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Origins: Yankee Doodle

DigiTrad:
BEAR CREEK BLUES
BUMP ME INTO PARLIAMENT
CHESTER
COLUMBUS' SONG
CONFEDERATE YANKEE DOODLE
FAIR AND FREE ELECTIONS
FLIGHT OF DOODLES
HARRISON BRADY
MONITOR AND MERRIMAC
NEW YANKEE DOODLE
SHANNON AND CHESAPEAKE
THE BATTLE OF THE NILE
THE RECESS
THE SHOEMAKER'S SONG
WORLD TURNED UPSIDEDOWN (BUTTERCUPS)
YANKEE DOODLE


Related threads:
Meaning: With the girls be handy? (75)
Lyr Req: Parody of Yankee Doodle Dandy (7)
(origins) Origins: Yankee Doodle - an old source (21)
Lyr Req: Civil war Yankee Doodle (13)
Bawdy Northumbrian 'Yankee Doodle' song (14)


Theresa 19 Nov 97 - 10:28 PM
Bruce O. 20 Nov 97 - 04:34 PM
Ricky Rackin 20 Nov 97 - 08:49 PM
Ricky Rackin 20 Nov 97 - 09:07 PM
Bert 21 Nov 97 - 02:21 PM
Jerry Friedman 22 Nov 97 - 01:28 PM
Bert 24 Nov 97 - 03:42 PM
24 Nov 97 - 09:42 PM
24 Nov 97 - 09:48 PM
24 Nov 97 - 09:49 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 25 Nov 97 - 09:41 PM
Bruce O. 25 Nov 97 - 10:04 PM
judy 26 Nov 97 - 11:14 AM
Bruce O. 26 Nov 97 - 12:01 PM
The Shambles 27 Jun 99 - 06:51 AM
Irene 27 Jun 99 - 02:19 PM
Dave Swan 27 Jun 99 - 05:27 PM
Walrus 28 Jun 99 - 02:45 PM
Barry Finn 28 Jun 99 - 09:57 PM
Ferrara 29 Jun 99 - 08:47 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 29 Apr 03 - 01:56 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 29 Apr 03 - 02:03 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 29 Apr 03 - 02:08 PM
Marc 29 Apr 03 - 09:52 PM
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Subject: Yankee Doodle
From: Theresa
Date: 19 Nov 97 - 10:28 PM

I was interested in the background/history of Yankee Doodle. I know that the song came from a old English nursery rhyme, "Lucy Locket lost her Pocket" and that there are several versions or the words out there. I would also like to know where to look for more info - books, web sites, people, etc. that could fill in the missing parts of the background for me.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Nov 97 - 04:34 PM

Here's a little about the song, assuming you want real facts instead of the usual romantic nonsense. Unfortunately, I've never collected together my various notes and tidbits gathered over the years in one place.

There are good notes scattered around various places. There is also a lot of pure crap, as for the 'Kitty Fisher' bit noted below, and probably the 'Lucy Locket' connection, also.

See factual discusion and fascimile copy of an American broadside copy of c 1775, "The Yankey's return from Camp", in 'Music in Colonial Massachusetts', II, p. 727, (Fig. 378) 1985. For other discussion of the song and tune see "Yankee Doodle" in the index to vol. I of the same work, 1980. This text has 15 verses of which 8 are more or less the same as the version in DT [I heartily recommend this work for a picture of song, dance and music in early America, with many early examples from rare printed works and manuscripts.]

I've misplaced my reference to an article by Frank Kidson, c 1915, in a journal, [Musical Quarterly?] that I once dug up in the Library of Congress. In it he suggested the 'doodle' came from 'diddling' or mouth music.

Also misplaced is my copy of a statement by a character in Royal Tyler's play 'The Contrast',N. Y., 1787 (first production date. Publication was about 1790. George Washington saw the production in Baltimore in 1788 or 89, and subscribed to purchase the printed edition, and the copy he got is the only one now known.) In the play one of the characters says, approximately, that he only knows 160 verses of "Yankee Doodle", but his Grannam knows them all. The earliest known published copy of the tune known is in the first volume of James Aird's 'A Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs', (I) p. 36, c 1778 (reissued 1782 with vol II). The tune is also in Dr. Samuel Arnold's 'Music... for Two to One', 1784. [G. Colman's play, whose compete text was published the following year.]

J. Rimbault in the 19th century said that "Yankee Doodle" was printed under the title "Fisher's Jig" in J. Walsh's 'Twenty four Country Dances for the Year 1750'. One book of American historical songs in my local library expands on this, saying that verses were sung in Cromwell's time (c 1650) and the tune was written in honor of Kitty Fisher. Kitty Fisher's time was the 1750's, not the 1650's. If the author had checked Walsh's dance collection he would have seen that there was no "Fisher's Jig" in it, nor any other tune in the collection with the slightest resemblance to "Yankee Doodle". [Copy of Walsh's Dances for 1750 in Library of Congress.]

