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Thread: My Dog Has Fleas

  1. #1
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    Default My Dog Has Fleas

    Am I supposed to be familiar with this melody? How does the rest of the song go? Sometimes someone asks how a Uke is tuned and the response is "My Dog Has Fleas?"...yes I usually see it written with a question mark. What song does this come from. I have searched the web and there are so many different versions containing this that it must have come from somewhere that was once in our collective consciousness, but has drifted off somehow. Many people are making their own songs using these words, but the melody is different in many of them. I would assume that the notes GCEA would match up with the phrase "my dog has fleas", but it usually doesn't. So does anyone know the origin of this? If so, how certain are you of its legitimacy?

    If you could attach a video or some sound source of the original, I would appreciate it. Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    I remember first hearing it in Looney Toons cartoons from the 40's, I believe.

    Looks like it's been discussed here before, and there's reference to it being used as a training aid in the 30's.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  3. #3
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    I (probably like many people) know it only as a ukulele tuning reference and I've probably repeated it to countless people, none of whom seemed to understand it was a reference to anything. Once you hear the sentence over the notes re-entrant root notes of a ukulele though, it fits very naturally, and it works great as a tool to remember what the notes are supposed to sound like.

  4. #4
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    I'm glad I'm not the only one baffled by this. I have no idea where that bit of melody & words comes from (if it ever appeared anywhere), and even if someone does know the relative notes, and can replicate them exactly on their four uke strings, then unless they have perfect pitch they will probably be out of tune with everyone else.
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  5. #5
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    Check it out:

    1939



    I'm pretty sure I've never seen this scene, but it's VERY familiar to whatever I have seen from a similar era. Gracie Allen was so cute!
    What could possibly go wrong?

  6. #6
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    A few years back I heard Jake perform a piece he wrote based on this. I've seen him several times since and have not heard it again. It was an interesting piece.

  7. #7
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    my dog has fleas.jpg

    This is confusing.

  8. #8
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    I use this to tune my uke and had no idea this was an actual song.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    I use this to tune my uke and had no idea this was an actual song.
    It isn't an actual song, just a mnemonic device to aid in ukulele tuning. I find it very useful for getting tuned to relative pitch.

  10. #10
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    Without any reference to the notes, I don't see how My Dog Has Fleas is a mnemonic device. Maybe if the notes were Mi Do Ha Fa, which might translate to E, C, Bb, and F. The words have no meaning to give you a clue to what the notes are unless you have heard it before, and in that case any random words would help as much. Why not just say: Drink Beer and Smile? My Dog Has Fleas makes no sense whatsoever. Go Call Auntie Em, would at least tell you the notes as an acronym. Sol Do La Mi in solfege might help some people. I was hoping that this video was the origin, but I can't find it anywhere else...

    Last edited by Mike $; 12-04-2020 at 11:03 PM.

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