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Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?

DigiTrad:
MARCHING THROUGH ROCHESTER
THE BAND PLAYED WALTZING MATILDA
THE BAND PLAYED WALTZING MATILDA (2)
WALKING A BULLDOG
WALTZING MATILDA


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Bob Bolton 23 Nov 02 - 08:29 AM
MudGuard 23 Nov 02 - 08:43 AM
greg stephens 23 Nov 02 - 08:55 AM
Jeanie 23 Nov 02 - 10:04 AM
Jeanie 23 Nov 02 - 10:07 AM
Jeanie 23 Nov 02 - 10:36 AM
Jeanie 23 Nov 02 - 01:00 PM
Joe Offer 23 Nov 02 - 01:11 PM
Joe Offer 23 Nov 02 - 02:05 PM
greg stephens 23 Nov 02 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Q 23 Nov 02 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Q 23 Nov 02 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Q 23 Nov 02 - 04:07 PM
Jeanie 23 Nov 02 - 04:46 PM
Bob Bolton 24 Nov 02 - 01:18 AM
Wolfgang 25 Nov 02 - 09:06 AM
Bob Bolton 25 Nov 02 - 09:53 PM
GUEST,Q 25 Nov 02 - 10:19 PM
Bob Bolton 25 Nov 02 - 11:14 PM
GUEST,Q 25 Nov 02 - 11:16 PM
Bob Bolton 26 Nov 02 - 03:55 AM
GUEST 27 Nov 02 - 01:58 PM
toadfrog 27 Nov 02 - 09:42 PM
Bob Bolton 27 Nov 02 - 10:03 PM
Wolfgang 28 Nov 02 - 05:19 AM
greg stephens 28 Nov 02 - 05:24 AM
Bob Bolton 28 Nov 02 - 08:20 AM
GUEST 12 Aug 06 - 06:30 PM
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Subject: Wolfgang - a German song quest ?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 08:29 AM

G'day Wolfgang,

A letter from a Bush Music Club member, about a TV program shown on our Australian SBS channel (Special Broadcasting Service ... non-Anglo focus programs) about the revival of Die Wandergesellen and their traditional 3 years and 1 day period as journeymen starts this query. The program spoke of this journeyman period as die waltz .. perhaps as being auf die waltz - and this expression has been quoted in relation to the late 19th century Australian description of swagmen being Waltzing Matilda.

Now that the history of the tune and words have been dragged clear of the spurious "Marlborough" song ... it may be time to look back for the German connections - if not with the later song, at least with the expression. It has been suggested, by Richard Magoffin (in several books on the history of the song Waltzing Matilda that both terms were found together in German military slang of the 19th century - possibly as "Mechilde" ... ultimately "Metze" - a camp follower, serving the soldiers.

From that, we have vague rumours of a (probably bawdy - and thus unpublished) song of the journeymen - Die Wandergesellen - being "Auf die waltz mit Matilda/Mechilde ...", in this case meaning with their roll of tools and possessions. (There is also a suggestion that the song was more prevalent among apprentices - looking forward to the comparative freedom of the journeyman years.) No one, around this end of the world, seems to be able to authenticate - or deny - the existence of such a song.

What I am hoping is that, with the revival of such customs as those of Die Wandergesellen, there may be the opportunity for folksongs that may have been forced underground by passage of time, change of customs ... and the Nazi misuse of folksong and lieder ... to resurface. I wonder if you have come across any references to any songs of wandering workers with "(Auf) die waltz" - or even "Matilda / Mechilde" references to tool roll and kit?

I would mention that the Australian use of Waltzing Matilda seems to have been, before Paterson's poem / song, confined to a region of Queensland that saw considerable settlement by Germanic people in the 1880s - mostly political / economic / religious refugees from Bismarck's "Unification of Germany". I know collectors from this group/area, but they do not have any record or recollections of the sort of journeyman's song I am seeking. Of course, 120 - and two World Wars have wiped out almost every trace of German language songs in their tradition.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Wolfgang - a German song quest ?
From: MudGuard
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 08:43 AM

not Wolfgang, but Andreas ;-)

die Waltz --> auf der Waltz (yes, German is a difficult language)
(sometimes it is written without the t: Walz)

I have no knowledge of any such song.
And I could not find any info on it.

