page contents
 


Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Songs


"As we sing the songs,... we find the principal note in them to be humor—the earthy humor of a farming people close to nature. The songs deal with the chief events of life in a farming community—birth, courtship, marriage, family life, the ups and downs of married life—including a few humorous side-glances at mother-in-laws—and of course, the all-important farming.... So we have secular or 'worldly' songs, and religious songs—for the Pennsylvania Dutchman strikes a neat balance between the sacred and the secular. This balance is borne out by the familiar lines: Beede, Schaffe, guder Muth—Macht in der Welt ya alles gut! Which being interpreted, means—and here is the Pennsylvania Dutch philosophy of life in a nutshell—'Religion, hard work, and good humor work together to make life worthwhile. Who but a Pennsylvania Dutchman would have said, in promising a favor to a friend, 'Ya, ich duh's, wann's Gottes Wille iss un der Suss recht.'—'Yes, I'll do it, if it's God's will that I do it—and if it's all right with my wife'.... The Pennsylvania Dutchman prefers the humorous songs, the merry ones, yes, even the risque ones that serve as safety valves against his being scalded with the pent-up steam of the sober everyday round of living and working on the farm. The Dutchman likes to sing, and whenever two or three are gathered together, at a party, in the tavern, or in the home, a song session, a 'sing,' is often the result."

Songs along the Mahantongo: Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Songs

gathered and edited by Walter E. Boyer, Albert F. Buffington, and Don Yoder (1964)


Songs from the Campground

Songs of American Life

Songs of Childhood

Songs of Courtship and Marriage

Songs of the Snitzing Party

Songs of the Tavern

Songs on the Farm


Leave a comment:

  •