Tag Archives: tune

Irish Proverb

Text

“The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune”

Context

My informant heard this particular proverb from his Irish grandfather when he was visiting his grandparents’ house in the 1960s. This particular proverb’s meaning is fairly obvious, stating that oftentimes value and merit come with age and experience. My informant said that this proverb stuck out to him, even though he doesn’t remember the context it was originally used in and doesn’t remember the proverb being used often afterwards either. My informant likened this particular proverb to the common adage about how wine gets better the longer its stored, and told me that this Irish proverb means basically the same thing.

Analysis

I agree with my informant that this proverb brings forth similarities to the common adage about how an aged wine is better than a new wine. This proverb is pretty straightforward and explicit, and easily conveys the message it wants to get across. The fiddle is a common instrument in a lot of traditional Irish music, and thus it makes sense to me why an Irish proverb would utilise this particular object.

Batman Jingle Bells

Background

The informant is a freshman at USC and is originally from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. She is the roommate of a fellow informant and offered to be interviewed when I went to their apartment to conduct my interview. She has no specific religious affiliations nor does she identify with any ethnic subgroup within the United States. She is referred to as “BS”.

Context

I asked about any humorous jingles or tunes that the informant was aware of.

Content

“Jingle bells

Batman smells

Robin laid an egg

Batmobile lost its wheel

and the joker played ballet.”

I don’t know if that’s where it ends. Is that where it ends? Cause that’s all I remember- the kids singing it on the school bus. School bus was horrible.

Analysis

This rendition of Jingle Bells, using Batman characters, is fairly ubiquitous among children. The origins of it are unknown, but most kids know some version of it. I personally heard a different version, where the last line is “and the Joker got away”, but that is part of the essence of this tune being folkloric in origin – it doesn’t have one set of lyrics but has options. This tune is also demonstrative of the humor of children; they take things they’re aware of (Jingle Bells and Batman) and make it ridiculous. Jingle Bells is not the only song I’ve heard funny versions of – kids do it to all sorts of songs for fun. Children frequently begin to ridicule or joke about subjects they previously liked as a way to demonstrate their maturity; to show that they are old enough to find those “childish” things ridiculous.