The Minstrel Boy march

Also known as March Of The Minstrel Boy, The Minstrel Boy (To The War Has Gone), The Minstrel Boy To The War Has Gone.

There are 26 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

The Minstrel Boy appears in 2 other tune collections.

The Minstrel Boy has been added to 11 tune sets.

The Minstrel Boy has been added to 195 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Minstrel Boy
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
D| G3 A cBAG| B2 d2 g2 fg| e2 d2 Bc dB| A4 G2 z D|
G3 A cBAG| B2 d2 g2 fg| e2 d2 Bc dB| A4 G2 z G|
g2 f2 e2 fg| f2 e2 d2 z e| e2 B2 B2 e2| e2 f2 g2 z g|
G3 A cBAG|B2 d2 g2 fg| e2 d2 Bc dB| A4 G2 z2||
X: 2
T: The Minstrel Boy
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
D|: G3 A cBAG| B2 d2 g2 fg| e2 d2 BcdB| A4 G2 z D|
G3 A cBAG| B2 d2 g2 fg| e2 d2 BcdB| A4 G2 z G||
|:g2 f2 e2 fg| f2 e2 d3d| e2 eB B2 d2| edef g2 z g|
G3 A cBAG|B2 d2 g2 fg| e2 d2 BcdB| A4 G2 z2||
# Added by JACKB .

Nine comments


The minstrel boy to the war has gone,
In the ranks of death you’ll find him;
His father’s sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;
"Land of Song!" cried the warrior bard,
"Tho’ all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy right shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman’s chain
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he lov’d ne’er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said "No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and brav’ry!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery!

Note: there is a third verse that was tacked on during the American civil war, but since I don’t like it much, I haven’t included it.

This is the song sung by Danny Dravot (Sean Connery) and Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine) as they fall from the bridge in the magnificent 1975 film version of Rudyard Kipling’s story "The Man Who Would Be King" If you have not seen it, you should — and read the story also

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Minstrel Boy

This is normally played (and sung) as a march.
Its another Victorian creation but again I am not sure of the author.

It appears in all those wonderful pre-war collections of songs and piano pieces with titles like "Britain Sings".
Great stuff.

Again if anyone knows the composer it would be great.
Angels of the North

The composer is Thomas Moore, at least according to the collection I have the tune in. Of course, a number of his pieces were older tunes to which he simply fit lyrics, so the tune itself may predate him.

The minstrel boy

the lyrics were set to an ancient air "The Moreen"

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Chord structure for the Mintrel Boy

I am having a bit of a problem with my fellow band members over the correct chords for the tune. Is this the correct site to ask if anyone could post for me the correct chords?


Have just noticed that the bit that goes with the words "though all the world betrays thee" given here as
z e| e2 B2 B2 e2| e2 f2 g2 z
is given as
z d| e3 B B2 e2|d3 f g2 ….
in a 19 century score (
and the leaflet that used to come with Generation whistles has
… ^d| e3 B B2 e2|^d3 f g2 ….
which is what we sung at school (so probably ‘messed about with’)

Re: The Minstrel Boy

Still played by the flute bands every year at Border Common Ridings - Selkirk, Hawick and Langholm all play it, I think.

Re: The Minstrel Boy

And those Civil War period lyrics… sung by both sides, as it was generic to the condition of war itself. Wonderful tune. Often still sung with the rest, honoring soldiers and others defending hearth and home.

The Minstrel Boy will return we pray
When we hear the news we all will cheer it,
The minstrel boy will return one day,
Torn perhaps in body, not in spirit.
Then may he play on his harp in peace,
In a world such as heaven intended,
For all the bitterness of man must cease,
And ev’ry battle must be ended.