MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Tree on a Hill
Mike Kent NFLD 1 Tape 10 Track 4
Cape Broyle Audio:
Cumulative song

Upon this hill they are a tree,
A very fine tree and a curious tree,
The tree on the limb and the limb on the tree,
And the tree on the limb and the hill there still,
And forever will you,
Oh my handsome curious tree.

On this limb they are a nest ,
A very fine nest and a curious nest,
The nest on the limb and the limb on the tree,
And the tree on the hill and the hill there still,
And forever will he,
Oh, my handsome curious tree .

In this nest they are a egg ,
A very fine egg and a curious egg,
The egg on the nest and the nest on the limb,
And the limb on the tree and the tree on the hill,
And the hill there still and forever will he,
Oh, my handsome curious tree.

In this egg they are a bird,
A very fine bird and a curious bird,
The bird in the egg and the egg in the nest . etc.

On this bird they are a feather,
A very fine feather and a curious feather,
A feather on the bird and the bird in the egg etc.

On this feather they are a down,
A very fine down and a curious down,
The down on the feather and the feather on the bird. etc.

On this tree they are a root,
A very fine root and a curious root,
The root on the tree and the down on the feather. etc.

(laughter)


Notes

Sources: cf. Mercer 188 "Tree in the Wood"; alternative title is "The Rattling Bog"; recorded by the Irish Descendants.

History:

Text notes: A cumulative song, becoming ever more detailed. The way in which details unfold might be compared to "Upside Down Story," another cumulative song collected by Leach from Theresa White of Port au Port.

Tune notes: The first phrase is repeated. Then the cumulative details are recited on a single pitch (the tonal centre), and a higher final phrase forms the cadence. Hence, the form could be represented "aab(cumulative)c." Major key in 4/4 metre.

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