Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

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"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
Roud #7666
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.png
Song
Written England
Published 1806
Form Nursery rhyme
Lyricist Jane Taylor
Language English

"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 six stanzas, although only the first is widely known. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 7666.

Lyrics[edit]

The English lyrics were first written as a poem by Jane Taylor (1783–1824)[2] 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:[3]

Tune for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

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     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 traveller 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 through my curtains peep,
     For you never shut your eye
     'Till the sun is in the sky.

     As your bright and tiny spark
     Lights the traveller in the dark,
     Though 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.[2]

sheet music from Song Stories for the Kindergarten[4] About this sound Play 

Additional variations exist such as from 1896 in Song Stories for the Kindergarten[4] 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.

Other text versions[edit]

Twinkle Twinkle little star (English) Lullaby from the Lullabies of Europe education project

The song is a popular target for parodies. "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat" is a parody of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" recited by the Hatter during the mad tea-party, in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). It reads:

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle—[2]

The Elegants released a single adapted from this song called "Little Star", which made #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. In 1962, Alvin and the Chipmunks performed a jazz rendition of the song for their album The Chipmunk Songbook.

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

The song has been quoted by the American hip hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince on the track, "Twinkle, Twinkle (I'm Not a Star)" from their 1993 final studio album, Code Red.

A version using synonyms from Roget's Thesaurus exists.[5] An anonymous astronomy parody, quoted in Violent Universe by Nigel Calder (BBC, 1969), refers to pulsars and quasars. A different version of this parody attributed to George Gamow and Nigel Calder was published in Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction by Linda Sparke and John Gallagher (Cambridge University Press, 2000 - ISBN 0-521-59740-4).

Vashti Bunyan, an English singer-songwriter, composed "Lily Pond" based on this tune. It can be found on her 1970 album Just Another Diamond Day. American singer Elizabeth Mitchell covers the song on her 2006 album You Are My Little Bird. New Zealand singer Hayley Westenra covered it on her 2013 album Hushabye.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://listserv.bccls.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0112B&L=OPERA-L&D=1&P=78015&F=P
  2. ^ a b c M. Cryer, Love Me Tender: The Stories Behind the World's Best-loved Songs (Frances Lincoln, 2009), pp. 83–5.
  3. ^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 397–8.
  4. ^ a b https://archive.org/details/SongStoriesForTheKindergarten
  5. ^ G. Hughes, A history of English words (Wiley-Blackwell, 2000), p. 40.

External links[edit]