Pigs is pigs


Pigs is Pigs - (2009)    

Ellis Parker Butler

for medium voice and piano


I cannot draw a perfect pig
     But what is that to me?
Imperfect pigs do just as well
     Since Pigs is Pigs, you see.

Pigs is Pigs in China
     And Pigs is Pigs in Cork
But Pigs Ain't Pigs in frying pans
     Because there Pigs is Pork.

[ 1 page, circa 45" ]

Ellis Parker Butler


This text by American humorist Ellis Parker Butler is mentioned as "inscription ascribed to" the author, as it has appeared in many publications. Butler's little poem is his afterward to a story of the same name, Pigs is Pigs, published in American Magazine (September, 1905) as the original publication of the well-loved story, drawings by Will Crawford. Butler wrote humor for many American magazines over a forty year long career. Becoming a celebrity through his many stories, he would often sign an autograph with the additional line "Pigs is Pigs" and sometimes a wee caricature of a pig. 



In a recital or for simple amusement at a party, a short, disarming and unexpected "throw away" such as this can be useful. This silly setting comes to the dark conclusion that "pigs is pork," the grammar purposefully incorrect as a form of Americana patois. The setting ostensibly in C revolves around C major seven moving in succession -- as opposed to a progression in the sense which Schoenberg outlined in his Structural Functions of Harmony -- to E major seven and again E to F sharp major seven, the functional "dominant" being made from the tree of ninths as in measure 1 and 7. The melody's shape is enforced by the underlying harmonies.



The score for Pigs is Pigs 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-vocal score.


Pigs is Pigs