Yankee Doodle – Recorder Notes and Sheet Music

Yankee Doodle Recorder Lesson

Yankee Doodle is a traditional song with some history and a popular nursery rhyme at the same time! I really like this tune for musical instruments lessons because it has a simple melody but covers quite a lot of notes. So, it’s not the easiest and best first song on recorder but a great one ton continue once we already know to play the easy ones in order to move up to the next level in terms of our playing skills. In this free recorder lesson, we will first learn about the history of the song and how to play it. We will take a look at the finger charts for all the required notes and learn how to play the whole melody. We also provide the sheet music for free PDF download for the advanced players among us who know how to read sheet music.

History of Yankee Doodle

Yankee Doodle is an American song with origins in the mid-18th century. Initially, British troops sang it to mock American colonial soldiers during the French and Indian War. In this context, “doodle” implied a fool or simpleton, and “macaroni” humorously referenced the trendy fashions of the era. Despite its derisive beginnings, American soldiers embraced and reworked the song during the Revolutionary War, turning it into a patriotic anthem of resistance. “Yankee Doodle” soon became one of the first widely recognized American folk songs, symbolizing the emerging American identity. Its lasting legacy is evident in its ongoing presence in American culture and its designation as the state anthem of Connecticut.

Yankee Doodle Finger Chart

Yankee Doodle is not the easiest song to play on the recorder, but it’s not the hardest either. If you have already mastered the easy recorder songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, then Yankee Doodle is a good song to increase the level of difficulty. To play Yankee Doodle, we need a lot of notes! We are going to play the song in the key of C and we will need the notes E, F, G, A, B, C’, D’, E’ and F’. Before you start playing the melody, you should first familiarize yourself with these notes if you are a beginner. If you already know how to play all these notes on the recorder, you can skip to the next section. If not, take a look at the fingering chart below, which shows all the notes you will need to play for this song.

Yankee Doodle - Recorder fingering chart

Practice these notes one at a time, and when you master them, try playing them one after the other without looking at the fingering chart. When this is well practiced, we can move on to the next part where we play the song with the notes.

Recorder Notes for Yankee Doodle

If you can play Yankee Doodle on the recorder, you already know how to play a bunch of notes! Now we need to use those notes to build the melody of Yankee Doodle. Normally, songs are written in music notation, but children can be overwhelmed by music notation because it requires some knowledge of music theory. Therefore, we have placed the notes on top of the lyrics to make the melody easier to understand. Note that the ‘ symbol represents the higher version of the note. You may have noticed that we used two different E and F notes in the song, a higher and a lower version.

Let’s start by playing the melody slowly, just one line at a time. When we can play the first line without difficulty, we can move on to the next line, but we will still play it more slowly than too fast. When we can play the whole melody without mistakes, we increase the speed.

Here are the lyrics with the letter notes to play it in an easy way:

Yankee Doodle - Recorder Letter Notes

Have a listen to the audio recording below on how Yankee Doodle should sound like on the soprano recorder. You can also reduce the speed of the recording to play along while practicing.

Recorder Sheet Music for Yankee Doodle

The simplified representation of the melody with the lyrics and musical notation above is a good way to get started, but sheet music is actually the standard for writing and reading music. It contains all the information about a song. If you don’t know how to read music, it might be a good place to start. Yankee Doodle has quite a few notes, but in general it’s still a simple melody.

How to read Guitar Sheet Music

Guitar Chords are illustrated in guitar chords diagram. They are a simplified illustration of the guitar neck and it tells you where to put which finger on which string. Learn more about how to read guitar chords!

Here is the recorder sheet music for Yankee Doodle:

Yankee Doodle - Recorder Sheet Music

Free Recorder Printables for Yankee Doodle

You prefer printing the lyrics with the notes or the sheet music? Feel free to download them for free for your students or for your practicing at home.

Yankee Doodle - Recorder Free Printables

Interested in instruments other than the recorder? You can also find a free lesson on how to play Yankee Doodle on the guitar and piano.