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Wynken, Blynken and Nod

A Dutch Lullaby



Author: Eugene Field 1850-1895

Composer: Merv Rowley 2007





Our 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.


This 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 title Dutch 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 forms.


Upon 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”.


Our 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.


Your 1-3-5 Team




Historical links:












Music files for download:   


Wynken.pdf  - PDF music file


Wynken.mid - MIDI file (this will sound better than the TablEdit file, as the "fill notes" have been softened)


 Wynken.tef TablEdit file


Wynken, Blynken & Nod.pdf - The Poem / song lyrics


  Click to go to the TablEdit website and download their free demo version

If you do not have the Tabledit program, please click on the TablEdit banner to download a free .tef reader program.  It includes the ability to play this song at a slower speed (great for learning). TablEdit is a program for creating, editing, printing and listening to tablature and sheet music (standard notation) for fretted, stringed instruments.

  Click here to download a free version of Adobe Reader

Adobe® Reader® is a free software for viewing and printing Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

  Our PDF music files are produced from music created with Finale® notation software.


Our .MIDI music files are produced by TablEdit notation software.





This website is brought to you by Merv Rowley,
Ruth Randle, Elizabeth DiPietri, Suzanne Campling and Gail West
Please email gwest1955@aol.com with any website questions, broken links, etc.
Copyright © 2006 GMW MarketingPLUS