My jazz piano interpretation of the classic children's song.


About this piece

I was basing this improvisation on the well-known lullaby, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. As with many traditional songs, the lyrics and the tune were written separately. The tune can be traced back to a French melody, called “Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman”, which was first published around the mid 18th century. Various versions of it have been used in other children’s songs, including the “Alphabet Song” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep”, as well as a number of classical compositions and Christmas carols.

The English lyrics come from the first verse of an early 19th century poem by Jane Taylor. You can find out more information, including the full original lyrics, on the associated Wikipedia article. You’ll also find “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in the Roud Folksong Index at number 7666.

About this recording

I’d been wanting to record a version of this tune for a while, and there were several possibilities. A boogie woogie style is good fun to play (and I may yet try that in future), but I decided to go with a jazz ballad feel for now. Some of my inspiration for the ballad style comes from some piano renditions of classic jazz songs such as “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” and “The Way You Look Tonight”.

Most of the chord progressions are really simple. I played the whole thing in Eb, and the main tune uses some Ab and Bb chords, with some Gm7 in there too. Obviously plenty of Eb Ma7 thrown around as well. Some of the improvised sections and turnarounds use the classic progression Eb -> Cm7 -> Fm7 -> Bb7 -> Eb Ma7. (That’s a handy progression to learn… you can get lots of mileage from it in this style!)

Usage - audio

As usual, I’ve licensed the recording (specifically the audio) as Creative Commons Attribution. This means you’re free to re-use it as long as you give me credit. I’d like to request that you don’t use it for commercial purposes without my permission though.

If you find it useful, then please let me know!

Usage - images

Please note that I do not own the images appearing in the video. They come from NASA’s website so they are not under copyright restrictions. This means you should be free to use them for personal purposes too, but I am not the licensor. Check NASA’s Photo Guidelines for more information.