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"Aura Lee," Lyrics, Text Format

Each phrase begins and ends with a tonic pitch, the interval Re\La/Re at mid-phrase hints at a minor tonality.




  • Grade: Fourth
  • Origin: USA – Folk Song – cir. 1861
  • Key: F Major
  • Time: 4/4
  • Form: AABC
  • Rhythm: beginners: | ta/ ti ta ta | syncopation,
    | ta ta ta/a | ta ta ta ta | ta/a/a (ta) |
    | ta ta ta/ ti | syncopation
  • Pitches: beginners: So La Ti Do Re Mi Fa
  • Intervals: intermediate: So/Do, Re\La/Re
  • Musical Elements: notes: dotted half, half, dotted quarter, quarter, eighth; rest: quarter; syncopation, the last beat of each phrase is silent
  • Key Words: United States Civil War Ballad, pining love song, USA history, “Love Me Tender,” neath (beneath), willow tree, thee, swallows, rose, spake (spoke), through, thine, azure (bright blue), morn (morning), sparkling, seemed, crimson wing, fitfully, stormy, thy, gloom, depart, sunshine, sweet heart

“Aura Lee”
1. When the blackbird in the spring, neath the willow tree.
Sat and rocked, I heard him sing, singing Aura Lee.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee, maid of golden hair.
Sunshine came along with thee, and swallows in the air.
In thy blush the rose was born, music when you spake,
Through thine azure eye, the morn, sparkling seemed to break.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee, birds of crimson wing,
Never song have sung to me in that night, sweet spring.

Aura Lee! The bird may flee the willow’s golden hair,
Swing through winter fitfully on the stormy air.
Yet if thy blue eyes I see gloom will soon depart;
For to me, sweet Aura Lee is sunshine through the heart .

The popular USA song “Love Me Tender” is based on this tune.
Additional Formats (click to enlarge)
"Aura Lee," Music Format
Click to enlarge: "Aura Lee," Beats Format
Click to Enlarge: "Aura Lee," Rhythm Format
pitch numbers
Click to Enlarge: "Aura Lee," Pitch Number Format
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letter names
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