Perhaps one of the other German 'catters knows more...

MudGuard/Andreas (Munich,Germany)


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Subject: RE: Wolfgang - a German song quest ?
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 08:55 AM

A related question: did the word "waltz" predate the dance, and if so what did it mean? for example, did it mean "wandering round" or anything like that?


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Subject: RE: Wolfgang - a German song quest ?
From: Jeanie
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 10:04 AM

Greg - Yes, the main meaning of the German verb walzen is "to roll". In this context it is used in Modern German to describe industrial processes (e.g. Walzwerk = rolling mill). Secondary meanings are "to dance the waltz" and "to hike, tramp, wander".

Modern German verb walzen derives from Middle High German walzen and Late Old High German walzan, with the meaning of "to roll, rotate".

Back later if I find out anything about Mechthild (presumably *not* the medieval nun from Magdeburg who wrote that beautiful music !) and slang meanings or any references to the song.

What an interesting question, Bob.
Bis spaeter !
- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Wolfgang - a German song quest ?
From: Jeanie
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 10:07 AM

Sorry, got Mechthild confused with Hildegard. Mechthild had the mystical experiences. Neither have anything to do with this song, anyway.
"Senior moment" appears to be over for the time being. Apologies !

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Wolfgang - a German song quest ?
From: Jeanie
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 10:36 AM

Have you come across this, yet, in your Walz, Bob ?
It certainly explains a lot:
Look here
for the German connections.

Auf Wiedersehen !
- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Wolfgang - a German song quest ?
From: Jeanie
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 01:00 PM

Lyrics, sound samples, details of songbooks and CDs, links, historical information about the traditional songs of the Wandergesellen are to be found here:

Der Schallerschacht

Fascinating stuff. You've set me off On the Walz as well, Bob.

Hope all this is of help.
- jeanie


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Subject: ADD: Auf der Walz (German folk song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 01:11 PM

Hi, Bob - a Google search for auf der Walz brings up lots of interesting information, all in German (click).

Auf der Walz

1. Kunde willst du talfen gehn,
Lass mich erst dein Fleppchen sehn,
Ach, wie ist das Walzen schön,
Wenn man brav kann talfen gehn.

2. Hier gibt's Geld und da gibt's Brot,
Gannefex hat keine Not,
Schiebt man in em Kaff hinein,
Hört man gleich die Kaffern schrein:

3. "Kunde, du musst weiter gehn,
Es waren heute da schon über zehn!"
Kunde, du darfst nicht verzagen,
Hat dich gleich der Butz beim Kragen.

4. Und steckt er dich wohl auch ein.
Bei Wasser und Brot ins Kittchen hinein,
Und das gibt eine schöne Geschicht,
Jetzt kommen wir vor's Landgericht.
Der Staatsanwalt platzt gleich heraus:
"Sechs Wochen mit dem Kerl ins Arbeitshaus."


Dieses Lied wird zur Melodie "Studio auf einer Reis" gesungen. In der letzten Strophe müssen die fünfte und sechste Zeile zum Refrain gesungen werden.
Spottlied auf die Vagabunden mit Wörtern aus dem Rotwelsch:
Kunde = Fahrender
walzen = vagabundieren
Fleppchen = Pasz
talfen = betteln
Gannefex = Ganove
schieben = gehen,
Kaff = Dorf
Kaffern = Dorfbewohner,
Butz = Polizei


From Das grosse Hausbuch der Volkslieder (Walter Hansen, 1978)

And of course, everybody knows how to sing "Studio auf einer Reis" [grin] - well, I learned it forty years ago, I think. I'll post a MIDI in due time, and may find inspiration to do a translation on a day when I'm not so busy and the weather isn't so herrlich. For those who can't wait, you'll find lyrics and a MIDI here (click). Doesn't sound like "Waltzing Matilda," and the lyrics don't correspond. Still, the connection with "auf der Walz" seems to make more sense than following the bouncing bag.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure how good I'd be at translating this. I saw "die Kaffern schrein" and pictured screaming beetles.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Wolfgang - a German song quest ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 02:05 PM

This (click) is about the best explanation I found of "die Walz." I suppose I ought to come up with a translation, so people can see that the Catholic Church and the U.S. Army didn't waste all their money when they tried to teach me German.
-Joe Offer-

Die Walz. Was ist das eigentlich?

