I'm Going to Leave Old Texas Now, sometimes known as "Old Texas," "Texas Song," "The Cowboy's Lament," and even "The Cowman's Lament," arranged for easy and beginner piano in several keys, FREE.
When I was a kid, I LOVED playing this song. The left hand swinging rhythm was EXACTLY like the sound of a horse and cowboy riding along in the prairie, I was sure. These 4th & 5th-graders at Walnut Glen Academy (led by Diane Owen) have got the clip-clopping sound down:
My first arrangement is for beginners, centered around Middle C. The fingering will feel odd because right and left hands are a bit asymmetrical, and the right hand must span from D to A (in the key of C... in the key of D, RH goes up to a B).
Why arrange this song in the key of D for beginners? It's so much harder, with the F sharp!
Well, it's a bit easier to sing, and if it has been conquered in one key, it's good practice to move up one position and try it out there! Turn it into a game, by asking your student to hunt down all the "hidden" F sharps. (I like to place a little dash to the left of tricky black notes, whether sharp or flat; it helps my students remember.)
The more difficult version of "Old Texas," below, is similar to the one I remember from one of my favorite piano books from my childhood, John Schaum's The Cowboy Book.
I can't remember what key that arrangement was in, but I have put it in the keys of D, F, and G:
Below is a third way to approach this cowboy song, with all the melody in the bass clef, shared by both hands. This has a nice deep sound and doesn't require much finger-shifting:
Don't forget to "swing" the bass line when you show your students how this cowboy song sounds! If you're not sure what SWING is, it means turning straight 8th notes into a LONG-short pattern. A dotted eighth plus a sixteenth note approximates the rhythm, but it would be more accurate to imagine the two notes as a TRIPLET represented by a quarter note plus an eighth.
Confused yet? How about a graphic:
The measure on the left looks normal; play it like the measure on the right to get the sound of SWING.
The relaxed sound of swinging eighth notes is belied by how busy, even cluttered, the music LOOKS if you write out the notes in the manner that most closely represents the actual sound. It is much easier to READ the music if it is written out as regular eighth notes but played LONG-short, LONG-short, etc.
This cowboy song has a lot of variations... hunt on Youtube and you will be made keenly aware how vocal and performance styles change!
Do you have a funny story about this music, or does it remind you of something you'd like to share with other readers? Do you have a question? I'd love to hear it!
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