Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – Lyrics, History, Video, Lesson Plans & More


Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a well-loved nursery Rhyme that adults and children enjoy singing together.

LYRICS

Although the song comprises of five verses, generally only the first four lines with the first two repeated are sung today.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Lyrics as sung today:

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!

Full Original Lyrics

The following lyrics originated from the poem written and published by English Author Jane Taylor in 1806 called “The Star”.

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.

HISTORY

Who came up with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star originates from several sources. The words come from the poem “The Star” written by English author Jane Taylor in 1806. The melody for the song comes from a French song published in 1761 called “Ah, cous dirai-je, Maman” attributed to a man named Bouin – although there is no proof he actually wrote the music. In English “Ah, cous dirai-je, Maman” can be translated to mean – Ah, if I could tell you mother.

It is thought that the words and music started to be used together around 1838 with the first publication of the two together in Volume Three of The singing Master by William Edward Hickson published in the UK.

How old was Mozart when he wrote Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?

Contrary to popular belief, Mozart did not write the melody for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. He instead wrote a set of variations based on the tune around the early 1780’s.

WHAT DO THE WORDS MEAN? DEFINITIONS:

What does the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star mean?

English author Jane Taylor wrote the poem “The Star” for a book or collection of poems called “Rhymes for the Nursery” created by herself and her sister Ann. It can therefore be assumed that the song does not have any deeper or more meaningful interpretation to it, other than that Jane simply was wanting to create a poem for children that evoked the wonder, beauty as well as the practicalities of the stars in a simple and elegant way for children to understand.

What is Twinkle?

Twinkle means to shimmer and shine whilst also flickering. Like a light being turned on and off very quickly.

What does like a diamond in the Sky Mean?

Like a diamond in the sky is an alliteration. Alliteration is when you use one thing to describe something else. In this case, a star is being compared to a diamond which on earth shimmers and shines when light is shone onto it. Although, we make the shape of a diamond with our hands when singing the song, it is not the shape, but the qualities of a diamond that this line is referring to.

What does wonder mean?

Wonder is another word for thinking and questioning. People can wonder in their own minds or wonder out loud. Teachers use the word wonder to encourage their students to think about the various possibilities to a question they pose, for example: I wonder what the weather is like outside today? In the song Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star the word Wonder has been used to signify thinking about where the stars come from, what they are made of, why we only see them at night and more.

The difference between wonder and wander?

Although sounding extremely familiar – wonder and wander are pronounced slightly different and mean two different things. To wonder means to think and questions. To wander means to walk without an aim of destination or route – for example I wandered through the streets of the city.

INTERESTING FACTS & QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Are Twinkle Twinkle and ABC song the same?

Yes! Twinkle Tinkle Little Star, the ABC song have the exact same tune and melody. They are both derivative works of the French folk song “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman” published in 1761. Mozart is known to have created 12 variations of the original song in the early 1780’s which is why some people thought he wrote the tune.

Which came first Twinkle Twinkle or ABC?

To go by documented records, it could be said that the ABC nursery Rhyme as we know it today with it’s melody came along first as it was recorded as being copyrighted in 1835. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was first published with the accompanying melody in 1838. However the poem ‘The Star’ the words of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star were published in 1806.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was first officially published in The Singing Master: First Class Tune-Book, Second Edition, by William Edward Hickson, in London, 1838. But the lyrics were published in 1806 in a collection called Rhymes for the Nursery by Jane Taylor an English poet and author.

The ABC song was first copyrighted by Charles Bradlee an American music publisher in 1835 who attributed the melody to Louis Le Maire an 18th century composer also noting that it was the same one used by Mozart in his variations of “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman”.

The ABC song originates from the US and Twinkle Twinkle, from the UK. I would therefore assume that as the tune and melody that both songs use was created much earlier that both songs were adapted to the popular tune around the same time, with both being formally published within the same decade.

Is Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star songs the same?

Yes, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star share the same melody – a variation of the French folk song “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman” published in 1761. However the words to Baa Baa Black sheep were first documented in 1744 in a book called Tommy Thumbs Pretty Song Book….but the lyrics and melody were only published together in 1879, compared with the dating of 1806 for the words and then 1838 with the melody for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Is Twinkle Twinkle public domain?

Yes, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a public-domain song. This means that no one has the copyright to it and that if you want to use the song in your work you can. (Disclaimer: This is a general – not a legally confirmed fact and you need to do more research into the laws in your jurisdiction/country to confirm you have the right to use this song)

Basically anything published or copyrighted before 1925 today is considered public domain.

BUT this does not apply to other peoples versions of it – for example if you made a CD of you singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, your version is not public domain, I cannot resell it.

How do you say Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in sign language?

The following is a great resource video from youtube that can teach you how to sign Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!

LESSON PLANS

The following are a selection of Lesson Plans. You need to click on the images to go to the websites to learn more and download the resources.

SHEET MUSIC

Song-stories-for-the-kindergarten 1896 twinkle-twinkle-little-star sheet-music
Visit to download the Free PDF
https://www.music-for-music-teachers.com/twinkle-twinkle.html

What time signature is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?

Twinkle Twinkle, is generally played in either 2/4 time or in common 4/4 time.

As it has a simple melody, experienced musicians would possibly be able to have fun with this song and work with other time signatures or create musical emphasis for example to create a twinkle twinkle 3/4 waltz or a twinkle twinkle tango.

How do you play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?

You can play Twinkle Twinkle Little star on most instruments. The following are some instructional videos from Youtube that you can follow!

Samantha

Samantha Bellerose has a Bachelor of Education as well as a Diploma in Performing Arts. She is a mom to four children and is passionate about education and learning. Samantha created Nursery Rhyme Central as the go to place for parents, teachers and carers about all things to do with Nursery Rhymes. She is also the Main Author and creator for websites Dance Parent 101 and Move Dance Learn, where she shares her knowledge and expertise for dance and learning through movement.

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