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Performance Level 1: Happy Minstrel

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

The traditional name for this piece is 'Gaily the Troubador' it was first published in 1828 and is about a soldier playing his guitar when he came home from a war in Palestine. It is considered to be a ballad.

The website Contemplator claims that Bayly is known as the source for the quote, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" and has a copy of the lyrics and an audio file.

The verse is as follows

Gaily the troubadour touched his guitar,

When he was hast'ning home from the war.

Singing from Palestine hither I come;

Lady love, lady love welcome me home.

Singing from Palestine hither I come;

Lady love, lady love welcome me home

This version was released in 1956 on Capitol Records.


  • Keyboard with full size keys, digital piano, studio piano or an acoustic piano (Link: Explanation).

Learning Objective

The learning objective sets the reasons for learning this piece. It does not cover all reasons, only the most important ones.

Fluency Skills

  • Use a 2 note chord

Interpretation Skills

  • Play in 2 beats per bar

  • Use a tie

Performance Skills

  • Keep the beat

  • Don't stop

  • Introduce a performance

Demonstration Video

Practice Method

  • Read the music while listening to the demonstration recording and the recording from Capitol records.

  • Notice when the left hand chord changes in relation to the melody.

  • Play the left hand and the right hand be themselves.

    • Practice singing the melody while you play the left hand.

  • Put each line hands together one at a time ensuring the beat remains steady.

  • Practice the last two bars of one line with the first two bars of the next line. This can be done hands separately and hands together.

  • Finally play all the way through without stopping.

    • Try to sing a play, or ask a friend to sing and play.

Drum beat

Using a metronome can be awkward for some students and feel unnatural. This drum beat works well with this song and produces a good performance.


Chris Caton-Greasley LLCM(TD) MA (Mus)(Open)

Ethnographic Musicologist, Teacher, Researcher

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