Aura Lee

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Aura Lee

Aura Lee (also known as Aura Lea) is an American Civil War song about a maiden. It was written by W. W. Fosdick (words) and George R. Poulton (music).

The Elvis Presley song Love Me Tender (lyric by Ken Darby) is sung to the same tune as Aura Lee.

There is also a marching band version of Aura Lee called Army Blue.

Lyrics

Following is one (relatively recent) version of the song, arranged as a duet:

As the blackbird in the spring, 
On the willow tree, 
Sat and rocked, I heard him sing, 
Sing of Aura Lea 
Aura Lea, Aura Lea, 
Maid of golden hair; 
Sunshine came along with thee, 
And swallows in the air. 

In thy blush the rose was born, 
Music when you spake, 
Through thine azure eye the morn, 
Sparkling seemed to break. 
Aura Lea, Aura Lea, 
Bird of crimson wing, 
Never song have sung to me, 
In that sweet spring. 

Aura Lea! The bird may flee, 
The willows golden hair 
Swing through winter fitfully, 
On the stormy air. 
Yet if thy blue eyes I see, 
Gloom will soon depart; 
For to me, sweet Aura Lea 
Is sunshine through the heart. 

When the mistletoe was green, 
Midst the winter's snows, 
Sunshine in thy face was seen, 
Kissing lips of rose. 
Aura Lea, Aura Lea, 
Take my golden ring; 
Love and light return with thee, 
And swallows with the spring. 
(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Aura Lee is a Civil War era folk song written in 1861 by George R. Poulton and W.W. Fosdick. Elvis Presley added new lyrics to create his number-one hit Love Me Tender in 1956. The song, shown below in the key of C, is played slowly with expression in 4/4 time.

This is the basic chord-melody arrangement. The melody notes on the first and third beat (in 4/4 time) are harmonized using the chords provided in the sheet music or lead sheet. The sheet music was transposed from the key of G to the key of C that was further transposed up an octave.

   C              F           G7               C
E--------------|-----------|--------------|---------|
B-----1--0--1--|--3-----3--|--1--0-----0--|----1----|
G--0-----0-----|--2--2--2--|--0-----2-----|----0----|
D--2-----2-----|-----------|--3-----3-----|----2----|
A--3-----3-----|--3-----3--|--------------|----3----|
E--------------|--1-----1--|--3-----3-----|---------|
 1.             2.          3.             4. 

   C              F           G7               C
E--------------|-----------|--------------|--------||
B-----1--0--1--|--3-----3--|--1--0-----0--|----1---||
G--0-----0-----|--2--2--2--|--0-----2-----|----0---||
D--2-----2-----|-----------|--3-----3-----|----2---||
A--3-----3-----|--3-----3--|--------------|----3---||
E--------------|--1-----1--|--3-----3-----|--------||
 5.             6.          7.             8. 
   
    C                           F               C
E---0--0--0---|---0--0--0---|---0-----------|---0---|
B---1-----1---|---1-----1---|---1--3--1--3--|---1---|
G---0-----0---|---0-----0---|---2-----2-----|---0---|
D---2-----2---|---2-----2---|---3-----3-----|---2---|
A---3-----3---|---3-----3---|---------------|---3---|
E-------------|-------------|---------------|-------|
 9.            10.           11.             12. 

   C              F           G7               C
E--0--0--1--0--|-----------|--------0-----|--------||
B--1-----1-----|--3-----3--|--1--0--0--3--|----1---||
G--0-----0-----|--2--2--2--|--0-----0-----|----0---||
D--2-----2-----|-----------|--3-----3-----|----2---||
A--3-----3-----|--3-----3--|--------------|----3---||
E--------------|--1-----1--|--3-----3-----|--------||
 13.            14.         15.            16.

This chord-melody is an example of a IIm-V substitution.


