Wayfaring Stranger — Traditional


Roses in the Snow


Emmylou Harris

  Lyrics and chords:  

As performed by Emmylou Harris

There are countless recordings and arrangements of Wayfaring Stranger.

Here's a transcription of the Emmylou Harris recording—a nicely chorded version in the key of C minor. It's the first recording in the player on the right. You can click on the player to hear a 30 second preview of Emmylou's recording, and you can listen to all other versions of Wayfaring Stranger. There are some really great arrangements!

Wayfaring Stranger — in C minor

Emmy Lou Harris recorded of Wayfaring Stranger is in C minor, however the C minor song sheet below does do not represent the guitar fingering used on the recording. To match the guitar chording, refer to the A minor transposition below.

Verse 1

        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   -    in' over Jordan          Fm    G7           Cm          | I'm only go     -  in' over home

Verse 2

Cm        |                |         | I know dark clouds     will gather 'round me         Fm      |                Cm           | I know my way     is rough and steep            Cm      |              |         | But beauteous fields   lie just be-yond me              Fm     G7           Cm          | Where souls re-deemed their vigil keep


          Ab     |            Eb        | I'm going there    to meet my mother                Ab       Eb           G7      | She said she'd meet______ me when I come        Cm      |          |        | I'm only go — in' over Jordan          Fm    G7           Cm       | I'm only go     — in' over home

The key of C minor is rather daunting for most folk guitarists, because C minor is an inherently awkward key for folk guitar, and since it requires bar chords, it's tiring too. Not surprisingly, on Emmylou Harris' recording the guitar work (probably by Tony Rice and/or Brian Aheren) is played with a capo at the 3rd fret in the key of A minor, as shown in the following chord transposition.

Transpose it yourself

The A minor transposition below was generated with Key Switch. It's really easy to do:

  • just select and copy the C minor song sheet above
  • paste into Key Switch
  • set the base key to C (then press Set Key)
  • then choose A in the Root Picker (... or chose any other key.)
  • All of the transpositions on this page were created with Key Switch, including the Roman numeral chart. There's nothing special about the song sheets on this page. With Key Switch you can create transpositions from any song sheet!

    Wayfaring Stranger — Transposed to A minor

    Capo 3 to match the key of the Emmylou Harris recording in C minor. This is the way most guitarist would play in C minor: using A minor fingering with a capo at the third fret.

    Verse 1

            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   -    in' over Jordan          Dm    E7           Am          | I'm only go     -  in' over home

    Verse 2

    Am        |                |         | I know dark clouds     will gather 'round me         Dm      |                Am           | I know my way     is rough and steep            Am      |              |         | But beauteous fields   lie just be-yond me              Dm     E7           Am          | Where souls re-deemed their vigil keep


              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   -    in' over Jordan         Dm     E7            Am         | I'm only go      -  in' over home

    Wayfaring Stranger — Transposed to E minor

    E minor is another perfectly comfortable key for guitar. Here's a verse and chorus in 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   -    in' over Jordan          Am    B7           Em          | I'm only go     -  in' over home

    Wayfaring Stranger — Transposed to Roman Numbering

    Here is verse 1 with chords transposed to Roman Numbering


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


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