What to say about

said: Nov 6, 2009
 1 posts

I have a recital tomorrow night and I am not sure what to tell the audience about the song? Any advice would be helpful.

I am playing “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” on the E and A string. (Violin)

Jennifer Visick said: Nov 7, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1076 posts

Who is your audience? —adults? children? some combination thereof?

I was going to post that there’s not a whole lot to say “about” Go Tell Aunt Rhody. It’s a folk song, it’s very short, it doesn’t modulate, it’s in ternary (ABA) form, and the “original” lyrics (so far as we can tell) are about a dead goose.

However, I searched google for “Go Tell Aunt Rhody Origin” and found The Traditional Ballad Index on the CSU Fresno website and saw that The entry for Go Tell Aunt Rhody contains some bits about its origin that I didn’t know and didn’t expect—including the idea that although in its “present” form it first seemed to appear (written down) in the early 1900’s in the US, a more complex version of this tune is found in a gavotte of an opera bouffe (comic opera) by Jean Jaques Rousseau from the 1700’s, in which a shepherdess dances to the tune without words.

Oh, and here’s a link to more than you probably need. If you read this to the audience they’d probably fall asleep before you ever got to playing the music:

You could say “this is a folk song with unusual roots… In the 1700’s a composer named Rousseau wrote this tune into one of his operas. Some people think that even he did not compose it, but heard it instead from gondoliers on the waters of Venice. In the opera, a shepherd girl dances to this tune. Many years after Rousseou wrote this opera, someone printed this tune by itself with a few very small changes to the notes… Eventually people began to put words to it, making a few more small changes along the way—and called it “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” (although sometimes the “Aunt” was named Patsy, or Nancy, or some other two -syllable name…). You might have also heard it under the name “The Old Grey Goose”.

Phew! I bet saying all that still takes longer than playing the actual song, though!

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