Scroll down for a lead sheet for Yankee Doodle that includes the melody and chords, with versions of the song in seven different keys. There are also links to the song for piano, recorder, woodwind, brass, and string instruments. The arrangements are all written in 4/4 time and are easier for beginner students to play at a moderate tempo. If you would like to play Yankee Doodle at a faster tempo, simply treat the song as if it is in cut time (2/2), with the half note equal to one beat.
Yankee Doodle is a very popular song whose roots extend back at least 260 years in American history. We do not know who wrote the melody, but the American lyrics are attributed to a British military surgeon named Dr. Richard Schackburg, who, according to tradition, wrote them in 1755. Music historians have claimed that the melody could originally have come from England, New England, Ireland, Hungary, or any of several other parts of the world. Yankee Doodle was initially sung by British soldiers in the Revolutionary War to make fun of the American soldiers. The word Yankee had negative meanings, and Doodle was a direct insult that meant a simpleton or bumpkin. However, the American soldiers apparently were not insulted, they didn’t mind being called Yankees, and they liked the melody, so they started singing it themselves. Yankee Doodle was often played by the the American troops when they went to battle, and it reportedly was played when the British surrendered to George Washington in Yorktown at the end of the Revolutionary War.
The piece remained popular throughout American history and it eventually become the official song of the state of Connecticut. In the Civil War, Confederate and Union troops both claimed it as their own and used it to make fun of their opponent. An 1862 Union publication of Yankee Doodle can be viewed on the Library of Congress website.
Yankee Doodle for flute
Yankee Doodle for oboe
Yankee Doodle for clarinet
Yankee Doodle for bassoon
Yankee Doodle for alto saxophone
Yankee Doodle for tenor saxophone
Yankee Doodle for trumpet
Yankee Doodle for French horn
Yankee Doodle for trombone
Yankee Doodle for tuba