Once I Had a Sweetheart, an Appalachian folk song with piano accompaniment in three keys. This lovely and wistful tune won my heart the very first time I heard it... chances are your beginning voice students will love it too!
This beautiful and singable Appalachian song has been sung by a number of folk artists, including Joan Baez. I think the soundtrack on this video is her voice in concert, singing in the key of B:
Because this free vocal sheet music is a folk tune, you will find slightly different versions of the lyrics, some with more verses than others.
And not surprisingly, there is also a different melody for these words, which has been arranged for band (a very pretty tune in 4/4 time - you can listen to the band version by hunting on this page at Sheetmusicplus for the "Listen" button). I like the melody I have arranged here the best:
I have to admit that even after finishing these two arrangements of the folk song, I still keep playing with the chords. I've also decided that I prefer a slightly different rhythm at measure 1 of the last line - a dotted quarter note followed by an eighth, as performed by Marianne Faithfull (find her on Youtube).
I guess that's why it's hard to pin down the "authentic" version of any folk song - people keep tweaking it! You will find a number of singers performing this song on Youtube - recommend to your students that they choose a favorite version.
It's a good idea for your beginning singers to listen to how other singers have performed a song. Imitation of other singers' styles is an excellent way to learn how to sing better.
Do you have a story or even a question about this vocal piece? Share 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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