Folk & Traditional Songs

Have you ever hear a song and wondered, “Who wrote that?” only to find the credit states “unknown”, “traditional” or “Folk?”  It happened when I first heard a men’s quartet sing “The Last Rose of Summer.” It’s hard to believe this lovely tune was a lively old Irish ballad that had humorous lyrics to entertain rowdy pub goers. That makes me appreciate the creative insights of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and others who inserted their versions of this tune into their works.

Don’t dismiss these tunes. Many are ancient, most simple in form and some are outstandingly  beautiful in their melodic form of expression.

As with all my arrangements, these are free for personal use and teachers can use them in studio and recital settings as long as my name is attached to the printed music or program or mentioned in video recording.

So, Enjoy!

Danny Boy L3

This arrangement is a chordal study that introduces the M7 and M6 chord as harmonization to an ancient Irish ballad.

Tap-America – L1b-2

The emotionally moving “Taps” is really a Primer or beginning level song. It is tied here with “America,” a song with hand movements in both LH and RH.

Scarborough Fair-L2

The title to this is about an English Fair started in 1253 (and ended in 1788 due to high taxes and competition). There is a debate whether it really is Scotland or England that gave the world this tune. Original lyrics present riddles, a popular form of entertainment back then. Some say that the four herbs refer to the Black Death that plagued them (sorry) in the 1300’s.  Disease was thought to spread by vapors, so spreading certain herbs would deter bad vapors. Parsley was said to remove bitterness. Sage could ward off evil, staunch bleeding and simply improve general health. Rosemary was considered both a love charm and a commemoration of death. Middle Ages Europeans used Thyme to ward off nightmares (Romans used it to cleanse rooms).

No matter the debates, this arrangement suggests knights, castles and Gregorian chants with the use of LH 5ths. Practice/performance notes are included in the arrangement.