I'm exasperatedly seeking the melody behind this scene in a BBC production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, starting here at the 1:04:18 mark. Singing more slowly, with a lilt, feels helpful. Incidentally it reminds me of Schubert's Der Müller und der Bach, but I think there's something else...

  • I can't identify any specific song but it sounds to me as an english folk song, most likely a drinking song. It's a rather simple melody, probably used in many different popular songs and variations. Exactly what information do you need? – José David Sep 16 '17 at 21:59
  • I have an interest in appropriation. I feel certain the melody is the same as Der Müller und der Bach, so I'm wondering what other work it is they're referring to/using. – Erick Verran Sep 16 '17 at 22:01
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    I don't think the question should be closed just because the link is dead. Aside from the relative timestamp from the video, the question stands alone with the source and the description is relatively clear to identify which song without the video. In fact, this question can be considered as a good music identification question since it has a clear description. – Andrew T. Jan 27 '20 at 8:01
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    @Brahadeesh the Google Books mentioned in the answer states "The tune used for the dog song was that of 'Carnival in Venice'. This... somewhat confirmed your link and the accepted answer... that aside, perhaps the question and the answer can still be improved. – Andrew T. Jan 27 '20 at 14:52

It is a folk melody often called Carnival of Venice when performed by classical musicians but perhaps better known as the nursery song My Hat, it Has Three Corners.

Page 125 from a book titled Beckett: Waiting for Godot by David Bradby confirms this by stating,

The tune used for the dog song was that of 'Carnival in Venice'.

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    Remarkable identification and research, Bob. I was trying to remember a portuguese children song with the same, or similar melody, but for the life of me, I couldn't. Thanks to your answer I could find it. It is a local adaptation of My Hat, It Has Three Corners, although coming from a long time ago (at least from my childhood some 50 years ago, but probably much before). – José David Sep 17 '17 at 21:02

Yes, I agree, the resemblance in the initial part of the melody is striking. But it's a rather simple melody (supported on very simple harmony too) that seem to me of folk/popular origin.

In the Corot production the song sounds to me like an English folks, probably a drinking song, but of course the way and language in which it is sung influence my perception.

Shubert did not usually used folk-tunes directly as source material, but folk inspired expression is much present in his melodies (see for example this excellent article).

I believe this type of melody, and even this specific melody (or parts of it), may appear in folk music from different countries. Check for example this tune from the Ozarks tradition in the US.

So though I can't identify the specific source for the Godot production, I find it more likely that both instances recur to popular/folk inspiration, than that someone in the BBC production had the idea to adapt the Shubert melody for this purpose (although it's not impossible, of course).

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