Scarborough Fair - Every Rose Grows Merry In Time

traditional Scottish
Maria Ljungdahl
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page one of Scarborough Fair - Every Rose Grows Merry In Time

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Full details

A version of "Scarborough Fair" inspired by several ballads with similar content, as found on folk music sources on the web.

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The ballad Scarborough Fair is one of the most well-known old folk songs that got popular in our time through recordings and performances in the folk and pop scene of the 1960-1970 period.

The text in Scarborough Fair is closely related to other old ballads, for example, The Elfin Knight and The Cambric Shirt.

The content has been explained as a list of impossible tasks that the distanced lovers ask each other to perform in order to prove their love and worthiness again. It can also be read as an exchange of subtle insults with references to their character and/or body parts. For example:

1) ’Wash it in yonder dry well’, meaning perhaps a person with dry eyes, not easily moved to tears,

2) One of the lovers has got a sharp tongue, a ’sickle of leather’,

3) ’Sow some seeds from north of the dam’ could mean that one of the lovers has got a snotty nose above his lips (’north of the dam’).

This is not a critical edition made in accord with scholarly expertise but a contemporary interpretation made with artistic license.

Score ID
traditional Scottish
Year of composition
Maria Ljungdahl
Year of arrangement
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
4 minutes
Voice + guitar
Folk music
Instrumental parts

For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

Cover art for Scarborough Fair - Every Rose Grows Merry In Time

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