Day 9: Winter Wonderland

Theory peeps – HELP! What is going on with the harmony at the beginning of this song? Has Pat Boone gone all atonal? Polytonal? Did the engraver just miss an accidental in the parts? Gah!

Winter Wonderland was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith. The Wiki legend goes that Mr. Smith wrote the lyrics while being treated for tuberculosis in the West Mountain Sanitarium in Scranton PA.

Scandel Alert: Apparently, the original bridge, about a couple who make a spur-of-the-moment decision to get married, was considered inappropriate for children. A 1953 version of the sheet music contains the following replacement bridge.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
and pretend that he’s a circus clown.
We’ll have lots of fun with Mister Snowman,
until the other kiddies knock ‘im down!
When it snows, ain’t it thrillin’?
Tho’ your nose, gets a chillin’
We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland.

For more inappropriate-for-children-christmas-funtimes, Doris Day dims the lights and adds a dollop of secks in this 1964 version.


  1. be|es|ha

    To me, your engraver-theory regarding the Pat Boone version sounds most reliable ;-) Thank you so much for your lovely calendar, Miss Mussel. I’m enjoying it every day from Germany (near Cologne). Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Winter Wonderland round here …

    • Miss Mussel

      Hello! So lovely to hear from Germany. Please forgive the tardiness of my reply. The more I listen to it, the less jarring it becomes. I think they are harmonizing with V throughout instead of I but that’s just a wild guess. Theory and I were never really friends at uni and are still only barely on speaking terms now.

  2. Dear Miss Mussel, it seems that we are two of a kind as far as swiftness of reply as well as friendship with music theory is concerned ;-)
    In the meantime, Winter Wonderland has arrived in Germany which puts me in the right mood to puzzle over the »Boone-Question« once more. You’re right with your wild guess. I freely admit that I didn’t spot this »aural camouflage« at first hearing. So, we’re facing a sophisticated arrangement which plays with our aural expectations at the very beginning of the song and makes it quite a challenge for Pat Boone to join in correctly. Only now, after figuring it out I can wholly appreciate the finesse of the arrangement … :-)))

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