Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is a popular English lullaby. The lyrics are from an early-19th-century English poem by Jane Taylor, "The Star". The poem, which is in couplet form, was first published in 1806 in Rhymes for the Nursery, a collection of poems by Taylor and her sister Ann. It is sung to the tune of the French melody "Ah! vous dirai-je, maman", which was published in 1761 and later arranged by several composers, including Mozart with Twelve Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman".[1] The English lyrics have five stanzas, although only the first is widely known. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 7666. This song is usually performed in the key of C major.

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.png
Sheet music
Nursery rhyme
Published1806
Lyricist(s) Jane Taylor

The song is in the public domain,[2] and has many adaptations around the world.[3]

OriginsEdit

The English lyrics were first written as a poem by Jane Taylor (1783–1824)[4] and published with the title "The Star" in Rhymes for the Nursery by Jane and her sister Ann Taylor (1782–1866) in London in 1806:[5]

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the trav’ller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often thro’ my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.

‘Tis your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the trav’ller in the dark,
Tho’ I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

The lyrics from "The Star" were first published with the tune in The Singing Master: First Class Tune Book in 1838.[4]

MelodyEdit

 

LyricsEdit

The lyrics of the song are the text of the poem, with the first two lines of the entire poem repeated as a refrain after each stanza. For instance, the first stanza of the lyrics is:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

The first stanza of the song is typically as written, but further stanzas typically contain minor variations.

Other text versionsEdit

 
sheet music from Song Stories for the Kindergarten[6]  Play 

Additional variations exist such as from 1896 in Song Stories for the Kindergarten[6] by Mildred J. Hill.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How we wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the glorious sun has set,
And the grass with dew is wet,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

When the golden sun doth rise,
Fills with shining light the skies,
Then you fade away from sight,
Shine no more 'till comes the night.

A parody of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" titled "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat" is recited by the Mad Hatter in chapter seven of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.[7]

An adaptation of the song, named "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Earth", was written by Charles Randolph Grean, Fred Hertz and Leonard Nimoy. It is included on Nimoy's first 1967 album Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space, with him reciting the text as Spock explaining how the star-people wish upon an earth and so forth.[8]

The tune of the "Alphabet song" is identical to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".

A version using synonyms from Roget's Thesaurus exists.[9]

The opening lyrics are also used to begin the traditional murder ballad "Duncan and Brady".

The song can also be played as a singing game.

Woman performs "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" singing game.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "LISTSERV 15.5 – OPERA-L Archives". listserv.bccls.org.
  2. ^ "Children's Public Domain Song List – PD Info". pdinfo.com.
  3. ^ "Twinkle twinkle little rip-off: the dark secrets of the world's most recognisable tune".
  4. ^ a b M. Cryer, Love Me Tender: The Stories Behind the World's Best-loved Songs (Frances Lincoln, 2009), pp. 83–5.
  5. ^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 397–8. First publication of 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star'
  6. ^ a b Mildred J. Hill (26 July 1896). "Song Stories for the Kindergarten" – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ Gardner, Martin (1998). The Annotated Alice. Random House. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-517-18920-7.
  8. ^ "Twinkle twinkle little star".
  9. ^ G. Hughes, A history of English words (Wiley-Blackwell, 2000), p. 40.

External linksEdit