Fum, Fum, Fum
A somewhat idiosyncratic arrangement of Fum, Fum, Fum, performed by the U.S. Army Band Chorus.
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It is thought to have originated in the 16th or 17th century. The word "fum" means smoke in Catalan, and it may simply refer to the smoke rising from a chimney as seen from afar, or, as indicated in the New Oxford Book of Carols, "may imitate the sound of a drum (or perhaps the strumming of a guitar)". It is not typical of Spanish tradition but rather of Catalan tradition. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) defines "fum" as "to play upon a fiddle," quoting Ben Jonson, "Follow me, and fum as you go."
One source, the Musical Heritage Society insert 3428 (Christmas Songs From Around the World), indicates that "fum, fum, fum" is an onomatopoeia imitating the noise of a rocking cradle, and that the rhythms come from the Sardana, a courtly dance which originated in Catalonia and the Provence.
The English version is not really a translation but a version based on the traditional Catalan carol, created by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw in 1953. It was this version that popularized the carol in the United States and other English-speaking areas. There are several other versions in English as well.
|English version||Catalan Version||Alternate Catalan version|
On December five and twenty
A vint-i-cinc de desembre
El vint-i-cinc de desembre
- New Oxford Book of Carols
- Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
- Version by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw, with their arrangements for SATB choir, a capella, Robert Shaw Choral Series: Music Especially Suitable for Christmas, NY, NY: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1953.
- Traditional version compiled by the famous Catalan folklorist, Joan Amades. It can be consulted, for example, in Joan Amades: Les cent millors cançons de nadal, Barcelona: labutxaca, Grup 62, 2009
- A folk version with a Mallorcan accent by the Mallorcan band Música nostra, with an artistic video, or in another version where the video shows the musicians.
- A nice version from València by Paco Muñoz and a children's chorus
- Choral version from Barcelona by the Capella de Música de Santa Maria del Pi choral society
- English version by the Jubilate Ensemble, at Christ United Methodist Church, College Station, Texas
|Catalan Wikisource has original text related to this article:|