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Peggy O'Neil 







Music and lyrics: 

H.Pease, E.G.Nelson and G.Dodge

Arrangement: Ruth Randle



            Harry Pease and Edward Nelson worked together as a team for over twenty years while composing popular music, most of which was intended for public performance on the Broadway stage and in vaudeville. Peggy O’Neil was such a tune. Although popularized as a song performed by American-Irish tenors, it was equally popular as a dance tune and parlor tune. Very little biographical data are available except for the record of their music. The one selected for this month was perhaps their most successful.





Peggy O'Neil is one of those tunes that has a bouncy, uncomplicated rhythm in combination with cheerful, spirited lyrics. It quickly catches both the ear and the heart of the listener. Musically, its melody requires only one or two chromatic notes, and the accompaniment chords are mostly of the I, IV, V and V7 variety, with a couple of minors. It was chosen as an excellent example of what can be done with a 1-3-5 tuning to simplify the fingering patterns required, and also to transpose keys if desired. For that purpose we have listed below the music/tab and sound files for arrangements both in the keys of D and G, using the familiar D-F#-A tuning. If you were tuned to F-A-C instead, the playable keys would be F and Bb.


You will find that the arrangement in D can be played almost entirely within the range between the open strings and fret 4 (something like when we learned Bile Them Cabbage Down as beginners, except that here we use chord accompaniment). Likewise, the arrangement in G falls between frets 4 and 7. This feature is a result of the way the 1-3-5  tuning creates "barre chords" vertically across each fret. We are actually playing melody notes here across the frets as well as up and down the fretboard. This means much less finger movement and stretching. The ability to change keys, of course, is the result of the abundance of chromatic notes on the 1-3-5 fretboard. 


Some readers may recall that Peggy O’Neil was one of the tunes listed some time ago on our Bulletin Board, as a challenge to those wishing to try their hand at arranging the chorus of the music. Shown here are Ruth's arrangements of the entire song, in the keys of D and G. You can link the two versions with a simple "walkup" progression on the melody string. The D version ends with 0/0/3. Hold that for 3 beats, then, instead of the tied measure, play 0/0/3 - 4 - 5, leading right into the 3/3/6 chord that starts the G version.






 Download links to files:



Key of D:



Peggy O'Neil in D.pdf


Peggy O'Neil in D.tef


Peggy O'Neil in D.mid



Key of G:


Peggy O'Neil in G.pdf


Peggy O'Neil in G.tef


Peggy O'Neil in G.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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