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McGarrigle sisters' harmonies

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Nick 11 Sep 04 - 06:21 AM
wysiwyg 11 Sep 04 - 10:50 PM
M'Grath of Altcar 12 Sep 04 - 06:03 AM
Margret RoadKnight 12 Sep 04 - 09:51 AM
The Villan 12 Sep 04 - 12:01 PM
Nick 13 Sep 04 - 06:33 AM
GUEST 13 Sep 04 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,Cookieless M'GrathofAltcar 13 Sep 04 - 08:19 AM
Nick 13 Sep 04 - 08:30 AM
Alonzo M. Zilch (inactive) 13 Sep 04 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,M'GrathofAltcar 13 Sep 04 - 08:36 AM
Cluin 13 Sep 04 - 10:06 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 13 Oct 09 - 07:12 PM
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Subject: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: Nick
Date: 11 Sep 04 - 06:21 AM

I've liked the McGarrigle sisters since the mid 70s when I first heard them and have always marvelled at how incredibly distinctive they are when they harmonise on other people's songs - eg I was listening to Linda Thompson's version of 'I Live not where I love' and there they are in the last bit of it and you INSTANTLY know it is them.

So I wondered, is it just the voices that are so distinctive or is it that they harmonise in a specific way that is different and makes them so recognisable? If it is the latter, what is it that they do that is different?


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Sep 04 - 10:50 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: M'Grath of Altcar
Date: 12 Sep 04 - 06:03 AM

Sisters or brothers voices always seem to go together well don't they.

Descant type harmonies seem to be their favourite manouvre. (A harmony above a tune - often, but not always, a third above the melody.

In Complainte pour Ste Catherine they use at least 3 and probably four part harmonies. (one above, and two below, the tune.)

The La la la bit at the end is definitely four part, tune on top, simple ascending and descending movement in the (sung) chords

If you could be more specific NIck, (i.e. name a song) I'll figure out what makes it tick.

MofA


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: Margret RoadKnight
Date: 12 Sep 04 - 09:51 AM

Kate & Anna McGarrigle were often joined by Jane, another sister.


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: The Villan
Date: 12 Sep 04 - 12:01 PM

Some of my favourites are

Walking Song
Swimming Song
Travelling on for Jesus (I am not religious, incase anybody thinks I am)
and the lovely Kitty come home


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: Nick
Date: 13 Sep 04 - 06:33 AM

M'Grath -

The Linda Thompson song I mentioned above is an example (it's on her Greatest Hits compilation). In the last verse and chorus of the song the tune is harmonised in the way that I would say is peculiarly 'McGarriglish'. It's as good an example as I can think of off the top of my head.


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 04 - 07:21 AM

I've not got it I'm afraid Nick. Nor has my mate up the road with the huge record collection.

1.) If you've got it on CD. Can you send me an extract (Intro verse and chorus ) by mp3? I think a full mp3 may exceed my email limits.

2.) Send me a copy by snail mail.

Another tactic they seem to use quite frequently is fiddle type harmonies.
------------------------
e.g.

hi part   e e e e | c d e d
lo part   g a b a | a a a a

It struck me that one of those ladies (the McGarrigles) can sing awfully deep - for a lady that is.

You'll find that they switch between different types of vocal movement quite often too.
----------------------------
eg.

Verse.
Line 1.   Solo.
Line 2.   2 part Descant 3rds above tune.
Line 3.   Solo.
Line 4.   3 part.

Chorus.
Mixture of 3 and 4 part Unison and Harmonised stuff.
------------------------
That's not a specific example - but if you listen you'll see what I mean. Complainte pour Ste Catherine for example.
--------------------------
My cookie is goosed so I'll PM you my email address.

MofA


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: GUEST,Cookieless M'GrathofAltcar
Date: 13 Sep 04 - 08:19 AM

PMs are not working Nick.

Hum.......

MofA


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: Nick
Date: 13 Sep 04 - 08:30 AM

I'll create an mp3 and upload it to a bit of web space and send you a link later. Be in about 8 hours or so.


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: Alonzo M. Zilch (inactive)
Date: 13 Sep 04 - 08:34 AM

In Complainte pour Ste Catherine they use at least 3 and probably four part harmonies. (one above, and two below, the tune.)

In the recorded version of "Complainte pout Ste-Catherine," the harmonies are multi-tracked.

It struck me that one of those ladies (the McGarrigles) can sing awfully deep - for a lady that is.

Most of the McGarrigle recordings feature harmonies sung by males: Dane Lanken, Chaim Tannenbaum and Peter Weldon on the early sessions, also adding Rufus Wainwright and Joel Zifkin on some of the later ones.


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: GUEST,M'GrathofAltcar
Date: 13 Sep 04 - 08:36 AM

ok


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Subject: RE: McGarrigle sisters' harmonies
From: Cluin
Date: 13 Sep 04 - 10:06 AM

"Sisters or brothers voices always seem to go together well don't they?"


Usually, but one notable exception (for me) was the Rankin Family. Those three girls when they sang together just grated on me for some reason. Heather's voice and Cookie's too (I guess, when she wasn't cheesin' it up too much) were pleasant enough alone, but together...

...They just set my teeth on edge, like fingernails on a blackboard.

I always did and still do like Jimmy's voice a lot.


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Subject: Kate and Anna McGarrigle
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:12 PM

Just because it's lovely...... :0)

Kate and Anna's Myspace


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