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.
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!
Start with just the chords
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."
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.)
All the lyrics to the gypsies song:
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:
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All the Pretty Little Horses - a soft and repetitious lullaby, quite pretty
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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
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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
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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!
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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
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The Wellerman - a sea chanty that is very singable, and very fun!
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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.
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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.