His name is my name too

Today’s morning name, from my chilhood at summer camp in the 1940s: the kids’ song “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt”. (Note to readers around the world: it’s a North American thing.)

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
His name is my name too
Whenever we go out
The people always shout
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
Da da da da da da
— Repeat the song several times, and get softer each time.

From Wikipedia, with some possible cultural history in the American immigrant experience:

“John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt” is a traditional children’s song that originates from the United States and Canada. The song consists of one verse repeated (usually four times), each time increasing or decreasing in volume or tempo.

… While the origins of the song are obscure, some evidence places its roots with vaudeville and theatre acts of the late 19th century and early 20th century popular in immigrant communities. Some vaudeville acts during the era, such as the work of Joe Weber and Lew Fields, often gave voice to shared frustrations of German-American immigrants and heavily leaned on malapropisms and difficulties with the English language as a vehicle for their humor. “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” shares many characteristics with “My Name Is Jan Jansen”, a song that can trace its origin to Swedish vaudeville in the late 19th century.

The song appears to have already become widely known by the mid-twentieth century. [See my personal comment above.]

Here’s the music, from the Beth’s Notes site (“supporting & imspiring music educators”):


On this site is the best recording I’ve found. It’s audio-only, the accompaniment is fairly unobtrusive, and the singing isn’t too cutesy (even though it’s Barney). However, it plays each repetition as a separate verse, with a break in between the verses, rather than moving seamlessly from one repetition to the next, as in #1. (Recordings of children’s songs are a pretty bleak genre.)

A playful bonus. Something anyone could do with a nametag:

(#2) That could be your name too

3 Responses to “His name is my name too”

  1. J B Levin Says:

    Like anything else of this sort, there are versions with slight variations. The way I learned it is almost identical, except the first eighth-note (“Jing” in measure 2) would be E, not C; and instead of the three note “his name is” in the following measure, I learned a single half-note (also B-flat) on the word “That’s”.

  2. Robert Coren Says:

    The version in my memory, like J. B. Levin’s, has an E at the beginning of measure 2. I think, but am not sure, that the “Da da da…” measure was “ya ya ya…” (possibly spelled “ja…”, in reference to German-sounding name, although this didn’t occur to me until much later), and in any case, whatever one did with the dynamics over the course of repetition, that bar was always loud, indeed louder than the rest of the song every time.

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    Note on Joel’s and Robert’s comments: there are vast numbers of variants, which is just what you expect of material that mostly disseminates by word of mouth.

    The Beth’s Notes version is just as I remember the song, except that, yes, ya/ja, not da.

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