If I Was A Blackbird waltz

Also known as If I Were A Blackbird.

There are 6 recordings of a tune by this name.

If I Was A Blackbird has been added to 71 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

X: 1
T: If I Was A Blackbird
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
z D |:B4 ^AB |D2 G2 A2 |B e3 d2 |A4 Dd |d2 c2 d2 |e2 =c2 A2 |D =c3 B2 |A4 DD |B3 ^A B2 |D2 G2 A2 |B e3 d2 |A4 DD |d3 c d2 |e2 =c2 A2 |D2 B2 A2 |G4 D2 :|
ABC
X: 2
T: If I Was A Blackbird
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Bmin
fe|f2 B3 c|BA F3 E|A3 B cd|B4 Bc|d3 e f2|
a f3 a2|b3 a fe|f4 fe|d3 e f2|a f3 a2|
b3 a fe|f4 fe|f2 B3 c|BA F3 E|A3 B cd|B4||
ABC
X: 3
T: If I Was A Blackbird
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Bmin
fe|"Bm"f2 B3 c|"G"BA F3 E|"A"A3 B cd|"Bm"B4 Bc|"Bm"d3 e f2|
"D"a f3 a2|"G"b3 a fe|"A"f4 fe|"Bm"d3 e f2|"A"a f3 a2|
"G"b3 a fe|"A"f4 fe|"Bm"f2 B3 c|"F#m"BA F3 E|"G"A3 B "A"cd|"Bm"B4||
ABC

Twelve comments

Tune for the song that I know

Here is the tune that I sing for "If I were a blackbird. I’ll put the lyrics here too if you’re interested. The tune for the verse and chorus are the same.

If I were a blackbird

I am a young sailor my story is sad
Though once I was a carefree and brave sailor lad
I courted a lassie by night and by day
But now she has left me and sailed far away

Chorus
If I were a blackbird I’d whistle and sing
And follow the ship that my true love sails in
And in the top rigging I’d there build my nest
And lay down my head on her lilly white breast

If I were a scholar and could handle a pen
One secret love letter my true love I’d send
And tell of my sorrow my grief and my pain
since she’s gone and left me in yon flowery glen

I sailed over ocean my fortune to seek
I missed her caress and her kiss on my cheek
I returned and I told her my love was still warm
But she turned away lightly and great was her scorn

I offered to take her to Donnybrook fair
and buy her fine ribbons to tie up her hair
I offered to marry and stay by her side
but she says in the morning she sails with the tide

My parents they chide me they will not agree
Say married to my false love I never should be
but let them deprive me and do what they will
while there is breath in my body she’s the one I love still

Thanks for the tune, it’s been hard to find.

Not sure of my source

I can’t really remember where I got the tune from. I know when I heard it first I couldn’t stop the chorus and had it going round and round in my head for months.

This is a Silly Wizard song written by Andy Stewart. We used to play it in my band a couple of years ago

Blackbird

Delia Murphy, wife to the Ambassador to Australia, had a big hit with this in the Fifties - coupled with ‘The Spinnig Wheel’, another grand ballad

This song is TRAD, ie a folk-song, collected originally in Dorset, amongst other places. I haven’t tried to play the tune yet to check, but, with slight variations in melody, it was a big hit in GB in the ‘50’s for Ronnie Ronalde, a music-hall entertainer who specialised in whistling as well as singing, and who ended his days running his own hotel on my native Guernsey.

Andy Stewart ? wasn’t he that tartan Mickey-Mouse character, sang "Donald wha’s ya troosers ?" ?

GP

Blackbird

Guernsey Pete,
*Erk* No, this is Andy M. Stewart. Quite a different person, in spite of the similar names. As a commentator in a set of liner notes put it, "Boy, does he need that M!"
Sara

Blackbird

unless I’m turning insane, this is not at all the tune as played by Silly wizard ????

Silly Wizard song

Used to play this in a band about 20 years ago. Here’s how I remember it of the top of my head. The key is optional - that’s just how it fell out on the whistle that was at hand.


X:79
T:If I Were A Blackbird
R:air
M:3/4
L:1/8
K:Bmin
fe|f2 B3 c|BA F3 E|A3 B cd|B4 Bc|d3 e f2|
a f3 a2|b3 a fe|f4 fe|d3 e f2|a f3 a2|
b3 a fe|f4 fe|f2 B3 c|BA F3 E|A3 B cd|B4||

Blue Skies Above variation

I’ve also heard a variation of this, with different lyrics, in Matt and Shannon Heaton’s "Blue Skies Above". The song is sung from the viewpoint of the sailor’s lover. Anyone else heard it?

Blue Skies Above Variation

Yes — the lyrics are slightly different in Matt & Shannon Heaton’s version. She also wrote one of her own based on the "scholar" verse. Their version uses a jig meter versus the air in 3/4. Very well done, I think!

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An accompaniment

X:79
T:If I Were A Blackbird
R:air
M:3/4
L:1/8
K:Bmin
Q:180
fe|"Bm"f2 B3 c|"G"BA F3 E|"A"A3 B cd|"Bm"B4 Bc|"Bm"d3 e f2|
"D"a f3 a2|"G"b3 a fe|"A"f4 fe|"Bm"d3 e f2|"A"a f3 a2|
"G"b3 a fe|"A"f4 fe|"Bm"f2 B3 c|"F#m"BA F3 E|"G"A3 B "A"cd|"Bm"B4||