Danny Boy

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Danny Boy is a love song from a woman to a man, providing one of many lyrics set to the tune of the Londonderry Air. It was written in 1910 by Frederick Weatherly, an English lawyer, and set to the tune in 1913. The first recording was made by Ernestine Schumann-Heink in 1915. Weatherly gave the song to Elsie Griffin, who made it one of the most popular in the new century. Weatherly later suggested in 1928 that the second verse would provide a fitting requiem for the actress Ellen Terry.

The song is widely considered an Irish anthem, and the tune is used as the anthem of Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games, even though the song's writer was not Irish, and the song was and is more popular outside Ireland than within. It is none-the-less, widely considered by Irish Canadians/Americans, to be their unofficial signature tune. It is very frequently included in the organ presentation at Irish-American funerals. Though the song is supposed to be a message from a woman to a man, the song is actually sung by men as much as, or possibly more often than, women. It has also been interpreted by some listeners that the song is a message from a parent to a son, with the singer saddened that the son has gone to war, or left Ireland forever in the Irish diaspora.

The lyrics:

Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling 
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side 
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling 
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide 
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow 
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow 
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow 
Danny Boy, oh Danny Boy, I love you so 

And when ye come, and all the flowers are dying 
And I am dead, as dead I well may be 
Ye'll come and find the place where I am lying 
And kneel and say an Ave there for me 
And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me 
And all my grave shall warmer, sweeter be 
For you shall bend and tell me that you love me 
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me 
(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The 32-bar Danny Boy is an old Irish air. A chord-melody arrangement of this song is presented below in the key of C. The song is played slowly in 4/4 time. I used the chord progression from the "Fake Book of the World's Favorite Songs (HL)."

              C        C7          F        Dm7 G7 
E---------||--0-----|--0-5-3-0--|---------|-----0-1--|
B--0-1-3--||--1--3--|--1---1----|--3-1----|--1--0----|
G--0-2-4--||--0-----|--3---3----|--2---2--|--2--0----|
D---------||--2-----|--2---2----|------3--|--0--3----|
A---------||--3-----|--3--------|--3---3--|-----2----|
E---------||--------|-----------|--1---1--|-----3----|
            1.       2.          3.        4.

     C           Am              Dm       G7
E----3--5----|---3--0----0---|-------|---------------|
B----1-------|---1-----1-----|---3---|----0--1--3----|
G----0-------|---2-----2-----|---2---|----0----------|
D----2-------|---2-----2-----|---3---|----3----------|
A----3-------|---0-----------|-------|----2----------|
E------------|---------------|-------|----3----------|
 5.           6.              7.      8.

    C          C7             F
E---0------|---0-5--3-0---|------------|-------------|
B---1--3---|---1----1-----|---3-1------|---0--1--3---|
G---0------|---3----3-----|---2----2---|---2---------|
D---2------|---2----2-----|--------3---|---3---------|
A---3------|---3----------|---3----3---|---3---------|
E----------|--------------|---1----1---|---1---------|
 9.         10.            11.          12.

    C          Dm   G7          C            Co  G7
E---0--1---|---0-----------|---------|---3---5---7---|
B---1------|---1-3--1--3---|----1----|---1---4---6---|
G---0------|---2----2------|----0----|---0---5---7---|
D---2------|---0----3------|----2----|---2---4---5---|
A---3------|---------------|----3----|---------------|
E----------|--------3------|---------|---------------|
 13.        14.             15.       16.

    C          Em             C               Co G7
E---8--8---|---7-5--3-0---|---3-0------|---3--5--7---|
B---5------|---5----0-----|---1----1---|---1--4--6---|
G---5------|---7----0-----|---0----0---|---0--5--7---|
D---5------|---5----2-----|---2----2---|---2--4--5---|
A----------|--------------|---3----3---|-------------|
E----------|--------------|------------|-------------|
 17.        18.            19.          20.

    C          Em    F           Dm        G7 
E---8--7---|---7--5--3--0---|----------|---3--3--3---|
B---5------|---6-----0------|----3-----|---0---------|
G---5------|---5-----0------|----2-----|---0---------|
D---7------|---7-----2------|----3-----|---3---------|
A----------|----------------|----------|---2---------|
E----------|----------------|----------|---3---------|
 21.        22.              23.        24.

     C           F            C   Am Am/G Am/F# Fm
E---12--10--|---10-8-5-8--|---3-0----|---------------|
B----8------|---10---6----|---0---1--|--1--0----1-3--|
G----9------|---10---5----|---1---2--|--2--2----1----|
D----8------|---10---7----|---2---2--|--2--2----3----|
A-----------|-------------|-------0--|----------3----|
E-----------|-------------|----------|--3--2----1----|
 25.         26.           27.        28.

