Baubles, Bangles, & Beads

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"Baubles, Bangles & Beads" is a popular song from the 1953 musical Kismet, credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest. Like all the music in that show, the melody was based on works by Alexander Borodin, in this case the second theme of the second movement of his String Quartet in D. The "Kismet" setting maintains the original's 3/4 waltz rhythm; pop music settings change the rhythm to a moderate four-beat accompaniment. Jazz musicians are especially drawn to the song's beguiling melody and advanced harmonic structure. The familiar AA'BA+Coda structure of the song is energized by a key change up a major third interval for every section; the transition is marked by a bracing harmonic progression from the central major key of one section to the tritone minor key of the following section. Jazz players and singers have enjoyed the musical challenges of this song for decades.

The best-selling version of the song was recorded by Peggy Lee in 1954. Other versions were recorded that year by Lu Ann Simms, Georgia Gibbs, and Frank Sinatra. The Kirby Stone Four re-make hit the Billboard Top 100 in 1958 and remains a favorite on adult standard stations. Eumir Deodato recorded an instrumental in a hit LP of 1973.

Argentine composer Ernesto Acher mixed the scherzo of Borodin's string quarted with this piece of music, under the name "Borodin, Bangles & Beads" in 1987 on his album Juegos [1]


  1. ^ "Borodin, Bangles & Beads" (Borodin's Scherzo from the Quartet n° 2/Baubles, Bangles & Beads) is also on the album Mischief with Mozart - Comical Combat with the Classics (Stradivari Classics).