Home French Language A kids’s track with a double that means

A kids’s track with a double that means

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A kids’s track with a double that means

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Au clair de la lune is a well-liked French kids’s track that’s been round because the 18th century, or probably even longer.  Its title in English is normally translated as “By the Gentle of the Moon” or “Within the Moonlight”.

Au clair de la lune  is commonly referenced in French standard tradition, and remains to be a particularly standard lullaby for French children. It was additionally concerned in a historic milestone.  

Let’s be taught extra about Au clair de la lune!

What are the lyrics to Au Clair de la lune?

A slightly off center image of a full moon shining white against a black, starless sky.

Listed here are the lyrics to Au Clair de la lune – and an English translation.

Au clair de la lune,
Mon ami Pierrot,
Prête-moi ta plume
Pour écrire un mot.
Ma chandelle est morte,
Je n’ai plus de feu.
Ouvre-moi ta porte
Pour l’amour de Dieu.

(By the sunshine of the moon:
”Pierrot, my good friend
Lend me your quill
To put in writing a letter.
My candle is useless,
I’ve no mild left.
Open your door for me
For the love of God.”)

Au clair de la lune,
Pierrot répondit :
<<Je n’ai pas de plume,
Je suis dans mon lit.
Va chez la voisine,
Je crois qu’elle y est,
Automobile dans sa delicacies
On bat le briquet.>>

(By the sunshine of the moon,
Pierrot replied:
“I don’t have a quill,
I’m in  mattress
Go to the neighbor’s,
I believe she’s there
As a result of in her kitchen
Somebody’s lighting a hearth.”)

Au clair de la lune,
S’en fut Harlequin
Frapper chez la brune,
Elle répond soudain :
–Qui frappe de la sorte?
Il dit à son tour :
–Ouvrez votre porte,
Pour le Dieu d’Amour.

(By the sunshine of the moon
Harlequin went to
Knock on the brunette’s door.
She all of a sudden responds:
“Who’s knocking like that?”
He replies:
“Open up your door
for the God of Love!”)

Au clair de la lune,
On n’y voit qu’un peu.
On chercha la plume,
On chercha du feu.
En cherchant d’la sorte,
Je n’sais c’qu’on trouva;
Mais je sais qu’la porte
Sur eux se ferma.

(By the sunshine of the moon
you may solely see just a little.
The pen was looked for,
Gentle was looked for.
With all that trying
I don’t know what was discovered,
However I do know that the door
Closed on them.)

These are the lyrics to the most typical model of Au clair de la lune that you just’ll hear in the present day, however as with nearly any previous people track, there are a variety of variants.

You’ll be able to see a couple of small variations within the lyrics which can be posted on the track’s Wikipedia entry. These lyrics had been taken from an 1870 model of the track.

You’ll seemingly come throughout different variations, too, together with some that keep away from implying any sort of romantic or sexual act on the finish (though these are uncommon).

What number of verses does Au Clair de la lune have?

Overhead image of quill pen that's a true feather, with a pot of blue ink beside it.

As you may see from the earlier part of this text, Au Clair de la lune has 4 verses. Like many standard kids’s songs, the primary verse is finest recognized and you could hear solely that one sung to kids at occasions.

When was Au Clair de la lune written?

Nobody is aware of precisely when Au Clair de la lune was written, however based mostly on what restricted concrete proof we’ve got, we all know that it grew to become standard within the 18th century. That is typically the date that’s given for its writing.

Who wrote Au clair de la lune?

Simply as we don’t know precisely when Au clair de la lune was written, we additionally don’t know who wrote it.

Some individuals attribute the melody to well-known composer Lully, however there’s no definitive proof for this.

Did Debussy write Au clair de la lune?

Well-known composer Claude Debussy didn’t write Au clair de la lune. However one in all his finest recognized compositions is Clair de lune (Moonlight), which will be complicated. These two songs are very completely different, however each are stunning in their very own method.

Including a bit to the confusion is the truth that whereas Debussy has nothing to do with Au clair de la lune, he did use its melody in one other one in all his songs, Pierrot.

Who’re the characters in Au Clair de la lune?

The characters who’re named in the most typical model of Au clair de la lune are Pierrot and Harlequin. There may be additionally a feminine neighbor.

Pierrot and Harlequin are characters from commedia dell’arte, a kind of comedic theater that originated in Italy within the 16th century.

Commedia dell’arte was so standard in earlier centuries that lots of its commonplace characters had been well-known in standard tradition. You could possibly roughly examine them to the way in which most individuals in the present day acknowledge sure superheroes or Harry Potter. Commedia dell’arte characters didn’t have magic or tremendous powers, although. The humorous performs normally cope with mischief or seduction.

