sheet music arrangement of the folk song mingulay boat song



An arrangement of a folk song for three Violins and Piano


Standard: Moderate


Running time: 2 mins



  • What you will receive....

    Your download will contain the score and parts in PDF format and 2 audio files in MP3 format: one of a full live performance of the piece and the other a piano recording to aid practice.


    See our How It Works page for further information. 

  • About the piece

    'Heave her ho boys, let her go boys,
    Bring her head round into the weather
    Heave her ho boys, let her go boys,
    Sailing homeward to Mingulay'


    These are the words that for many years have been sung to a tune probably written by Sir Hugh Robertson from Glasgow. It has become a folk standard and depicts sailing back and forth from the now deserted Island of Mingulay, that lies to the south of Barra in the Western Hebrides.


    The song has always captivated me and I’ve done a number of arrangements of it over the years. The reason I’m so fond of it is that when I was a very young child, probably not more than six or seven, I went with my parents to Scotland on a camp with pupils and teachers from the high school where my father taught art. I have a particular memory of being with a group of people on a deserted Mallaig beach as my father sat on the hull of an upturned boat and played this tune on his guitar. Everyone sang along and I’ve never forgotten that moment.


    Like I said, I’ve done various arrangements of this tune over the years but I think this arrangement for three violins and piano is the one that has worked the best. I took the liberty of composing a little section in the middle to give a bit of variation. I think it works!


    I like the fact that the music is very calm, quiet and relaxed. The violin parts meander fluidly over the gently rocking piano part. There is no storm on the sea in this version!