Whistle, daughter, whistle

Music: Trad. arr. Douglas Cook. Words: Trad. Anon
performance time approx 1m 45s
Range S: d' – f'' / A: a – d'' / T: d – g' / B: F – d'
Price code: B
Complexity: **

See a perusal copy of the music.
Hear a synthesized rendering
This is a fun piece about a young girl who is impatient to get married. Her mother preaches caution, and holds out the prospect of owning sheep and cows instead, but this doesn't go down very well with the daughter. All ends well when the mother capitulates.

The arrangement gives the mother's lines to the Altos and the daughter's lines to the Sopranos. It can work very well with soloists playing the parts of mother and daughter, in which case the other soprano and alto voices join the accompanying 'ah's etc.

A great piece for a moment of levity in your concert.


'Mother I long to get married, I long to be a bride,
I long to be with that young man, for ever by his side,
For ever by his side, o how happy I should be,
For I'm young and merry and o so weary of my virginity'.

'Daughter, I was twenty before that I was wooed,
And many a long and lonesome mile I carried my maidenhood'.
'Oh mother that may well be but it's not the case with me,
For I'm young and merry and o so weary of my virginity!'

'Whistle, daughter, whistle and you shall have a sheep'.
'I cannot whistle mother, but I can sadly weep.
My maidenhood does grieve me, it fills my heart with fear,
For it is a burden, a heavy burden, it's more than I can bear'.

'Whistle, daughter, whistle and you shall have a cow'.
'I cannot whistle mother, indeed I know not how.
My maidenhood does grieve me, it fills my heart with fear,
For it is a burden, a heavy burden, it's more than I can bear'.

'Whistle, daughter, whistle and you shall have a man'.
( … whistles … ) 'You see how well I can!'
'You saucy impudent jade, what makes you whistle now?'
'Oh, I'd rather whistle for a man than either sheep or cow!'

Traditional English

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