    C/E   Am         Dm7   G7         C
E---0--5--3--0---|----------------|-------|---------||
B---1-----1------|---3--1-----0---|---1---|---(1)---||
G---0-----2------|---2-----2------|---0---|---(0)---||
D---2-----2------|---3-----3------|---2---|---(2)---||
A---3-----0------|---3------------|---3---|---(3)---||
E---0------------|---------3------|-------|---------||
 29.              30.              31.     32.
Below is an example of a Backcycled substitution for the first eight bars of this song.

   G7       CM9 Bm7b5  Em7 Am7     Dm7/F     G7  
E---------||--0-----|--0-5-3-0--|---------|-----0-1--|
B--0-1-3--||--3--3--|--0---1----|--3-1----|--1-------|
G--2-2-0--||--4--2--|--0---0----|--2---2--|--2-------|
D--3-3-3--||--2--3--|--0---2----|--0------|--3-------|
A------2--||--3--2--|--2---0----|---------|----------|
E--3-3-3--||--------|--0--------|--1------|--3-------|
            1.       2.          3.        4.

    CM7 Bm7b5    Em7   Am7       D7     G7
E----3--5----|---3--0----0---|-------|---------------|
B----0--3----|---3-----1-----|---3---|--3--0--1--3---|
G----0--4----|---0-----0-----|---5---|--0-----2------|
D----2--3----|---0-----2-----|---4---|--3-----3------|
A----3-------|---2-----0-----|---5---|--2------------|
E------------|---0-----------|-------|--3-----3------|
 5.           6.              7.      8.
Here is another approach to the first eight bars. I used the chord progression from the AccentMusic.com.

  G Am G/B    C G/B    C   C7/E    F6       Dm7 Dm7b5 
E---------||--0-----|--0-5-3-0--|---------|-----0-1--|
B--0-1-3--||--1--3--|--1---1----|--3-1----|--1--1----|
G--0-2-0--||--0--0--|--0---3----|--2---2--|--2--1----|
D--0-2-0--||--2--0--|--2---2----|------3--|--0--0----|
A----0-2--||--3--2--|--3--------|--3---3--|----------|
E--3------||--------|-----------|--1---1--|----------|
            1.       2.          3.        4.

     C/E         Am7   Am7/F#    Fm6   G7b9 G11 G7
E----3--5----|---3--0----0---|-------|---------------|
B----1-------|---1-----1-----|---3---|----0--1--3----|
G----0-------|---0-----2-----|---1---|----1--2--0----|
D----2-------|---2-----2-----|---1---|----3--3--3----|
A----3-------|---0-----------|---3---|----------2----|
E----0-------|---------2-----|---1---|----3--3--3----|
 5.           6.              7.      8.
The next approach to the first eight bars uses the chord progression from the "New Techniques for Chord Melody Guitar (CPP)."

              CM7      C7  C9    FM7/6 FM7     
E---------||--0-----|--0-5-3-0--|---------|-----0-1--|
B--0-1-3--||--0--3--|--1---3----|--3-1----|--1-------|
G---------||--0-----|--3---3----|--2---2--|--2-------|
D---------||--2-----|--2---2----|--2---2--|--2-------|
A---------||--3-----|--3---3----|---------|----------|
E---------||--------|-----------|--1---1--|--1-------|
            1.       2.          3.        4.

     C6/9        Am7            Dm7      G7
E----3--5----|---3--0----0---|-------|---------------|
B----3-------|---1-----1-----|---3---|----0--1--3----|
G----2-------|---0-----------|---5---|----0----------|
D----2-------|---2-----------|---3---|----3----------|
A----3-------|---0-----------|---5---|----2----------|
E------------|---------------|-------|----3----------|
 5.           6.              7.      8.
The last approach to the first eight bars uses the chord progression from the AcousticFingerstyle.com.

     G11      CM9     Gm7  Gm7/C   F6    Fm7 Bb+11    
E---------||--0-----|----5-3----|---------|-----0-1--|
B--0-1-3--||--3--3--|--5---3-5--|--3-1----|--1--1----|
G----2----||--4-----|--3---3----|--2---2--|--1--1----|
D----3----||--2-----|--3---3----|------3--|--1-------|
A---------||--3-----|--5---3----|--3---3--|--3--1----|
E----3----||--------|--3--------|--1---1--|--1-------|
            1.       2.          3.        4.

     Em7         Am7         Am11 Ab7b5 G7    G11
E----3--5----|---3--0----0---|-------|---------------|
B----3-------|---1-----1-----|--3-3--|--3--0--1--3---|
G----0-------|---0-----------|--5-5--|--0-----2------|
D----0-------|---2-----------|--5-4--|--3-----3------|
A----2-------|---0-----------|-------|--2------------|
E----0-------|---------------|--5-4--|--3-----3------|
 5.           6.              7.      8.

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