On "Polly Wolly Doodle" - (2018)   


This melody and its nonsense lyrics seems to have first appeared in New York City, performed by Dan Emmett's Virginia Minstrels in 1843. It was published in a Harvard song book in 1880, and thereafter found itself widely accepted  as quoted in Wilder's These Happy Golden Years from 1943, and other publications, with film versions and more modern artists taking up its jaunty silliness.


As to the nonsense:  "Oh I went down South for to see my Sal, / Singin' Polly Wolly Doodle all the day, /  For my Sal she was a spunky gal. / Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day."  Or "Oh a grasshopper sat on a railroad track / Singin' Polly Wolly Doodle all the day, /  Was a-pickin' his teeth with a carpet tack. / Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day."




This essay on the melody employs many turns as written-out ornamentation, and textural variety as well as octave displacements to extend and vary the work. A center section moves from the duple to triple meter with a small, compacted fugue as treatment of the shape of the tune, before returning to a final restatement of the melody.



5 pages, circa 5' 30" - an MP3 demo is here: 


The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano score.


On "Polly Wolly Doodle"