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Naming in threes

Robert B. Waltz 30 Mar 24 - 11:49 AM
Nigel Parsons 30 Mar 24 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Steve Shaw 30 Mar 24 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Steve Shaw 30 Mar 24 - 10:38 AM
The Doctor 30 Mar 24 - 06:28 AM
Doug Chadwick 30 Mar 24 - 04:58 AM
David C. Carter 30 Mar 24 - 04:40 AM
David C. Carter 30 Mar 24 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 30 Mar 24 - 04:25 AM
Robert B. Waltz 29 Mar 24 - 09:55 PM
sian, west wales 29 Mar 24 - 09:37 PM
sian, west wales 29 Mar 24 - 09:34 PM
Doug Chadwick 29 Mar 24 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Em 29 Mar 24 - 05:42 PM
GerryM 29 Mar 24 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,Em99 29 Mar 24 - 12:29 PM
Robert B. Waltz 29 Mar 24 - 11:49 AM
Doug Chadwick 29 Mar 24 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Em99 29 Mar 24 - 11:05 AM
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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 11:49 AM

Nigel Parsons wrote: Kipling gives us 'Oak, Ash and Thorn'

Although the combination is much older than Kipling. Supposedly it's "ancient Celtic." I believe claims about "ancient Celtic" about as much as I believe crime statistics cited by ex-presidents of the United States, but if you want some folklore that is probably only about two-thirds fakelore, google "oak ash thorn."


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 11:01 AM

Instead of Oh the oak and the ash and the bonnie rowan tree (above)
Kipling gives us 'Oak, Ash and Thorn'


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: GUEST,Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 10:41 AM

Not a song, but:

Friends, Romans and countrymen...


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: GUEST,Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 10:38 AM

"The three men I admire the most
The Father, Son and Holy Ghost..."


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: The Doctor
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 06:28 AM

No, my love, not I has a chorus that contains three supposedly impossible things:
When fishes fly and swallows die, young men will prove true.


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 04:58 AM

THE LEAVING OF LIVERPOOL

Farewell to Lower Frederick Street,
Anson Terrace and Park Lane
For I know that it's going to be a long long time
Before I see you again.

DC


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: David C. Carter
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 04:40 AM


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: David C. Carter
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 04:39 AM

Here's to Cisco,Sonny and Leadbelly too...

Dylan's Song to Woody.


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 04:25 AM

You don't need a formal education in rhetoric to recognise the value of the rule of three and use it for yourself. Some folk singers may have simply picked it up by encountering it in the older songs they know and adopted it from there.

Another interesting use of threes comes in the folk canon's more sinister songs. It was once thought that the Devil knocked three times on the door when he arrived to claim your soul - this being his way of mocking the Holy Trinity - and this led to the number often arising in demonology. When The Gosport Tragedy says of Molly's revenge that she "ripped him and stripped him and tore him in three", that may have delivered an extra little shiver to the song's original listeners.


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 09:55 PM

Sian wrote, There is a whole category of song/verse in Wales called "tribannau" - triplets - which are wise, or funny, or both. e.g.

And a very old tradition this is, since the "Welsh Triads" date from the early Middle Ages or earlier. (One collection of them, for instance, is in the White Book of Rhydderch, the main source of the Mabinogion. The best publication is probably Rachel Bromwich, Trioedd Ynys Prydein: The Triads of the Islands of Britain, fourth edition, University of Wales Press, 2014. This gives both medieval Welsh texts and English translations. The first one, for instance, is a triad listing the three thrones of Arthur. Many others are lists of people who meet some criterion or other, but some are more like what Sian describes.


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: sian, west wales
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 09:37 PM

I should have added a link to some triban tunes.

sian


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: sian, west wales
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 09:34 PM

Not quite the same thing but re: the employment of 3s ...

There is a whole category of song/verse in Wales called "tribannau" - triplets - which are wise, or funny, or both. e.g.

Tri pheth sy'n hawdd eu 'nabod:
Dyn, derwen, a'r diwrnod.
Y dydd yn troi, y pren yn gou,
A'r dyn yn ddauwynebog.

Three things that are easily recognized:
Man, oak tree, and the day.
The day turns, the tree is solid/dense,
And the man is two faced.

Another:

Tri pheth sy' dda gan grotyn
Yw gwraig y ty yn chwerthin,
A'r crochen bach yn berwi'n ffrwd
A llond y cwd o bwdin.

Three things that a lad likes
Are the housewife laughing,
The little pot boiling swiftly,
And a paunchful of pudding.

There are a LOT of these.

sian


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 06:37 PM

Cigareetes and whusky and wild, wild women
They'll drive you crazy, they'll drive you insane

DC


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: GUEST,Em
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 05:42 PM

And 'Tom, Dick, and Harry' -- Cole Porter's song of that name from 'Kiss Me, Kate' uses the phrase to hilarious effect.


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: GerryM
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 04:55 PM

Speaking of Lincoln, and naming in threes, there's the 1968 hit, Abraham, Martin, and John. https://youtu.be/rwn8hIyiHvI?si=XqtAVubKBIbDupQJ


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: GUEST,Em99
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 12:29 PM

That's very interesting. I wonder if the contemporary musician Joanna Newsom was intentionally recalling "North Country Maid" by near echoing: "Oh the yoke and the axe ..."


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 11:49 AM

Triple parallelism is a well-known rhetorical technique. (I'm not saying folk song writers knew about it -- I'm sure they didn't -- but it's known to be effective.) Abraham Lincoln was particularly fond of the technique. Take the Gettysburg Address, e.g.: "we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground." "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

For that matter, the tupical meter of ballads is four feet then three feet. In a way, that in itself encourages triple parallelism.


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Subject: RE: Naming in threes
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 11:14 AM

NORTH COUNTRY MAID

Oh the oak and the ash and the bonnie rowan tree
They flourish at home in my own country

DC


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Subject: Naming in threes
From: GUEST,Em99
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 11:05 AM

I've been thinking about a folk song, I believe with Scottish roots, called 'Lovely Molly' which closes -- "where the mavis, and the turtle dove, and the nightingale sings."

In the Sam Henry version of the song, it is instead written - "where the lark, the linnet, and the nightingale sings."

It strikes me as very resonant -- the naming of springtime hopes which are also sadly left behind and lost by the singer. I'm wondering if this resonance even has to do with the naming techniques - naming by threes?

Can you think of other songs that do this -- or else that name these longed-for losses in a similar way? I guess I have in mind something like Burns's 'Composed in Spring' - "In vain to me in glen or shaw, / The mavis and the lintwhite sing."

Thanks in advance for any help.


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