NS14: Gaudete

I got this one from… well, where do you think?

As I wrote somewhere else a few years ago, when someone was soliciting Maddy Prior stories:

After I’d complained about the wallpaper in my room for some time, my parents agreed that I could strip it and repaint, during the next school holidays. Since the paper was now officially condemned, I felt free to add an extra layer of decoration, mainly consisting of lines from favourite songs in laborious swirly lettering.

Pride of place, though, went to a single word in six-inch capitals, placed there remind me of something truly extraordinary that I’d recently seen on Top of the Pops. It was a remarkable performance of a unique piece of music – at once pure and raw, intricate and earthy, delicate and strident, and made up of nothing more than the human voice. There were four voices interweaving like the threads of a tapestry, and above them there was a a fifth voice rising high and clear, sounding like moonlight through a monastery window. It was unforgettable; it still is.

And so I went up to my room and wrote on the wall, in capital letters six inches high:

GALDETE!

(Yes, well, that’s what it sounded like, OK?)

Four-part harmony, as written, with a couple of extra voices in octaves (towards the end), plus a bit of whistle.

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Filed under not a folk song

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