One work by a reliable scholar that I haven't seen is Oscar George Theodore Sonneck, 'Report on "The Star Spangled Banner," "Hail Columbia," "America," "Yankee Doodle"' (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909.) Sonneck was Chief of the Music Division of the Library of Congress. Search the web for more on Sonneck. [After Wm. Grattan-Flood came up with some more nonsense about the origin of "To Anacreon in Heaven" (Star Spangled Banner tune) Sonneck issued another report on the latter in 1914.]


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Ricky Rackin
Date: 20 Nov 97 - 08:49 PM

Dandy set of words to this tune appear on the recently re-released "Tale Of Ale"

Blann's Beer

If you are sick 'twill make you hail

And put you in condition

A man that will drink Blann's good ale

Has need of no physician.

Cho: Blann's it is the beer for me

A pint of it so handy

It's as fine as any wine

And strong as any brandy

'Twill ease yer pain and warm yer brain

And drive out melancholy

A man that will drink Blann's good ale

He will be fat & jolly

The foreigners may praise their wines

'Tis only to deceive us

Would they come here and taste this beer

I'm sure they'd never leave us

The meagre French their thirst they quench

Vin muscatel [to show them??]

Give them a year of Blann's good beer

Their country would not know them

All you that have not tasted yet

It's time you set about it

No man with pence or common sense

Would ever be without it !!!!

I think of this as an 18th century beer commercial

Ricky


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Ricky Rackin
Date: 20 Nov 97 - 09:07 PM

SILLY me !!! It's ALREADY in the DT !!!!!

So solly, Max !!!


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Bert
Date: 21 Nov 97 - 02:21 PM

Hmmm, Interesting.

I seem to remember reading somewhere (was it in The Burl Ives Sing Book) that it came from a New York song of Dutch origin.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 22 Nov 97 - 01:28 PM

Well, the word Yankee is sometimes said to be of Dutch origin (though the WWWebster Dictionary says the origin is unknown).


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Bert
Date: 24 Nov 97 - 03:42 PM

I don't have a copy of the Burl Ives Song Book, someone BORROWED mine about a quarter of a century ago. But I seem to remember that he quoted a verse the went something like this....
Yanque dodel, yanque down
yanque dodel danther
yanque veedel vodel vown
botermilk und tanther.

Does anyone have a copy, so we can get it right??? My memory is not too good at the best of times and it's been a LONG 25 years.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From:
Date: 24 Nov 97 - 09:42 PM

There's nothing remotely similar to that in the song "Yankee Doodle" in my copy of the Burl Ives Song Book.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From:
Date: 24 Nov 97 - 09:48 PM

Correction: It's a single verse in the introduction to the section on songs of Colonial America.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From:
Date: 24 Nov 97 - 09:49 PM

Correction: It's a single verse in the introduction to the section on songs of Colonial America.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 25 Nov 97 - 09:41 PM

OED gives Janke, dim. of "John" used derisively, or an alternative possibility that it was a North American Indian mispronounciation of "English".

Incidently, I always thought that "Yankee" properly used only refered to Americans from New England.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Bruce O.
Date: 25 Nov 97 - 10:04 PM

Tim, Yours is close to that adopted in Encyclopedia Britanica, anly they take Janke to be a Dutch word. Burl Ives has Yengee as an Indian pronuciation of English. He adds another, a Cherokee word that he gives as eankke, which he says means coward and slave. Incidently Tim, Gows' publications seem to always have Niel, but outside the family Neil is also found.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: judy
Date: 26 Nov 97 - 11:14 AM

Bert, Here is the paragraphs that you were referring to. You did pretty good on pulling that out. It's amazing what we can remeber!

Burl Ives Songbook (Ballantine Books 50cents 1953):

This is the most famous song that originated in this war. Its tune was used in ensuing years for many political and social events. It never goes out of fashion. The exact origin of both the tune and the words is the subject of controversy. We know the tune was sung by the Cavaliers in the time of Charles II, to a text which ridiculed two fashionable courtesans of the day:

Lucky Locket lost her pocket, Kitty Fisher found it. Not a bit of money in it, Only binding round it.

We know the tune was and still is sung in Holland as a harvest song, to doggerel verse that refer to the harvester's pay: all the buttermilk they could drink and one tenth of the grain they reaped.