Die Walz ist ein jahrhundertealtes Brauchtum, welches früher eine Notwendigkeit war, da nur der Meister werden konnte, der auch auf die Walz gegangen war. Anlaufstellen für die Reisenden waren damals die Zünfte. Diese hatten sich schon im Jahre 1200 begonnen zu bilden. Sie entstanden zuerst in den größeren Städten, wo das Handwerk eine immer größere Bedeutung erhielt. Meist waren mehrere Berufe in einer Zunft vereint. So bildeten z.B. die Zünfte der Zimmerleute, der Dachdecker und der Maurer feste Gemeinschaften. Damals wurde das Zunftwesen auch noch nicht nach Meister, Geselle und Lehrling getrennt. Dies geschah erst im 16. Jahrhundert. Da es hierbei zu unterschiedlichen Bestrebungen kam, bildeten sich die Gesellenschaften im Rahmen einer jeden Zunft heraus. Sie vertraten die Belange der Gesellen gegenüber den Meistern.


"The Walz" - what is that actually?

The Walz is a centuries-old custom. Previously, it was a requirement that those who wanted to become master tradesman had to have gone on "die Walz." At the time, the stopping points for the travelers were the guilds. These had already begun to form in the year 1200. The began first in the larger cities, where skilled hand labor had a greater meaning. Most of the time, several occupations were united together into one guild. For example, this is how the guilds of the carpenters, the roofing workers, and the bricklayers formed stable organizations. At the time, the guilds were not yet divided into apprentices, journeymen, and masters - this did not happen until the 16th century. As they developed into separate enterprises, the journeymen formed into the structure of a guild. They represented the interests of the journeymen as opposed to the interests of the masters.
OK, so it didn't tell the whole story and I'm too lazy to do a translation of the rest of the page. But the general idea was that as part of the process of becoming a master, craftsmen had to work in various guilds, traveling from one to the other. This page (click) tells the story better - and in English. An excerpt:
    the traditional Walz of the traveling journeyman - a period of at least three years and a day during which young artisans roam the world looking for temporary employment to gather experience in their crafts. Though custom demands that the Wandergesellen follow a set of strict rules - they may not enter a 50 km radius around their home town or remain in one place for more than three months - more and more people...are following the calling. An estimated 500 traveling journeymen, about 10% of them women, from some 30 crafts are currently on the move-almost twice as many as 10 years ago.
There's another interesting article about the Walz here (click). This is fascinating, Bob!
-Joe Offer-
    And despite my great respect for Wolfgang, I removed his name from the thread title and put something more pertinent to the song itself. I sent Personal messages to Bob and Wolfgang about the title change.


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 03:24 PM

So, is it at all conceivable that the Waltzing bit refers not to rolling round the country, but the rolled- up possessions?Could the word "waltz" posibly have had that sort of connotation a couple of hundred years ago in German? The English word "wallet" obviously springs to mind. with a similarly vague etymology: that may mean originally "a rolled up bundle" or "a bundle carried by a pilgrim rolling round the country", or so my dictionary suggests.
   I would love to see the phrase Waltzing matilda have a German origin, as I have this pet theory the tune is Austrian in origin. Dont quite see how the two would connect up with an Australian verse set to what is reputed to be a Scottish tune, but it is all very interesting.


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 03:56 PM

This one is all in German but Wolfgang and Andreas may help. Auf der Walz- Tradition of the Waltz. I have heard the expression in central Texas where there is a German colony established in ca. 1854 by the Prince of New Braunfels. The colony included professionals in several fields. One of the descendants was a Geology professor of mine.
Auf der Walz
Also try ZiHi index which lists other articles.


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 03:58 PM

Use the second link and click on the article "Die Tradition der Walz."


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 04:07 PM

According to my Langenscheidt, Auf der Walzen means "on the tramp." (Among other meanings). Walzen also means "to trundle."


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: Jeanie
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 04:46 PM

Do have a look at the reference I posted earlier:
THIS ONE
It's worth reading in full and explains "Auf der Walz" and the changing meaning of Mathilde, the (human) mattress !

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 01:18 AM

G'day,

Jeanie: Thanks for that reference - I have seen and heard the song Mrs Swaggy Joe that is alluded to in the start of the article. It was refered to me on a research request a decade or so back - It is a fabrication, largely from back-formation on the ecxpression and a limited understanding of the various meanings of "waltz".

