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Thread: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

  1. #1

    Default Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Looking for some non-bluegrass/country/irish tunes that have a sad tinge to them.

    Examples of what I don't mean are Wayfaring Stranger or My Last Days on Earth Bill Monroe, Danny Boy.

    What I do mean are Fallen Man by Sierra Hull.. very few others that I can find.

    Cheers guys!

  2. #2
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    You may want to have a listen to some Scottish slow airs and Gaelic waltzes. Lots of very beautiful tunes, often dealing with emigration from the homeland or personal losses. Here is a link to a modern Scottish composition (Night in that Land) by the late Johnny Cunningham, a brilliant fiddle player sadly no longer with us. It is one I posted over on the SAW group back in December. I am playing it on mandolin. I have many similar tunes on my YT channel, almost all on mandolin or octave.
    https://youtu.be/3QHsmPNCTkk
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOldBores

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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Bothy Band is a good place to start- "The Sailor Boy", or "The Maid of Coolmore", "The Factory Girl", There 's a bunch of stuff in Gaelic. I am partial to Mary Black's "will ye gang love" though I think Dick Gaughan did a great very Scottish version of that tune. Mary Black did a killer version of "Jeanie" an old Irish story. From Allison Krouse and Robert Plant I have to recommend Tom Wait's "Trampled Rose". Though not Irish if you want "forlorn" Gillian Welch has multiple catalogues of the stuff, most of it playable in folk settings. Silly Wizard's "the Fisherman's song" is a real gut wrencher. Norman Blake's "last train from poor valley" and or "Billy Grey" and even "in the spring of the year" can pass for Bluegrass but can be played more folk. Not sure who did it but Killkelly Ireland is very sad historic Irish song. The streets of Derry has been done by a lot of acoustic musicians. Fairport Convention "Crazy man Michael" or even Sandy Denny's "the next time around".
    Last edited by tmsweeney; Feb-18-2022 at 9:43pm.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Quote Originally Posted by dukedy View Post
    Looking for some non-bluegrass/country/irish tunes that have a sad tinge to them.
    I don't know if this is the style you're looking for, but it's definitely in the "non-bluegrass" category and it has a somewhat wistful/nostalgic vibe: "Hamabe No Uta" (Song Of The Seashore, Japanese waltz), written in 1916 by Tamezo Narita. It can be played either as an instrumental or with vocals.

    A bunch of us posted our mandolin versions of this tune at MandolinCafe Song-a-Week 547 last year. My version is also here:


    (or direct link)

    Here is the Hamabe No Uta sheet music, mandolin tab, and chords, key of G that I used for the above version. (Viewable in browser, or to download a printable PDF just ignore the signup/login blurb and proceed to the "Download"/arrow link.) There are also other versions of the sheet music that other people have posted at the aforementioned Song-a-Week thread.

    In addition, if you happen to already use the iRealPro phone app, there's a backing track for this tune using the above chords, accessible in the app via standard search - once on the correct page, scroll down to the 9th post to get the corrected versions. (For lack of any better ideas, I put the tune into the "Holiday, Film, Worship, Classical, World, Other" category.)

    As to lyrics, here is a very pretty version with vocals by Saori Yuki and Sachiko Yasuda - the music starts at 20 seconds in, so fast-forward to 0:20:


    (or direct link)


    LyricsTranslate.com has this English translation:

    "If I wander about ashore this morning
    It will bring me back to good ol' times
    The sound of the wind, the way clouds change
    Waves breaking in, the color of the shells

    "If I roam about ashore this evening
    My beloved will bring me back then
    Waves breaking in and waning back
    The color of the moon, the light of the stars

    "A gust of wind causes the waves to rise
    The hem of my red kimono is soaking wet
    I once was sick, getting back on my feet
    Here I stand ashore like a fine grain of sand"




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  6. #5
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Quote Originally Posted by dukedy View Post
    Looking for some non-bluegrass/country/irish tunes that have a sad tinge to them.
    Well, there's this genre called the "blues" ...
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

    Some tunes: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa1...SV2qtug/videos

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    Registered User WELSrev's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    How about a folk tune from Finland? Is that moving in the right direction?

    Metsakukkia - Forest Flowers

  8. #7
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs



    Much better than Billie Holiday's version which came out a year later.




    I love the guitar playing on this one.

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    The saddest song I know.....

    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  11. #9
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocrucian View Post
    Much better than Billie Holiday's version which came out a year later.
    Heresy!
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

    Some tunes: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa1...SV2qtug/videos

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    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    You might like "Flatbush Waltz" by Andy Statman- you can find transcriptions and versions of it all over the web. He's got other klezmer mandolin pieces that
    are definitely melancholy but start there.

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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Listen to the Elk River Blues by fiddler Ernie Carpenter, I think it will fit the bill.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  14. #12

    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Altan's A Tune for Frankie is a good one.
    Also, A Visit From The Muse by Jeff Midkiff.
    And Mary, Young and Fair is a dark sounding Scottish Air.

  15. #13
    Dave Berry
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Here is one I wrote and just released called Buster's Farewell.
    .
    Dave
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  16. #14
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Have a look for Scottish slow airs composed by Niel Gow or Nathaniel Gow, James Scott Skinner, Tom Anderson, John Mason or many others. Lots of lovely Gaelic waltzes too. The composers I have named all wrote for the fiddle. I have several examples on my YT channel which is linked below and as Jess says, lots can be found over on the Song-A-Week Group. Here is the link to a tune from the bagpiping world, Leaving Lochboisdale, played on octave and mandolin.
    https://youtu.be/cbEzZrkSxjE


    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOldBores

  17. #15

    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    I second Elk River Blues.

    Also, Neil Gow's Farewell to Whiskey, nothing more sad than biding farewell to that imo.
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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Apoplogies. folks! I just realised that I had already posted suggestions back in February in this thread (posting #2 above). Must pay more attention to reading the whole thread rather than just looking at the most recent additions.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOldBores

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    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    I like The Rosebud of Allenvale by Scott Skinner, written by him in A but which I prefer on mandolin in G.
    https://www.abdn.ac.uk/scottskinner/...php?ID=JSS0710
    Just a plain major key tune

    Audio link from his 1922 recording:
    https://www.abdn.ac.uk/scottskinner/music/cd119a.mp3
    Bren

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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    "My Lagan Love" is one of my favorite slow Irish tunes, sad and sweet.

    Jack

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    Default Re: Sad, Melancholic, Forlorn Mandolin Tunes/Songs

    Country: Dark as a Dungeon, Last Train From Poor Valley. Then there’s plenty of war related stuff such as Green Fields of France, and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. I’ve carved out some nice mando fills and breaks in all of these.

    And if you’re into Leonard Cohen, half of his total output.
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