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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".


(The Daring Young) 

Man on the Flying Trapeze



(Jules Léotard (c1839-1870) wearing the one piece 

garment he designed, calling it a maillot.)


Music: Gaston Lyle, arr. Alfred Lee
Words: George Leybourne 
Arr: Ruth Randle 2009 


     Do you remember the awe inspired excitement of watching the circus? Either in person or on TV as a child? What do you remember as the most exciting part? Yup! The trapeze acts!

     This month’s offering is the tune that says it all, and is the song to make us remember those wonderful and brave entertainers!


"According to The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia, the 1868 song "The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze" is "arguably the most famous circus song in American popular music"; the lyrics are generally credited to the English music hall performer George Leybourne, and the music to Alfred Lee, but "the authorship is suspect, a very similar ditty having been sung in London music halls by comic singer Joe Saunders earlier in the 1860s"... Oops! If author Thomas Hischak had done a bit more research, he would have realized that George Leybourne was the stage name of Joe Saunders (1842-1884). The music was actually composed by Gaston Lyle; Alfred Lee was the arranger, and the song was first published in 1867.

     The daring young man in question was Jules Léotard, the famous French trapeze artist. Léotard made his music hall debut in 1861 in London's West End; it was he who invented the leotard, the one piece garment to allow the unrestricted movement which was so vital in his death-defying act, and which would later become standard wear for ballet dancers. Léotard was paid a hundred and eighty pounds a week for his act, the equivalent of five thousand today, but died aged only twenty-eight, ironically from an infectious disease rather than from a fall. Thomas Hischak says the song was first heard in American Vaudeville in the 1870s, where it was popularized by Johnny Allen.”


The above portion in quotations was taken from: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=13967


Even more fun facts about this song can be found here:





Merv Rowley did a similar arrangement of this song in his "Beautiful Dreamer" book, where he suggested certain fingering tips:

"Here is another bouncy diatonic tune that plays smoothly by strumming and picking. Starting at measure 16, there are several passages involving repetition of the Bm chord 2/3/3 and the F# chord 2/2/5. Practice these sequences of chords and notes with your fingers anchored in the 2/3/3 position as you play the following notes, shifting positions as necessary to pick up the 2/2/2 and 2/2/5. This will allow you to play smoothly, without hesitation."


In this arrangement of Ruth's, anchoring on the 2/3/3 chord with middle/index/ thumb, and using the ring finger to catch the surrounding notes works well, but in measure 30 she has used a GMaj7 chord, 3/3/5. If you are using middle, index and thumb to fret 2/3/5, it is a simple maneuver to slide your middle finger up from 2 to 3, lift your index finger and place your ring finger on the 3 middle string, then slide middle and ring fingers back down for the 2/2/5. Then you can slide the entire chord shape up to 4/4/7.


Play the verses sort of even, smooth and "straight", to tell the story, but when you get to the chorus, emphasize the first beat of each measure... "He FLIES through the AIR...", imitating the way the performer "pumps" the trapeze with his body to keep it swinging. 


Your 135 Team


Download files 


Man on the Flying Trapeze.PDF


Man on the Flying Trapeze.TEF


Man on the Flying Trapeze.MID


  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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