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Article "The Jumblies, Op. 68, No. 4" by Arthur Foote

The Jumblies (Op. 68, No. 4), 1908 by Arthur Foote
The Jumblies, Op. 68, No. 4, 1908. Arthur Foote, 1853-1937. Music Division, Library of Congress. Call number: M1552.F

Foote sets this humorous limerick by Edward Lear (1812-88) "Allegro giocoso." He chooses only the first and fourth stanzas of Lear's five-stanza poem. The music is scored in C minor, with a parenthesized note under the first measure, "preferably in C-sharp." Foote provides a dynamic scheme and articulations to capture the text's humor. "And when the sieve turned round and round, and ev'ry one cried 'you'll all be drowned,'" builds through a ritard to ff. The jumblies reply in C major, "Our sieve ain't big," then "subito ppp," "but we don't care a button, we don't care a fig, in a sieve we'll go to sea." Foote marks the end of that phrase "allargando" building to fff. He begins the fourth verse in a strophic fashion, but diverges to playfully set at greater length "O Timballoo! How happy we are, when we live in a sieve and a crockery jar." The men's voices sustain the nonsense word, which Foote modifies from Lear's original spelling, "Timballo," perhaps to achieve a more humorous effect. He concludes strophically in C major, fff, by repeating the last line of stanza four, "We sail away in the shade of the mountains brown." In the final phrase, Foote revoices the cadence to include a climactic high A in the soprano part.

About this Item


  • "The Jumblies, Op. 68, No. 4" by Arthur Foote


  • -  Foote, Arthur, 1853-1937
  • -  Progressive Era to New Era (1900-1929)
  • -  Songs and Music
  • -  Parlor and Concert Stage
  • -  Articles


  • article

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