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We will be adding more tablature arrangements regularly... please visit again.




I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls



Composer: Michael W. Balfe (1808-1870)

Arrangement: Elizabeth DiPietri


            Michael Balfe, whose biography appears in a link below, was an Irish composer who wrote English operettas in the manner of those of Gilbert and Sullivan. Of his dozens of works, his most notable and popular operetta was The Bohemian Girl, published in London in 1843. It was first performed at the renowned Drury Theatre. The full story of this work is discussed in detail in one of the historical links. Here, mention is made of the fact that the most outstanding song of this operetta was an aria sung by Arline, a gypsy girl, and having the title I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls. It is sometimes referred to as The Gypsy Girl’s Song.


            As you hear this song, with its many tone inflections, you may understand that its enduring popularity was partially due to its long use by voice teachers in singing classes. We consider it to be an example of semi-classical music of the Victorian period.




            Elizabeth’s dulcimer arrangement in the key of A centers the melody quite well on the fretboard and helps simplify the fingering of both melody and chords. One feature of this music and its embellishment is the use of “grace notes”, as seen in measures eight and sixteen. These are the miniature sixteenth notes that precede the first note of each of these measures. In theory “grace notes” have no time value, but are simply inserted to add a wavering effect to the melody. They are quite common for Irish tunes played on the pennywhistle. On the dulcimer, you will need to insert these notes quickly using a “pull-off” finger technique. 




Download files:




I Dream't I Dwelt in Marble Halls.pdf




I Dream't I Dwelt in Marble Halls.mid




Historical Links:






Picture at the top: "Gypsy Girl with a Basque Drum" (1867) 

painted by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) 

  Click to go to the TablEdit website and download their free demo version

If you do not have the Tabledit program, please click on the TablEdit banner to download a free .tef reader program.  It includes the ability to play this song at a slower speed (great for learning). TablEdit is a program for creating, editing, printing and listening to tablature and sheet music (standard notation) for fretted, stringed instruments.

  Click here to download a free version of Adobe Reader

Adobe® Reader® is a free software for viewing and printing Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

  Our PDF music files are produced from music created with Finale® notation software.


Our .MIDI music files are produced by TablEdit notation software.





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