English Folk Songs: The Best Sheet Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Looking for the best sheet music for English folk songs? Look no further than our collection of the best sheet music for traditional English folk songs. From classics like “Greensleeves” and “The Rose of England” to more modern takes on folk songs like “The Blacksmith” and “The Bonny Earl o’ Moray”, we’ve got you covered. So grab your fiddle or your guitar and get ready to sing your heart out with our collection of the best sheet music

What are English Folk Songs?

English Folk Songs are songs that have been passed down orally from generation to generation. They often have simple melodies and lyrics that tell stories or describe the everyday life of the people who sing them. Many of these songs have been collected and published in books and on websites so that everyone can enjoy them.

The Best Sheet Music for English Folk Songs

English Folk Songs are becoming increasingly popular, and as a result, there is a demand for sheet music that can be used to play these songs. While there are many different sources for sheet music, not all of them are created equal. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best sources for sheet music for English Folk Songs.

“The Lincolnshire Poacher”

“The Lincolnshire Poacher” is a traditional English folk song that dates back to the late 18th century. The song is about a poacher who is caught and sentenced to transportation, but escapes and returns to his home county of Lincolnshire. The song became popular in the 19th century, and has been adapted and covered by many artists since then.

“The Unquiet Grave”

“The Unquiet Grave” is an English folk song that dates back to the late medieval period. The song is about a man who is grieving the death of his wife. He is so distraught that he wants to die and join her in the grave. The song has been recorded by many artists, but it is most commonly associated with the band Fairport Convention.


“Greensleeves” is a traditional English folk song and ballad. The words and melody are thought to be by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. The song is about a young man who is forsaken by his true love.

The first published version of the melody appeared in Thomas D’Urfey’s Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy, in 1685. “Greensleeves” was popular in England during the early eighteenth century, but it did not gain international popularity until the early twentieth century, when it was adapted as a Christmas carol.

The sheet music for “Greensleeves” is available online and in print form from a variety of sources.

“Scarborough Fair”

“Scarborough Fair” is a traditional English ballad (folk song). It was first published in 1810, though it is likely that it is much older. It tells the story of a young man who is sent to Scarborough Fair to find his true love.

The song has been covered by many artists, including Simon & Garfunkel, Pentatonix, and Loreena McKennitt.

“Blackberry Blossom”

“Blackberry Blossom” is a traditional English folk song that dates back to the early 19th century. The song has been recorded by many artists over the years, but one of the most iconic versions is by English singer/songwriter Shirley Collins. It was included on her 1967 album, Sweet England, which is considered one of the classic albums of the English folk revival movement.

The sheet music for “Blackberry Blossom” is widely available online and in print, making it a great choice for beginning and experienced musicians alike. The melody is simple and catchy, and the lyrics paint a pretty picture of springtime in England. Whether you’re looking to play the song on your own or with a band, you’re sure to find an arrangement that suits your needs.

“The Water Is Wide”

“The Water Is Wide” is a traditional English folk song. The melody is thought to be of Scottish origin, and the lyrics date back to the 1600s. The song tells the story of a lovers’ tryst that is cut short by the rising tide.

The sheet music for “The Water Is Wide” is available in a number of different keys, so you can choose the one that best suits your vocal range. There are also a few different versions of the lyrics available, so you can find one that you like best.

If you’re looking for a traditional arrangement of “The Water Is Wide,” you can find it in many hymnals and collections of folk songs. You can also find versions of the song that have been adapted for solo voice or for choir.

“Wild Mountain Thyme”

“Wild Mountain Thyme” is a traditional English folk song from the late 19th century. The lyrics tell the story of a young man who is in love with a girl who lives in the Highlands of Scotland. The song has been recorded by many artists over the years, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and various Scottish and Irish folk groups. The melody is quite simple and easy to play on the piano or other instruments.

“The Leaving of Liverpool”

“The Leaving of Liverpool” is a folk song that originated in the city of Liverpool, England. The song is about the emigration of workers from Liverpool to America in the late 19th century. The song has been covered by many artists, including Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan.

“The Parting Glass”

“The Parting Glass” is a traditional Irish folk song that was commonly sung as a farewell song. The lyrics of the song tell of the speaker’s regret at leaving their friends, but also their hope that they will meet again.

The melody of the song is simple and haunting, and it has been covered by many artists over the years. The most famous version of the song was recorded by Simon and Garfunkel on their 1967 album, “The Sound of Silence.”

If you are looking for sheet music for “The Parting Glass,” there are many versions available online. However, it is important to choose a version that is appropriate for your skill level. If you are a beginner, it might be best to choose a version with simpler chords. If you are more advanced, there are versions available with more complex harmonies.

No matter what level you are playing at, “The Parting Glass” is a beautiful song that is sure to leave a lasting impression on your listeners.

Where to Find More English Folk Songs

The best place to find more English Folk Songs is online. There are many websites that offer a variety of sheet music for you to choose from. You can also find a lot of free sheet music online if you do a little bit of searching. You can also find a variety of different instruments to play the English Folk Songs on.

The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library

The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) is the world’s largest and most important collection of British vernacular music, dance and song. Founded in 1951, the VWML has grown steadily, and now holds more than 300,000 items of printed material, manuscripts, sound recordings and ephemera.

theory that all vernacular music is rooted in the folk traditions of the British Isles. The Library is therefore particularly rich in English folk song, which has been collected since VWML’s inception. In addition to holding the archives of some of the most important collectors of folk song – such as Cecil Sharp, Percy Grainger and Maud Karpeles – the Library has continued to collect songs from traditional singers throughout England, as well as from North America and Australia.

The Folk Song Society of Greater Boston

The Folk Song Society of Greater Boston (FSSGB) is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of English folk music. The Society produces a monthly newsletter, The Singing Tradition, which includes sheet music for many of the songs in its repertoire. FSSGB also sponsors concerts and workshops featuring both traditional and contemporary performers of English folk music.

The Digital Tradition Folk Song Database

If you’re looking for even more English folk songs, check out the Digital Tradition Folk Song Database. This online database contains more than 18,000 traditional folk songs from all over the world, including more than 1,200 English folk songs.

The database is searchable by title, first line, subject, and custom keywords, so you can easily find the perfect song for your needs. You can also narrow your search by region or century, which is helpful if you’re looking for a specific type of song.

If you find a song that you like, you can view the sheet music and lyrics right on the site. You can also listen to a MIDI recording of the song to get a sense of how it sounds.

Similar Posts