In Flanders Fields
Lyrics: John MacCrae
Music: Elizabeth DiPietri
example of music arranged in the 1-3-5 tuning, we are
pleased to offer here a new composition based upon one
of the favorite and best-known poems of the western
world, In Flanders Fields.
The poet was Lieutenant Colonel John MacCrae,
a surgeon in the Canadian Army during the Second Battle
of Ypres (Belgium) during WW I, in May, 1915. His brief
verses are an eloquent summary of the utter futility of
war, of life in the midst of death, of dedication and
sacrifice and of hope for a better tomorrow. So popular
are his words that they serve as a reminder to all
generations. The full details of the author’s life and
the origins of the poem are given in many references.
Three such examples appear below, as links on the
The composer of this arrangement is
Elizabeth DiPietri, a dulcimer player from St. Louis MO,
a refinisher of fine furniture, an artisan of
beadworking, and the
proud mother of a Marine son. She has dedicated this
music selflessly to the honor and remembrance of all
servicemen and veterans, with grateful thanks.
Asked about her musical interpretation of the lyrics,
Elizabeth had this to say. “My husband said that it
needed more minor chords in it; that the poem was sad,
and should sound sad. But I don’t think of it that
way…yes, there is sorrow, but there is so much more!
There is courage, there is pride, there is nobility,
there is humbleness, there is challenge. They (the
words) are not saying, ‘Oh, woe is me - be sad -
we’re dead’. They are saying, ‘We have paid the ultimate
price - don’t let it have been in vain – it’s up to you
now.’ That’s what I tried to convey in the music, slow,
quiet, dignified and not totally sad.”
think you will all agree that Elizabeth accomplished
what she set out to do.
Note that this arrangement is in the key of
A and requires the frequent use of the 1+ fret. Players
will need to install a temporary 1+ fret if their
instruments do not already have one.
The first arrangement of In Flanders Fields
shown here is intended for strumming with a flatpick. It
will introduce the melody, the tempo and the chordal
harmony of the music. Elizabeth has also arranged a
somewhat more ornamented version of the song, for finger
We plan to post the second arrangement at
a later date*. (see below)
Links to Elizabeth DiPietri's 1-3-5 mountain
dulcimer arrangements for "In Flanders Fields":
and new files posted on March 24, 2006
Flanders Fields S - PDF
Flanders Fields S with Taps - MIDI
Fields S - TablEdit file
The “later date” has now arrived.
Previous visitors to this site should be aware
that the initial, strummed version of In Flanders
Fields, will hence be designated in files as the
“S” version. The newer, fingerpicked version will
be designated as the “FP” version. Here, the
melody remains unchanged, but the accompaniment
consists of a series of “arpeggiated” notes played
in rapid succession, rather than as three- note chords
Readers may hear the difference by listening to
the MIDI files for each arrangement.
feature of both sound files that has changed is the
addition of the music for “Taps”, the military
bugle call played in the USA at all memorial services
for fallen veterans. This addition seemed appropriate
to us, to follow the playing of In Flanders Fields.
The playing of Taps is optional, of course. For
those of you who wish to play it, the pdf
music/notation appears below as a separate file. We
hope you find these arrangements consoling and
expressive, and would sincerely welcome your comments.
In Flanders Fields FP - PDF
In Flanders Fields FP with Taps - MIDI
In Flanders Fields FP - TablEdit file
Taps in D.pdf
Taps in D.MID
(found on the excellent TapsBugler site