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Danny Boy-- guitar/mandolin duet

This is a great tune for a duet, but each of the parts can be played alone, too.  I know it's not really Gospel-related, and is rather Catholic in tone, referring as it does to "saying an ave" (pronounced AH-vay), which is how some Catholics refer to the prayer which in Latin begins, "Ave Maria".  In English, it's called a "Hail Mary." 

Actually, the tune is far older than the words associated with it, and makes a really lovely instrumental duet.  The tune was collected in County Londonderry (or Derry) in what is now Northern Ireland, in the mid-1800s, and was so old even then that no one even knew its name, so the collector just referred to it as "The Londonderry Air."  The tune is in the public domain.  The lyrics were written by Frederic Weatherly, and originally set to a completely different tune.  In 1913, he adapted it to fit the Londonderry Air, so the song Danny Boy, as we now know it, is only 100 years old.  But in that century, it has become so popular that hardly anyone remembers the previous version or name.

The mandolin is tuned exactly like the violin, so you could substitute a violin for the mandolin part.  Or you could, if I had used mandolin musical notation instead of tablature.  But there are countless violin versions available in sheet music, and I couldn't find any in tab.  If you're an accomplished mandolin player, you're doubtless used to reading sheet music, but for those who, like me, are not accomplished, I've provided tab.  Either part can also be played separately as a solo.

The piece is actually not difficult for the guitarist who can play standard barre chords.  It uses only barred E-shape chords, except for CaddE and CaddD near the end.  Both are based on the CVIII chord, and can be played that way, if your fingers are long, or your guitar is small.  Otherwise, just play the first four strings of those chords, as written.  I have a 3/4 size classical guitar which I use for teaching very young students, and it works perfectly for me to play the full chords (all six strings), and still reach the 12th fret with my little finger.

I've added a reprise of the last line, as a finale, ending with CVIII. I like to end on a rising note, but you can leave off the finale if you prefer the C/G resolution.


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