Sad songs such as The Grenadier and the Lady are likely to be among your students' favorite music. Get free vocal sheet music and easy guitar tabs for this traditional English ballad.
The Grenadier and the Lady is one of the most hauntingly beautiful sad songs your students will ever love. Well, you don't really know how sad it is unless you read between the lines of "O soldier, O soldier, will you marry me?'
I first heard this lovely ballad in the movie Far from the Madding Crowd with Julie Christie, Terence Stamp and Alan Bates. It is a fascinating film, set in a sometimes bleak landscape, based on the book by Thomas Hardy.
Listen to the movie excerpt from "Far from the Madding Crowd". This is a stirring performance, especially if you are caught up in the story. Here, Sergeant Troy, a British Grenadier, has just buried the woman he truly loves (it is not his new-married wife), and his infant son whom he never met. You can't help but think, "If only...if only..."
This is a story about choices, careless choices that ruin many lives.
It is a good use for this beautiful English ballad. In verse 2, the soldier asks the lady where she is going, and I almost think in a foreshadowing of heaven, she replies "I am going a-walking by the clear crystal stream..."
Download free vocal sheet music The Grenadier and the Lady
Free vocal sheet music in the key of Gm
And the Bold Grenadier in Fm
The Grenadier and the Lady is a great song for a beginning singer. The range is only an octave, and the melody stays mostly in the middle, with two little climbs to the top. It is easily memorized, as it tells a story. And the phrases are very singable -- no hard parts.
Yet the song has many opportunities for breath control practice. Even the first phrase, "As I was a-walking one morning in May..." offers the temptation to take a little breath after "a-walking." Singers don't need to breathe there...make them get at least to the comma! Generally, the phrases of this song should not be interrupted by a breath. I make an exception down at the bottom line, and allow a breath before the last 5 notes if it seems necessary...and always on the final verse, where a ritard is natural.
But folk songs are not like classical music, so the reason I'm picky about phrasing in this English ballad is because I want to train students to breathe for singing: to take quick breaths and long exhalations, and to observe natural pauses in the sentence structure. Breathing for singing has to become a habit.
Pianists who want to play this song may find the extra melody notes confusing. Of course, the extra voicings are there to accommodate the rhythm changes which occur with the different words in each verse. I have made an easy piano version for students with fingering but no left hand -- just chord symbols.
Here is a version for guitarists who love sad songs:
You can listen to a beautiful classical-style guitar rendition of The Grenadier and the Lady by Denio, who first encountered the song here on my site and was moved to arrange it for guitar. Denio, if you are out there, I still want the PDF for your lovely arrangement if you are willing to share it!
Someone else has taken this beautiful traditional English folktune and put new words to it, calling it The Emigrant's Daughter. Here is how it sounds (very bad recording, but very lovely singing and singer!):
And lastly (I can't resist!) here is a rendition of Emigrant's Daughter on Irish Tin Whistle!
Music has such power to move the heart... do you have a story or a question about this music?