Leaves Are Falling, the Nights are Colder
. . . and It’s Time for Some Ghost Stories
The Celtic tradition is full of ghostly tales, many of which have come down to us with beautiful melodies. Whether you want to plan a Halloween program or just enjoy the Celtic mysteries, these arrangements are sure to please.
The Celtic tradition is full of ghost stories, but in this one from Scotland the harp plays a central role. When a passing harper makes a new harp from the golden hair and white breastbone of a lovely murdered maiden, it starts to sing the story of her cruel sister’s betrayal. This arrangement of the haunting tune includes a recurring motif as introduction and interlude, with three different verses. One of the verses features the melody in the left hand with floating chords above it.
This English ghost ballad is one of my favorites. The tune is haunting and the story more sweet than macabre. This arrangement of this beautiful tune includes some left hand harmonics, harmony in sixths, and a recurring (but optional) lever change.
Like the famous Butterfly, this tune is a slip jig, in 9/8 time. It’s a lot of fun to play and a great addition to your ghostly repertoire. The first verse features a rollicking open hand pattern in the left hand–it looks impressive but is not hard to master. There is also some fun parallel motion in the second verse.
This lovely tune is another ballad about a ghostly lover, a story with the usual tragic results. In spite of the sad subject matter, the tune itself is sweetly upbeat. This arrangement is accessible to early intermediate players, and features a lovely waltz pattern in the left hand. The second verse takes the tune into a higher octave.