Loveliest of Sad Songs,
The Grenadier and the Lady
Sad songs such as The Grenadier and the Lady are likely to be among your students' favorite music. Get free vocal sheet music and easy guitar tabs for this traditional English ballad.
Download free vocal sheet music The Grenadier and the Lady
Free vocal sheet music in the key of Gm
And the Bold Grenadier in Fm
The Grenadier and the Lady is a great song for a beginning singer. The range is only an octave, and the melody stays mostly in the middle, with two little climbs to the top. It is easily memorized, as it tells a story. And the phrases are very singable -- no hard parts.
Yet the song has many opportunities for breath control practice. Even the first phrase, "As I was a-walking one morning in May..." offers the temptation to take a little breath after "a-walking." Singers don't need to breathe there...make them get at least to the comma! Generally, the phrases of this song should not be interrupted by a breath. I make an exception down at the bottom line, and allow a breath before the last 5 notes if it seems necessary...and always on the final verse, where a ritard is natural.
The Grenadier and the Lady is one of the most hauntingly beautiful sad songs your students will ever love. Well, you don't really know how sad it is unless you read between the lines of "O soldier, O soldier, will you marry me?'
I first heard this lovely ballad in the movie Far from the Madding Crowd with Julie Christie, Terence Stamp and Alan Bates. It is a fascinating film, set in a sometimes bleak landscape, based on the book by Thomas Hardy.
Listen to the movie excerpt from "Far from the Madding Crowd". This is a stirring performance, especially if you are caught up in the story. Here, Sergeant Troy, a British Grenadier, has just buried the woman he truly loves (it is not his new-married wife), and his infant son whom he never met. You can't help but think, "If only...if only..."
This is a story about choices, careless choices that ruin many lives.
It is a good use for this beautiful English ballad. In verse 2, the soldier asks the lady where she is going, and I almost think in a foreshadowing of heaven, she replies "I am going a-walking by the clear crystal stream..."
But folk songs are not like classical music, so the reason I'm picky about phrasing in this English ballad is because I want to train students to breathe for singing: to take quick breaths and long exhalations, and to observe natural pauses in the sentence structure. Breathing for singing has to become a habit.
Pianists who want to play this song may find the extra melody notes confusing. Of course, the extra voicings are there to accommodate the rhythm changes which occur with the different words in each verse. I have made an easy piano version for students with fingering but no left hand -- just chord symbols.
Easy piano music for The Grenadier and the Lady.
Here is a version for guitarists who love sad songs:
Easy guitar tabs for The Grenadier and the Lady
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.
You can listen to a beautiful classical-style guitar rendition of The Grenadier and the Lady by Denio, who first encountered the song here on my site and was moved to arrange it for guitar. Denio, if you are out there, I still want the PDF for your lovely arrangement if you are willing to share it!
I'm a classical guitarist (who loves melancholic tunes) and I just wanted to thank you for introducing me to the beautiful tune The Grenadier and The Lady (The Bold Grenadier) here on your site. I arranged the tune for solo guitar and you can hear and see my performance on YouTube, here's the link:
Youtube link to Denio's classical guitar arrangement
I hope you enjoy my performance and if you'd like the sheet music for your students I'd gladly send you a PDF. I'd say it's high intermediate to advanced difficulty. I also want to thank you for introducing me to the film Far From The Madding Crowd with Julie Christie which I borrowed from the library and absolutely loved it! The music from the film was composed by the great Richard Rodney Bennett who has written for the classical guitar so that was a nice surprise. Thanks again and keep up all the great music and teaching for everybody here on the internet and in real life.
Denio (GuitarRomancer on YouTube)
My 13-year-old student loves House of the Rising Sun because he thinks it sounds like Star Wars music! Thank you for this amazing resource! Dana: Hi,
Greetings from Australia. I loved your posting on the beautiful Irish tune 'Slane'(Be Thou My Vision). The descriptions of the versions in different keys
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Music has such power to move the heart... do you have a story or a question about this music?