Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Edelweiss, a Beautiful, Illustrated Song

Posted on: September 20, 2014

edelweiss trace by eleg 4 sbwe - Copy - Copyedelweiss trace by eleg 4 sbwe - Copy - Copyedelweiss trace by eleg 4 sbwe - Copy - Copy

I thought it would be fun to sing the beautiful song Edelweiss with kids in classrooms and libraries.  This will allow us to talk about Broadway musicals and Rodgers and Hammerstein.  We can also talk about courage in the face of adversity, as the edelweiss flower represents those qualities in the language of flowers.  And Edelweiss gives us a simple and beautiful song to sing and enjoy together.

Luckily, it turns out, the guitar chords aren’t too difficult.

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edelweiss w uke chords eleg sbwe
Edelweiss (for SBWE w Uke Chords)
Words by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
From SOUND OF MUSIC
To view or print this sheet, click here:
edelweiss w uke chords eleg sbwe

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edelweiss book for SBWE - Cover Only
Edelweiss 
Words by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
From SOUND OF MUSIC

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edelweiss w guitar chords
Edelweiss (lyric sheet with guitar chords)
Words by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
From SOUND OF MUSIC
edelweiss w guitar chords

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This sheet has a tiny little update that helps me (Mrs. G/Emily) remember how I like to play it. 
edelweiss w guitar chords (eleg loved one) updated
Edelweiss (lyric sheet with guitar chords) Updated
Words by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
From SOUND OF MUSIC
edelweiss w guitar chords (eleg loved one) updated

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I’m sorry the chords get a little wopperjawed when published…not WYSIWYG from the edit screen to what is published.  Just listen for the next chord change if the letters and chords done line up. 

 

EDELWEISS
Words by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
From SOUND OF MUSIC

G       D 7    G      C
Edelweiss, Edelweiss

G        Em                   Am    D7
Every morning you greet me

G                   D7     G               C
Small and white clean and bright

G               D7           G
You look happy to meet me.

D7                                             G                C
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow

A                   D            D7
Bloom and grow forever

G       D7      G       C
Edelweiss, Edelweiss

G               D7                   G
Bless my homeland forever.

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EDELWEISS from the Sound of Music, video on Rodgers&Hammerstein YouTube page:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bL2BCiFkTk

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Edelweiss Sing-Along Karaoke

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ7qRyDPMpk

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Edelweiss (song from Sound of Music) wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edelweiss_(song)

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Edelweiss flower wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leontopodium_alpinum

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The edelweiss flower can be used in the language of flowers.  Some info, here:

Meaning of edelweiss 1:
Meaning of edelweiss 2:
Edelweiss stands for daring and courage in the face of adversity.

 

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Addendum, 3/1/2017
Singing Edelweiss with the classes of Ms. Anctil (thanks for the picture!) and Mr. Mitchell.  Many thanks, too, to Ms. Perez there who is showing the kids the book.

c518k3uwyae-pgc-copy

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Addendum, 3/4/2017

When I sing the song Edelweiss, I often think how my grandmother was a lot like that flower.  Today, I wrote a little poem about it:

144.
I love to sing Edelweiss 
And play my guitar
I think of my Gram
So like that white flower

A little bit stern
Not very frilly
Snowy, straight forward
So very pretty

(3/4/2017)

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Addendum, 4/23/2018

edelweiss trace by eleg 4 sbwe - Copy - Copy

Writing this on 4/23/2018, I’ve recently decided to switch from guitar to ukulele.  I have loved my guitar, but, alas, I could not do it justice without putting in so much effort for even what would seem like the most simple of things.

The ukulele, however, is different for me.  It’s got just 4 strings (instead of 6) and it’s smaller.  My fingers are so short and working with the fret board of the uke really suits me.  I’m picking it up MUCH faster and can play many more chords.

If it were not for the guitar (for which I received a wonderful 1.5 years of lessons with a teacher, Josh Walker, at Levine Music in Arlington, VA) I would not have been able to teach myself how to play the ukulele.

So, here I am, now, making the switch.

Over the last few years, I’ve made many song sheets for rhymes with traditional tunes, tunes for rhymes for which I could not find music, and tunes and words for little poems and songs I wrote.  Going through them now, to test my ability to play those same chords to accompany myself with the ukulele, I find that some of the chords don’t sound as good.  It’s pretty easy to exchange a few chords here and there. I always made the sheets expressly with chords that were easy for me to play.  Now, with the ukulele, I can play chords that I could not play with the guitar. Or maybe I chose a chord or two for guitar for which the fingering to switch between one chord and another was more simple and streamlined with, say, a D7 instead of a D.  So, I’d choose D7.  With my ukulele (her name is Penny, by the way), it’s different sets of chords that provide fingering challenges.

