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"On Top of Old Smoky," Lyrics, Text Format


Developing breath control for six measure phrases while singing a full ascending tonic arpeggio, and a subdominant arpeggio;
arpeggios suggest chord progressions.



  • Grade: Fourth
  • Origin: USA – Folk Ballad
  • Key: D Major
  • Time: 3/4
  • Form: rhythm: ABAb – pitches: ABaC – song AB
  • Rhythm: beginners: | ta ta ta | ta ta/a_|_a/a ta |
    | ta/a/a_|_a/a ta | ta/a ti ti | (_=tie)
  • Pitches: intermediate: Do Re Mi Fa So La Do
  • Intervals: intermediate: Do/Mi/So/Do8 ascending tonic (I) arpeggio D, Do\La\Fa descending subdominant (IV) arpeggio G, So\Do (P5), So\Re (P4)
  • Musical Elements: notes: dotted half, half, quarter, eighth; pickup beat, tied notes, first and third staves end on the leading tone for the phrase ending pitch, distinguishing between a M3 Do\La and a m3 So\Re, tonic and subdominant arpeggios, song chord progression: I-IV-I-V7-I, six measure phrases
  • Key Words: USA history, mountain song, mountain ballad, snow covered, true love, courtin’ (courting), pleasure, partin’ (parting), false-hearted, worse, thief, rob, crave, lead, grave, decay, dust, boy, hundred, poor girl, trust, hug, kiss, lies, cross-ties, railroad, stars, sky

“On Top of Old Smoky” 

1. On top of Old Smoky
All covered with snow,
I lost my true lover,
For a courtin’ too slow.
For courtin’s a pleasure,
But partin’ is grief,
And a false-hearted lover,
Is worse than a thief.
3. A thief will just rob you,
And take what you crave
But a false-hearted lover,
Will lead you to your grave.
4. The grave will decay you,
And turn you to dust,
Not one boy in a hundred
A poor girl can trust.
5. They’ll hug you and kiss you,
And tell you more lies,
Than crossties on a railroad,
Or stars in the sky.
Additional Formats (click to enlarge)
"On Top of Old Smoky," Music Format
Click to enlarge: "On Top of Old Smoky," Beats Format
Click to Enlarge: "On Top of Old Smoky," Rhythm Format
pitch numbers
Click to Enlarge: "On Top of Old Smoky," Pitch Number Format
Click to Enlarge: "On Top of Old Smoky," Solfeggio Format
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