Skye Waulking Song* from the album Nadurra

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Folk Music
 Music of the people
 Performed and owned by the lower classes of society,
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to express the way they live, used to live or local
mythology.
An oral tradition
Played at informal occasions
Not important to be a trained musician to enjoy it
Children are encouraged to participate in ensembles
Everyone is encouraged to sing along
Scottish Ceilidh Band
Flute and Fiddle Duet
Folk Ensemble and Irish Dance
Folk music around the world
 Found in every region of the world
 US – Woodie Guthrie, then influencing Bob Dylan
 Dylan wrote songs with politically charged lyrics i.e
against the Vietnam War eg Blowin’ in the wind
 Folk songs with political lyrics = Protest Songs
 South Africa = Hugh Masekela i.e Thimlela
Protest Song by Hugh Masekela
Folk Instruments
Instrumentation
 Electric piano, guitar and bass have been used in folk
music as long as they have been used in popular
music.
 Some believe that it should only be played on acoustic
instruments - Purists, as they believe folk music is
traditional music, and therefore electric instruments
are a betrayal of the values.
 With the introduction of electric instruments has
come a crossover of styles, known as fusion music.
Fusion
 Mingling of two or more styles, traditions and genres.
 Eg: Bhangra (Indian Classical and Western Pop)
 Capercaillie are a band who fuse Celtic folk music with
the instruments and production values of Western
popular music.
Waulking Songs
 Waulking = An ancient process for making tweed more
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flexible and windproof
Songs written to make the process a more sociable occasion
and to keep everyone in time.
One would lead the lyrics about some aspect of village life
or gossip, then everyone joins in with nonsense syllables
(like ‘la la la’)
Considered unlucky to repeat a whole verse so songs had
many verses. One line is repeated, perhaps giving the
leader time to think of the next line
Waulking process is still used in some parts of Scotland to
preserve the tradition.
Capercaillie
 Scottish folk band founded in the 1980s by Donald Shaw and fronted
by Karen Matheson.. The group originates from Oban, Argyll, a region
of Western Scotland and is named after the Western Capercaillie, a
bird native to Scotland.
 Spotted as a recording act at Mull Music Festival in 1983.
 The band recorded its first album, Cascade, in 1984. Their 1992 EP A
Prince Among Islands was the first Scottish-Gaelic record to reach the
UK top 40 singles chart, peaking at number 39. Another of their
singles, Dark Alan reached number 65. The album Secret People got
number 40, and To the Moon got to number 41. They have adapted
traditional Gaelic songs and music using modern production
techniques, and often mix musical forms, such as one song which
combined traditional lyrics with drum and bass
 Read Page 130 of the text book for an overview.
Capercaillie continued...
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Karen Matheson – Vocals
Charlie McKerron – Fiddle
Manus Lunny – Guitar and Irish Bouzouki
Donald Shaw – Accordian, Piano, Synth
Michael Mcgoldrick - Flute, Whistle, Uilleann Pipes
Ewan Vernal – Acoustic and Electric Bass
James MacKintosh – Drums and Percussion
 Each virtuosic on their own instrument and gel well as an
ensemble.
 Line up has changed over the years but this particular line
up has stayed together for quite some time.
Story and Lyrics
 Tells the take of Seathan, son of the King of Ireland
 Taken from a collection of Gaelic folk songs by Alexander
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Carmichael.
Original song was over 200 lines and would have taken over
an hour to perform.
Capercaillie only use an extract from the Alexander
Carmichael collection.
Original song is a lament sung by Seathan’s wife, telling of
his deeds, character, time spent with him and his demise.
Full title is Chuir M’Athair Mise Dhan Taigh Charraideach
(My Father sent me to a house of sorrow)
Lyrics
Seisd 1: Hi ri huraibhi o ho
Seisd 2: O hi a bho ro hu o ho
Nonsense syllables
Chuir m'athair mise dha'n taigh charraideach
'N oidhche sin a rinn e bhanais dhomh
Gur truagh a Righ nach b'e m'fhalairidh
M'an do bhrist mo lamh an t-aran dhomh
M'an d'rinn mo sgian biadh a ghearradh dhomh
Sheathain chridhe nan sul socair
Tha do bhata nochd 's na portaibh
Och, ma tha, chaneil i sociar
O nach roch thu, ghaoil, na toiseach.
