The Skye Boat Song

Arranged by Josh Layne


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Sheet music available!

$6 Canadian (on sale for $5 through March 2019)


Arranging The Skye Boat Song

 
In 2012 I did a series of Harp Tuesday episodes looking at how to arrange a song. That turned into my Arranging Greensleeves Project and I'm quite proud of the resulting composition.

In 2018 I felt the time had to come to revisit that format and I embarked on another Harp Tuesday series about creating an arrangement - in this case, The Skye Boat Song.

Skye Boat Song has some vivid words and imagery and I tried to capture some of that in this arrangement. I'm very happy with how it turned out. One of my goals was for it to be both easy and satisfying to play and I think I largely succeeded. The difficulty level is roughly advanced-beginner or intermediate. The arrangement is for a 34 string harp in the key of G with no lever changes required.

You can buy a PDF of my arrangement at my online store.

Just as with my Arranging Greensleeves Project I was reminded while arranging Skye Boat Song how the structure of creating an arrangement or composition around an existing tune can be a great spark for creativity. You're not facing a completely blank page and yet there's lot of room to explore and express oneself. I highly recommend it! :) If you're looking to try arranging something yourself, thesession.org is a wonderful source of traditional tunes (melody + chords) - find a tune you like and start experimenting!
The Music Video:


The Harp Tuesday episodes:

Episode one featured a real-time look at me starting work on Skye Boat Song. I have a soft spot for videos like this - even though it's fairly long I think it can be fascinating to get this type of bird's eye look at how someone goes about creating/composing.


Episodes 2 and 3 feature recaps of what I ended up doing and how I choose to match the words from the verses with the music.