Skye Waulking Song-Capercaillie AOS4 Edexcel Music

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Background

  • Capercaillie is a Scottish folk band formed in 1983.
  • By 2008 they had 14 albums.
  • Skye Waulking Song is the first track in album Nadurra, released September 2000. It is a folk gaelic song or celtic rock.
  • "Chuir m’athair mise dhan taigh charraideach" means "My father sent me to the house of sorrow".
  • A waulking song is a work song that was sung by Scottish women processing tweed cloth, and it would be sung along to the rhythmic movements they would make while processing the cloth.
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Instrumentation

  • Traditional folk instruments: Fiddle- the folk name for a violin.
    Uilean Pipes- softer and sweeter than the bagpipes, and air is controlled by the elbows rather than by mouth.
    Accordion- Bellows are moved in and out which causes vibrations.
    Bouzouki- It is a Greek long neck lute with strings, played with a plectrum. In recent years it has been used in traditional Scottish and Irish music.
  • Modern instruments: Wurlitzer piano-the predecessor of the electric piano. It is a keyboard instrument without strings. The sound is produced by a combination of steel reeds, hammer action and an electrostatic pickup system.
    Synthesiser, bass guitar, drum kit
  • Singer-Karen Matheson, a low alto voice.
  • A layered texture is created by:
    • The drum kit playing rhythmic patterns.
    • The bass line on the bass guitar.
    • Chords on the synthesiser and accordion.
    • The main melody is sung and the countermelodies are played on instruments.
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Structure

  • It is in strophic form.
  • The vocal line alternates between 4 phrases, each lasting 1 bar in a call-and-response pattern.
  • The vocal line is based on Phrase 1, Refrain 1 and Phrase 2, Refrain 2. Each phrase is followed by its refrain.
  • The introduction is an instrumental section.
  • Basic structure: Intro, verse 1, verse 2 and the coda.
  • Throughout the verses, the phrases and refrains are repeated.
  • There is an instrumental break in verse 2.
  • In the coda, there are echoes of refrain 1 and 2.
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Melody

  • It is sung by a low alto voice, and is transcripted into the vocal tenor clef. The vocal line is main syllabic.
  • The vocal melody is pentatonic, based on a five note scale in G major- G,  A, B, D, E. The accompanient uses all the notes of the scale.
  • Phrase 1 and Refrain 1: Starts on the upper dominant, and the refrain falls on the tonic.
  • Phrase 2 and Refrain 2: Starts on the lower dominant, refrain ends on the upper dominant.
  • The phrases are in Gaelic, and the vocables or refrains are nonsense syllables.
  • The instrumentalists play short motifs and counter-melodies based on vocal phrases.
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Harmony

  • This piece is entirely in the diatonic key of G.
  • The main chords used are G major, E minor and C major.
  • There is a modal feel because the dominant chord is avoided.
  • There is a cluster chord at the beginning on the synthesiser, a group of adjacent notes. This cluster chord is loosely based on the G chord.
  • The fiddle tremolo on D above the cluster chord in the introduction shows that it isn't in Em, as Em would have D#.
  • In the introduction, the main chords are Em and G.
  • Phrase 1 and 2 are harmonised with the G chord except once, where Em9 is used, which contains all the chord notes of G.
  • Refrains are harmonised with C and/or Em, except once, where Am9 is used, where it has all the chord notes of C and Em.
  • There is an effect of repeated plagal cadences at the coda, as it continually jumps between IV and I of G major.
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