So, here, I’ve come along to EDELWEISS, arguably one of the loveliest and sweetest little songs ever written (and under heartbreaking circumstances, it being the last song Oscar Hammerstein II ever wrote, circumstances I cannot allow myself to think of when singing the song or I’ll choke up on the emotion).  I’ve made a new sheet for Edelweiss with slightly different chords, as this arrangement sounds better on ukulele than the chords I assembled for guitar, and, in addition, this set of chords is easier to play on uke than the other guitar set.

I also traced and scanned some new edelweiss flowers.  This was a satisfying and enjoyable exercise. My mother loved edelweiss flowers.  She collected little pins of them on her trips to Germany and Austria.  They always make me think of her.  It was fun to make these pictures that kids can use as coloring pages, too.

Importantly to me, the song makes me think of my grandmother, Ethel May Selka. Edelweiss symbolize nobility and purity to Germans and Austrians.  And there is something about the edelweiss being a mountain flower, hard to reach, and looking like snow.  My grandmother was quite noble, dignified, and beautiful.  Like the edelweiss, which at first glance looks like a delicate flower, it can withstand the harsh conditions of an alpine habitat.  This, too, is my grandmother.  She was tough as nails, and stoic.  She withstood very difficult times, holding strong throughout. She was not emotional and could sometimes seem to be cool, but she was loving and giving and loyal.  You could count on Ethel May.  She was a wonderful human being and I could not have been more fortunate than to have received the influences she bestowed upon my life and character. I will love and revere her and offer my gratitude until the end of my days.

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edelweiss w uke chords eleg sbwe
Edelweiss (for SBWE w Uke Chords)
Words by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
From SOUND OF MUSIC
To view or print this sheet, click here:
edelweiss w uke chords eleg sbwe

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Addendum, 4/24/2018

I’m Switching from Guitar to Ukulele (Moon River, Edelweiss, my mom and my grandmother)

I’M SWITCHING FROM GUITAR TO UKULELE.

There, I said it. I’ve never been very good at the guitar, despite lots of practice and lots of use. I learned to accompany myself on simple songs with kids out of sheer desperation. That’s the wonderful value of having learned to play it to the extent to which I did, for, if I hadn’t accompanied myself with guitar on these simple songs with kids, those songs would not have gotten sung. My guitar (which I named Aunt Mary Pickle) also opened up creative pathways for me. I started writing lots of little songs myself. That’s been fun.

Enter the ukulele (I’ve named her Penny). I initially started to play her when Tim Hopgood, wonderful illustrator from York, England, told me that he was working on illustrating the song MOON RIVER (October 2018). My brain lit all up. The vision of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly playing her ukulele while singing MOON RIVER on her fire escape flashed through my head. I got out my uke, adapted some chords and learned to play that song. Somewhere in the middle of learning to play MOON RIVER, I decided to watch a video of that scene. It turns out, she plays the guitar! But it IS a small parlor guitar. In my mind it was a ukulele.

But the uke stuck. I realized that there is nothing the guitar can do that the uke CAN’T (at least not so far as my novice skill will take me). True, the guitar is more beautiful. But the sweet charm, novelty, and portability of the ukulele cannot be beat. So, I’ve started visiting all the song sheets I made for guitar and I am altering them as needed to better suit the uke. It’s a project and it’ll take some time. But it is an enjoyable exercise and the best way I can think of to hone my skills enough for playing with kids in their classrooms.

This whole essay is to say that yesterday and today I tackled EDELWEISS. What a wonderful song it is. I ended up writing an essay about that, too, as EDELWEISS brings strong memories of my mom and always also makes me think of my grandmother Gram (Ethel May Selka):

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/edelweiss-a-new-song-sheet-with-chords-for-ukulele-and-some-thoughts-about-my-grandmother-ethel-may-selka/

Sweet dreams, friends.

Sweet Dreams.

