Saturday, 29 March 2014

Mama Ponders: A degree in Nursery Rhymes?

Having spent the past year revisiting Nursery Rhymes and singing them with an 'Adult's' perspective, I have become interested in the origins of nursery rhymes.

Seb preparing his dissertation on Nursery Rhymes
 
I haven't looked into any backgrounds yet, but thought wouldn't it be cool to do a post grad module in Nursery Rhymes for either an English Literature or Sociology degree?

I come from a moderately socialist background and that attracted me to study English Literature as that in the main focuses on the language and modes an author uses to explain what is happening around them. From reading, for example, a romantic piece written in the 19th Century, we can often grasp what life was like and take note of the political and social climate in the background, giving a rounder context to the story.

I'm no scholar (yet) in nursery rhymes, but some seem to be quite depressing and use cheerful melodies to disguise the gravity of despair. For example, the famous 'Ring-a-ring-a-roses' which is talking about the bubonic plague where people sneezed (a tissue) then died (we all fall down), had their ashes spread in the water (ashes in the water, ashes in the sea) then the ascent to heaven (we all jump up with a 1,2,3). Sad!!!!!!

Other sad ones to check out are: 
Ladybird, Ladybird
Oranges and Lemons
Mary, Mary quite contrary (describing Mary I's method of torture to Protestants!)

Thanks God for 'Old MacDonald had a farm'!!

For any parents or nerds (or both) who want to understand a little more of what these songs mean, check out this channel on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/user/NurseryRhymeHistory

Love Mama x 😖😖