Robin Clark


Location: Tywyn, Gwynedd, Wales
Country: GB

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SoundCloud Tracks: 17
youtube videos: 20
images: 21
videos: 2
audio tracks: 70

Gaudete - 30 nov 17 - noter drone

Artist: Robin Clark
Duration: 00:01:56

We learnt this tune at choir practice last night so I sat down with the music this evening and came up with this 3 part arrangement for noter drone dulcimers. I am in the key of C Aeolian so I tuned C,c,G,A#. You can find the music here:

05/12/18 05:20:56PM @nigelbleddfa:

This is magical. 

Robin Clark
02/14/18 06:33:00AM @robin-clark:

Thanks Brian and Frank smile

Frank - I'm going to be running dulcimer workshops this summer at Shrewsbury Folk Festival and Steeleye Span are playing!

Marg - It is one instrument, my cherry McSpadden.  But I recorded three tracks, one for each part - descant, alto and tenor.


02/14/18 12:01:29AM @marg:

I don't know if it's the dulcimer or the tuning but the tune sounds like several instruments. Very nice

Frank Dudgeon
02/13/18 08:43:02PM @frank-dudgeon:

Just lovely!  I too was introduced to this piece by Steeleye Span.  I was lucky to see them several times.  it was many years ago, but I think I saw them do this live.  Your superb version brought back terrific memories.  Thank you!

Brian G.
02/13/18 08:07:23PM @brian-g:

Fantastic Robin! Really loved this.  :)

Robin Clark
01/31/18 06:56:52AM @robin-clark:

Many thanks for your comments everyone.  It was an enjoyable evening putting the recording together.  And it seems to have had nearly 16,000 plays on soundcloud, so someone is listening to it !!!!

01/30/18 05:32:51PM @bob:

Holy mackerel!  AWESOME !!


01/30/18 02:43:32PM @nigelbleddfa:

Just superb !

Rob N Lackey
12/04/17 06:34:38AM @rob-n-lackey:

Back in the early 70s I saw a copy of "Below the Salt" by Steeleye Span. I bought it because I was fascinated by the cover and wondered about the songs; they looked old.  Gaudete is one on that album.  That was my 1st Steeleye Span album; my first album with a dulcimer on it and the first time I heard "Gaudete."  You have just made the instrumental version that equals the vocal version of Steeleye Span!  clapperclapperclap

Jan Potts
12/04/17 01:04:35AM @jan-potts:

I'm in total agreement with the others--this is beautiful and reverent!

Cat Brown
12/03/17 10:30:37PM @cat-brown:


We used to sing that in choir.  I must tell my choir director.  You played it so very well...thank you.

12/02/17 11:01:51PM @irene:

wow zowie, I love this music even MORE tonight.  I'm still "charged" from singing in the Messiah Choir tonight....and now I got to go through this music on the sheet that you sent us to.  What do the words mean?  Or a rough translation?  I love this kind of music to play on the recorders....Thanks again....gonna explore that site...aloha, irene

Robin Clark
12/02/17 07:35:09AM @robin-clark:

Thanks for your comments everyone smile

The tune is very old.  The three part harmony I recorded was first published in Scandinavia back in the year 1582:

Gaudete 1582.jpg

To make the recording I learnt the discantus part first and recorded that, then I listened to that on headphones while I learnt and recorded the altus and tenor parts.  The actual music I used was the free version I've attached as a .pdf.  I felt the 4th bass part on the free version went a little too low to really work in noter drone, and it didn't appear in the 1582 version so I left that out.  At choir practice on Wednesday evening I was struck by the contrast between the full choir singing the choruses and soloist singing the verses - so I decided to create the same fullness to sparseness contrast in my recording by just playing the melody with no drones for the verses.  I used a thumb strum to get a strong but rounded tone from the McSpadden, and I chose that instrument because the string gauges I have on it, it's 4 string equidistant set-up and it's intonation would give me some flexibility to experiment quickly with tunings.  I tried a few different drone combinations but settled on two root notes an octave apart and a lower 5th closest to the melody string.  Detuning a little to the key of C sounded fuller.

Once I had the three individual recordings I used Audacity to time shift them so they lined up.  Then I mixed them for balance and added e/q, compression, stereo split, and 'chapel' reverb.  This emulates the reverb of a church.  It was a bit too cold and dark for me to take my dulcimer up the hill to the 12th century church we have in our village to record the tracks analogue with 2 mic's to get the same effect - far better to sit by the log burner in my small lounge instead and do it digitally!!!!  The whole project took about two hours or so.


Gaudete.pdf  •  49KB

12/01/17 10:54:20PM @irene:

I just love this music.  Tonight I played harp for a live Nativity play....but would have much more preferred to have played my dulcimer with my husband playing the auto harp.  ahhhhhh, this tune is just haunting....listening again and again.  Thank you for your talent of playing, recording and teaching as you write us.  aloha, irene

Robin Thompson
12/01/17 03:42:19PM @robin-thompson:

What a nice lush sound, Robin! 

12/01/17 06:23:28AM @macaodha:

This is really beautiful Robin, I hope you poured yourself a nice glass while listening back after recording. You've got me in the mood.

Dusty Turtle
12/01/17 01:01:24AM @dusty-turtle:

That's most impressive, Robin.  

Robin Clark
12/01/17 12:59:59AM @robin-clark:

Thanks Cynthia,

I only had a couple of hours tonight to learn the parts, record and mix them.  I was sitting in my small front lounge with the woodburner going and a mic set up to record.  I've had a busy day so it was nice to relax and have the focus of learning a new tune and creating the arrangement and mix.


Cynthia Wigington
11/30/17 06:11:50PM @cynthia-wigington:

The most beautiful thing you've ever done! And reverent.