  
   C              Dm          G7               C
E--------------|-----------|--------------|---------|
B-----1--0--1--|--3-----3--|--1--0-----0--|----1----|
G--0-----0-----|--2--2--2--|--0-----2-----|----0----|
D--2-----2-----|--0-----0--|--3-----3-----|----2----|
A--3-----------|--------0--|--2-----2-----|----3----|
E--------------|-----------|--3-----------|---------|
 1.             2.          3.             4. 
    
   C              Dm          G7               C
E--------------|-----------|--------------|--------||
B-----1--0--1--|--3-----3--|--1--0-----0--|----1---||
G--0-----0-----|--2--2--2--|--0-----2-----|----0---||
D--2-----2-----|--0-----0--|--3-----3-----|----2---||
A--3-----------|--------0--|--2-----2-----|----3---||
E--------------|-----------|--3-----------|--------||
 5.             6.          7.             8.
                   
    C             E7            Am    F         C
E---0--0--0---|---0--0--0---|---0-----------|---0---|
B---1-----1---|---0-----1---|---1--3--1--3--|---1---|
G---0-----0---|---1-----1---|---2-----2-----|---0---|
D---2-----2---|---0-----0---|---2-----3-----|---2---|
A---3---------|---2-----2---|---0-----3-----|---3---|
E---------3---|---0---------|---------1-----|-------|
 9.            10.           11.             12.

   C              Dm             G7             C
E--0--0--1--0--|--------------|--------0-----|-----||
B--1-----1-----|--3-----3--1--|--1--0--3--3--|--1--||
G--0-----0-----|--2--2--2-----|--0-----0-----|--0--||
D--2-----2-----|--0-----0-----|--3-----3-----|--2--||
A--3-----------|--------0-----|--2-----2-----|--3--||
E--------------|--------------|--3-----------|-----||
 13.            14.            15.            16.

This chord-melody is an example of a IIm-V substitution. An alternate harmonization of bars 9 and 10 could be the C-C+-C6-C7 augmented ascending progression.

  

   C    Am7       D7   Ab7b5  G11              C
E--------------|-----------|--------------|---------|
B-----1--0--1--|--3-----3--|--1--0-----0--|----1----|
G--0-----0-----|--2--2--5--|--2-----2-----|----0----|
D--2-----2-----|--0-----4--|--3-----3-----|----2----|
A--3-----0-----|-----------|--------------|----3----|
E--------------|--2-----4--|--3-----3-----|---------|
 1.             2.          3.             4. 
  
   C      Am7     D7  Ab7b5   G11              C
E--------------|-----------|--------------|--------||
B-----1--0--1--|--3-----3--|--1--0-----0--|----1---||
G--0-----0-----|--2--2--5--|--2-----2-----|----0---||
D--2-----2-----|--0-----4--|--3-----3-----|----2---||
A--3-----0-----|-----------|--------------|----3---||
E--------------|--2-----4--|--3-----3-----|--------||
 5.             6.          7.             8. 
   
    C    E7/B    Am7   C7/G   Fmaj7  Fm6 Bb7    C
E---0--0--0---|---0--0--0---|---0-----------|---0---|
B---1-----0---|---1-----1---|---1--3--1--3--|---1---|
G---0-----1---|---0-----3---|---2-----1--1--|---0---|
D---2-----0---|---2-----2---|---2-----1--3--|---2---|
A---3-----2---|---0---------|---------3--1--|---3---|
E-------------|---------3---|---1-----1--1--|---0---|
 9.            10.           11.             12. 

   C    A7#5     D7     Ab7b5    G11  G13 G7    C
E--0--0--1--0--|--------------|--------------|-----||
B--1-----2-----|--3-----3-----|--1--0--5--3--|--1--||
G--0-----0-----|--2--2--5--5--|--2-----4--4--|--0--||
D--2-----2-----|--0-----4-----|--3-----3--3--|--2--||
A--3-----0-----|--------------|-----------5--|--3--||
E--------------|--2-----4-----|--3-----3--3--|-----||
 13.            14.            15.            16.

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