The Harry Pearce conjecture I have read - and I think he has much of the origins of the expression right - but was wrong in theory of the composition of the song Waltzing Matida ... but he did not have access to the personal papers of the MacPherson family - and holograph copies of the tune and song handed out to Christina MacPherson's friends.

Mudguard: Thans for the correction of the der/die ... I was struggling with the German dictionary and must have got gender/number muddled. I was the only student at my high school to elect to study German ... so Herr Boder was stuck with looking after the library for the next four years - and I studied French and Latin! (A great pity, as German would have actually been useful in later years!)

Joe Ofer: Thanks for the Thread name change - it makes much more sense - and get many more erudite 'Catters involved. Thanks also for the links - but I have saved them to my 'C' drive and will have to plough through them with German dictionary in left hand!

I had best get back to the article on the National Library of Australia's new (pilot) Music Australia site, which will allow surfers to see and hear many of our seminal music pieces, along with their history ... and I'm (obviously) dealing with Waltzing Matilda as an example. I'll be back when the Mulga Wire looks a little more complete!

Regards to all,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 09:06 AM

As usual, I'm away from here for the weekend. I don't think I can add more to 'auf der Walz' than has already been posted.

But 'Metze' is an interesting word. Completely out of use today. It originally meant 'young unmarried woman' (maid?), later woman of disrepute, later whore or female lover of a priest.

I had often thought if 'Waltzing Mathilda' had something to do with the German 'auf der Walz' but I never yet had thought about the Mathilda/Metze connection

more (in German) at (second meaning of) Metze (much scrolling necessary)

If I find more at home, I'll post it here.

Wolfgang

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 09:53 PM

G'day Wolfgang,

I have a magazine to get to bed tonight ... then I can really turn my mind to the wealth of information that has been turned up by erudite 'Catters. Unfortunately for me, this is going to involve a bit of dubious 'glossing' with German dictionary in one hand and pencil in the other. (As I remarked above, my high school did not deliver the promised German course, back in 1957, due to a total lack of anybody else wanting to study German.)

Anyway, there seems to be a lot to be learned - then back to the (German-speaking) experts.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 10:19 PM

I mentioned use of the expression "on the waltz" in Texas. There is a Texas-based 1000 mile motorcycle race every year to some little known spot.
The Cowboy Junkies applied the name Waltz Across America to one of their albums.
I can't trust my German to translate the article by Mareike Schaal "Auf der Walz," to which I gave a link (above)"ZiHi index," but it may have some useful information. You ought to be able to turn up a professor of German who can help.


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 11:14 PM

G'day Guest,Q,

I gather there was a strong German presence in Texas - reflected in the accordion / polka preferences in Tex-Mex music. (That said, there was probably a higher percentage of German migration to the Us than Australia - or ours changed their names more readily, as Germanic names are less common here, despite quite a lot of Germanic groups coming out here as political / economic / religious / ethnic refugees, as Bismarck conquered their separate duchies, city states &c.)

Anyway, I am currently chasing festival information from the organisers of the Gulgong New Year Revels (my Monday Night Music Workshop will be running a program there) ... and the contact I need to make is with Bob Campbell - the Festival organiser ... and a high school German teacher. Once I get hold of him - I might see what he cam make of the German language sites. Bob visits Germany and performs Australian and Irish/Celtic music there regularly, so his colloquial German should be pretty good.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 11:16 PM

Mostly nonsense here, in connection with "On the Beach," but Mathilda is defined as "Mighty Battle Maiden." The story also notes that without the 1894 Shearer's Strike" there would be no "Waltzing Matilda." I think these ideas came from Dennis O'Keefe. Looks like there are multiple theories out there.

Take a look at all these songs from this "Schallerbuch vom Schallersschacht zu Harburg." Schallerschacht
These concern mining apprentices, etc. I found it by going through "Auf der Walz" on Google.
Lots of stuff out there, needs someone knowledgeable to sort it and blow out the chaff.


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 03:55 AM

G'day GUEST,Q,

Yes - Dennis does take off on some individual tacks. That's what led to the split with Richard Magoffin (whose '70-'90s research underlies a lot of the clarity that has been brough to the evolution of the song, itself) ... who did not want to uncover 'Banjo' Paterson's philadering!

