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Children's song

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Children's song

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Children's songs may be nursery rhymes set to music or modern creations intended for entertainment or use in the home or education.


Earliest songs

There are no written records of children's songs until the 17th century. "Three Blind Mice" dates from about 1600, as does "Oranges and Lemons". In 1697 Charles Perrault published "Tales of Mother Goose" in French. In the eighteenth century the songs "Little Bo Peep" and "London Bridge is Falling Down" were written. There are some songs which might be survivals from the middle ages - "Jack and Jill" and "Who Killed Cock Robin?" but this can only be speculation. On the other hand "Bobby Shaftoe" and "Yankee Doodle" can be tied to a specific social period.

The nineteenth century

"Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" was written in the early nineteenth century. The great collectors of folk songs and fairy tales - Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) and the Brothers Grimm, also uncovered traditional children's songs. Halliwell published "Nursery Rhymes of England" in 1842 and "Popular Rhymes and Tales" in 1849. They are probably the two greatest collections of children's songs. Christmas carols are now the preserve of choirs and children, but were once sung by ordinary adults. Two notable nineteenth century collections were "Some Ancient Christmas Carols" by D Gilbert in 1822 and "Christmas Carols Old and New" by H Bramley in 1868. By the time of Sabine Baring-Gould's "A Book of Nursery Songs" (1895), folklore was an academic study, full of comments and foot-notes. A professional anthropologist, Andrew Lang (1844 - 1912) produced "The Nursery Rhyme Book" in 1897.

The twentieth century

The early years of the twentieth century are notable for the illustrations to children's books: Caldecott's Hey Diddle Diddle Picture Book (1909) and Arthur Rackham's Mother Goose (1913). A new item for the canon was "Teddy Bears Picnic". The lyrics were written by Jimmy Kennedy in 1932 and the tune by British composer John William Bratton was from 1907. Walt Disney cartoons provided new children's favourites, especially from The Jungle Book and Mary Poppins. The Wizard of Oz (1939) generated several new perennials. As if to prove that children constantly adopt new songs, Iona and Peter Opie did some playground investigations, resulting in Lore and Language of Schoolchildren in 1960. Peggy Seeger made the best-known recordings of the classics with "American Folk Songs for Children" in 1955.

Selected discography

  • - Mike and Peggy Seeger - American Folk Songs for Children (1955)
  • - Isla St Clair - My Generation (2003)
  • - Broadside Band - Old English Nursery Rhymes
  • - Tim Hart and Friends - My Very Favourite Nursery Rhyme Record (1981)

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.