Hee Haw

July 29, 2016 at 10:29 am

Donkeys are universally goofy. Their iconic braying has inspired composers to set “hee haw” in a number of works. There’s the amorous braying in Mendelssohn‘s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream“. There’s some good mockery in Saint-Saen‘s “Carnival of the Animals“, where the composer draws a connection between these dumb beasts and “people with long ears” … IE, music critics. There’s a charming Christmas tale by Rutter, “Brother Heinrich’s Christmas” about a donkey who wants to sing in the choir, and ends up contributing a well-timed “hee haw” to cleverly complete the carol In Dulci Jubilo.

But by far the smartest musical Hee-Haw is American composer Ferde Grofé‘s Grand Canyon Suite, which has a whole movement based on this delightful “ass-motif“. This movement perfectly paints a bumpy donkey ride in the beautiful American western landscape.