Easy guitar songs that are as beautiful and well-known as The Water is Wide are true treasures. Download these free printable easy guitar songs for yourself or your students. (If you wish to see versions for piano, go here.)
This is one of those pieces of folk sheet music that it seems everyone I know sang in high school!
Scroll down the page for the links to the free PDF sheets.
One arrangement we sang employed an echo effect, like this: "The water is wide (the water is wide), I cannot get o'er (I cannot get o'er)..." This is very pretty and not too hard.
Something I like to do with my guitar students when reading the tablature is to hunt for all the eighth notes, by looking in the staff above.
When we spot the "fast" notes, we take a pen or pencil and "hook" the tab notes beneath together to make them look like the eighth notes in the staff.
The Dsus (D suspended) and Asus (A suspended) chords are interesting and beautiful -- quite unlike other beginner chords -- and it is usually in this song that my guitar students are first exposed to them.
The way I have illustrated the suspended chords may be different from how you have seen them shown in other chord charts:
I tell my students that the basic root of the chord is still there, plus one finger added that will lift off when the chord "resolves" into the root chord.
That's why you see one string with two fingers on it: just build a regular D or A chord, then add your pinky (finger 4 for guitarists) to add the sound of "suspense."
The longer this chord is held, the longer the listener is waiting with expectation for the beauty of the resolution into the regular chord.
I own two great folk song books that include this song, except the name given in both of the books is "O Waly, Waly."
Both books, Folk Songs by William Cole ("Folk Songs of England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales" edited by William Cole with music arrangements by Norman Nomath), and One Hundred English Folksongs by Cecil Sharp, have 8 verses of lyrics, of which 3 verses are almost identical to the lyrics I have used here.
The book by William Cole is especially handy, because it has simple piano accompaniments, and chord symbols for guitarists, giving you lots of easy guitar songs!
The book edited by Cecil Sharp has some wonderful songs in it, but no chord symbols, and the piano accompaniments tend toward being a bit heavy, even difficult, and maybe somewhat "Romantic" in flavor. Not so suitable for playing along with a fiddle, for example.
If you have never sung or played this English folk song before, get ready for a treat for yourself and your students. A little secret: GIRLS LOVE THIS SONG!
The links to the easy guitar songs:
Thank you for a most excellent site. I am a classical guitar teacher, who endeavors to cover chords and finger style as well.
I especially liked the printable Celtic music, as some of my teenage students enjoy it! Thank you, again.
I was looking for some easy (classical) pieces to play that wouldn't require much prep.
I hit the jackpot here with classical and other, Celtic, lovely tunes! Thanks again!
Dana, I am a 60 year old woman entering my 8th year of piano lessons. I stumbled across your website and was so happy to find your Scales and Chords sheets that are downloadable at no cost to me.
I truly appreciate that you have taken time to post these resources and make them available to others. I know that this information will be invaluable to me as I continue my journey.
I cannot thank you enough for the time you put in to your website in order to help others!
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!
Please note that all comments are moderated, and will not appear until I have approved them. Also, IF YOU ARE ASKING FOR MUSIC THAT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, YOUR REQUEST WILL BE IGNORED. That's pretty much any music written in the last 75 years...
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The Water is Wide: Christmas words!
Thank you for a great site with lots of ideas ... I'll be coming back often! My choir sings an arrangement of "The Water is Wide" with the …
Reminds Me of High School
I sang a song very similar to this one when I was in High School. It was "Across the Wide Missouri" (the version as sung by Ray Price), and you're right, …