Sheet Music: By the Waters of Babylon

TitleBy the Waters of Babylon
ComposerPhilip Hayes (1738–1797)
InstrumentationFlute quartet
KeyC minor
Time signature4/4
Tempo96 BPM
Performance time1:20
Difficulty leveleasy
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (55 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (657 kB)
Play-along accompanimentMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (737 kB)
Date added2023-10-13
Last updated2023-10-13
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 1.0 (average)
Canons, Classical


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Friday 13 October 2023

Tune of the Day: By the Waters of Babylon

by Philip Hayes, arranged as a canon for four flutes

This famous setting of Psalm 137 was originally published by English organist Philip Hayes in 1786 as a canon for four voices. It has since been recorded by several artists, most notably by Don McLean in 1971 (the last track in his original American Pie album) and by Sr Janet Mead in 2006. It also made a prominent appearance in the first season of the TV show Mad Men (2007).

Since this is a canon, all four flutes play the same melody, but starting at different times, 4 bars apart. It is also possible to play this piece as a 3-part canon, ignoring the fourth voice; this is actually very common in modern arrangements.