“There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” is a traditional nursery rhyme identified as Roud Folk Song #19132. It was first published in 1744 in “Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book” and was probably popular because this rhyme was included in subsequent editions, too. This particular arrangement is for violin in D minor. The first song I give children is always “Hot Cross Buns”, but this can be given some songs later to work on G, D, and A strings, pick-ups (“Pick-ups are up bows,” I frequently say. But only if it is a one-note pick-up.), basic slurs, or mixed low and regular 1.
When I was young, I liked the sad minor sound of the melody, especially when the song is sung slowly. The lyrics seemed to sound like child-beating, an idea I obviously was not fond of. Because the original lyrics are apparently about an overtired matriarch with few resources being unkind to the children, it is, perhaps, not surprising that some people wrote nicer sets of words where the eponymous old woman hugs or blesses or kisses her many children. The traditional words are as is, though.
To download free sheet music for “There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” arranged in D minor for easy violin as a .pdf, click here: