Over the River and Through the Wood

This arrangement of the most popular secular Thanksgiving tune is a marvelous holiday/recital piece!

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The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day, also known as Over the River and Through the Wood, is a Thanksgiving poem by Lydia Maria Child, originally published in 1844 in Flowers for Children. Lydia Maria Child was a novelist, journalist, teacher, and poet whose most influential works were anti-slavery articles and stories, even though this piece is her most popular.

The song celebrates the author’s childhood memories of visiting her grandfather’s house.

Although many people sing “to grandmother’s house we go”, the author’s original words were “to grandfather’s housewe go.” Many people also mistakenly refer to the “Wood” in the song as plural “Woods” rather than singular. All 12 verses of the poem are included, as well as a facsimile of the first printing.

This arrangement of the traditional tune uses parallel triadic harmonies to create a contemporary sound. It sounds harder than it is, and will be a wonderful holiday number.

The cover image comes from the pages of the poem found within Flowers for Children.

Key: C major

Mood: Rollicking, bouncy

Pedagogy: parallel chord harmonies, 6/8 time, 1st/2nd endings


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