THE PLAY-PARTY IN INDIANA - online book

Folk-Songs and Games with Descriptive Introduction, Notes, Sheeet music & Lyrics

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106                       The Play-Party in Indiana.
homes on account of the persecutions which harassed them during Prince Charlie's time and began life anew in the wilderness of the Alleghenies."79
It seems probable that the children's game described by Mr. Newell (Games and Songs, p. 171) under the title "Charley over the Water" is a degraded form of the game which was, or which developed into our "Weevily Wheat."
Traces of English Influence in Play-Party Melodies.
The peculiarity of the second tune to "Weevily Wheat" calls for a brief study of the music of play-party songs, in general. I may say, at the outset, that after a rather extensive search in the folk-music of England, I have found that the tunes of the play-party songs have been so decidedly changed from their originals or the originals have in the meantime been so modified that the relation can seldom be detected. Of course, in "Round the Mulberry Bush" and "Itiskit" we have practically the same tunes as those which the English children sing, and the same is true of "King William was King James' Son" as the Misses Fuller sing it. There is also a similarity in the English and the American tunes to "London Bridge," "Sally Walker" and "The Jolly Miller," close enough to establish their connection. It is doubtless true that a large majority of the folk-tunes to the children's and young people's games in Indiana are of American origin or have become virtually so by the long process of re-composition by the singers.
Mr. Sharp in his scholarly book, "English Folk-Song, Some Conclusions," summarizes the results of his findings and these may well be noted in this study. We must remember that the
79 Gummere (Scottish Songs, vol. ii, p. 399) gives an old Jacobite song, "Over the Water to Charlie," whose first stanza bears a rather close resemblance to that of the play-party game given by Mrs. Jackson.
Come boat me ower, come row me ower,
Come, boat me ower to Charlie.
I'll gie John Ross another bawbee,
To ferry me ower to Charlie.
We'll ower the water and ower the sea,
We'll ower the water to Charlie.
Come weel, come woe, we'll gather and go,
And live and die wi' Charlie.
This possibility is perhaps strengthened by the fact that the dance is so similar to the Scotch and also by Mr. Gummere's statement (Scottish Songs, vol. I, p. 4) that "by far the greater part of these political (Jacobite) canticles are merely parodies and imitations of other songs." The evidence, however, is certainly not conclusive.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III