“O Waly, Waly” is an English or Scottish folk song that has been sung since the seventeenth century and has been arranged or used thematically in the works of many composers, including Benjamin Britten and John Rutter. It is a popular ballad of folk song singers as well, and is perhaps better known in many places as “The Water is Wide.” Following are the first verse of each:
“O Waly, Waly”
O Waly, waly [“woe is me”] up the bank, / And waly, waly, doun the brae, / And waly, waly, yon burn-side, / Where I and my love want to go!
“The Water is Wide”
The water is wide, I can-not cross o'er. / And neither have I the wings to fly. / Build me a boat that can carry two, / And both shall row, my true love and I.
The tune has also gained popularity in arrangement, “The Gift of Love,” with lyrics by choral composer Hal H. Hopson.
In this arrangment, a pensive introduction and statement of the tune is followed by a second statement with simple arpeggiated accompaniment, then a piano interlude that modulates into a more rhythmically active final statement.
This video is a demo of the sheet music available from Con Spirito Music. Visit conspiritomusic.com.
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