Scarborough Fair chords



You can learn how to play Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel!

Originally, an old folklore, Scarborough Fair was made worldwide famous by Simon & Garfunkel.

The chords of Scarborough Fair take full advantage of the II chord. By using the extensions sus2, 13, and sus4, we get a clear sense of the Dorian scale ringing through.

It would be impossible to play Scarborough Fair using different chord shapes to what you see me play in the video lesson. It is the shape and the incorporated open strings that make the arrangement what it is.

Using a capo on fret 7, we think in A Dorian, but what you hear is E Dorian. You can’t change the finger-style patterns or chord shapes, as they are what gives Scarborough Fair its distinctive sound.

But what you can do, is add a 2nd guitar part, doing this will enhance the first part as well as teach you more about how this song is put together.

We spend a considerable amount of time doing this in the advanced acoustic guitar course, as well as learning the original part, of course.

What Scarborough Fair’s chords do is use all kinds of intervals from the Dorian scale, maintaining the open 5th string.

To name these chords can cause all kinds of debate, after all, they are unique due to the open strings, so reading them as you would with any song doesn’t make all that much sense.

Still, what you see below is what they actually are, thinking in A (remember there’s a capo on fret 7!)

As complicated as these chords may appear, what they do is explain the intervals in them. When we create a 2nd guitar part, that’s what we focus on, to still include the same extensions, just in a new key by removing the capo.


Scarborough Fair chords and lyrics – Capo 7


Chords for Scarborough Fair – Guitar 1

| A13sus4 | Dsus24 Dsus4/F# | Cmaj7 G/B |
||: A13sus4 | Asus2 :||

| A13sus4 | Asus2 | G C/E G | A13sus4 | A7sus2 |
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
| C | Am7 | C D | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
| Asus2 | C | C G/B Am7 | G C/E G | C/E G |
Remember me to one who lives there,
| A7omit3 | G C/E | G C/E G | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |
she once was a true love of mine.

| A13sus4 | Asus2 | G C/E G | A13sus4 | A7sus2 |
Tell her to make me a cambric shirt,
| C | Am7 | C D | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |
parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
| Asus2 | C | C G/B Am7 | G C/E G | C/E G |
Without no seams nor needlework,
| A7omit3 | G C/E | G C/E G | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |
then she’ll be a true love of mine.

| A13sus4 | Asus2 | G C/E G | A13sus4 | A7sus2 |
Tell her to find me an acre of land,
| C | Am7 | C D | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |
parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
| Asus2 | C | C G/B Am7 | G C/E G | C/E G |
Between salt water and the sea strands,
| A7omit3 | G C/E | G C/E G | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |
then she’ll be a true love of mine.

| A13sus4 | Asus2 | G C/E G | A13sus4 | A7sus2 |
Tell her to reap it in a sickle of leather,
| C | Am7 | C D | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |
parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
| Asus2 | C | C G/B Am7 | G C/E G | C/E G |
And gather it all in a bunch of heather,
| A7omit3 | G C/E | G C/E G | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |
then she’ll be a true love of mine.

| A13sus4 | Asus2 | G C/E G | A13sus4 | A7sus2 |
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
| C | Am7 | C D | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
| Asus2 | C | C G/B Am7 | G C/E G | C/E G |
Remember me to one who lives there,
| A7omit3 | G C/E | G C/E G | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |
she once was a true love of mine.

| A13sus4 | Dsus24 Dsus4/F# | Cmaj7 G/B | Asus2 |


Scarborough Fair chord progression

The first line is disguising the 3rd of the opening chord. Sus4, sus2 means we can’t tell if A is minor or major. However, the C chord, tells us it’s minor since C is the m3rd of Am.

| A13sus4 | Asus2 | G C/E G | A13sus4 | A7sus2 |

The second line shows us what key we are in as only chords IV – V are two major chords a tone apart. As these are C and D, the key must be G. However, G does not feel like home…

| C | Am7 | C D | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |

The third line mainly descends from chord IV to chord I. The G – C/E movement keeps the tension up and makes us not resolve to G.

| Asus2 | C | C G/B Am7 | G C/E G | C/E G |

The fourth line mainly stays around the II chord, which feels like home. When the II chord feels like home, we are “in Dorian”.

| A7omit3 | G C/E | G C/E G | A13sus4 | Asus2 | A13sus4 | Asus2 |


Course preview (Guitar Lesson – Step 1)

In the first video above, starting at 3:05, you find a preview of Scarborough Fair’s guitar lesson, it’s the beginning of step 1 of the course.

This step has broken up the different sections into 6 examples and played them at different tempos.

This is the key to being able to play Scarborough Fair, you must play small sections on a loop, at different tempos.

The first example is the intro, provided as TAB below.


Scarborough Fair – 8 Guitar Lessons

The most difficult aspect of this Dorian-sounding composition is actually to play at the full tempo. To get there, we practice at different tempos.

Following this, we develop a 2nd guitar part, practice Dorian, as well as play and develop the vocal melody.

Go to Scarborough Fair 8 Guitar Lessons.


Scarborough Fair – Lyrics + Live performance

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there,
she once was a true love of mine.

Go to Scarborough Fair lyrics.


Simon & Garfunkel

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were a hugely successful American folk duo starting out as Tom & Jerry before they adopted their more obvious choice of stage name.

Their hits include Homeward Bound, Scarborough Fair, The Boxer, Mrs. Robinson, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and American Tune.

Go to Simon & Garfunkel – Biography.


Advanced Acoustic Songs

These songs use big chord extensions and sometimes, unique and complex chords that incorporate open strings.

Study these in-depth and you will gain a complete understanding of the fretboard, including how to build any scale, arpeggio, and chord, anywhere on the guitar.

Go to Advanced Acoustic Songs.


The Professional Guitarist Song Book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset that you can acquire.

Learn these songs and you can progress from being a bedroom player to working with acoustic duos, Jazz trios, Indie/Rock/Party bands as well as large Soul/Motown ensembles.

Go to Song Book.


Copyright + Comments

Studying great songs is the best way for a musician to develop, we believe displaying chords and lyrics falls under “fair use in education”.

If you are the copyright holder and do not wish to be represented in this way, or want to comment on anything in these lessons, do reach out.

Go to Contact.