Who wrote "The Fiddler" and when?

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Christine Barnes

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Jun 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/17/96
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I'm trying to find who wrote the following song and when it was written.
It seems to have a German influence in the names Frankfurt am Main and
Walburgis (a German festival), but the tune sounds Elizabethan.


There once was a fiddler in Frankfurt am Main,
His back had a hump, but his fiddling was fine,
On the way to his house,
He crossed the square, he crossed the square,
A crowd of lovely ladies was gathering there.

You poor hunchback fiddler come play us a tune,
We promise to grant you a worthier spoon,
Play a polka or waltz,
So gay and bright, so gay and bright,
For we are celebrating Walburgis tonight.

The fiddler began how the fiddle did sing,
The ladies went dancing around in a ring,
When the fiddle had played,
The fine old chord, the fine old chord,
One lady said "Oh fiddler, come claim your reward"

She tapped on his shoulder and counted to ten,
The fiddler stood slender and tall once again,
"Oh, I'll fiddle no more",
Cried he with glee, cried he with glee,
"For now the pretty maids will go dancing with me."

Many thanks,
Christine.

*********************************************************************
Christine Barnes * Telephone: +61 6 201 5278
Faculty Liaison Librarian * Fax: +61 6 201 5068
University of Canberra Library * E-Mail: c...@isd.canberra.edu.au
*********************************************************************


Abby Sale

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Jun 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/20/96
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On Mon, 17 Jun 1996 12:07:16 +1000, Christine Barnes
<c...@libserver.canberra.edu.au> wrote:

>
>I'm trying to find who wrote the following song and when it was written.
>It seems to have a German influence in the names Frankfurt am Main and
>Walburgis (a German festival), but the tune sounds Elizabethan.

Please let me know what you find out on this. I'd bet at least 25 cents -
maybe even 50 cents - the song, or at least this version was written in
the last ten years. It seems too obvious a devil & witch thing to be an
old song.

Nicely worded though.

=========================================================================
I am Abby Sale - abby...@sundial.net

And I quote:
The real question for 1988 is whether we're going to go forward to
tomorrow or past to the -- to the back!
-- Vice President Dan Quayle
=========================================================================

Christine Barnes

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
to


I'm trying to find who wrote the following song and when it was written.
It seems to have a German influence in the names Frankfurt am Main and
Walburgis (a German festival), but the tune sounds Elizabethan.


There once lived a fiddler in Frankfurt am Main,

Christine Barnes

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
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For those who may be interested. I've found the music for this song.

The music was originally written by Johannes Brahms. The song was
originally in German and was translated into English by Harold Heiberg.

I'm still not sure when the song was written but my copy has a copyright
date of 1949, so it certainly isn't modern.

Chris.

Jack Dingler

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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Abby Sale wrote:
>
> On Mon, 17 Jun 1996 12:07:16 +1000, Christine Barnes
> <c...@libserver.canberra.edu.au> wrote:
>
> >
> >I'm trying to find who wrote the following song and when it was written.
> >It seems to have a German influence in the names Frankfurt am Main and
> >Walburgis (a German festival), but the tune sounds Elizabethan.
>
> Please let me know what you find out on this. I'd bet at least 25 cents -
> maybe even 50 cents - the song, or at least this version was written in
> the last ten years. It seems too obvious a devil & witch thing to be an
> old song.
>
> Nicely worded though.
>

I remember hearing this song from sometime in my childhood, but I can't place
exactly when or where. I was born in 63 so it must be older than ten years...

--
## If you're going to the store for bread, ##
## you might as well get milk too. ##
## <Popular Domestic Saying> ##
_ ___ ___ _
/ \/ \ Jack Dingler / \/ \
##=========(=)[| Dallas, Tx |](=)=========##
\_/\___/ JDin...@onramp.net \___/\_/

urap...@gmail.com

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Jan 17, 2013, 2:50:08 PM1/17/13
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lcdx...@gmail.com

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Sep 23, 2015, 7:33:49 PM9/23/15
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Yeah my famly has been singing this song since at least the 20's.

