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The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

And on his farm, he had a laptop

Upon reflection, it's actually kind of funny that Evan doesn't know any of his animal sounds yet, given his current preoccupation with Old McDonald. It's a popular duet in our house these days -- Julia sings the verses and Evan chimes in with a cheerful "E-I-E-I" (he rarely adds the O, so Julia does it for him). The game never fails to distract and entertain him. Yesterday, when he he saw an episode of Sesame Street with Old McDonald on it, he even ran gleefully over to the TV screaming "E-I-E-I!"

This is one of those cute kid things that a more diligent mother would probably get on tape. At least I've bothered to blog it for posterity, I suppose. But the real reason I'm writing about it is that I'm in search of information. I've Googled every search request I can think of in an effort to figure out the origin of the lyrics to this song, but I've had no luck. I'm wildly curious where the heck E-I-E-I-O came from. Can anyone enlighten me?

3 Comments:

At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Gretchen C. said...

You are an evil, evil woman, and if I lose my job because I just spent a freakin' hour I definitely cannot spare searching for this information, then YOU can explain that to my husband. (And no, I still don't know. Plenty about nursery rhyme origin, but Old MacDonald evidently isn't considered a nursery rhyme; it's more of a . . . folk song?)

 
At 7:50 PM, Blogger chichimama said...

OK, I'm a nerd. I cannot guarantee that this is accurate as it is a best guess, but the first prime minister of Canada, who was a somewhat contentious individual, was John MacDonald, and he was originally a farmer. So perhaps it was a political dig at him? The late 1800's was a time that polictical folk songs were rather popular.... But again, don't quote me on this one.

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger Cady said...

Rebecca,
Hello! I am a grad student at BYU and a fan of your blog. At BYU the have something called the 100 hour board where you can ask questions and they will get you the answer within 100 hours...well, I asked your EIEIO question and here is the answer they gave me....hope it helps:)

"I've actually looked for this, a little bit, in the course of various searches over the past twenty years. I can tell you that "hey ho," often spelled "heigh ho," is a sad sigh (Elizabethan), and "i-o-i-o-i-o" (as in the Christmas Carol "Ding dong merrily on high") is a jubilant exclamation, and "i-o! i-o! i-o! i-o! i-o!" (in Carmina Burana) are medieval German hiccups. And Bo-Peep is related to peek-a-boo (through an Elizabethan game involving a mask called a Bo-Peeper). Having actually thought about this, I concluded that e-i-e-i-o is a cheery American folk sound, somewhere between "fa-la-la-la-la" (which comes from Renaissance Italy via Elizabethan England) and "woo-hoo!" and "yow!" and "Ya-hooo!" It's also vaguely yodel-related.

Or it *could* be imitating a fiddle -- think of the square-dancey feel of a foot-stomping rendition of "Old McDonald." (http://listserv.dom.edu/cgi-bi...)"

 

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