A Canadian Folk Song

The tune "Red River Valley," like so many other traditional folk songs, has heard the same tune applied to all kinds of lyrics.

Despite ambiguous origins, this song was very well known throughout the Candanian provinces in the 1800s. The lyrics (courtesy of Wikipedia) go like this:

  • From this valley they say you are going.
  • We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile,
  • For they say you are taking the sunshine
  • That has brightened our pathway a while.

  • So come sit by my side if you love me.
  • Do not hasten to bid me adieu.
  • Just remember the Red River Valley,
  • And the one that has loved you so true.

For this song, I suggest you play it a bit sloppier than usual. You can get more of a rustic feel to the tune by allowing a bit more air to flow into the holes next to the note that you're playing. It isn't necesary to play it clean all the time. But more than anything, play how you like to hear it.

Red River Valley (mp3)

The example is played on a Lee Oskar Major Diatonic in the key of C.


Red River Valley

Part 1

3B 4B 4D 5B 5B 5B 5B 4D 5B 4D 4B 3B 3B 4B 4D 5B 6B 6D 5B 4D

Part 2

3B 4B 4D 5B 5B 4D 4B 4D 4B 6B 5D 5B 4B 3B 4B 4D 5B 4D 4B 4B


My notes for this song are much lower than the usual notation for the tune. To me, I feel like playing on the lower end of the scale allows you more flexibility when adding in other techniques later. High notes don't respond to these techniques as easily.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the song history and lyrics)