adventu...@gmail.com

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Jan 23, 2016, 2:49:58 AM1/23/16
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On Sunday, June 16, 1996 at 11:00:00 PM UTC-8, Christine Barnes wrote:
> I'm trying to find who wrote the following song and when it was written.
> It seems to have a German influence in the names Frankfurt am Main and
> Walburgis (a German festival), but the tune sounds Elizabethan.
>
>
> There once was a fiddler in Frankfurt am Main,
> His back had a hump, but his fiddling was fine,
> On the way to his house,
> He crossed the square, he crossed the square,
> A crowd of lovely ladies was gathering there.
>
> You poor hunchback fiddler come play us a tune,
> We promise to grant you a worthier spoon,
> Play a polka or waltz,
> So gay and bright, so gay and bright,
> For we are celebrating Walburgis tonight.
>
> The fiddler began how the fiddle did sing,
> The ladies went dancing around in a ring,
> When the fiddle had played,
> The fine old chord, the fine old chord,
> One lady said "Oh fiddler, come claim your reward"
>
> She tapped on his shoulder and counted to ten,
> The fiddler stood slender and tall once again,
> "Oh, I'll fiddle no more",
> Cried he with glee, cried he with glee,
> "For now the pretty maids will go dancing with me."
>
> Many thanks,
> Christine.
>
> *********************************************************************
> Christine Barnes * Telephone: +61 6 201 5278
> Faculty Liaison Librarian * Fax: +61 6 201 5068
> University of Canberra Library * E-Mail: c...@isd.canberra.edu.au
> *********************************************************************

apparently it was written by Johannes Brahms a very long time ago. When I was in high school in the 1950's I was in a madrigal group that sang this song and I still remember it very well. Your wording is exactly as we sang it. Elsewhere I have seen an English translation of the German that may be more accurate, but definitely less interesting. Since then I have worked up a violin accompaniment to go with it while keeping the focus on the words rather than the instrument. It is one of my favorite folk songs. Thanks for asking.

Clyde

Sto...@hotmail.com

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Feb 15, 2018, 2:10:04 PM2/15/18
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Hi, What is a "worthier spoon?" The correct lyric is "worthiest boon",also not "fine old chord", but "Final Chord". I'm sure Brahms would appreciate the correct lyrics.

cnef...@comcast.net

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Jun 26, 2018, 9:55:22 PM6/26/18
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On Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 2:10:04 PM UTC-5, Sto...@hotmail.com wrote:
> Hi, What is a "worthier spoon?" The correct lyric is "worthiest boon",also not "fine old chord", but "Final Chord". I'm sure Brahms would appreciate the correct lyrics.

Yes thank you. I was going to say exactly that. It is worthiest boon and final chord. My mother taught me the song in 1984. Her mother taught it to her in 1956.The exact square this fiddler crossed is The reconstructed Altstadt (Old Town), the site of Römerberg, a square that hosts an annual Christmas market.It can be searched in Google Maps today. am Main is pronounced like Mine and it is the name of the river beside it.

cnef...@comcast.net

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Jun 26, 2018, 10:03:55 PM6/26/18
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On Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 2:10:04 PM UTC-5, Sto...@hotmail.com wrote:
> Hi, What is a "worthier spoon?" The correct lyric is "worthiest boon",also not "fine old chord", but "Final Chord". I'm sure Brahms would appreciate the correct lyrics.

We promise to grant THEE the worthies boon....

How the fiddler did dance, how the fiddle did sing. The ladies went dancing around in a ring. When at last he had played the final chord, the final chord, one lady said oh fiddler, come, and claim your reward. She tapped on his shoulder and she counted to ten. The fiddler stood tall and handsome again.

Tanya Engesser

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May 29, 2021, 1:34:44 PMMay 29
to
On Thursday, June 20, 1996 at 2:00:00 AM UTC-5, Abby Sale wrote:
> On Mon, 17 Jun 1996 12:07:16 +1000, Christine Barnes
> <c...@libserver.canberra.edu.au> wrote:
> >
> >I'm trying to find who wrote the following song and when it was written.
> >It seems to have a German influence in the names Frankfurt am Main and
> >Walburgis (a German festival), but the tune sounds Elizabethan.
> Please let me know what you find out on this. I'd bet at least 25 cents -
> maybe even 50 cents - the song, or at least this version was written in
> the last ten years. It seems too obvious a devil & witch thing to be an
> old song.
> Nicely worded though.
> =========================================================================
> I am Abby Sale - abby...@sundial.net
> And I quote:
> The real question for 1988 is whether we're going to go forward to
> tomorrow or past to the -- to the back!
> -- Vice President Dan Quayle
> =========================================================================
I'll take that fifty cents ;~)
I remember singing this song in high school (graduated in 1983), and the sheet music was yellowed and frail at the time.

Victor Rutledge

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Jun 2, 2021, 1:08:55 PMJun 2
to
On Friday, June 21, 1996 at 2:00:00 AM UTC-5, Christine Barnes wrote:
> I'm trying to find who wrote the following song and when it was written.
> It seems to have a German influence in the names Frankfurt am Main and
> Walburgis (a German festival), but the tune sounds Elizabethan.
> There once lived a fiddler in Frankfurt am Main,
I performed this song in University, and that was 1975. The Professor told us it was from the middle ages, and he had known of it since before the Bolshevik revolution. It may have actually been written by Brahms but Professor Galanfy attributed it to Bartok, who had written "Three Hungarian Folk Songs" much earlier.
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