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The Musicarta Songbook

Page Two


Traditional Melodies with Progressive Arrangements

The Musicarta Songbook on Musicarta Patreon Tier One hosts the videos, MS and teaching notes for the traditional songs and melodies on the Mister Musicarta YouTube playlist - and more.

We are pleased to offer Musicarta Patreons for download, the Musicarta Songbook ZIP folder, containing the all music and the midi files (to play on Synthesia, etc).

Frere Jacques

Frere Jacques is a French nursery rhyme which is often sung as a 'round', with voices coming in at two-bar intervals. You can try to play it like that (as here) or just the learn the tune and play it over a simple C - G - C bass.

Voices in the round usually sing at the same pitch but obviously it is not possible to play a piano version like that.

The voices have to share a note G in bars 7/15. Prioritise the right hand melody note  - as shown by the brackets round the left hand G.

Either the right or left hand can be 'on top' (sopra, in Italian) in this bar. Both ways are shown in the video. It feels odd until you're used to it!

Down By The Salley Gardens

'Salley' is another name for the willow tree (Latin 'Salix'), which in pre-industrial times was often planted besides rivers and brooks to provide material for basket-making and other manufactures.

'Salley Gardens' - the tune (as opposed to the song) is actually called 'The Maids of Mourne Shore' - has a beautiful lyric by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats.


Down by the salley gardens

   my love and I did meet;

She passed the salley gardens

   with little snow-white feet.

She bid me take love easy,

   as the leaves grow on the tree;

But I, being young and foolish,

   with her would not agree.


In a field by the river

   my love and I did stand,

And on my leaning shoulder

   she laid her snow-white hand.

She bid me take life easy,

   as the grass grows on the weirs;

But I was young and foolish,

   and now am full of tears.

See the Wikipedia entry for more details.

This is my favourite performance, and the piano arrangement owes quite a lot to it.

The Musicarta arrangement

The first thing you'll want to do is learn the melody.

Download it here.

(The arrows indicate tones which are NOT in the C major pentatonic scale. The MMYT Songbook playlist includes a selection of 'well-known pentatonic melodies' attached to the Musicarta Pentatonics Workbook.)

Here's the full MS (intermediate).

Grab a pencil and steal the fingering from the video.

Here's a reference audio performance.

Snake Dance Diary 24-02-20

Here's a crossed hands version of this 'timeless gem'.

The 'Snake Dance' is one of the threads in the Musicarta 'Beat and Rhythm' syncopation boot camp.

You can check out the fool-proof build-up of syncopation on the MMYT Snake Dance playlist.

Don't forget to use the discount code from the newsletter on the discount sales page if you feel like diving right in!

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