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Subject: Horsey horsey song in Dutch
(10 november 2019)


(22 februari 2020)


Hello,

Hopefully this gets through to you. My mother was from Antwerp. She would sing songs to my children and now they want to sing them to their children.

There is one song in particular which I hope you can help me with. It was a bit similar to 'Horsey horsey' in english.

Op op op mijn parcher
Messen vosser starcher
Messen copra vootche
Parcher an mijn zoetcher
Op op op op op op
Parcher en gallop (x2)

Does this seem familiar? Hope you can help, thank you,

Frank (England).





Answer     (24 februari 2020)


Dear Frank,

surely I can help you finding back this old song your mother sang. It was a very well-known children's song. I could even recognise it immediately in the phonetic spelling.

It is the song: 'Hop, hop, paardje, met je vossen staartje'. You can find over 80 variants of it in the Dutch Song Database. I'll write your phonetic version in nowadays Dutch at the end of the mail, with a translation.

In the Dutch Song Database:
liederenbank.nl/hophoppaardje

This song is a so called 'knee song'. The young child sits on the knees of an adult, mostly a (grand)father (faces towards each other). The adult moves his knees up and down, while singing, so the child 'hops' like sitting on a horse. Usually, on the last word, the adult lets the child 'fall' (between the knees) - of course while holding him firm by the hands or wrists.


I can understand how important these memories and songs from your/their childhood can be. And I know by experience it's very hard to find a song, when you only know the sound of it and you're not sure of the spelling.

I hope this helps you singing these songs again to your grandchildren. Now you know the spelling, you even can search further: there might be websites with even a closer version to what you remember.

I wish you very many happy hours with your grandchildren!

With kind regards,

Rozemarijn ('rosemary').

Dutch songs with English translation  (dutchsongs.overtuin.net)

---

Dutch:

Hop, hop, hop mijn paardje
Met je vossen staartje
Met je koperen voetjes
Paardje gaat zo zoetjes
Hop, hop, hop, hop, hop
Paardje in galop.


English translation:

Go, go, go my little horse
With your fox-coloured (red-brownish) little tail
With your copper little feet
Little horse goes so sweet (well-behaved)
Go, go, go, go, go
Little horse at full gallop.


Notice: in Dutch it's very common to make a diminutive by simply putting -je or -tje (or in Flemish: -ke) behind the word.

For example: child (kind - kindje) or song (lied - liedje); but even big things like: house (huis - huisje) or even the weather (weer - weertje, 'nice weather-tje today').

This is often used in above song: horse (paard - paardje); tail (staart - staartje), etc. So it doesn't mean the horse was small, it's more affective.





Answer     (25 februari 2020)


Rosemary,

thank you so much for your immediate reply. It was indeed the song I was looking for!

Musical memories seem so easy to retrieve from the back of your mind - so keep up your good work!

Thank you again for your help,

Frank.









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