By Stewart Hendrickson
This column grew out of some summer foolishness. A
thread on the Mudcat.org titled “musical sentences” began:
“During a quiet spell in chat we started bandying about daft
sentences made up of tunes.” Starting with about five sentences
in that thread, I couldn’t resist adding some of my own.
And then I couldn’t stop! The rules are
simple, just use titles of tunes to make up sentences. They can be
outrageous or just plain daffy. Irish tunes are the best; you can just
list a bunch of titles and then mix and match.
The titles of Irish tunes have absolutely nothing to
do with the tunes. They are just devices for remembering tunes and
telling others what tunes you might play; much better than
“let’s play that tune I don’t know the name of but
which comes after that other tune, you know!”
Tunes associated with songs usually are named after
the song. But other tunes are named by something the composer
associates with the tune, such as where it was composed, what happened
at the time, or simply an outrageous title guaranteed to get
one’s attention and thus propagate the tune.
So here we go. Five of these sentences came from the
Mudcat.org, the rest I’ll have to take responsibility for (I
won’t tell you which!).
Step It Out
Molly, we’ll dance to Fagin's Jig
as they Smash The Windows at The Little Beggarman’s house in
Kildare Town, All In The Month Of May! The Little Beggarman took off
his Mason's Apron when he danced at Mairi's Wedding. And Hardiman The
Fiddler played the Kesh Jig while The Boys Of The Lough danced with The
Kiss Me Kate and
Strike The Gay Harp. Wink Her Aside
and offer A Fig For A Kiss. Behind The Haystack he Merrily Kissed The
Quaker’s Wife (or she Merrily Kissed The Quaker). Last Night's
Fun was Rolling In The Ryegrass with The Sligo Maid. Last Night’s
Fun became no Lark In The Morning.
I was Tripping Up
The Stairs to My Darling Asleep in
the room with The Dusty Windowsills as The Lark In The Morning whistled
Music For A Found Harmonium. Drowsy Maggie awoke on the Banks Of The
Bann as The Wandering Minstrel sang The Aaran Boat Song. If I Had
Maggie In The Woods we would take The Gravel Walks to The Banks Of
Lough Gowna where I Buried My Wife And Danced On Her Grave.
I took The
Jaunting Car to Take You Home Kathleen to
see your Irish Eyes Are Smiling when you talk to The Drunken Sailor.
O’Brien said it was The Devil In The
Kitchen, but it was only The Ass In The Graveyard. Although he was told
to Nail That Catfish To The Tree, Moses Hoed The Corn instead. Before
anyone could object, he was Done Gone.
The Maid Behind
The Bar and the Cook In The Kitchen
ran Off To California on a New Rigged Ship sailing Over The Ocean on
The Rolling Waves. The Ships Are Sailing in The Dingle Regatta past the
Sailor On The Rock.
My Ass Ran Away on
The Tar Road To Sligo as The Wild
Irishman chased the Rambling Pitchfork past The Lilting Banshee. The
Flowers Of Edinburgh were blooming in the New Mown Meadow as a Piper On
Horseback chased The Wee Rabbit up Spancil Hill.
The Pigeon On The
Gate flew Over The Moor To Maggie
as The Foxhunters chased The Old Grey Goose. The Cat That Ate The
Candle and The Fox On The Prowl ran through The Hole In The Hedge.
Billy In The
Lowground went Over The Waterfall and
found Angleline The Baker in The Crisis on the Craigs Of Tumbledown
Mountain. The Cat That Kittled In Jamie's Wig chased The Butterfly
along the Cliffs Of Moher while The Connaughtman’s Rambles took
him down The Road To Lisdoonvarna and then to Galway Bay and the island
Pony for A Trip To Durrow,”
said Lucy Campbell to The New Policeman. Rakish Paddy robbed The Bank
Of Ireland, but all he got was an Old Penny.
Landlady said Farewell To Whiskey as she
slid down Denis Murphy’s Slide to Welcome Whiskey Back Again.
Is It Tea You Want?” asked
The Wise Maid. Farewell To The Troubles Of The World, Pull The Knife
And Stick It Again.
My Mind Will Never
Be Easy with The Fly In The Pint
and The Eel In The Sink. Sailing Into Walpole's Marsh in Splendid
Isolation, My Love Is In America.
Kick The World
Before You, Some Say The Devil's
Dead, but The Scolding Wives Of Abertarf are not.
Bang Your Frog On
The Sofa, Flick It Up And Catch
It, and Wallop The Cat From Under The Table.
Tickle Her Leg
With The Barley Straw (or Get Up Old
Woman And Shake It), Old Hag You've Killed Me.
Tell Her I
Am The Wind That Shakes The Barley
or The Floating Crowbar.
Now it’s up to you to play this game and see
how many more you can add. Cheers!
Stewart Hendrickson is Chemistry
Professor Emeritus – St. Olaf College, Research Professor
Emeritus – University of Washington, and in his new career, an
unemployed folk musician (voice, fiddle, guitar;
http://www.stolaf.edu/people/hend/music.html ). Reprinted from the Victory
Review, October, 2006.