Blynken and Nod
Eugene Field 1850-1895
French Canadian folk song for May, Partons, la mer
est belle (now available in our archives) took a good deal of background research.
For one thing, we needed to learn what kind of fishing
would be done at night, as described in the text of that
song. Our friend and colleague, Marc Mathieu, went
directly to local sources to find the answer….herring!
It turns out that the Atlantic herring (clupius harengus)
is one of the most abundant food fish found anywhere,
particularly in the cold coastal waters off the Maritime
Provinces. A link below tells you all you may wish to
know on that subject.
discovery rang a bell with Ruth, who remembered a
favorite childhood poem about a mythical sailing trip by
three small fishermen sailing the skies in a wooden
shoe, trying to catch “herring” stars in a gold and
silver net. The poem, of course, was Wynken, Blynken
and Nod. Written by the poet Eugene Field
(1850-1895), this classic child’s poem also bears the
Lullaby. As shown in the links below, it has been commemorated many
times and in many places across the nation by statues
(as shown in the postcard picture above) and other
rediscovering the enchantment of this poem, with its
endearing qualities as a lullaby, Merv decided to set it
to music, as offered here in our July tablature
selection. Apparently, several other versions of music
also exist. One was composed by Ethelbert Nevin, the
classical musician who also composed Mighty
Lak a Rose and
My Rosary. The well-known dulcimer player,
Kevin Roth also has a CD containing his version of “Wynken”.
version, written in D-F#-A, is intended to be played and
sung as a lullaby. It uses a number of color chords such
as Ebdim, E7, B7, F#7 and D(b5), together with major and
minor chords, to create a dreamy tale of fantasy.
We hope you enjoy playing it..
Playing Hint: This
musical composition takes advantage of the vertical
“stacking” of chords within all 1-3-5 tunings. Even
the “color chords” are easy to play, once finger
positions become familiar. In measure 36, however, we
have the challenge of playing a 0/1/5 chord (Db5). For
those whose fingers just won’t stretch that far, we
suggest substituting the chord 4/5/5 (an Ebdim) used
elsewhere in the arrangement.
Music files for download:
PDF music file
Wynken.mid - MIDI file (this
will sound better than the TablEdit file, as the
"fill notes" have been softened)
Blynken & Nod.pdf - The Poem / song lyrics