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Lady Lullaby Blog

Lullabies for babies, grown-ups and everyone in between!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Part Two of the Twinkle Story

So now we know that the words to "Twinkle" were a poem written in 1806 by Jane Taylor. Yes, the words are beautiful, but where did this most famous of melodies---this favorite of lullabies for babies everywhere and the headache of any parent who has taken their child for Suzuki violin lessons---where did it come from?

Many people think that Mozart composed the music to "Twinkle Twinkle" because, when he was 17 he wrote a series of variations on the melody that became very popular. And yes, those variations are played by those same violin students.

But the melody is actually a popular French folksong from the 18th century called, "Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman," which has nothing at all to do with stars twinkling. It's about a child asking Mother for candy even though Father said no---a topic that kids of any generation could relate to:

Ah! Let me tell you, Mother,
What's the cause of my torment?
Papa wants me to reason like a grown-up.
Me, I say that candy has
Greater value than reason.

Of course thinking that candy (OK, maybe hazelnut truffles) has greater value than reason---that's something that not only kids can relate to! Quick, let’s turn on some Mozart to organize and calm those brainwaves . . .

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