Yesterday’s post concluded with the promise that I was going to try to “pick out” Danny Boy on my violin. I’ve done exactly that with some other songs I’ve wanted to play – Ode to Joy, It Is Well with My Soul, and Oh Holy Night. But in all of those cases it was a real labor of love. I worked them up early on, before I had much of a practice repertoire otherwise. And further, I know all those songs quite a bit better than I know Danny Boy. I quickly realized that in order to succeed in my Danny Boy ambitions I would need music – and simple music at that.
I had never before looked for sheet music online, but I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. There is a lot of music available for free; I assume it’s mostly music that has no current copyright holder. There are also many purveyors, and sheet music doesn’t appear to be very expensive even when you do have to pay for it (five bucks to learn how to play a song forever? Bargain!).
Within two minutes of beginning my search, I was printing out a free beginner arrangement of Danny Boy that seems perfect for where I’m at with my playing. It’s in D Major, and as I worked my way through it my only moment of real struggle came as I realized I needed high 3rd finger on the G string in order to play C#. Theoretically, I knew about that C# already but had just forgotten – Teacher has walked me through the D Major scale before, but I hadn’t really used the note before.
Now I’m not saying I put out the music and instantly played Danny Boy like Fritz Kreisler played it (really, check that out), I’m a beginner, but I had a wonderful time playing, working up the song slowly, over and over again. It’s a great one for working on tone production – slow, evocative, and melodic. It has a lovely high F# that is nice to play softly. I don’t yet have the tune fully memorized, but I’m close.
It was exciting to me to get an idea that I wanted to play a song, to go out and grab music, and then to just play it. I’m interested in what Teacher will say about my adventure. The piece is for fun – it’s not technically teaching me anything new, well, I suppose it’s helping me with that C#. But the whole of my musical pursuit is “for fun,” of course!
I’m proud to be a part of the Danny Boy tradition, and as a bonus I finally have a G-Rated St. Patrick’s Day story to tell.
Thanks for reading.