Cockles and Mussels
(Statue of Molly Malone in Dublin, Ireland)
The idea of posting this song here is to help you get used to learning a melody by ear, and so that you can try your hand at a little improvisation - that's right; no sheetmusic I chose "Cockles and Mussels" because it's a melody that just about everyone is already familiar with.
You'll find two different recordings of
this song below. One of the recordings is just a guitar and the vocal. The other
recording includes a whistle playing the melody line throughout the song.
Please just use the "melody whistle" version as a way to familiarize yourself
with how the song is set-up - don't learn it note for note by playing along with
the whistle The
whole idea is for you to get used to figuring out melodies on your own!
Cockles and Mussels
(with melody whistle)
Cockles and Mussels (no melody whistle)
(arrangements of both versions © Thom Larson 2005)
A few notes about this song:
For All Melody players: The song is
in the key of G. If you play the melody the way that the whistle is played in the
recording, you'll find that it has some G# notes in it. It could just as
easily be played just using an "A" instead of the G#s (I just think that the
G#s make it a little more interesting).
A note for Melody players about the "turnarounds" - the
"turnarounds" are the short little melodies that the whistle is playing on the
recording at the beginning of the song, and in between each verse. If you're playing by
yourself at home, you should try improvising something on your own for these
parts of the song. If you playing with other melody instruments (like at our Slow Session, for
example), it wouldn't sound very good if everyone came up with totally
different melodies for the turnarounds If you're
playing with others at a Session, it's always best to just stick with an
agreed upon melody.
For Rhythm players: There are of
course, many chord progressions that you could use for this song. I chose the
chords G, Em, Am, D7 (I just play this progression over and over throughout the
entire song). Note that this progression changes just a little one time in the
song (the Am is dropped once at the end of the double-chorus, near the end of
For Whistle players: As mentioned
above, the song is in the key of G (which of course, is easily played on your
D whistle). Don't be intimidated by the G# notes, if you decide to use them -
G# is easily played on the whistle by just putting the third finger of your
left hand (the "G" finger) half-way over its hole while you're
playing the note "A". In this song, you'll
already be playing the note "A" before the G# each time that it
comes up, so it's a very simple
matter to play the G#.
I cover the left-half of the hole to play a G#, but do whatever works best for you - covering the top-half (or the bottom-half) of the hole would work too, if you find that that's easier. You'll probably find that you get a "cleaner" sounding note if you cover the left-half (or the top-half) of the hole, rather than covering the bottom-half of the hole.
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