The Minstrel Boy strathspey

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 20 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with O’Donnell Abu (a few times) and The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls (a few times).

The Minstrel Boy has been added to 8 tune sets.

The Minstrel Boy has been added to 170 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: The Minstrel Boy
R: strathspey
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||

Seven 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’)