Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
Nursery rhyme
Published1806
Lyricist(s)Jane Taylor

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is a popular English lullaby. The lyrics are from an early-19th-century English poem written by Jane Taylor, "The Star".[1] 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".[2] The English lyrics have five stanzas, although only the first is widely known. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 7666.

The song is in the public domain,[3] and has many adaptations around the world.[4]

Lyrics[edit]

The English lyrics were written as a poem by Jane Taylor (1783–1824)[5] 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:[6]

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.[5] When sung, the first two lines of the entire poem are repeated as a refrain after each stanza.

Melody[edit]

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is sung to the tune of the French melody "Ah! vous dirai-je, maman", which is also used for the "Alphabet song" and "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep".


  \relative c' {
    \key c \major \time 4/4
    c4 c4 g'4 g4 a4 a4 g2 |
    f4 f4 e4 e4 d4 d4 c2 \break
    g'4 g4 f4 f4 e4 e4 d2 |
    g4 g4 f4 f4 e4 e4 d2 \break
    c4 c4 g'4 g4 a4 a4 g2 | 
    f4 f4 e4 e4 d4 d4 c2 \bar "|."
   }

   \addlyrics {
     Twin -- kle, twin -- kle,
     lit -- tle star,
     how I won -- der,
     what you are!
     Up a -- bove the world so high,
     like a dia -- mond in the sky.
     Twin -- kle, twin -- kle,
     lit -- tle star,
     how I won -- der
     what you are!
   }

Other versions[edit]

Sheet music from Song Stories for the Kindergarten[7]

Additional variations exist such as

1. From the 1840 novel Poor Jack (chapter 4), by Frederick Marryat.

Pretty little twinkling star,
How I wonder what you are;
All above the earth so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

2. From 1896 in Song Stories for the Kindergarten[7] 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.[8]

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 album Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space (1967).

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

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".

Alvin and the Chipmunks performed a swinging version cut off by David Seville.

The song can also be played as a singing game.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "First publication of 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star'". bl.uk. British Library. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  2. ^ "LISTSERV 15.5 – OPERA-L Archives". listserv.bccls.org. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Children's Public Domain Song List". pdinfo.com.
  4. ^ "Twinkle twinkle little rip-off: the dark secrets of the world's most recognisable tune. (subscription required)". Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  5. ^ a b M. Cryer, Love Me Tender: The Stories Behind the World's Best-loved Songs (Frances Lincoln, 2009), pp. 83–5.
  6. ^ 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'
  7. ^ a b Mildred J. Hill (26 July 1896). "Song Stories for the Kindergarten" – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ Gardner, Martin (1998). The Annotated Alice. Random House. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-517-18920-7.
  9. ^ Geoffrey Hughes, A History of English Words (Wiley-Blackwell, 2000), p. 40. ISBN 9780631188551
  10. ^ "Free Lead Sheet – Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". Michael Kravchuk. Retrieved 5 May 2022.

External links[edit]