There are a few details and specific on which Dennis and I agree to differ ... none really important to the "Germanic" background. I think it is drawing a very long bow to start ascribing too much political interpretation to the mythic backgrounds - but it does illuminate the beliefs and customs of a very important group that contribute much to Australian culture.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 01:58 PM

The Germans who came to Texas didn't contribute to a well-known single song, but their gesangvereins are still strong, particularly the one at Austin, Texas. Spent many an hour in the adjacent beer garten drinking black beer. A large steak tartare with a raw egg was seventy-five cents (student days). German word order still occasionally shows up in conversations in the central Texas area as well as phrases like "on the waltz." In centers like New Braunfels, they preserve their culture.


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: toadfrog
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 09:42 PM

Thanks for all the information! This is one of those few real,informative music threads people are so nostalgic for! I had not even known that significant numbers of Germans went out to Australia, so I, personally have nothing else to add. Sorry about that.


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 10:03 PM

G'day Toadfrog,

There were quite a lot of Germans coming to Australia in the 19th century, for the reasons I mention above. The town where John Meredith, one of our pioneer collectors, was born and raised was known as "Germantown" ... until August 1914! Many Germans, with far more loyalty to Australia than to the country their (grand)parents had fled, promptly changed their names to more "English" versions ... and, because they no longer spoke German, even at home, their old songs mostly vanished.

Another influx of Germans, and German-speaking Europeans, was after WW II - especially when labourers and tradesman were recruited for the Snowy Mts Hydro Scheme. Many of the early Hydro camps had bilingual notices: English/German! I could certainly have made good use of the German education, of which I was cheated by general Australian Anglophony, in the years I worked on Hydro schemes.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 05:19 AM

A little bit from a look into some dictionaries and etymology:

Metze: meant first 'maid' and then 'easy to get maid' or even whore. Even in my oldest dictionary (early last century) this word is marked as 'obsolete'. I have never heard it in my life and never read it in any text after 1900.

Metze was also in old times used as short for Mechthild (that comes from the old words 'maht' meaning might or power and 'hiltja' meaning fight. So the name means powerful in the fight. Mathilde is an alternative name for Mechthild. The use of Metze as short for Mathilde/Mechthild is very obsolete perhaps dying when Metze got a less innocent meaning (you wouldn't appreciate being called 'whore' for short, would you?).

Walz: The oldest wordmeaning seems to be Walze/wälzen. It is a cylindrical roll (traced to the old english 'wealte') and the verb means to roll, to turn over. In the second half of the 18th century it also got the meaning 'dancing with turning feet that scrape the floor' and became the name of a dance. In the 19th century, among travelling craftsmen, it got the meaning 'to stroll, to travel around, to roam', perhaps even linked to the English 'to walk', first in the verb 'walzen' (which then also meant 'dance a waltz'; today only: 'Walzer tanzen'), then in the expression 'auf der Walz(e) sein'.

A travelling tradesman (before setting down) would say about him 'ich bin auf der Walz'. BTW, he'd say it with proudness, the state of being 'auf der Walz' had nothing of the bad connotations that 'travellers' sometimes have in the English speaking world.

The only bad thing that was said about those travellers was that they promised more to young girls than they meant. But when was this behaviour viewed as negative?

I think, you have a strong case for the 'waltzing' part, Bob. I am less convinced for the 'Mathilda' part.

A pure fun thread. Thanks for making me think about these words.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 05:24 AM

Thanks, Wolfgang, for the "cylindrical roll" bit. As I posted earlier, I had a suspicion that the "waltzing" word could be connected to the blanket roll, just as much as the "Matilda". It may a coincidence, but it was "wallet" that made me suspicious.


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 08:20 AM

G'day Wolfgang - and Greg,

I think there is a fair amount of evidence coming out of this thread for some quite bawdy references to the 'swags' of the wandergesellen both by the name "Mathilda" and some ribald references to the furry leather covering of same.

These references were in some of the texts linked ... and I have not really organised the material, as i have just (finally ..!) got Mulga Wire away to the printers, for the December issue. Tomorrow Night, I hope to really pursue some of the German links (preferably not in German)!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Auf der Walz - a German song quest ?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Aug 06 - 06:30 PM

hi


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