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"Down by the Bay" Lyrics, Text Format

One for the girls: four note ascending submediant arpeggio, syncopation, and an imperfect ending on the sixth, La.



  • Grade: Fifth
  • Origin: USA – Folk Song American Revolutionary War
    circa. 1875-1883
  • Key: C Major 
  • Time: 4/4
  • Form: through composed
  • Rhythm: beginners: | ta ta ta ta | ti ti ta ta/a |
    | ta/ ti ta/ ti | syncopation, | ta ta ta/ ti | syncopation, | ta ta ta ti ti | ti ti ta ta ti ti |
    | ta/a ta/a |
  • Pitches: intermediate: Do Re Mi So La Ti Do
  • Intervals: intermediate: La\Mi (P4), Mi/So\Mi/So (m3), So\Do (P4), Do/Mi/La/Do8 ascending tonic arpeggio (vi, Am), Ti\So (M3)
  • Musical Elements: notes: half, dotted quarter, quarter, eighth; fermata, imperfect ending: melody ends on the sixth (La) which is in keeping with the subject (imperfect endings do not end on the tonic, (1, Do), ascending submediant arpeggio, syncopation 
  • Key Words: USA history, American Revolutionary War; world geography: tune has Irish (Ireland) origins; girlfriend’s lament, leaving for war, separated by war, Buttermilk Hill, blame, cry my fill, tear, mill, woe, soldier, rod and reel, spinning wheel, sword of steel, dye, dress, red, through, streets, beg, bread, lad, fled; contraction: I’ll (I will); abbreviation: ev’ry (every)
  • Recorder: intermediate: Excellent sixth (6th) tune following the Beginning Recorder Songs.


“Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier”

also known as
“Buttermilk Hill”

There I sat on Buttermilk Hill.
Who could blame me, cry my fill?
And ev’ry tear would turn a mill;
Johnny has gone for a soldier.
Me, oh my, I loved him so:
Broke my heart to see him go,
And only time will heal my woe;
Johnny has gone for a soldier.
3. I’ll sell my rod, I’ll sell my reel,
Likewise I’ll sell my spinning wheel,
And buy my love a sword of steel,
Johnny has gone for a soldier.
4. I’ll dye my dress, I’ll dye it red,
And through the streets I’ll beg for bread,
For the lad that I love from me has fled,
Johnny has gone for a soldier.
Additional Formats (click to enlarge)
"Down by the Bay" Music Format
Click to enlarge: "Down by the Bay" Beats Format
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pitch numbers
Click to Enlarge: "Down by the Bay" Pitch Number Format
Click to Enlarge: "Down by the Bay" Solfeggio Format
letter names
Click to Enlarge: "Down by the Bay" Letter Names Format