A Drop of Nelson’s Blood – Resource Pack

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A Drop of Nelson's Blood - SAA, TBB, SAT, SAB - SECURE

A Drop of Nelson’s Blood (also known as Roll the Old Chariot Along) is a raucous sea shanty. After his victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, Admiral Nelson’s body was transported back to Britain in a barrel of brandy, or rum, which henceforth became known as “Nelson’s Blood”. However, the expression may also be taken as a metaphor for courage.

As with many arrangements I write, this song can be done using virtually any combination of singers. As indicated in the score, the parts can be taken down an octave if necessary. Directors of mixed choirs might also wish to create mixed voice parts that span an octave. Choir leaders know their choirs’ voices far better than arrangers, so it down to your discretion as to how you would like to organise your choir to sing this song. However, in an ideal world this is the configuration I would suggest, depending on the make up of your choir…

All women: voice 1 – soprano, voice 2 – alto, voice 3 – alto
Women with a small number of men: voice 1 – soprano, voice 2 – alto, voice 3 – alto and tenor (at pitch)
Two thirds women / One third men: voice 1 – soprano, voice 2 – alto, voice 3 – tenor (at pitch)
An equal number of men and women: voice 1 – soprano and tenor (an octave lower), voice 2 – soprano and bass (an octave lower), voice 3 – alto and bass (an octave lower)
Two thirds men / One third women: voice 1 – tenor (an octave lower), voice 2 – alto, voice 3 – bass (an octave lower)
Men with a small number of women: voice 1 – tenor (an octave lower), voice 2 – alto and bass (an octave lower), voice 3 – bass (an octave lower)
All men: voice 1 – tenor (an octave lower), voice 2 – baritone (an octave lower), voice 3 – bass (an octave lower)

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