The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Pat A Pan

For Christmas

Version 1

Words and Music: Guillô, Pran Ton Tamborin, Bernard de la Monnoye, c. 1700 (1641-1728)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

 

(Source: William Sandys, 1833)
Translator Unknown

1. Willie, get your little drum,
Robin, bring your flute and come.
Aren’t they fun to play upon?
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan;
When you play your fife and drum,
How can anyone be glum?

2. When the men of olden days
Gave the King of Kings their praise,
They had pipes to play upon.
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan;
And also the drums they’d play,
Full of joy, on Christmas Day.

3. God and man today become
Closely joined as flute and drum.
Let the joyous tune play on!
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan;
As the instruments you play,
We will sing, this Christmas Day.

English Translations on this Site:

See A Garritan Community Christmas for MP3s:
Pat-a-Pan, David Lovrien
Pat-a-Pan, Paula Douglas

William Studwell, The Christmas Carol Reader

Burgundy is a color, a type of wine, and a historical region in eastern France which at one time was extremely powerful. Burgundy is also one of France's prime areas for the development of carols. Much of the carol activity in Burgundy came from the pen of Bernard de la Monnoye (1641-1728), the carol poet laureate of Burgundy. Several of his Christmas poems are still printed in the twentieth century, including the bright under-known classic, "Patapan."

All of Monnoye's carols were probably written about 1700 and all are set to tunes which are probably from the folk resources of contemporary Burgundy but may have been composed by Monnoye himself. The cheerful and rhythmic "Patapan," which exhorts little Willie to get his little drum and tap-tap-tap on it, is a brisker and richer predecessor to "The Little Drummer Boy." The recent song, in contrast, does have the advantage of a sensitive and heart-warming narrative. Musically, though, "Patapan" is superior to "Drummer Boy" and the majority of other carols from any period.

Dearmer, Percy, et. al., eds., The Oxford Book of Carols

The French spelling has been modernized.

It may be worth while to print the first verse of the original dialect noel, which illustrates the genial nature of those old French carols that were not rewritten in an age of less spontaneous faith: Guillo, pran ton tamborin. / Toi, pran tai fleute Robbin; Au son de ces instruman, / Turelurelu, patapatapan; Au son de ces instruman. / Je diron Noei gaiman.’ The carol is printed by F. Fertiault, Noels Bourgignons de Bernard de la Monnoye, 1842. Bernard lived from 1641 to 1728.

The tambourin is a small elongated drum, hung from the shoulders, and played originally with the hands.

Sandys got hold of this carol a century ago; and the original words were reprinted, 1907, by H.J.L. Masse and C. Kennedy Scott in their first Book of Old Carols. As the tune runs quickly, it may be well to repeat one or more verses.

Keyte and Parrott, The New Oxford Book of Carols

A dance-like noel that remains popular throughout France as a sung carol. In Provence and Gascony it is also part of the pipe-and-tabor repertory of noels and dances that are played at various points (including the elevation) in the Christmas midnight mass. In some rural churches the place of honour at this service is still given to local shepherds, who bear gifts to the santon (crib).

Both text and tune are in Gui Barozai's Noel borguignon (1701), where the tune is called 'Ma mere, mariez-moi', William Sandys printed an accurate version of the text as Provincial Carols' in his Christmnas Carols Ancient and Modem (1883).

The Provencal tambourin is a large tabor with a long body and a snare on the upper head. It is hit a single drumstick, usually in simple reiterated rhythand has a deep and resonant tone. The 'fierite' a tipple flute, the three-holed pipe (figte d trois trous) or which since the eighteenth century has more generally as the galoubet. Pipe and tabor were much used dancing throughout the Middle Ages, and have to accompany folk dancing in Provence. The has a wide dynamic range, and the galoubet is 'in its lower register, and shrill in its high, overblown octave. The present carol is perhaps most characteristically performed with loud drum and shrill pipe, and vocal performance might reflect this.

An oddity of the text is that two players are called on to play instruments that have always been played by one (the pipe has three holes so that it can be played with one hand only), even when the tambourin is used rather than the smaller tabor. Bar6zai (or whoever wrote the text) may have been confusing pipe and tabor with fife and drum (also used for dancing in the Middle Ages and still popular in Provence), which are played by a pair of performers. On the other hand, Guillo and Robin are stock characters in Provencial carols: they bring food to the manger in 'Allohs, bergers, partons tous', and, like Jeannette and Isabelle in 'Un flambeau' 087), are perhaps being used to suggest the idea of the entire village commuuity.

'Turelurelu!' is in imitation of the pipe, 'patapatapan!' of the dram.

Keyte and Parrott, eds., The Shorter New Oxford Book of Carols

[‘Guillo, pran ton tamborin!" / "Guillo, come and Robin too", no. 107]

A dance-like noel that remains popular throughout France as a sung carol. In Provence and Gascony it is also part of the pipe-and-tabor reportory of noels and dances that are played at various points (including the elevation) in the Christmas midnight mass. In some rural churches the place of honour at this service is still given to local shepherds, who bear gifts to the santon (crib). Both text and tune are in Gui Barozai’s Noei borguignon (1707).

Guillo and Robin are stock characters in Provencal carols; they bring food to the manger in ‘Allons, bergers, partons tour’, and, like Jeannette and Isabelle in ‘Un flambeau’ (109), are perhaps being used to suggest the idea of the entire village community.

The Provencal tambourin is a large tabor with a long cylindrical body and a snare on the upper head. It is hit with a single drumstick, usually in simple reiterated rhythmic patterns, and has a deep and resonant tone. The ‘fleute’ is a fipple flute, the three=holed pipe (flute a trois trous) or flutet, which since the eighteenth century has more generally been known as the faloubet. Pipe and tabor were much used for dancing throughout the Middle Ages, and have continued to accompany folk dancing in Provence. The tambourin has a wide dynamic range, and the galoubet is relatively gentle in its lower register, and shrill in its high, overblown octave. The present carol is perhaps most characteristically performed with loud drum and shrill pipe, and vocal performance might reflect this.

William L. Simon, ed., Reader’s Digest Merry Christmas Songbook (1981)

Man of-letters Bernard de La Monnoye is chiefly remembered for his collection of Burgundian carols, written in the local dialects that at one time flourished in central France. One of the carols in that collection is "Pat-A-Pan," a little homily to two boys who learn about praise and about the unity of God and man by playing their flute and drum together. Like a bagpipe drone, the drum’s "pat-a-pan" sounds through out the music, while above it the perky melodic line, a very ancient one, dances like the sound of flutes. "Pat-A-Pan" was first published in English in I907. A modern Christmas song in much the same pattern and dealing with another musical lad is Harry Simeone’s "The Little Drummer Boy".

Earthly Delights: Xmas Carols

This carol is of Burgundian origins and was first printed in the early 1800s by Sandys. The tambourin was originally a small elongated drum, hung from the shoulders and played with the hands.

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