Flow Gently, Sweet Afton

Traditional song
First published in 1837
Words by the Scottish poet Robert Burns

First verse:
Flow gently, sweet Afton! amang thy green braes,
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.


Flow Gently, Sweet Afton guitar tab and notes (pdf)

tabs tabs & notes


Flow Gently, Sweet Afton instrumental guitar (mp3)

Flow Gently, Sweet Afton - guitar tab, notes, chords and lyrics

”Flow Gently, Sweet Afton” is a traditional song based on the poem ”Sweet Afton” written in 1791 by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, who is famous many songs including ”Auld Lang Syne”. The "Afton" that is called upon in the title and the lyrics, is a small river in the South West Scotland.

The music transcriptions of the song with tabs and notes are available for download as PDFs. It's free for personal use only.

Flow Gently, Sweet Afton (full accompaniment)

"Flow Gently, Sweet Afton" for guitar with full accompaniment. Free download in pdf-file and audio.

Flow Gently, Sweet Afton guitar accompaniment (tabs)

Flow Gently, Sweet Afton guitar accompaniment (including notes)

Flow Gently, Sweet Afton (only melody)

"Flow Gently, Sweet Afton" standard and tablature notation for guitar.

Flow Gently, Sweet Afton notes and tabs

Tips on how to learn this song

The song is based on a common structure with 32 bars (the first pick-up bar excluded). Notice the AABA structure of these 32 bars: the first, the second and fourth parts are similar with the third deviating. The melody involves only the three thinnest strings and the frets nearest the neck, which makes it rather easy to play and memorize.


Flow Gently, Sweet Afton chords in the key of D
Verse 1:
Flow (D)gently, sweet Afton! a(G)mang thy green (D)braes,
Flow (D)gently, I'll sing thee a song in (E7)thy (A)praise;
My (D)Mary's asleep by thy (G)murmuring (D)stream,
Flow (D)gently, sweet Afton, (G)dis(A7)turb not her (D)dream.

Verse 2:
Thou (A)stockdove whose echo re(E7)sounds thro' the (A)glen,
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in (E7)yon thorny (A)den,
Thou (D)green-crested lapwing thy (G)screaming for(D)bear,
I (D)charge you, disturb not (G)my (A7)slumbering (D)Fair.

Verse 3:
How (D)lofty, sweet Afton, thy (G)neighbouring (D)hills,
Far (D)mark'd with the courses of clear, win(E7)ding (A)rills;
There (D)daily I wander as (G)noon rises (D)high,
My (D)flocks and my Mary's (G)sweet (A7)cot in my (D)eye.

Verse 4:
How (A)pleasant thy banks and green (E7)valleys (A)below,
Where, wild in the woodlands, the prim(E7)roses (A)blow;
There (D)oft, as mild ev'ning weeps (G)over the (D)lea,
The (D)sweet-scented birk shades (G)my (A7)Mary and (D)me.

Verse 5:
Thy (D)crystal stream, Afton, how (G)lovely it glid(D)es,
And (D)winds by the cot where my Mary (E7)resi(A)des;
How (D)wanton thy waters her sno(G)wy feet (D)lave,
As, (D)gathering sweet flowerets, (G)she (A7)stems thy clear wave.

Verse 6:
Flow (A)gently, sweet Afton, a(E7)mang thy green (A)braes,
Flow gently, sweet river, the (E7)theme of my (A)lays;
My (D)Mary's asleep by thy murmu(G)ring (D)stream,
Flow (D)gently, sweet Afton, (G)disturb(A7) not her (D)dream.

Poetic and archaic words:
thy = your

braes = an upland area
yon = that
ye = you

There are mainly two chord progressions that alternated every other verse. The progressions involve a borrowed chord, the IIV (A7).

The key of the song can be transposed with a capo:

Key, time, tuning and tempo

Information about "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton" considering musical key, time signature, tuning and bpm.

Key signature music symbol


The (tab) version of Flow Gently, Sweet Afton is played in the key of C.

Time signature music symbol

Time signature

The song is played in 3/4 tempo (counted one, two, three for each measure).

Tuning overview


The song is normally played in standard tuning (EADGBE).

BPM symbol and numbers

Tempo (BPM)

The tempo in beats per minute is 90 for the presented version.