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Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Bluebird Bluebird Through My Window" (lyrics & playing instructions)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases the children's singing game "Bluebird Bluebird Through My Window" (also known as "Little Bird Little Bird Through My Window").

The content of this post is presented for recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to all those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

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EARLY LYRICS FOR THIS SONG
From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=158590
"Subject: Lyr Add: Little Bird, Little Bird
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 06:55 PM

This has been mentioned a couple of times here, but there hadn't been a thread on it. I know it as "Bluebird, Bluebird" or more commonly "Little Bird, Little Bird." Here are the lyrics I came up with for the Rise Again Songbook:

LITTLE BIRD, LITTLE BIRD

Little bird, little bird fly through my window (3x)
And buy molasses candy

Fly thru my window my sugar lump (2x)
And buy molasses candy

insert: chickadee, jaybird, whippoorwill, robin, bluebird, crow,
bobwhite, hummingbird

——trad. (Amer. play party song)*

Players join hands in a circle & raise their joined hands to form windows. One or more birds in the center go in & out the
windows. At "buy molasses candy" bird stops at another player, who then goes to the center.

In American Folk Songs for Children (Ruth Crawford Seeger). On Pete Seeger Birds, Beasts, Bugs, & Little Fishes (as "Fly thru My Window") & Eliz Mitchell You Are My Little Bird.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Little Bird, Little Bird
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 06:56 PM

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:

Bluebird

DESCRIPTION: "Here comes a [blue]bird through my window, Oh, Johnny, I'm tired! [or "Hey, diddle, hi dum, day"] ... Take a little dancer and hop through the garden ... Take a little partner, and pat him on the shoulder"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1903 (Newell)
KEYWORDS: playparty bird
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland) US(MW,SE)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Wolford, pp. 39-40=WolfordRev, p. 228, "Down in Jay Bird Town" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Lomax-Singing, "Little Bird, Go Through My Window" (1 text, 1 tune)
Opie-Game 97, "Bluebird" (1 text, 1 tune)
Newell, #51. "Blue-birds and Yellow-Birds" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Robert Ford, Children's Rhymes, Children's Games, Children's Songs, Children's Stories (Paisley, 1904 (2nd edition, "Digitized by Google")), p. 78, "The Blue Bird" (1 text)
Emelyn E. Gardner, "Some Play-Party Games in Michigan" in The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. XXXIII, No. 128 (Apr 1920 (available online by JSTOR)), #4 pp. 94-95, "Bluebird" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leah Rachel Clara Yoffie, "Three Generations of Children's Singing Games in St. Louis" in The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. LX, No. 235 (Jan 1947 (available online by JSTOR)), #49 p. 43 ("Here comes a bluebird through my window") (1 text)
Roud #7700
File: OpGa097"
-snip-
The "Traditional Ballad Index" entry for this song (in 2016) is http://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/OpGa097.html. This song is listed under the name "Little Bird Through My Window", but the title on the page is "Bluebird".

Here's information about the term "play party":
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Play_party_(U.S._traditional)
"A play party is a social event in which people gather to sing and dance. Play parties began in the 1830s in the United States as a route around strict religious practices banning dancing and the playing of musical instruments. The areas most influenced by the practice were the Southern and Midwestern parts of the United States. Folk songs, many of European and English origin, were used as means to give the attendants choreographed movements for each phrase. No instruments were played at the events, as they were banned by the religious movements of the area. Singing and clapping were used to convey each song. Because dancing was banned, the movements took on the quality of children's games. Though the performance of play parties dwindled in the 1950s, music educators use them as ways to incorporate music and dance in their classrooms.[1]

Some traditional examples of play-parties are: Skip to My Lou, Buffalo Gals, Bingo, Pop Goes the Weasel, Old Dan Tucker, Coffee Grows on White Oak Trees, Shoot the Buffalo, etc."

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LYRICS & GAME INSTRUCTIONS FOR ONE CONTEMPORARY VERSION OF THIS SONG
From http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=3382

BLUEBIRD BLUEBIRD (Circle Game)

Bluebird, bluebird through my window,
Bluebird, bluebird through my window,
Bluebird, bluebird come through my window,
Oh, Johnny, I am tired.

Take a little girl,
and tap her on the shoulders,
Take a little girl,
and tap her on the shoulders,
Take a little girl,
and tap her on the shoulders,
Oh, Johnny, I am tired!

Bluebird, bluebird through my window,
Bluebird, bluebird through my window,
Bluebird, bluebird come through my window,
Oh, Johnny, I am tired.

Take a little boy,
and tap him on the shoulders,
Take a little boy,
and tap him on the shoulders,
Take a little boy,
and tap him on the shoulders,
Oh, Johnny, I am tired!

....

Game Instructions
Children stand in a circle holding hands high up in arches (to form the "windows" in the song). One kid is the "Blue Bird" who flies in and out of the arches or "windows". During the second verse, the "bird" chooses a partner by patting him/her on the shoulder. The second kid then follows holding the 1st kids shoulders while they pass through the "windows". Then game continues on until all the kids make a chain and there are only 2 children left forming an arch (or "window". They become the first two bluebirds in the next round.

