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"Old Folks at Home," Lyrics, Text Format
"Old Folks at Home," Lyrics, Text Format

Intermediate syncopation on the second half of the second and third beats (& of 2, & of 3), and the fourth quarter of the second and fourth beats (uh of 2, uh of 4), a tonic octave skip, and arpeggios built on the tonic (I), the subdominant (IV), and an interval of a major 7th, Do/Ti.



  • Grade: Fourth
  • Origin: USA – Stephen Foster (1826-1864), circa. 1851
  • Key: C Major
  • Time: 4/4
  • Form: staves: AaBa – song: AAB, verse/chorus
  • Rhythm: intermediate: | ta/a ti ti ti ti | ta ta ti ta/ |
    syncopation, | ta/a ta ta | ta/a/a (ta) |
    | ta ti/ ri ta ta | syncopation, | ta/ ti ta ta | syncopation, | ta ti/ ri ta ti/ ri | syncopation
  • Pitches: intermediate: Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do Re
  • Intervals: advanced: Do/Mi, Do/Do8 ascending tonic octave skip, Do8\La/Do8 (m3), Do8\So\Mi\Dodescending tonic (I) arpeggio, Do/Ti (M7), Re\So (P5), So/Do (P4), Do\La\Fa descending subdominant (IV) arpeggio (F Major), Fa/La (M3)
  • Musical Elements: notes: dotted half, half, dotted quarter, quarter, dotted eighth, eighth, sixteenth; rest: quarter, repeat sign, verse/chorus, syncopation, tonic octave skip, tonic and sub-dominate arpeggios, major seventh interval Do/Ti, phrase markings for breath control.
  • Key Words: USA history, minstrel song, USA geography: Florida, state song of Florida, Christy Minstrels, Stephen Foster, pining for home, longing for home, life in the Southern United States, far far away, creation, sadly, roam, longing, plantation, sad and weary, Lordy, farm. wandered, squandered, songs, sung, playing, brother, mother, live and die, among, hut, bushes, rushes, rove, bee’s a humming, comb, banjo; contractions: there’s (there is), ev’rywhere (everywhere); abbreviations: ’round (around), mem’ry (memory), strummin’ (strumming) possessive: folk’s


“Old Folks at Home”
also known as:
“Swanee River”
“Suwannee River”
1. Way down upon the Swanee River,
Far, far away,
There’s where my heart is turning ever,
There’s were the old folk’s stay.
All up and down the whole creation,
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for the old plantation,
And for the old folks at home.
All the world is sad and dreary,
Ev’rywhere I roam.
Oh, Lordy how my heart grows weary
Far from the old folks at home.
All ’round the little farm I wandered,
When I was young,
Then happy days I squandered,
Many the songs I sung.
When I was playing with my brother,
Happy was I.
Oh! take me to my kind old mother,
There let me live and die.
3. One little hut among the bushes,
One that I love,
Still sadly to my mem’ry rushes,
No matter where I rove.
When will I see the bee’s a-humming,
All ’round the comb?
When will I hear the banjo strummin’
Down in my good old home.
Additional Formats (click to enlarge)
"Old Folks at Home," Music Format
Click to enlarge: "Old Folks at Home," Beats Format
Click to Enlarge: "Old Folks at Home," Rhythm Format
pitch numbers
Click to Enlarge: "Old Folks at Home," Pitch Number Format
Click to Enlarge: "Old Folks at Home," Solfeggio Format
letter names
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