Ca’ The Yowes – Resource Pack

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Ca' the Yowes 202109 - SECURE

Ca’ the Yowes, pronounced “Caw the Yows”, is a Scottish song from the 18th century, sometimes known as Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes (“Drive the Ewes to the Hills”). Robert Burns collected these words in 1794 and wrote his own version of the poem. However, I have opted to use the original lyrics in my arrangement, written by Ayrshire poet, Isabel Pagan.

A virtual performance of this arrangement (albeit with a little light accompaniment) can be found here on YouTube – performed by Crib Notes, my choir for parents and carers.

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 – soprano, 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 baritone (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 – soprano, voice 3 – tenor (at pitch)
Men with a small number of women: voice 1 – tenor (an octave lower), voice 2 – soprano and baritone (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)

This resource pack contains the full score and audio learning tracks for all parts as well as an ensemble recording.

Learning tracks performed by Eleanor Rastall (www.eleanorrastall.co.uk).

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  • Ca' The Yowes

    My choir just love this piece. The harmonies are beautiful and now that they’ve got the hang of the 3/4 time signature, they’ve fully embraced it!

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