Raggle-Taggle Gypsies, O!

The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies is an exciting song for your singers! It is an old song, with a catchy melody easy to learn.

Something about this piece really grabs students, especially young singers - but piano players too, who sing to themselves at home.

Different arrangements & the lyrics

I've created several versions in several keys... lead sheets, piano/vocal accompaniments, and a shared-hands arrangement for early piano students.  Also find the lyrics near the bottom of the page, if you want to copy them.

Lead sheet for the song Raggle-Taggle Gypsies

There are two lead sheet arrangements in Am; one high, and one low (like the gypsy singers, "One sang high, and the other sang low")!  This is the low version.

The piano/vocal arrangement

Striving for a lighter touch, I've incorporated some broken chords into the accompaniment for singers:

A beginner arrangement

Because this melody ranges far, it is not suitable for beginners, unless the melody can be split between the hands.

The arrangement below is STILL not particularly easy, because it uses a couple of ledger line notes, and eighth notes, which are inherently frightening to some children!

I suggest having them play the chords at first, while YOU play the melody!  Let them warm up to the song and get familiar with the rhythms.  Their "chords" could be as simple as a single bass note... or an open "fifth" - what some teachers call a chord "shell." 

Huh? 

Okay, an open 5th would mean that "Am" = a + e in the left hand.  A "G" chord = g + d.  (See illustrations of this method on the page Mary Had a Little Lamb.)

The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies, an easy beginner piano arrangement
The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies, an easy beginner piano arrangement, page 2

The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies, O!

There were three gypsies come to my door, and downstairs ran this a-lady O!
One sang high, and the other sang low, and the other sang bonny bonny Biscay, O!

Then she pulled off her silk-finished gown, and put on hose of leather, O!
The ragged, ragged rags about our door, She's gone with the raggle taggle gypsies, O!

It was late last night, when my lord came home, enquiring of his lady O!
The servants said on ev'ry hand, She's gone with the raggle taggle gypsies, O!

O, saddle to me my milk-white steed.  Go and fetch me my pony, O! 
That I may ride and seek my bride, who is gone with the raggle taggle gypsies, O!

O, he rode high and he rode low, He rode through woods and copses too,
Until he came to an open field, and there he espied his lady, O!

What makes you leave your house and land?  What makes you leave your money, O?
What makes you leave your new wedded lord, to go with the raggle taggle gypsies, O?

What care I for my house and my land? What care I for my money, O?
What care I for my new wedded lord?  I'm off with the raggle taggle gypsies, O!

Last night you slept on a goosefeather bed, with the sheet turned down so bravely, O!
And tonight you'll sleep in a cold open field, along with the raggle taggle gypsies, O!

What care I for a goosefeather bed with the sheet turned down so bravely, O?For tonight I shall sleep in a cold open field, aloong with the raggle taggle gypsies, O!


The sheet music links


The lead sheets:



Download Raggle-Taggle Gypsies lead sheet in Am, high



Download the vocal lead sheet in Am, low



Download lead sheet in Cm



Download Gypsies lead sheet in Dm



The piano arrangement:



Download piano-vocal arrangement in Cm



Download Raggle-Taggle Gypsies, O for piano and voice in Dm





The link for the beginner shared-hands piano arrangement:



Download the song for beginner piano students with shared-hands melody


More Folk Songs to Sing:


All the Pretty Little Horses - a soft and repetitious lullaby, quite pretty


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


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


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


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!


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








Interested in songs from the Bible for your students or church?  Check out my other website, SingTheBibleStory.com!

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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, 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.