Oh, Dear! What Can the Matter Be? simple notes for recorder

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How to play a song on the recorder

Embarking on a musical journey can be a delightful experience, especially when armed with the recorder, an instrument known for its sweet, clear tones. The song “Oh, Dear! What Can the Matter Be?” is a traditional folk tune that offers beginners an engaging entry point into the world of music. Composed in England during the 18th century, this melody, also known as “Johnny’s So Long at the Fair,” tells the story of a woman anxiously waiting for her beau, Johnny, who has lingered too long at the fair. It’s a piece that beautifully combines narrative storytelling with a catchy, memorable tune, making it an excellent choice for those learning to play the recorder through picture notes.

The song has been passed down through generations, capturing imaginations with its simple yet evocative lyrics and melody. Utilizing picture notation for the recorder, learners of all ages can easily grasp how to cover the correct holes on their instruments to play this song, without the need for understanding traditional music theory first. This approach, featured prominently in recorder books for beginners, recorder learning books for adults, and easy recorder songbooks, makes “Oh, Dear! What Can the Matter Be?” accessible to a wide audience. Whether you’re a young student exploring the recorder songbook for kids or an adult delving into a recorder practice book, this song’s universal appeal and the fascinating story behind its creation provide a rich, cultural backdrop for your musical exploration. As you follow the picture notes sheet music, you’re not just learning to play the recorder; you’re also connecting with a piece of musical history that continues to resonate with audiences today.

Oh, Dear! What Can the Matter Be? flute
photo of books

Some of the notes on our website contain the full version of the song, and some are excerpts, or for example the very beginning, chorus or verse, etc. Full versions of all the notes can be found in our books and e-books: SHOP.

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