The great composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein dedicated his final years to searching for what he called the “Ur Song” (pronounced "er" or "oor"). There is a theory, to which he subscribed, that there exists in each of us a song that we are born knowing without having been taught. This song is universal to all races and cultures and is instantly recognizable without lyrics (although some may be ascribed to the tune at any time in history). It’s in our DNA.
Named for the region from which Abraham came—the convergence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, called the “Cradle of Civilization”—the Ur Song would have survived the milennia, instinctively imbedded in music throughout history. Bernstein studied music from all over the world, historical and modern, trying to find that collection of notes that crossed time and geography. He died never having found the Ur Song.
He was looking in the wrong places.
I know the Ur Song. You know it too. It has six notes. Its meaning is transmitted instantly upon hearing it for the very first time, with words or without. It brings an emotional response every time. Your child knows it, and you never taught him. Bernstein could have found the song on any playground in the world. Since I can’t sing it for you, I’ll write the lyrics that have been attached to this tune in modern times: “Nanny nanny boo boo.”
Am I right or what? Everyone knows this song. Not one parent ever taught this song to a child, but we all know and hate it—with lyrics or without—because we recognize the taunting in its tune. It’s in our DNA.
I think someone should look for the Ur Dance.