Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

MONDAY, September 30, 2019

Mozart and the Ionian mode…

For the most part Ionian and major are the same thing, and the difference, if it even exists, is so tiny that it’s not worth talking about. Countless very simple tunes are in Ionian mode. Some have been composed recently, others have been around for centuries.

Here is what Mozart did with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, though he did cheat now and then, writing it in the key of C but slipping in a few black notes here and there. He used the French folk song “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman” (“Ah, Mother, if I could tell you”), with the same melody as that of the English-language nursery song.”

Now, of course Mozart did not stick completely to the Key of C in all the variations. He started out that way, and while still in the key of C mostly used only white keys, slipping a passing tone here and there, and when he really gets going it’s more “C-ness” than just the key of C. But by the time one of the variations gets to the parallel minor of C minor there are quite a few black notes as uses natural, melodic and harmonic minor.

Everything gets repeated, so if you don’t catch something the first time, you get a second chance. If you liked it, you always get an encore. If you didn’t like it, by the this gets to the end you may so sick of Twinkle Twinkle that you NEVER want to hear it again.

Full disclosure: This is almost 13 minutes long, which is about 10 minutes too long.


7 thoughts on “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

  1. I had this in some book of pieces when I first had a piano again and thought it might be cool to play. But above all, it gave me an idea of what variations were about, and how much you could vary something and still have the original tune come through. Sometimes it’s almost a Where’s Waldo of the tune hiding in the forest of notes. Fun.

  2. When I read this I thought it was funny but as I listened to it, it wasen’t that bad. It pretty good after he went past the usual Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The other variation are also different from the original but still kept the same melody.

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