Yet another French song in The Nutcracker

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I don’t know how I could have left this out of my ‘borrowings in the Nutcracker’ posts. The opening tune of Mère Gigogne is the French nursery rhyme Giroflé girofla. The 6/8 tune in the middle just has to be a French song as well – I’m sure I found the source once, but I can’t find the details. If you know what it is, please add it in the comments.

For previous posts about borrowings in The Nutcracker (and a few other things like ‘what is a mirliton?) see the list below:

  • Mirlitons Jul 18, 2008 6:23 am One conundrum I missed out from the list earlier: I was passing Paul in the King’s Road the other day, when I noticed a plate of Mirlitons in the window.  Bearing in mind that Act II of The Nutcracker is all about sweets, and the other divertissements have names like coffee, chocolate, tea etc. why ...
  • Tchaikovsky’s Großvater Aug 26, 2008 6:52 am Tchaikovsky’s Großvater: two sources The source of Tchaikovsky’s Großvater (the “grandfather dance” in the party scene in Act 1 of The Nutcracker, and the tune that Schumann quotes in Carnaval and Papillons)  is usually given as a song called “Als der Großvater die Großmutter nahm…”  It took me a long time to find a source, and then I discovered ...
  • Musical surprises #4: There’s a cuckoo in the Nutcracker Dec 4, 2009 7:26 am Well, a toy one anyway. If you look at the instrumentation for The Nutcracker over at www.tchaikovsky-research.org  (possibly the best resource about any composer on the web), you’ll see that apart from the famous celesta in the Sugar Plum Fairy, Tchaikovsky also includes a toy trumpet, drums, cuckoo, quail and cymbals. Either I’ve been asleep ...
  • Musical surprises #5: Mirlitons are cakes Dec 5, 2009 9:08 am OK, so I’ve posted about this before, but hey it’s Christmas, and it’s still one of the great mysteries of musical life: why in the Kingdom of the Sweets in The Nutcracker do you get chocolate, coffee, ginger, sugar plums, and er….reed pipes? Although the mirliton is some kind of instrument (the nearest thing to ...
  • Musical surprises #13: The male variation in Sugar Plum was originally in C minor Dec 13, 2009 2:07 am Tchaikovsky has a reputation for  bringing high production values to the composition of ballet scores  by conceiving them architecturally and symphonically. But in practice, he’s as likely to borrow, copy and paste from himself as much as anyone else, if not more. He was perhaps a bit better at disguising the joins. For example, when the ...
  • At last: a picture of a mirliton Dec 21, 2011 7:42 am I can’t tell you how pleased I am about this: Here, on a site dedicated to the iconography of the bagpipe, are two pictures of mirlitons (scroll down to see them), placed as I have always suspected within the general category of kazoo-like instruments, in French termed “flûte eunuque, kazoo, mirliton ou bigophone”. ‘Danse des Bigophones’ has ...
  • The Steamboat, the Nutcracker and Cher Dumollet: Bon voyage and Happy Christmas Dec 25, 2011 9:47 am On Christmas day of all days, I’ve had possibly the most interesting comment ever posted on my blog with regard to the score of the Nutcracker. Jesse Kleinman has pointed out the similarity between what is normally cited as the source for the contredanse in Act 1 of Nutcracker  (Bon Voyage, Cher Dumollet) and the ...
  • Yet another third-party melody in The Nutcracker? May 10, 2012 10:59 pm Think of the scene in Nutcracker where all the guests go to bed, and in particular the tune in the bass that repeats and fragments until everyone’s gone. Then listen to this: and look at this: And now compare it with this: Coincidence, or borrowing?  In his article On Meaning in Nutcracker, Roland John Wiley remarks that there are more ...
  • On revolution in The Nutcracker and the limits of Google May 12, 2012 10:55 am French revolutionary musical borrowings in The Nutcracker —wny? As I said in my last post, where I think I’ve discovered a French counter-revolutionary song as a source for one of Tchaikovsky’s musical borrowings in The Nutcracker, I had a vague recollection of having read about the theory of Nutcracker being an allegory of the French Revolution.  Eventually, ...
  • More on borrowings in the Nutcracker May 18, 2012 4:22 pm I think most people know that Tchaikovsky got the theme for the Arabian from somewhere – a Georgian folk song or something like that. But it’s only thanks to a post from Lawrence Sisk on the Tchaikovsky research site forum that I came to know about Ippolitov-Ivanov’s use of the same theme in his berceuse in the ...
  • Yet another source for the Nutcracker party scene tune Sep 8, 2013 10:01 am It’s become something of a hobby, finding sources for the tunes in Tchaikovsky’s score for The Nutcracker. I thought I’d had all the surprises there were to be had when I discovered that the source for the tune of  the children’s galop in Act I was not only the French song Bon Voyage, Cher Dumollet, but also the New ...
  • Yet another French song in The Nutcracker Feb 16, 2014 10:28 am I don’t know how I could have left this out of my ‘borrowings in the Nutcracker’ posts. The opening tune of Mère Gigogne is the French nursery rhyme Giroflé girofla. The 6/8 tune in the middle just has to be a French song as well – I’m sure I found the source once, but I can’t find the details. ...
  • And ANOTHER French song in the Nutcracker Feb 17, 2014 10:22 am Remember yesterday I said that the middle (6/8) section of Mère Gigogne in The Nutcracker just ‘had to be’ a French song? Well, I’ve found it, thanks to a post by Jeanne on a homeschooling site.  It’s Cadet Rousselle a trois garçons. Like so many French songs, it’s got that weird long anacrusis (like the children’s ...
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