Down by the Salley Gardens

Down by the Salley Gardens is a pretty English song with poetic words by William Butler Yeats. 

On this page you'll find the piece in seven different keys as lead sheets, and a few different keys for piano as well.

Down by the Salley Gardens for instrumental & vocal musicians

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Here is a beautiful violin rendition of this piece by Retaw Boyce of Australia:


This song has many slurred notes for the singer: view these as learning opportunities! 

Students need to be able to interpret notes and musical symbols, and it is surprising (to me) how often young singers will be baffled by the slurs in a vocal line. 

I like them to be intelligent music "map readers" against that future day when they will become part of a choir; I want them to be an asset, not a drag on the group!

You never know just how particular students will react to a new song, especially a song as old-fashioned as this one. 

But I actually had a young singer once beg me for "Down by the Salley Gardens" after she had been introduced to it at a summer Fine Arts Camp. 

It just goes to show you that good music is going to be loved, if given a chance.   

Fortunately, I found an arrangement in this Folk Songs of England, Ireland, Scotland, & Wales. There are about 100 songs in this book, including a few I have on this site, often with different melodies or lyrics. 

Is Down by the Sally Gardens a folk song?  Perhaps the tune is, but the words by Yeats are less than 150 years old... however, it FEELS like a folk song!

Steven from Ireland is pretty sure this is NOT an English song, but an Irish tune:

Perhaps I might be wrong here, but the song “The Sally Gardens” is an Irish song, not an English song. It was written in 1889, before Ireland became independent from the United Kingdom. 

It could technically be described as a British song, because at the time, Ireland was being governed from London. 

This would, however, completely ignore the social and cultural background of the country at the time.

Yeats was among those at the forefront of an Irish cultural revival which was taking place at the time. This was a response to 200 years or more of repression of Irish language, music, sport, poetry etc.

There may be many versions of the song recorded by English musicians. This tends to happen with most folk songs. 

Irish, Scottish, American, English folk musicians borrow songs and instrumental pieces from each other. But the origins of a piece should not be lost.

Here is my own piano accompaniment for this lovely song:

Piano accompaniment and lyrics for Down by the Salley Gardens

Vocal & piano arrangement in D of Down by the Sally Gardens

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

If I have time, I'll make more keys available for this piano accompaniment.  

Meantime, here is another lovely rendition of Salley Gardens, this time a vocal version, by Laura Wright:


What is a "salley garden"? A garden full of willows.





The links for the lead sheets:


Download lead sheet Down by the Salley Gardens in the key of A


Download Down by the Salley Gardens in the key of Bb


Download Salley Gardens in the key of C


Download song in the key of D


Download Down by the Sally Gardens in Eb


Download English song in the key of F


Download lead sheet Down by the Sally Gardens in G



The link for the piano accompaniment:


Download piano accompaniment for Salley Gardens in D












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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.