May Free Sheet Music: What’ll I Do (Irving Berlin)

I first fell in love with Irving Berlin’s What’ll I Do when I heard Alison Krauss sing it in the 2003 movie Mona Lisa Smile starring Julia Roberts and Kirsten Dunst. It has also been featured in other films and television shows, and was recorded by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, and Linda Ronstadt.

I have created two arrangements for you. The first is an intermediate/advanced arrangement with a moving bass line:

CLICK TO PRINT What’ll I Do (int/adv)

I also arranged What’ll I Do for late beginners (beginners who have reached Upper Hands Piano BOOK 2 level) using broken triads. Click below for the easier arrangement:

One of the things I love most about this song is the way it moves from major chords to minor chords so much. For example in the first full measure with lyrics (lyrics starting with “do”) there is a C major chord. In the second measure (lyrics starting with “you”) there is an F minor chord (Fm6 in the intermediate arrangement). In the third measure it’s major, the fourth it’s minor, and so on. Reflecting life itself (especially now), this song alternates in tone between gratitude for we have cherished, and grief for what has been lost.

(Remember that the free sheet music I post is only available for a year, so be sure to print before May 2021!)

I hope that you are staying healthy and are enjoying playing your piano. Have you tried some composing or improvising as I discussed in my last post? Please let us know how you are doing with it in the comments below! Coming soon, I am going to give you some tools for taking the next step towards writing a song or piece.

Be well and practice on! With love and music, Gaili

Author, Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul

P.S. Hershey Felder is doing an online encore production of his portrayal of Irving Berlin to benefit The Wallis Center for the Performing Arts on Mother’s Day! I have seen this show and it is truly wonderful, and very educational. For example, did you know that Irving Berlin wrote about 1500 songs, but dictated his songs instead of writing them down? And he played almost entirely in the key of F# because he preferred playing on the black keys! You can can view the show by clicking here. There is a household fee to watch.

4 Replies to “May Free Sheet Music: What’ll I Do (Irving Berlin)”

  1. Hi Gaili, Thanks so much for the music for this song. It’s perfect for these times when so many of us are far from those we love. I can’t wait to start playing this one.

  2. Thank you so much for you arrangement. I’m a guitarist, and I’ve been looking for copies of this song and – despite it having been printed in 1924 and thus in the public domain – I could not find a scan or copy of the music ANYWHERE.

    I was wondering if I could request / suggest that you add an arrangement of the original opening and second verses. Very often, the verses are dropped from performance of standards, but it’s nice to see what they are in case one wants to use them.

    V1 Gone is the romance that was so divine
    It’s broken and cannot be mended
    You must go your way and I must go mine
    But now that our love dreams have ended

    V2: Do you remember a night filled with bliss?
    The moonlight was softly descending
    Your lips and my lips were tied with a kiss
    A kiss with an unhappy ending

    1. Drew I agree, sometime the verses are my favorite part of the song! In this case it wasn’t, so I didn’t include it because it’s a little trickier to play than the rest of the song,and I didn’t want my subscribers to get frustrated playing it. Right now I’m on a deadline for a new music book I’m writing, but I have written myself a note to provide you with the verse in the near future! Sorry, I know it’s frustrating when you want the entire song!

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