The Ash Grove, now with bass clef, treble clef and viola clef lead sheets, as well as two easy Middle-C shared-hands melody versions for beginner piano students!
My first memory of The Ash Grove is hearing the beautiful Elizabeth Bennett sing (in the BBC's version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (BBC, 1980) and accompany herself on the pianoforte as Mr. Darcy slowly circles the room, really seeing her for the first time. (It is hard to choose, but this may be my favorite of all the Jane Austen movies. It has a very good-humored feeling about it.)
The song starts at 1:00; first there is a brief conversation between Elizabeth, her friend Charlotte, and the aloof Mr. Darcy:
See the new lead sheets and beginning piano versions below. The vocal music with piano accompaniment and the guitar tabs are farther down the page!
This hand arrangement works out perfectly - a 10-finger song - as long as the right hand does not try to play Middle C (a definite temptation for your beginners).
Here is the same arrangement, using lettered keyboard music notes:
This song will make a beautiful piano duet, if you follow the chord symbols above the lines of music.
Now the lead sheets:
The key of Bb seems particularly beautiful on the piano, to me...
And lead sheets for bass clef instruments (my cello!):
Let's have a look at the viola clef free lead sheets, page 1:
Now... for the vocal and guitar sheets!
Ever since seeing Elizabeth Bennett singing the Ash Grove, I have loved this song. It is not very difficult, but it has a few features that make it one of those songs that teach vocalists how to sing better.
For example, on page 2, the second line has a bit of a rallentando, and the temptation is to drop the energy of the voice just when it needs to be carrying through, even surging, at "the joy of my heart..." Also, there are long phrases in the first half of the song, where beginning singers will want to take lots of breaths.
Don't let them! Teach them what "breathing for singing" means, by encouraging them to make their air last all the way to "meander," and again until after "rove."
Download free vocal sheet music The Ash Grove in the key of A
Download free vocal music in the key of G
Download free sheet music in the key of F
I like to have songs available in several different keys, as I plan the singing for beginners whose range may be quite limited at first.
Here is Laura Wright singing The Ash Grove:
Here is a version with tablature for guitar:
Here is a choir singing The Ash Grove in Welsh. Go here to see the Welsh lyrics and read comments for this video...
This is an old melody that continues to live -- I hope you and your students enjoy it!
Do you have a story or even a question about this vocal piece? Share it!
If I publish it, I will not use your last name, and certainly never show your email address (name and address are optional, anyway).