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"Arkansas Traveler," Lyrics, Text Format

Advanced syncopation, extended range, and two
ascending tonic arpeggios sung to a fast pace.



  • Grade: Fifth
  • Origin: USA – music: Colonel Sanford C. ‘Sandy’ Faulkner – words: Arkansas State Committee*
  • Key: F Major
  • Time: 2/4
  • Form: ABCD, A,B, & D include a portions of previous phrases
  • Rhythm: advanced: | ti ri ti ri ti ti | ti ti ti ti |
    | ti ti ti ti ri | ti ri ti ri ti ti ri | ti ri ti ti ri ti | syncopation, | ti ti ri ti ti ri | syncopation,
    | ti ti ri ti ti | syncopation
  • Pitches: intermediate: So La Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do – extended range
  • Intervals: intermediate: So/Do/Mi ascending tonic arpeggio (I, F) Do\La (m3), So/Do/So/Do8 ascending tonic arpeggio omitting the 3rd (Mi) – intervals: P4, P5, P4; Do8\So (P4), Fa\Re (m3), Re\So (P5), Re/So (P5)
  • Musical Elements: notes: eighth, sixteenth; pickup beat, syncopation, two tonic arpeggios, melodic rhythms
  • Key Words: USA geography: Arkansas, state song, upon, cabin door, fiddled, played by ear, sawed, popular air, roof tree, leaked, waterfall, bother, traveler, a-practicing, a-float, feet, seem to fret, stranger, seems, mend, rainy day, replied, quite, true, patch, fair and bright, good and tight, a-playing, reel, tapped, ground, leathery heel, pain, leaks; contractions: tho’ (though), didn’t (did not), you’d (you would), couldn’t (could not), doesn’t (does not)
  • Recorder: advanced: introducing B flat, improving finger dexterity

*The state song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963, the state historical song since 1987. Begins with the same melody as “Baby Bumblebee.”


“Arkansas Traveler”

Oh, once upon a time in Arkansas,
An old man sat in his little cabin door,
And fiddled at a time that he liked to hear,
A jolly old tune that he played by ear,
It was raining hard, but the fiddler didn’t care,
He sawed away at the popular air,
Tho’ his roof tree leaked like a waterfall,
That didn’t seem to bother the man at all.
A traveler was riding by that day,
And stopped to hear him a-practicing away;
The cabin was a-float and his feet were wet,
But still the old man didn’t seem to fret.
So the stranger said “Now the way it seems to me,
You’d better mend your roof,” said he.
But the old man said as he played away,
“I couldn’t mend it now, it’s a rainy day.”
3. The traveler replied, “That’s all quite true,
But this, I think, is the thing to do;
Get busy on a day that is fair and bright,
Then patch the old roof till it’s good and tight.”
But the old man kept on a-playing at his reel,
And tapped the ground with his leathery heel.
“Get along,” said he, “for you give me a pain;
My cabin never leaks when it doesn’t rain.”
Additional Formats (click to enlarge)
"Arkansas Traveler," Music Format
Click to enlarge: "Arkansas Traveler," Beats Format
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pitch numbers
Click to Enlarge: "Arkansas Traveler," Pitch Number Format
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