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FEATURED VIDEOS
Example #1: Graduation 2011 - Bluebird Through My Window

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9qhlEpnMMs

Embedding disabled by request

HopSiEuPeAici, Uploaded on Jun 28, 2011
-snip-
Lyrics for this version: Bluebird bluebird, through my window (3x)
Oh! I am really tired"

Play instructions: At the beginning of this game, an adult calls out one child’s name and only that child only goes “through the window” (under the arms of other people forming the circle). At the end of the song, that child rejoins the circle (at any position in that circle), and the song begins with the same adult calling out another child’s name. Presumably, this continues until the adult judges that the group is getting tired of playing this game.

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Example #2: Nursery Rhymes - Blue Bird



onmirza's channel Uploaded on Nov 16, 2011

Nursery Rhymes - Blue Bird
-snip-
Lyrics for this computer animated short:
Bluebird , bluebird through my window (3x)
Oh Johnny, what a day
-snip-
Here are selected comments from this animated short's discussion thread:
Kalvin Cheeseborough, 2012
"what was the name of the tape this was from I remember this from when I was a kid and i want to find it for my two daughters but cant remember the name of the tape i only want this version"

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Reply
Zara Ahmed, 2012
"read with me"

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Antonio Green, 2012
"Can you please tell me were you got this again"

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Reply
Zara Ahmed, 2012
"read with me a disc with games and songs, i still have it but only work on win xp"

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Reply
Cristina Sartin, 2016
"Antonio Green
I bought this dvd set from Costco around 1996 for my daughter. Microsoft bought it out from the company and sold it to the schools to be used in kindergarten. I loaned out my set years ago and wish I could remember the titles of the dvd set."

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Example #3: Bluebird Through My Window Demo



Deborah K Oakes Published on Apr 24, 2013
-snip-
The lyrics to this song are the same as or very similar to those given in the mamalisa.com quote above.

Here's how this singing game was played:
The group forms a large circle. Each person forming the circle holds hands with the person on either side and then the group holds up both arms, forming an arch (a window).

The song begins and one designated person (DP) goes through each "window". When the group sings "take a girl and pat her on the shoulder", the DP randomly selects a girl and taps her on the shoulder. That girl then follows the DP under "through each window". When the group sings "take a boy and pat him on the shoulder", the DP randomly selects a boy and taps him on the shoulder. That boy then follows the girl and the DP. When that rendition of the song is over, the DP and the selected girl and boy form a new circle in the center of the first circle.

When the song begins again, the DP and those she or he had selected start the selection process again. This continues until everyone has been selected to follow the DP.

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Example #4: Rob Amchin—University of Louisville—"Bluebird" SInging game process



Robert Amchin, Published on Sep 30, 2013

My music education majors are learning singing games and how to incorporate Orff instruments (bordun accompaniment to a steady beat). This short lesson focuses on steady beat, pitch matching, and building community. There are many different versions of this primary age singing game.
-snip-
Here are selected comments from this video's discussion thread (The lyrics are given in the second comment)
ERIK SUYO BURGA, 2015
"hello..please could you write the title of the song ,please?"

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Reply
Robert Amchin, 2015
"+ERIK SUYO BURGA Bluebird bluebird through my window, (3 times) my molasses candy."

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Karoline Braten, 2015
"I'm a 1st year music teacher. I'm still learning what activities are good for each grade. What grade would you do this with?
Love your videos. They give me so many ideas while I do my lesson plans."

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Reply
Robert Amchin, 2015
"+Karoline Braten I did this with my Kindergarteners and 1st graders (young 1st graders). I wouldn't do that for older kids."

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Reply
Karoline Braten, 2016
"Thank you!"

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natanamoon, 2015
"I liked the use of the xylophones. I couldn't see from the video angle whether the students were playing particular intervals? Varying 2-note chords? Could you elaborate on that piece a bit?"

**
Reply
Robert Amchin, 2015
"We are playing a bordun (Tonic and dominant notes) to a steady beat."

**
Reply
Robert Amchin, 2015
"+natanamoon Sure... they are playing a bordun (C and G--open fifth) and the instrument is in the center of the circle where a student is playing. Eventually I add a few more instruments into the center."

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Example #5: Bluebird Through My Window-Kids song-青い鳥の歌



Mother Goose Published on Sep 12, 2015

[Lyrics for this version of] Bluebird Through My Window

Bluebird, bluebird, through my window,
Oh Johnny I’m tired

Red bird, red bird, through my window
Oh Johnny I’m tired

Yellow bird, yellow bird, through my window
Oh Johnny I’m tired

Purple bird, purple bird, through my window
Oh Johnny I’m tired
-snip-
The singer also says “Nite nite” at the end of each rendition.

This version of this song helps children learn their colors.

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