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Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair (saxophone quintet)

Same arrangement for brass quintet.

The more one learns about Stephen Foster, the more interesting and sad the story becomes. For nearly twenty years around the time of the Civil War, he wrote most of the popular songs published in the United States, yet died flat broke at the age of 37. He sold most of his songs to publishers for lump sums. Some he did not sell at all. Copyright and royalty laws being what they were at the time, up to five or more publishers would have competing editions of his songs in print, and other than whatever he could get up front, he rarely saw any money.

First published in 1854, this song stands as Stephen Foster's most popular romantic piece. It is reported to have been written with his wife, Jane, in mind.

In this arrangement, the tenor sax carries the melody the first time through, and the soprano sax plays it on the second pass. There are three stanzas but only two are heard in this arrangement, so it is up to you how you'd want to handle the lyric if you intend to print it in a program.

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I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair,
Borne like a vapor on the sweet summer air;
I see her tripping where the bright streams play,
Happy as the daisies that dance on her way.
Many were the wild notes her merry voice would pour,
Many were the blithe birds that warbled them o'er:
I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair,
Floating, like a vapor, on the soft summer air.

I long for Jeanie with the daydawn smile,
Radiant in gladness, warm with winning guile;
I hear her melodies, like joys gone by,
Sighing round my heart o'er the fond hopes that die:
Sighing like the night wind and sobbing like the rain,
Waiting for the lost one that comes not again:
I long for Jeanie, and my heart bows low,
Never more to find her where the bright waters flow.

I sigh for Jeanie, but her light form strayed,
Far from the fond hearts round her native glade;
Her smiles have vanished and her sweet songs flown,
Flitting like the dreams that have cheered us and gone.
Now the nodding wild flowers may wither on the shore
While her gentle fingers will cull them no more:
Oh! I sigh for Jeanie with the light brown hair,
Floating, like a vapor, on the soft summer air.

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MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).




JEANIE WITH THE LIGHT BROWN HAIR, by Stephen Foster, arranged by Tom Kirkland for saxophone quintet consisting of soprano sax, two alto saxes, tenor sax, and baritone sax, comes in a pdf file of 197K, with a four-page score, five one-page parts, and a license page, ten pages in all. Performance time should be about two minutes.


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Last update: 5 June 2017