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Related Posts

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Edelweiss, a new song sheet with chords for ukulele (and some thoughts about my grandmother, Ethel May Selka)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/edelweiss-a-new-song-sheet-with-chords-for-ukulele-and-some-thoughts-about-my-grandmother-ethel-may-selka/

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My Grandmother, Gram: In Memoriam
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/my-grandmother-gram-in-memorium/

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GETTING TO KNOW YOU

16 Rodgers and Hammerstein Songs Illustrated into a picture book byRosemary Wells with links to posts about the songs
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/a-few-favorite-singable-books-part-59-rodgers-hammerstein/

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RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN

Singable Picture Books of Rodgers & Hammerstein Songs
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/a-few-favorite-singable-books-part-59-rodgers-hammerstein/

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GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK

Singable Picture Books of the Great American Songbook and Michael Feinstein’s Foundation for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/american-songbook-singable-picture-books-and-michael-feinsteins-foundation-for-the-preservation-of-the-great-american-songbook/

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FLOWERS IN ILLUSTRATED SONG

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IN MEMORIAM
This is a page of links to posts I’ve assembled in the memory of people who have meant the world to me.
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-memorium/

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IMPRESSIONS WHILE WALKING
Taking walks, noticing the world around me, and writing down what I see
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/impressions-while-walking/

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4 Responses to "Edelweiss, a Beautiful, Illustrated Song"

I’m wondering if you could acknowledge the fact that Edelweiss was the last song that Rodgers & Hammerstein wrote together. Hammerstein was dying of stomach cancer when he wrote the lyric, and Rodgers knew it too. In a way this song serves the narrative and offers a pointed comment on the state of mind that R&H were feeling at that time. Hammerstein’s words are like his personal goodbye as much as they were Captain von Trapp’s goodbye.

It’s interesting that this song is like Austria filtered through American lenses, just as the Goin’ home theme in the Dvorak New World is America filtered thorugh Czech lenses. As such, Edelweiss is just as American as any of the other Rodgers & Hammerstein songs and the Dvorak New World is just as Czech as the other Dvorak pieces.

Hello! Thank you for your comment. Yes, one of the things that adds to the poignancy of the songs for me is knowing that it was the last song that Mr. Hammerstein wrote. It’s a song of love, a lullaby and a sweet, sad farewell. I had not planned to specifically mention this (to stay upbeat for the kids), and the fact is mentioned in the wiki about the song (link in the post), but I appreciate that you took a moment to read and add this to the record here. It’s such a sweet and simple song, but profound and so beautiful. Best wishes to you! Emily

I’m sorry if I am writing another Sound of Music comment.

I’ve been thinking about the chords you’ve drawn up for Edelweiss. I am wondering if you could adhere as closely as possible to the original harmonies that Rodgers provided for the melody. I know that it’s not easy to adhere to the harmonies in the original Sound of Music score, and I know that simpler chords may make the song more accessible and appealing to young children. However, as this is a composed song, it would be good if we acknowledged the original harmonies and chord structure, even with the minor chords and augmented chords.

Hi again. Thank you for giving this so much thought! I am primarily a vocalist. I picked up the guitar a few years ago and took about 1.5 years of lessons. I’ll continue to more lessons at some point, but became obsessed w what I could do with what I’d already learned. Becoming more advanced would eat up the little time I have to make USE of the guitar and integrate using it in my repertoire. Since I am a singer w background in music theater, Cabaret, and recital, I work with musician friends to create instrumental arrangements (which I burn on cd for use in the classrooms). These arrangements must fit my ideas, the illustration of the song, the reality of sharing songs w kids in classrooms, and my vocal abilities and needs. I love the chance to switch things up and accompany myself w the guitar, making all the music for the kids right there in front of them. When I do this, I ask one of the teachers to hold the book. My guitar poses limitations, though, since I’m not a virtuoso! The chords on the sheet reflect not my attention to preserving Rodger’s harmonies, but just what chords I’m able to play, in a key that is easy for me to sing (and for the others, too, since they sing along) and that still fit the melody. Also, part of my mission is to make the music accessible. You clearly have a deep understanding of music, but most people do not. Many of the kids in the Title 1 schools (which have large populations of disadvantaged children) I visit have never heard these songs before, much less have seen a musical or an orchestra. Live performance is totally new to them. Of course, if I were to choose Edelweiss as a song for a cabaret show, I’d want the instrumental accomplishment to be lush and beautiful. But to be honest w you, since I am a Cabaret artist (and I do utilize cabaret techniques when sharing Sing Books each school day), my primary focus is the WORDS, what the mean, what I’m trying to say with them, and the stories they tell, and the opportunity for conversation that the song presents between me and the audience. The music is all in support of those things. In the case of Edelweiss, the simplicity of the chords (necessary due to my limitations as a guitarist) works well. We revel in the simple love and beauty of Hammerstein’s words. I purposely changed “homeland” to “loved one” so we could personalize the song in our minds, focusing on people we love and not nationalism. It, of course, behooves me to know and understand everything possible about the songs I sing, but keeping things simple is also sometimes the most sophisticated artistic decision one can make.

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