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"Swapping Song" Lyrics, Text Format

Master the descending Do\La and ascending La/Do with this vocabulary tour de force!



  • Grade: First
  • Origin: Southern, USA – Appalachian Folk Song
  • Key: F Major
  • Time: 4/4
  • Form: AaBC
  • Rhythm: beginners: | ti ti ti ti ti ti ti ti| ta ti ti ta ta |
    | ta ta ti ti ti ti | ti ti ta ti ti ti ti | ta ta ta/a |
  • Pitches: beginners: So La Do Re Mi – pentatonic scale
  • Intervals: beginners: Do\La, La/Do
  • Musical Elements: notes: half, quarter, eighth; pentatonic scale, vocal slur, verse, chorus
  • Key Words: USA geography, Appalachian, swap, none-sense song, none-sense words: wing, wong, waddle, saddle, faddle, jackstraw (straw discarded after harvest); animals: rats, mice, horse, mare, mule, goat, sheep, cow, calf, hen, mouse, mole; farm animals, farming, wife, narrow, wheelbarrow, tote, trade, half, haystack, a-fair, caught, dog gone, bread, cheese, it’s (possessive), straight; contractions: wouldn’t (would not)
  • Keyboard: advanced: challenging one hand exercise for upper grades, where Do is the third (3rd) finger in each hand

“Swapping Song” 

When I was just a little boy I lived by myself,
All the bread and cheese I had, I had it on the shelf,
Wing wong waddle,
To my jackstraw saddle,
To my Johnny fair faddle,
To my long ways home.
2. The rats and the mice, they led me such a life,
I had to go to London to get myself a wife.

The roads were long and the lanes were so narrow,
I had to bring her home in an old wheel-barrow.


4. The wheel-barrow broke and my wife got a fall;
Down came wheel-barrow, wife and all.
5. Swapped my wheel-barrow and got me a horse;
Then I rode from course to course.
6. Swapped my horse and got me a mare;
Then I rode from fair to fair.
7. Swapped my mare and got me a mule;
Then I rode like a dog-gone fool.
8. Swapped my mule and got me a goat;
When I got on him, he wouldn’t tote.
9. Swapped my goat and got me a sheep;
Then I rode myself to sleep.
10. Swapped my sheep and got me a cow;
And in that trade I just learned how.
11. Swapped my cow and got me a calf;
In that trade I just lost half.
12. Swapped my calf and got me a hen;
Oh, what a pretty thing I had then.
13. Swapped my hen and got me a rat;
Put it on a haystack away from the cat.
14. Swapped my rat and got me a mouse;
It tail caught a-fire and burned up my house.
15. Swapped my mouse and got me a mole;
The dog-gone thing went straight to it’s hole.
Additional Formats (click to enlarge)
"Swapping Song" Music Format
Click to enlarge: "Swapping Song" Beats Format
Click to Enlarge: "Swapping Song" Rhythm Format
pitch numbers
Click to Enlarge: "Swapping Song" Pitch Number Format
Click to Enlarge: "Swapping Song" Solfeggio Format
letter names
Click to Enlarge: "Swapping Song" Letter Names Format