to mark the end.

It is in Gb major. Most is hexatonic. The balafon has solo breaks, which are more virtuosic. During choruses, the group sings in unison.

The metre is 4/4. It is in a free tempo. Syncopations frequently used, creating cross rhythms. Vocal soloists make use of triplets. The drums play a rhythmic ostinato.

Most of the song has a layered texture, but also has a monophonic texture, occasional heterophonic textures and different versions of the same tune at the same time. There is little dynamic variation.

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