Dayenu Lyrics And Chords: FREE

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Are you looking for a traditional Hebrew song to teach your students?

Do you want to expand students’ musical horizons by exposing them to other cultures from their own? 

It’s important to share music outside the “norm”. It offers insight into other people and how they think. 

This builds empathy and understanding, and starting students on this young is essential. 

This is why I decided to dig into this traditional Passover song and offer it from a music teacher’s perspective. Here are Dayenu lyrics and chords all for FREE. 

Look ahead for an analysis of the music elements of the song, lyrics in Hebrew and an English version, and chords to go along with the sheet music. 

Dayenu Sheet Music And Song Breakdown

This is the sheet music for the melody of the song along with the chords. For a breakdown of the chords, look to the later section. 

Please note, this is the phonetic spelling of the lyrics to help with pronunciation and not how they would actually appear in Hebrew.

It’s important when doing songs in other languages and cultures that you don’t pose yourself as an expert in the culture or language (unless you are) but simply demonstrate a sincere desire to do the song justice and connect with the history of the song. 

Breakdown of Dayenu Sheet Music

Meter: In this version, 4/4 time is used. It has a strong duple feel, but there are likely many variations which have occurred over the past 1,000 years. 

Rhythms Used: eighth-quarter-eighth, quarter rest, paired eighth notes, quarter note

Pitches Used: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do’

Lyrics: Lyrics will be covered in more detail in the next section.

History: Dayenu is a traditional song in Hebrew. It’s a part of Passover, a Jewish holiday. 

“Dayenu” roughly translates to the following phrases:

  • It would have been enough
  • It would have been sufficient
  • It would have sufficed

This is a faster and brisk-feeling song. The song is an expression of gratitude for all of God’s gifts in hard times. Specifically, the full text mentions the following: 

  • Delivering the Jews out of slavery in Egypt and restoring their success
  • The miracles on the journey to the promised land
    • Parting the sea
    • Providing manna
  • Leading the people to Mount Sinai
  • Giving of the Shabbat and the Torah
  • Building of the Temple

The full text is arranged into 15 verses separated into 3 stanzas each. Dayenu first appears in text, that we know of, in the Ninth Century. 

This makes the song over 1,000 year old at least. 

Source

Dayenu Lyrics

We’ll focus on the first three verses of Dayenu lyrics. Remember these lyrics are phonetic spelling and not how they would actually appear in the original Hebrew. 

Phonetic Dayenu Lyrics

Dai, dayenu, dai dayenu,

Dai dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu 

Dai, dayenu, dai dayenu,

Dai dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu 

————————————————-

1. Ilu hotzi hotzianu

Hotzianu mimitzrayim,

Hotzianu mimitzrayim,

Dayenu!

————————————————-

2. Ilu natan natan lanu

Natan lanu et hatorah

Natan lanu et hatorah

Dayenu!

————————————————–

3. Ilu natan natan lanu,

Natan lanu et hashabbat,

Natan lanu et hashabbat,

Dayenu!

English Version Of Dayenu Lyrics

This isn’t a direct translation; it’s a singable translation. 

This means the spirit of the text remains the same, but sentence structure and word choices have changed slightly to make the English words fit the melody more naturally.

Note: The refrain is typically still performed in Hebrew. 

1. Had he brought us out of Egypt,

Only brought us out of Egypt,

Had he brought us out of Egypt,

Dayenu!

—————————————————

2. Had he given us the Torah,

Only given us the Torah,

Had he given us the Torah,

Dayenu!

—————————————————

3. Had he given us the Sabbath,

Only given us the Sabbath,

Had he given us the Sabbath,

Dayenu!

—————————————————

English version from BethsNotesPlus.

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Dayenu Chords And Explanation

The chords for Daeynu are fairly simple inexecution. What you see above is the simplified beginner placement of the chords. 

In this version, we use the following chords: 

  • C Major
    • C, E, G
  • G Major
    • G, B, D
  • G7 (alternate to G Major)
    • G, B, D, F

The piano chords for this song use the notes above in whatever form you prefer. 

Learn piano online with Flowkey. Check them out; they’re awesome! 

Otherwise, take note of where the chord changes occur above. Use G7 if possible in the verse and at the end of the chorus. 

Otherwise, G and G7 are interchangeable. 

Dayenu Guitar Chords Breakdown

Here is how you finger these chords on guitar. 

  • C Major
    • First finger, 5th string, 1st fret
    • Second finger, 3rd string, 2nd fret 
    • Third finger, 2nd string, 3rd fret
  • G Major
    • Second finger, 2nd string, 2nd fret
    • Third finger, 1st string, 3rd fret
    • Fourth finger, 6th string, 3rd fret
  • G7
    • First finger, 6th string, 1st fret
    • Second finger, 2nd string, 2nd fret
    • Third finger, 3rd string, 3rd fret

Dayenu Ukulele Chords Breakdown

Here is how you finger these chords on the ukulele. 

  • C Major
    • Third finger, 4th string, 3rd fret
  • G Major
    • First finger, 2nd string, 2nd fret
    • Second finger, 4th string, 2nd fret
    • Third finger, 3rd string, 3rd fret
  • G7
    • First finger, 3rd string, 1st fret
    • Second finger, 4th string, 2nd fret
    • Third finger, 2nd string, 2nd fret

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed learning more about Dayenu lyrics and chords for this up-beat Passover song with an over 1,000 year old history. 

The melody is simple yet catchy and is perfect for teaching about quarter-eighth-quarter syncopation along with the obvious historical and cultural connections. 

For more songs you may enjoy teaching, check out: 

Zach VanderGraaff

Zach VanderGraaff is a K-5 music teacher with Bay City Public Schools in Michigan. He's a Past-President of the Michigan Kodaly Educators and Executive Secretary of the Midwest Kodaly Music Educators Association.

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