Yank Dudel, Dodel down, Diddle, dudel, lanther, Yanke vivor, vover vown, Botermilk und tanther

The word "doodle" refers traditionally to a dull-witted fellow. As for "yankee," one explanation is that the Indians, in trying to pronounce "english," got no closer than "Yengee." Another explanation comes from an officer in General Burgoyne's army, who wrote, "It is derived from a Cherokee word, eankke, which signifies coward and slave. This epithet, Yankee, was bestowed upon the residents of New England by Virginians for not assisting them in a war with the Cherokee.

Not the definitive historical source, I'm sure judy


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Bruce O.
Date: 26 Nov 97 - 12:01 PM

The Cavaliers time was essentially over when Charles II took the throne in 1660. Where is any 17th century copy of the tune? Where is any mention of these two famous courtesans? Lucy Lockit is a character in The Beggars Opera, 1728. Kitty Fisher's brief period of fame was in the 1750's. Neither could be construed as courtesans.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Jun 99 - 06:51 AM

I was going to start a thread, asking for the origin of Yankee Doodle and then I found this one. It is fasinating but I don't know if I am any the wiser after reading it.

Can anuone else help?


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Irene
Date: 27 Jun 99 - 02:19 PM

I just saw a very lively Yankee Doddle this morning. http://members.tripod.com/~snow19/blume/blume3.html I am at awe..


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Dave Swan
Date: 27 Jun 99 - 05:27 PM

Shambles, I am of no help in the origin of Y. Doodle, Esq. but let me highly recommend Blann's Beer as posted by Ricky Rackin 20 Nov 97. I was lucky enough to hear this played and sung by Ricky last Friday night. Ricky's interpretation is gentle and legato. Accompanied by his Colin Dipper English concertina it's the best. Hearing Ricky play and sing strongly renewed my desire to learn the concertina. Ricky is part of a band called Nauticus. If they come your way don't miss 'em. Cheers, D.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Walrus
Date: 28 Jun 99 - 02:45 PM

I'm afraid I can't add to the musical side of this thread except to point out that, at, or about the time of the AWI, it has been claoimed that it was traditional for British military bands to finish Yankee Doodle with a musical rasperry.

By the bye, in the "common" verse, mention is made of "Macaroni", In this context Macaroni was an 18th Century English pastiche of an Italian fashion (itself partly based on an English style) and was somewhat ornate. The verse therefore implies the naiivity of "Mr Doodle" (at least in fashion terms).

Regards

Walrus


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Barry Finn
Date: 28 Jun 99 - 09:57 PM

Hi Dave Swan, it's nice to hear your good words of Ricky. Before he was a Left Coaster (20 yrs ago) he was an East Coaster. I went west with him (we were both young men then) but only intended to stay breifly. We've only crossed, I think, 3 times since then, once a couple of years ago for a weekend at Mystic, rehashed alot of old material & tried out alot of new stuff on each other. It's quite a pleasure to hear well of him & if you come across him again pass on my reguards to an old friend & see if he'll come back to the 'Cat. Thanks, Barry Finn


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Ferrara
Date: 29 Jun 99 - 08:47 AM

Irene, the song you linked to is George M. Cohan's "Yankee Doodle Boy," not "Yankee Doodle." What she does is play Yankee Doodle first, then plays the tune to Yankee Doodle Boy. All the same -- what a neat person and what a neat site! -- I bookmarked her index of songs so I can get back there again. - Rita F


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 01:56 PM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 02:03 PM

A few links on the origins of Yankee Doodle:
What Are the Real Words to "Yankee Doodle"?
Songs and Oaths: Yankee Doodle
More on Yankee Doodle Origins
------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 02:08 PM

Don't forget the contemplator!


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Subject: RE: Yankee Doodle
From: Marc
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 09:52 PM

Actually I wanted to bring this question up the last time this thread was up, but never got around to it. I play fife and drum music in northeastern US. This is not the battle reenactment presentation hobby that is popular today. It's more of a Town Band tradition that appears to really date back to the 1870's or '80's. So hear is my question. A small group of older f&d corps have a different B strain than what is the popular one today. They call it Betsy Baker, (when calling the tune-'Yankee w/Betsy Baker', or 'Modern Yankee'). Local lore has it that this is the real Yankee Doodle, the popular version being more recent. Although rhythmically the 2 tunes are vary similar, harmonically they differ. If you end the A strain on the tonic,or 1, ( Key of D , you play a D). In the familiar (modern)version you'd start the B strain by going down to the submediant, or 6, (key of D, Play B), thereby placing you in either a IV chord, or vi chord. Now with Betsy Baker, one goes up to the dominant, 5,( key of D, play A), definitely V chord. Making for an entirely different feeling tune. Did that make any sense? Can anyone shed any light on the betsy baker ending?


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