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Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, November 15, 2004

DOO DAH

Listening to the Disney tribute album “Stay Awake” tonight reminded me:

In the history of nonsense syllables in English lyric, in the large gap between Shakespeare’s “Hey nonny nonny” and 1950s doo-wop’s syllabic explosion there was:

Disney’s “Hi Diddley Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me),” which echoed Mother Goose’s “Hey diddle diddle”;

And, Mother Goose, dates undetermined, but probably for the most part post-dating Shakespeare;

And, improvised scat singing;

And, Disney’s “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”;

Which was a faux-Fosterian homage to Stephen Foster’s faux minstrelsy -- “Camptown Racers Sing this Song, Doo-dah, Doo-dah.”

Leaving aside Louis and Ella as vocal improvisations meant to be heard, not read (though transcriptions are fun to read), and leaving aside Mother Goose as a special case (“my godmother Goose,” Robert Frost called her), between Shakespeare and doo-wop we got Stephen Foster’s faux minstrelsy, and probably real minstrelsy as well. I don’t know enough to know, nor do I know enough to know whether the minstrel tradition would have taken it from existing African American practices or invented it. Question for further reading.


Comments:
Great blog, keep up the good work. Glad to see sites like this.

Here is another good site I said I would pass along.
Disney Cruise
Thanks
 
Hey, nice blog you've got here. :)
 
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