“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a cumulative song, meaning that each verse is built on top of the previous verses.
I had heard this song before, but I think I need to know more about it in order to understand Sue’s poem.
Nevertheless, it got me thinking about all the cumulative songs I know.
These are the ones I remember:
- Green Leaves Grew All Around
- Green Grow the Rushes, O
- There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
And two songs we sing at the Passover seder:
- Chad Gadya, a song in Aramaic that tells the story of one little goat.
- Echad Mi Yodea, which, like Green Grow the Rushes, O, allocates an object to each number.
Apparently cumulative songs are popular with choirs because the words are easy to remember. I certainly remember the words of those Passover songs.
Do you have any favourite cumulative songs?