A Level Music: Yellow Bird by the Red Stripe Ebony Steel Band

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When was this piece originally written?
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Where does this piece originate from?
It originates from Haiti in the Creole dialect
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What type/genre of music is this?
It is a traditional calypso melody
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Where did steel bands develop?
In the Caribbean islands of Triinidad and Tobago.
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What was this piece's original title?
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Who was the English version of this song popularised by and when?
In the 1950s by Jamaican singer Harry Belafonte (therefore many presume that this piece is Jamaican)
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On what album does this piece appear?
A compliation album, 'The Best of Latin America', released in 2000.
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Name the resources
Steel pans and drum kit
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What is the importance of the drum kit?
The drum kit maintains the beat and features use of hi-hat, cymbals, lower tom-toms and bass drum.
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How many notes does a steel pan have?
They are chromatic instruments so all 16 notes.
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How do the players create sustained notes?
By using the tremolo effect
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What were steel pans originally made from?
Oil barrels
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How did players create a mellow sound on these drums?
By using wooden sticks with rubber heads.
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What determines the pitch of these instruments?
The size of the oval shape of the barrel.
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Name the different types of Steel Pans according to their pitches
1) Tenor pan, 2) Double second, 3) Double tenor, 4) Four-pan cello, 5) Bass
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What is the role of the Tenor Pan and Double Second?
The top two parts carry the melody (mostly in unison, but occasionally in 3rds: bar 15, and a brief descant line: bars 27-33).
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What is the role of the Double Tenor?
1st half of A: syncopated, ostinato-like figure, then semibreve harmonic filling for the rest of the piece
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What is the role of the Four-Pan cello?
It acts like a tenor part, playing minims and semibreves
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What is the role of the Bass pan?
Play triadic shapes, and the 'habanera' rhythm
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Describe the structure
AABAvAvB. There is no musical contrast in the piece.
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Describe the A Section:
16 bars long, features 2 ideas: 1) Yellow Bird motive: 4 bars long, repeated. This defines the structure. 2) Based on repeated, syncopated, upwards arpeggio-like figures.
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Describe the B section:
9 bars long, with three 2-bar phrases and one 3 bars in length. Based on arpeggio and syncopation.
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What is the tonality of this piece?
G major.
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Is there a recurring note?
Yes, a recurring C# that is a chromatic, lower auxiliary note
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Describe the harmony
Based on 3 diatonic primary chords of G major: G, C and D. There is the use of a dominant 9th chord: bar 15. Occasional added 7ths: G7 and D7. The harmonic rhythm is 1 or 2 chords per bar.
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What is the metre?
4/4, but feels more like duple time.
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What is the tempo?
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Explain the types of rhythm used
1) Syncopation: derives from Latin American, Samba and Caribbean Calypso. 2) Claves Rhythm: Latin American, in lower drums and melodic rhythm: 2 dotted crotchets and a crotchet. 3) Habanera Rhythm: repeated bass rhythm (common in Cuban music).
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Describe the texture
4/5 part textures
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Describe the Yellow Bird melody in Section A
First 4 bars, limited in pitch range (only uses B, C, C# and D).
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Describe the link melody in Section A
Links Yellow Bird and 2nd idea: 3 note chromatic figure: bar 8.
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Describe the 2nd idea in Section A
Sequential: bars 9 and 10. Based on repeated, syncopated rhythms. Upwards arpeggio figures (uplifting mood) followed by drop of 7th, 8th or 9th.
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Describe the melody in Section B
Triadic, syncopated and made up of arpeggios
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Do Sections A and B have similar endings?
Yes, they both descent in 3rd of the tenor pan and double second
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Where does this piece originate from?


It originates from Haiti in the Creole dialect

Card 3


What type/genre of music is this?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Where did steel bands develop?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What was this piece's original title?


Preview of the front of card 5
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