Once I Had a Sweetheart
Free Vocal Sheet Music
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:
Please scroll down the page for the download links.
Here is a different set of chords with the same melody, in three keys:
Please scroll down the page for the download links.
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).
Why folk songs have variations
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.
The links for the first arrangement:
Download folk song "Once I Had a Sweetheart", key of A
Download Appalachian folk song in Bb
Download folk song in key of C
The links for the second arrangement:
Download free vocal sheet music "Once I Had a Sweetheart", key of A
Download free vocal music in the key of B
Download free sheet music in the key of C
More Folk Songs to Sing:
Ae Fond Kiss - a love song about saying goodbye, from Scotland
All the Pretty Little Horses - a soft and repetitious lullaby, quite pretty
Ash Grove - a famous and lovely song from Wales
Auld Lang Syne - the New Year's Eve song!
Colorado Trail Song - an American tune written by a real cowboy
Come By the Hills - another popular Irish melody
Down By the Salley Gardens - a famous and pretty song, very sweet
Green Bushes - a brisk little song that is pretty while being good for breath control training
Grenadier and the Lady - my favorite folk song of all. Find out why
I Gave My Love a Cherry - the "Riddle Song" is very pretty
Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier - very beautiful, very moving, and a chance for your young singer to learn how to let her voice soar
Keegan's Waltz - this is a traditional Gaelic tune, but the lyrics are very new, supplied by a visitor to this site!
Lavender's Blue - this simple song is not only satisfying for beginning pianists, but also young singers who need to focus on basics. With a lovely piano accompaniment.
Loch Lomond - the famous and sad song about never meeting again
Mari's Wedding - a singable tune with bouncy chords that is fun to play or sing
Minstrel Boy - a lovely and patriotic song about a warrior-poet
Molly Bawn - a sad story of a young hunter who thought he was shooting at a swan
Morning Has Broken - a beautiful melody made famous again by Cat Stevens
Once I Had a Sweetheart - "but now I have none!" Very pretty, and little-known.
Parting Glass - a well-known Irish tune which my singers always love
Raggle-Taggle Gypsies - a story about a young bride who abandons her wealthy new husband to go off with the gypsies. A catchy melody!
Riddle Song - the pretty song that speaks of giving a cherry without a stone, a chicken without a bone, a baby with no crying.
Scarborough Fair - an old and famous tune of lost love
She Moved Through the Fair - this sounds happy, but it is actually a bit of a love story, and a bit of a ghost story!
Shenandoah - a famous and lovely American tune with ambiguous lyrics
Skye Boat Song - a pretty song from Scotland about the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie over the sea
Spanish Ladies - a minor key sea chanty that swings energetically along - BOYS like singing it too!
The Spanish Lady - Upbeat and energetic, this Irish song is fun to perform with a group
Star of the County Down - LOTS of fun to sing and play! An excellent ensemble piece
Waltzing Matilda - an unusually pretty melody from Australia; you know this one! Very popular with kids
The Water is Wide - a very pretty song about disappointed love. You might have sung this one in high school!
The Wellerman - a sea chanty that is very singable, and very fun!
White, Orange and Green - though not widely known, this charming melody about fighting for the right to carry the flag of Ireland has stirring lyrics and soaring phrases. A favorite of my vocal & guitar students. I never get tired of this song.
I Love You, Lord sheet music - a beautiful arrangement for advancing piano students, plus a guitar tabs sheet that is very easy. In the keys of F and G.
All My Trials & Hold On - whether these are gospel or spiritual songs, they are bluesy in feeling, & satisfying to play! See what your students think.
This free piano sheet music PDF for beginners is really a fiddle tune! But don't tell your piano players, as it makes a rambunctious, easy duet! Now with Part 2.
Best piano books - or at least, the ones I find myself using over and over again in my music studio! Here are my favorites.
Free hymn sheet music to touch hearts, "Softly and Tenderly" is about going home -- the final home. Easy & advanced piano versions, lead sheet & guitar tabs.
Songs Old & Songs New
All the first-year material I give my beginner students.
Piano keyboard sheets, scales, chords, note-reading exercises, and over 256 pages of music!
Queen Esther in the Bible
This beautiful song book for piano & voice "Esther, For Such a Time as This", available as a digital download, tells the riveting story of the time when Jews in ancient Persia faced a foe named Haman, and how a brave young queen risked her life to save her people.
A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theater production, or a class of children!
This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.
Just the Black Keys
This book is available as a digital download from this site. Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.
It is also available from Amazon as a paperback!
This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.
And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!" They will be spending more time at the piano.
The Adventures of Tonsta
A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls.
The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.
With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.
Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!
Available at Amazon
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About the Author
Hi, I'm Dana! (Say that like "Anna".) I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.
Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have 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.