The Parting Glass
An Irish Song

The Parting Glass is a tender song, an Irish song that speaks of memory, of friends, and of sorrow at going away.

It is also beautiful, and you and your students will enjoy playing and singing it.



Here is a riveting performance of The Parting Glass by a group called The Wailin' Jennys: 

Irish song The Parting Glass


Download The Parting Glass in the key of Bm

Download free Irish sheet music in the key of Cm

Download Irish traditional song in DmDownload Irish traditional song in Dm

Download free vocal sheet music in Em

Because the versions of this Irish song vary so greatly, it was hard for me to make sense of it at first, and to really pin down the heart of the melody.

After multiple listenings to a number of different performers, I settled on this short version of The Wailin' Jennys as the standard that I would use for my lead sheets.  Have a listen to other recordings of The Parting Glass and see what you think. 

NEWS FLASH!!! The Wailin' Jennys have made a sheet music arrangement of their excellent trio available, for sale, on this page: 

http://www.thewailinjennys.com/store/sheet-music/parting-glass-sheet-music/

This is an a capella arrangement.  I have used it in a couple of recitals so far - students and audiences LOVE IT.


Sinead O'Connor's rendition is also short:


Here is a very interesting arrangement by The Gentlemen of the College of William and Mary.  It is long and complicated, with changes to the tune:



I read, but do not know for a certainty, that the arrangement used by The Gentlemen of the College is the same one that can be found in the Celtic Woman songbook "Believe."  The song "The Parting Glass" is certainly in that book, but I haven't had the opportunity to see the arrangement.

Folk & Traditional Songs

Ae Fond Kiss - not strictly a folk melody, but it is old - and very lovely!

Ash Grove - an elegant melody that sounds more classical than folk, the lyrics are old-fashioned and poignant

Cat Came Back (for early singers) - a fun and silly song that can be pared down to JUST 5 NOTES for kids who have trouble matching pitch, there is much repetition in the melody (good for finding pitches)

Colorado Trail - a genuine cowboy song, just one verse, surprisingly lovely

Down by the Salley Gardens - this pretty song from England is a setting for a poem by William Butler Yeats about trying to hurry love

Erie Canal - a vigorous minor melody that kids like, with lots of repeating phrases

Green Bushes - a fast, light, pretty melody that speaks of false-hearted love, and feels very "English" in both lyrics and chord progressions

Grenadier and the Lady - Number One with me!  So beautiful, somewhat sad. Lots of opportunities for expressive singing.

Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier - Lovely.  Important for breath control and learning to mold a phrase.

Lavender's Blue, a pretty song that is VERY simple to sing!  Perfect for young girls.

Loch Lomond, the most famous song of all from Scotland.  Still beautiful.

Mari's Wedding - lots of energy in this Scottish tune, which sounds great with guitar and fiddle backup

The Minstrel Boy - though rather difficult with its long phrases, this Irish song about the love for one's country is very moving and beautiful

Molly Bawn - So sad, but so IRRESISTABLE.  Lovely and evocative, and requiring good air support, it is educational as well as being satisfying to the musical soul.

Muss i denn or Abschied (Wooden Heart) - from Germany by way of Elvis, an adorable folk tune!

Once I Had a Sweetheart - another sad, pretty, and image-arousing song, once sung by Joan Baez

Parting Glass - There are many versions of this GREAT Irish melody.  Download mine free, then check out others!

Scarborough Fair - an old favorite from England, still lovely

She Moved Through the Fair - a strange, shifting melody, with almost creepy lyrics that will haunt you

Shenandoah - So pretty, and genuinely American.  Long phrases, good breath control practice.

Skye Boat Song - a singable old Scottish song with a great tune about the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie after the Battle of Culloden

Spanish Ladies - a minor key sea chanty that swings energetically along - boys like singing it too!

The Spanish Lady - Upbeat and energetic, this 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!

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.




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