Capercaillie - Skye Waulking Song (Background and Context (Often played on…
Capercaillie - Skye Waulking Song
Background and Context
Often played on informal occasions
Doesn't require a trained musican
Passed on by oral traditional and rarely notated
This is an example of folk music.
Harmony and Tonality
This piece has a modal feel based around 3 chords: C, Em and G
Intro-Sustained E minor chord
By the end of the section chord sequence is Em-G
Modern Western music
Acoustic and electric bass
Use of Instruments/Voices
Verse 4: Accordion joins in, along with a strummed accompaniment on bouzouki and acoustic guitar.
The backing vocals join and the metre is more set
Verse 5: Accordion provides countermelodies to the vocal
Break: Fiddle becomes more prominent but still mostly using effects rather than a melody.
Instrumental: Uilleann pipes solo along with the fiddle. The accordion provides accompainment
Intro: Fiddle plays tremolo.
Electric piano has a tremolo effect.
Bass plays staccato.
Verse 7: All instruments drop out for the last line
Outro: Vocals improvise and instruments weave together
Verse 8: Full band plays
Waulking also called Fulling is the process in which tweed (cloth) is pounded against a board or trampled on by feet. This is to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, while also making it thicker.
Due to its slow and constant rhythm. Waulking songs were sung to keep everybody working in time so that the cloth was waulked correctly and at a constant pace. Also capercaillies use of gaelic folk songs makes in sound and feel like a waulking song as these lyrics sound and are similar to other folk songs
Features nonsense syallbes
Fusion is a combination of more than one style or culture.
Capercaillie fuse celtic folk music with other cultures
Story and Lyrics
This is a walking song telling the story of Seathan,son of the king of Ireland. The lyrics are in Scottish Gaelic, but also include nonsense syllables such as
Hi ri huraibhi o ho,
O hi a bho ro hu o hu
There are a variety of textures:
Melody and Accompaniment: The instruments tend to provide a chordal backing/accompaniment to the vocals.
Counter Melody: Sometimes an instrument will provide another melody at the same time as the vocals. .
Heterophonic Texture: This is when one part plays a decorated version of a melody at the same time. .
Unaccompanied/a capella: This happens occasionally when the voice sings with no backing.
Counterpoint: This is seen in the outro where the instruments weave melodies with each other.
The vocal part is sung using the scale of E minor pentatonic, (or G major pentatonic )throughout.
Rhythm and Metre
The time signature is 12 / 8
The shaker and hi-hats play every 2 beats
The vocal part has a ‘lilting’ rhythm
The time signature is not established (clear) until verse 2. By verse 4 it is very clear because the drum part is setting it. Before this, the metre is quite ambiguous