The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #98230 Message #1942741
Posted By: Peace
20-Jan-07 - 04:31 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Oats Peas Beans and Barley
Subject: RE: Oats Peas Beans and Barley
"music: A+A+ B+D
This scheme is found not only in "The Farmer in the Dell" but also in "Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow," "If you're Happy and You Know It," and the second half of "New River Train." In "Who Stole My Chickens and My Hens," the same scheme appears with the single difference that the second A is transposed downward rather than upward (Sally, 6, 41; Ring, 187; Sally, 164). Beyond these five songs, one should note that the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell" is used with the texts of "I With I Wath a Fith" and "AHunting We Will Go" (with the last a of the text replaced by a c) (Sally, 291, 32). It also appears as the melody for "Sally Go Round the Sun," "The Grand Old Duke of York," "Somebody's Under the Bed," and "A Sailor Went to Sea" where the textual form is A + B C + D in each case (Sally, 1, 33, 79, 146). This brings the total of English-Canadian children's songs belonging to the stereotyped pattern to at least eleven. In each instance the implied harmonies are I, IV, and V(7).
As one traces the distribution of this form, one finds some interesting patterns. "The Farmer in the Dell" appears with much the same text and tune (in this case rendered as AABC) in Britain.29 The texts of some songs sung to the Farmer in the Dell tune used in Canada are found in Britain but not necessarily sung to the same tune.30 "Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow" is sung in Britain to much more complex tunes. In one version, a couple of verses have the AA + BC form. The only other use of this form in Britain appears to be for "What Are Little Boys Made Of."3'
In the United States, "The Farmer in the Dell" and "Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow" are sung to the same tune as in Canada,32 and other songs such as Woody Guthrie's "Put Your Finger In the Air" (copyright 1954), "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain," and the song "Happy Birthday To You" (copyright/ 1935) have used a similar form as well.33 In short, though it might have originated in Britain with songs such as "The Farmer in the Dell" and "Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow," the stereotyped form seems to have taken firmer hold in the U.S. and Canada where new texts and tunes have continued to be created according to the mold. Nothing of what is known about the form's distribution and chronology suggests an origin any earlier than the nineteenth century."