The History of the Tune “Go tell Aunt Rhody" Around the World

imageWritten by Sadao Mazuka in Japan.

The tune to “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” comes from Europe in the 18th century.  It has travelled all over the globe, from France, to the US, to Japan.  Here’s a breakdown of the route it’s taken…

1752 (France) – Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau composed the original tune to “Go Tell Aunt Rhody”.  Rousseau’s tune was written for his one-act opera Le devin du village (“The Village Soothsayer”).  It can be found in Scene 8 – “Pantomime”.   You can hear it in the video below at 2:01.

1773 (England) – A version of the tune can be heard in the hymn Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessingby British theologian, pastor and hymn-writer John Fawcett (1740 – 1817).  It’s one of the tunes used for this hymn – Sicilian Mariners is the other tune.

You can hear the version of this hymn with the tune of “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” in the video below.

Around 1812 (England) – Johann Baptist Cramer published the tune as a piano etude called “Rousseau’s Dream”.  You can hear it below.

Around 1840 (Germany) – The tune was used for education in Kindergarten.  In this version of the tune, it was called the “Greenville Hymn”.

(Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel; world first founder of Kindergarten)

Around 1850? (USA) – “Go Tell Aunt Rhody

1851 (England) – London; Used for a song of gymnastics in Kindergarten.  We believe this version of the tune was called the “Greenville Hymn”.

1872 (Japan) – Margaret Griffis introduced this tune in her education of Kindergarten. Margaret Clark Griffis (1838 – 1913) was the sister of American, William Elliot Griffis (1843 – 1928).

(Reference: “The Role of Margaret Griffis in Women’s Education during the Meiji Period in Japan”.)

1881 (Japan) – Used for a song called “Miwataseba” or “Looking Around (at the scenery)”.

1947 (Japan) – “Musunde Hiraite” ; mainly used in Kindergarten.

If anyone else knows of any songs around the world that use the tune to “Go Tell Aunt Rhody”, please share it with us in the comments below.  Thanks for sharing the time-line of “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” Sadao!

-Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 9:25 am and is filed under American Kids Songs, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, England, English, English Children's Songs, Folk Songs, France, German, Germany, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Japan, Japanese, Japanese Folk Songs, Languages, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

13 Responses to “The History of the Tune “Go tell Aunt Rhody" Around the World”

  1. Lisa Says:

    There’s a Czech folk song with the “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” tune. It’s called “Růžička” (Rose). You can listen to it and find the lyrics here.

  2. Monique Says:

    The beginning of the tune reminds me of a song from my early teens called Dis-lui que j’en rêve by French singer Johnny Hallyday. The French song tune is from a song by Bobby Darrin called Jailer Bring Me Water.

  3. richardln2 Says:

    I was just listening to some Christmas music, and lo and behold, I hear the “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” tune. The music was set to words by Isaac Watts (1674-1748) called “A Cradle Hymn ( http://www.bartleby.com/101/435.html ). The “song” doesn’t use all the verses from the Watts’ hymn. An example can be heard here ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz8r92QLfHI ).

  4. Lisa Says:

    That interesting to learn Richard! Thanks for sharing that info.

  5. jorge Says:

    The trailer of Resident Evil 7 has this song.

  6. Denis Komoda Says:

    Check Burl Ives version on YouTube!

    I was googling the history of this tune, and found both this very folkish american version and your very interesting website!

    Thank you for the informations!

  7. Robert Blanda Says:

    There is yet another czech song with the same tune: Jo, třešně zrály (Yeah, cherries ripen) you may watch it here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MggET0oSB8o

  8. Anne Says:

    The Norwegian Hymn Milde Jesus Dine Hender builds on the same tune
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkQwXp8IupE

  9. Gregory Says:

    Im pretty sure its also the Doppio movimento section of Copeland’s Appalachian Spring

  10. Autumn Says:

    An artist named Jordan Reynes (I think that’s her name) made a twisted cover of Go Tell Aunt Rhody for the game Resident Evil 7. It plays in the intro for the game.

  11. Hellight Says:

    Now, a lot of people will apper telliing that this music is used in RE7…

  12. DonH Says:

    I think this song is related.
    http://gaither.com/news/“go-tell-it-mountain”-story-behind-song

  13. rog Says:

    Who penned the words as we have them now?

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