Structure
Important Notes
Intro
 Harmony is less important than
Verse 1
the melody and rhythm (4
chords in the whole song)
 Changes in chord sequence,
though infrequent, are
noticeable, highlighting a
change of section or mood.
 Melodic lines are played in a folk
style – Players improvise around
the melody simultaneously,
creating a heterophonic
texture
Break
Verse 2
Verse 3
Verse 4
Verse 5
Verse 6
Instrumental
Verse 7
Verse 8
Outro
Introduction: Bars 1-8
 Sustained keyboard chord. Hinting at E minor.
 Fiddle joins in, for effect, with a tremolo note
 Drum entry with Keyboard 2 (Tremolo effect) – Working in
counterpoint with the Bouzouki to give a sense of movement.
 Bass plays staccato notes, working with the bass drum so almost
imperceptable.
 Chord sequence eventually established as Em – G
 Time signature is ambiguous, possible 6/8 or 12/8 but hi-hat and
shaker every 2 beats gives the impression of triple time.
Verse 1: Bars 9-11
 Instruments play the same as the introduction
 Voice enters with first line of the verse. Uses E minor
pentatonic or G major pentatonic scale throughout
 Voice has a characteristic lilting rhythm, working against
what the other instruments are playing, making the time
signature ambiguous.
Break and Verse 2
Break (Bars 12-15)
Verse 2 (Bars 16-20)
 Backing instruments
 Voice establishes itself as the
continue
 Fiddle more prominent,
though concentrates more on
effects than melody.
main rhythmic feature,
setting the 12/8 time
signature.
Verse 3 and 4
Verse 3 (Bars 21-24)
Verse 4 (Bars 25-28)
 Seamless continuation from
 Accordion joins in with the
V2
 Last line is unaccompanied,
serving as a link between the
opening section and the next
section.
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strummed accompaniment
on acoustic guitar/bouzouki
Backing vocals join in for
nonsense syllables, leaving
main lyrics for lead vocals
Drums clearly in 12/8
Bass part more substantial
Chord sequence changes to
C-G-Em-G to add harmonic
interest.
Verse 5 and 6
Verse 5 (Bars 29-32)
Verse 6 (Bars 33-36)
 As verse 4
 As Verse 5
 Accordion provides
countermelodies to vocals
Instrumental (Bars 37-43)
 Uilleann Pipes and fiddle in heterophonic texture
 Accordion provides accompaniment and occasional
melodic doubling.
 Instruments (especially the accordion) emphasise beats 2
and 5, adding rhythmic interest.
Verse 7 and 8
Verse 7 (Bars 44-48)
Verse 8 (Bars 49-52)
 Chords change to Am7-Em-
 Chord sequence returns to
Em-G for one verse only.
 Dynamics drop considerably,
leaving room for lead vocals
and backing vocals
 All instruments drop out for
the last line, adding to
contrast as drums build up to
last verse.
C-G-Em-G
 Full band plays
Outro (Bars 53-End)
 Vocals improvise on nonsense syllables
 Instruments weave a counterpoint
 Chord sequence alternates between C and G
 Long fade out to end.
Keywords: Define the following...
 Oral tradition
 Tremolo
 Protest Songs
 Improvise
 Fusion music
 Counterpoint
 Waulking
 Staccato
 Virtuosic
 Pentatonic
 Lament
 Heterophonic
 Sustained
 Lilting
Now answer the questions
on Page 134
Section B Question
a) From which Album is this piece taken? (1)
b) Which language is this piece sung in? (1)
c) Discuss the piece under the following headings
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The Line up
Lyrics
Harmony
Texture (10)
(12 marks total)

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