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


Each time a new file is posted in Current Tablature, the previous file is moved to "Archived tab files".


Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider




Lyrics: Eddie Leonard

Music: Eddie Munson

Arr: Merv Rowley 


The year 1903 was prominent in America's history; Teddy Roosevelt was President, the Wright brothers made their historical flights at Kitty Hawk, NC, it was the first year of baseball's World Series, both Enrico Caruso and John Barrymore made their debuts on the American scene and the first full-length feature movie film, The Great Train Robbery, was shown.

This song was the brainchild of Eddie Leonard, near the end of his career as a blackface minstrel performer. In fact, vaudeville had largely taken over the entertainment business and Leonard was about to lose his job with the Primrose and West minstrel agency. He performed Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider onstage, against the orders of his employer. Its reception was tremendous, and over a million copies of sheet music were sold the first year. Apparently, Leonard had some help with the musical score from his friend, Eddie Munson, who is credited as the composer of the music.

Ida never really lost its popularity over the years. This was due, in part, to its "adoption" by singer Eddie Cantor, who performed the song in vaudeville, radio and then on television. Cantor's wife was named Ida!

The musical structure consists of alternating five-beat and three-beat counts, giving the music and lyrics their syncopated tempo. There are no new chords here, but the arrangement is in the key of A in order to "center" the music on the dulcimer fretboard. This is something the 1-3-5 tuning allows us to do. Using a capo at the first fret is not absolutely necessary (there are no really long chord stretches), but handy to allow for some open chords. If you don't want to use a capo, you can fret the 1's - simply change all the 0's in the tab to 1's.

This music is usually played with a "lilt" that is a bit too fast for playing chord/melody style; you will probably want to use a pick on this one. Bear in mind that it originated with a minstrel, and probably to the sound of a banjo. This one may take some practice.


This arrangement contains only the familiar chorus. Like so many songs of this era, the verses are not so well known, and folks begin to think that the chorus by itself is the entire song. If you are interested in seeing the verses, a link to the sheet music is posted under Historical Links.

Your 1-3-5 team



Download files 










Historical Links:


Here is a link to the sheet music:






  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.

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  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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