Wayfaring Stranger — Traditional

  Album: Roses in the Snow
Artist: Emmylou Harris

There are countless recordings and arrangements of Wayfaring Stranger.
Here's my transcription of a nicely chorded version by Emmylou Harris,
in the key of C minor. It's the first version in the player on the right.

Original Key (C minor):

        Cm     |            |              |
I am  a poor      wayfaring stranger
                Fm     |              Cm      |
While traveling thru    this world of woe
               Cm    |                     |        |
Yet there's no sick   -  ness,   toil, nor danger
               Fm     G7            Cm        |
In that bright world     to which I go

          Ab     |           Eb       |
I'm going there    to see my Father
          Ab      Eb             G7        |
I'm going there --    no more to roam
         Cm     |          |        |
I'm only go   -   ing over Jordan
         Fm   G7         Cm         |
I'm only go  -  ing over home

 

Unfortunately, the key of C minor is awkward for guitar. Indeed the guitarist on the recording, probably Tony Rice, plays in A minor, capo 3.

Transposed to A minor:

(Capo 3 to match the key of the recording, C minor.)

         Am    |            |              |
I am  a poor      wayfaring stranger
                Dm     |              Am      |
While traveling thru    this world of woe
               Am    |                     |        |
Yet there's no sick   -  ness,   toil, nor danger
               Dm     E7            Am        |
In that bright world     to which I go

          F      |           C        |
I'm going there    to see my Father
          F       C              E7        |
I'm going there --    no more to roam
         Am    |           |        |
I'm only go -    ing over Jordan
         Dm   E7         Am       |
I'm only go  -  ing over home

 

In addition to allowing you to transpose from any key to another ... Transposer can transpose to Roman numbering.

Transposed to Roman numbering:

       Im     |          |              |
I am a poor    wayfaring stranger
                IVm    |              Im      |
While traveling thru    this world of woe
               Im    |                     |        |
Yet there's no sick   -  ness,   toil, nor danger
               IVm    V7            Im        |
In that bright world     to which I go

          VIb    |           IIIb     |
I'm going there    to see my Father
          VIb     IIIb           V7        |
I'm going there --    no more to roam
         Im    |           |        |
I'm only go -    ing over Jordan
         IVm  V7         Im       |
I'm only go  -  ing over home

 

You can even transpose from Roman numbering to a specific key. Here's the result of transposing the previous Roman chord numbers to the key of E minor (which is another perfectly comfortable key for guitar.)

Transposed to E minor:

        Em     |            |              |
I am  a poor      wayfaring stranger
                Am     |              Em      |
While traveling thru    this world of woe
               Em    |                     |        |
Yet there's no sick   -  ness,   toil, nor danger
               Am     B7            Em        |
In that bright world     to which I go
          C      |           G        |
I'm going there    to see my Father
          C       G              B7        |
I'm going there --    no more to roam
         Em     |          |        |
I'm only go   -   ing over Jordan
         Am   B7         Em         |
I'm only go  -  ing over home

 

 

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There are numerous versions of Wayfaring Stranger in the MP3 player above, starting with Emylou Harris's version from Roses in the Snow.

In listening through you'll hear lots of variations in melody and vocal phrasing. Particularly pertinent to this page, there are many variations in chordal accompaniment.

 

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