Waltzing Matilda
Free Sheet Music & Guitar Tabs


"Waltzing Matilda" is a very popular song in my studio. Guitar players love it, singers love it, piano players love it.

At my recent Spring recital, I had to deny one student the privilege of playing this song, because two others had already spoken for it! (A fiddle and guitar duo, and a pianist who had made an arrangement with broken chords.)

This famous Australian song has a beautiful melody, but odd (to non-natives) lyrics. ?

Jumbuck?  Billabong?  What in the world!


Waltzing Matilda sheet music lead sheet, key of D

And here is a closeup of that page:

Closeup view of Waltzing Matilda lead sheet in D

If playing this song on the piano, the smoothest fingering I have found for the right hand in Waltzing Matilda for beginners is to start with finger five, the pinky finger, OR FINGER THREE, and cross over.  I'm sure your student will make that decision!

But the really tricky part:

At measure 3, thumb goes on the first note (in the close-up above, that is an "A"). Then, lift the thumb off and place it on the very next note, 4 steps higher. (That would take place on the word "Un-der".)

This isn't a standard kind of fingering, but it works for a young player. The pedal can smooth it out!

The rest of the fingering is pretty intuitive, but if you wish for much greater detail on the piano fingering, check out this page with several beginner versions of this song.

After students have conquered the melody -- sometimes it will be at the same lesson -- we start the chords.

For pianists, Weeks 1 and 2 will likely be just simple open chords.

For beginning guitar players, they will be happiest - initially - with simple strumming.

Like The Water is Wide, Waltzing Matilda uses most of the chords in its "chord family group". 

It is therefore not just a really beautiful song, but a good chord training song, both for pianists and for guitar players.  What chords go together?

Eventually, you want the answer to this question to be second nature for your musical students.

So far, I have resisted writing out left hand chords for pianists, because part of what I want my piano players to learn is how to take chord symbols in a Fake book or lead sheet, and make up their own arrangements.

This song lends itself to a walking bass, and pretty right hand harmony such as thirds. 

Waltzing Matilda sheet music lead sheet

Below is the same melody, but with free guitar tabs:

Waltzing Matilda guitar tabs


Waltzing Matilda guitar tablature

After students have the rhythm and chord changes well in hand, it is time to make the accompaniment more interesting!

For guitar, try different fingerpicking patterns, such as Thumb, index, middle, ring, with an alternating thumb (use primary and secondary strings for the bass of the chord), or get a little fancier with Thumb, index, middle & ring together, back to index. Repeat.

For piano, try different kinds of broken chords, and even some right-hand harmony.

This is a good opportunity to discuss and try chord inversions and slash chords. 

What is a slash chord? Here is a C slash chord: C/G, which means a C chord with a G note in the bass instead of C.  See the second line of music below.

Here is an example of what you and your student could try: 

Waltzing Matilda chords

I would treat this left hand part as a duet at first, because the chord inversions may not be intuitive for your piano students unless they have mastered their scales and chords with inversions

Help them to SEE those slash chords, and try to figure out where the ROOT of the chord is.  (Hint: it is always up at the top of the interval of a 4th.)

I know your students -- vocal, piano, and guitar -- will love this free popular sheet music!





The lead sheet links:


Download Waltzing Matilda lead sheet in Key of C 


Download it in the key of D 



The guitar tab links:


Download free guitar tabs in the key of C 


Download free guitar tablature in the key of D 





More 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 with a warning for those who wish 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 just starting out.  Many basics of singing can be taught with this easy song!

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 & reaches, this Irish song about the love for one's country is very moving and beautiful.  A great song for BOYS.

Molly Bawn - So sad, but so IRRESISTIBLE.  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








The Adventures of Tonsta, Volume 1, is a book about a young boy travelling over mountains and fjords from village to village, encountering trolls and helping folk in distress.

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





Recent Articles

  1. Free Printable Piano Sheet Music Golden Wedding Solo, Duet & Trio!

    Free printable piano sheet music for solo or keyboard/ piano class Golden Wedding with a lovely minor melody. EASY duet & trio; harder solo!

    Read More

  2. Happy Birthday Free Sheet Music for Guitar, Piano, & Lead Instruments

    Happy Birthday, with several NEW arrangements for piano solo & duet, and guitar tabs, some with a few lettered notes to make it easy for beginners.

    Read More

  3. Ode to Joy Sheet Music for Piano, Easy Beginner to Advanced

    Ode to Joy, now with advanced "BIG"-sounding arrangements, piano duets, "Joyful, joyful" lyrics, and multiple beginner and late beginner arrangements.

    Read More

  4. Just As I Am Without One Plea Easy Piano Arrangement

    Just As I Am, without one plea, is an old beloved hymn. Check out two very easy arrangements for your piano students.

    Read More

  5. Education Music Resources - My Favorites! A Music Teacher's View

    Education music resources: here is a list of my favorite materials, whether for piano, voice, guitar or violin student.

    Read More

  6. Viva la Musica Song - a Round in Three Parts

    Viva la musica is a very old round for singing. Find it here for treble and bass voices and for guitar.

    Read More

  7. Zum Gali Gali Lyrics and Sheet Music

    Zum Gali Gali lyrics and easy sheet music for piano, voice, guitar, and lead instruments.

    Read More

  8. Classical Guitar Sheet Music "Allegro" by Giuliani

    Classical guitar sheet music from "Le Papillon" (The Butterfly) by Giuliani, now with guitar tablature - this classical piece is very EASY!

    Read More




Folk songs for beginners music book

Doris:
Thank you so much for this website, I have found just about everything that I need in music.

Folk Songs for Solos Singers music book

Becky:
A thousand thanks for your beginning piano and guitar songs. I've already printed several for my children, including the Pretty Little Horses TAB and Carol of the Bells for piano. What a wonderful resource!

Songs 'Round the Campfire music book

Anna Lee:
What a fabulous website! I've been a keen amateur piano player since I first learnt 56 years ago at the age of 8. I now have a three year old granddaughter and am hoping fervently that she'll want to learn - at which point I'll teach her. This is just the kind of resource I'll need to make it comprehensible. Thank you very much.

Vocal duets music book Treasures for Two







Sign up for "Take Note!" to see what's new every month.





Search Music-for-Music-Teachers:



Comments

Have your say... Leave me a comment in the box below.