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Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
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Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is the English name of a popular French melody named Ah! Vous dirais-je, Maman. It was first published in 1761, but the true origin is unknown. Today it is one of the most popular nursery rhymes. (see also: twinkling)

Ah ! vous dirais-je, Maman,
Ce qui cause mon tourment
Papa veut que je raisonne,
Comme une grande personne.
Moi je dis que les bonbons
Valent mieux que la raison

(Ah! I would tell you, Mom
what causes my torment.
Papa wants me to reason
Like an adult.
Me, I say that candy
Is worth more than reason.)

Variants also exist:

Ah ! vous dirais-je, Maman,
ce qui cause mon tourment
Papa veut que je demande
de la soupe et de la viande...
Moi, je dis que les bonbons
valent mieux que les mignons.

Ah ! vous dirais-je, Maman,
ce qui cause mon tourment
Papa veut que je retienne
des verbes la longue antienne*...
Moi je dis que les bonbons
valent mieux que les leçons.

*antienne = texte répétitif et lassant comme une ritournelle

Table of contents
1 Melody
2 English lyrics
3 Parodies

Melody

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in sol-fa notation (d r m f s l t d = do re me fa so la ti do)
d d s s l l s
f f m m r r d
s s f f m m r
s s f f m m r
d d s s l l s
f f m m r r d

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in ABC notation, C major:
CCGGAAG
FFEEDDC
GGFFEED
GGFFEED
CCGGAAG
FFEEDDC

It is also viewable in sheet music notation, typeset using GNU LilyPond, from the LilyPond music collection.

The melody of Baa Baa Black Sheep is very similar, and a variant has been used for singing the alphabet "ab cd ef g, hi jk lmno p,...". Several famous compositions are based on it:

Listen to it

English lyrics

The English lyrics are normally as follows:

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

Then a traveller in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark
He could not see which way to go
If you did not twinkle so
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are

The English words are from the poem in couplet form, "The Star", by Ann Taylor (1782-1866) and her sister Jane Taylor (1783-1824) first published in 1806. The Alphabet song is also set to the melody. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a great song for kids or babies.

Parodies

A transliteration of the English lyrics into deliberately obfuscated English was made. Though it rhymes well, this version is difficult to sing as it does not fit the traditional melody. (anyone know who and when?)

Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific
Fain would I fathom thy nature specific.
Loftily poised on ether capacious
Strongly resembling a gem carbonaceous.

A parody of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', spoken by the Mad Hatter, appears in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It reads:

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a teatray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle --(little bat!
How I wonder what you're at)

The piece is brackets is not mentioned in the book, but in quoting the poem people usually add it in. The Bat was the nickname of one of the Dons at Oxford, a friend of Carroll's and the Liddell family. In fact it is one of the few parodies in the Alice books which the original is still widely known.

A Latin translation appears in Mary Dodge's When life is young (1894):

Mica, mica, parva stella,
Miror quaenam sis tam bella.
Super terra in caelo,
Alba gemma splendido.
Mica, mica, parva stella,
Miror quaenam sis tam bella.

Another parody was created for Sesame Street . In a short skit, Muppet composer Don Music, overcoming writers block, struggles to pen the nursury rhyme. The product of his effort is:

Whistle, whistle little bird
Isn't eating crumbs absurd
Try a ham and cheese on rye
And a piece of cherry pie
If those crumbs are all you want
Don't come in my restaurant
Try a ham and cheese on rye
And a piece of cherry pie
If those crumbs are all you want
Don't come in my restaurant