Characters seem time and again, and every one has specific traits and a particular costume. Pierrot and Harlequin are two of probably the most well-known commedia dell’arte characters.

Pierrot is normally a candy, naive fellow who usually clothes in an enormous white costume that typically has black particulars (collar, buttons…). As a result of he typically suffers a damaged coronary heart within the performs, many portrayals present him with tears on his face.

Harlequin is humorous, scheming, and energetic. He normally tries to win the center (and perhaps different issues) of the inventory character Columbina. He’s typically portrayed as Pierrot’s romantic rival. Not like Pierrot, his conventional costume is made up of squares of numerous completely different colours.

Though Pierrot doesn’t do a lot that matches his standard commedia dell’arte traits in Au clair de la lune, Harlequin’s character and typical storylines add a bit extra to the track’s double that means.

Is Au Clair de la lune a sexual track?

A lit candle glows behind the door of a candle holder with a heart-shaped window.

In our fashionable period, Au clair de la lune is a bit infamous for having a sexual subtext. Phrases like ma chandelle est morte (My candle is useless) and on bat le briquet (somebody’s lighting a hearth) may very well be interpreted as merely speaking about lighting-related issues, however they may be interpreted as, respectively, one’s libido or penis, and the act of intercourse.

There are many different phrases like this within the track, and the truth that its characters are from the commedia dell’arte, which normally featured comical performs about seduction, solely provides to the sexual subtext of the track.

However that mentioned, the track has by no means been banned or known as out by the French public. It’s a traditional, and perhaps initially the subtext was meant to present drained mother and father amusing as they sang their children to mattress. You could possibly consider it the way in which some cartoons in the present day typically insert a little bit of grownup humor to present an additional chuckle to grown-ups who’re watching with their kids. These jokes received’t be understood by youthful listeners/viewers.

So, regardless of its recognized double that means, Au clair de la lune is completely okay to sing to a toddler and is a beloved household traditional in France in the present day.

Is Au Clair de la lune the oldest French track?

Au Clair de la lune is way from the oldest French track – however it IS the track heard within the oldest recognized recording of a human voice.

Why is Au Clair de la lune necessary within the historical past of recorded sound?

A candle holder shaped like a cylinder with cut outs of moons and stars. A lit candle inside makes them glow and project their shapes onto the walls of the dark room around them.

On April 9, 1860, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville used his invention, the phonautograph, to file somebody singing the opening phrases of Au clair de la lune: “Au clair de la lune, mon ami Pierrot, prête —.”

The phonautograph labored by transcribing sound waves onto a paper cylinder. It was inconceivable to play these transcriptions again like data. They had been used to review sound waves.

However in 2008, a gaggle of American researchers came across a few of the surviving cylinders and tried to see if they may play the sound. Amazingly, they had been capable of carry again to life a human voice from over 100 and sixty years in the past. These few seconds of an individual singing Au clair de la lune make up the oldest recognized recording we’ve got of the human voice, predating Edison’s phonograph recordings by 17 years!

At first, the researchers performed Scott de Martinville’s transcription at a daily velocity, and the recording gave the impression to be of a kid or girl singing. However then somebody questioned if it needs to be slowed down. After they did that, the voice sounded extra like a person singing as an alternative – most likely Scott de Martinville itself.

Listening to it’s a haunting and shifting expertise. I encourage you to take a couple of seconds to do it.

You’ll be able to hear the way in which the recording was initially launched to the world (and the way in which it appears to normally nonetheless be featured) on Wikipedia.

For those who’re fascinated by the historical past of sound and wish to be taught extra in regards to the phonautograph, this quick YouTube video reveals photos of the system, and in addition incorporates a longer recording of what was on the cylinder.

On this video, you may hear the transcription slowed down in order that the voice appears like a person’s voice, somewhat than a toddler’s or girl’s.

What’s the very best model of Au Clair de la lune?

There are many variations of Au Clair de la lune. You will discover a number of by doing a seek for the track on YouTube. You’ll see that the majority of those are geared in direction of kids and normally featured animated photos.

My household’s private favourite is this model, which incorporates fairly buzzing.

Bonus: Like many different variations you’ll discover on YouTube, this one has the lyrics written beneath the pictures, making for wonderful French listening apply!

Talking of which, no matter model you select, as you pay attention, discover how the silent “e” on the ends of phrases are emphasised, in order that they sound like like “uh”.  It is a frequent factor for a lot of French singers to do, though these sounds stay silent in common French speech.


I hope you loved studying about Au clair de lune. The following time you may’t go to sleep, perhaps attempt taking part in your favourite model of it so that you could drift of to its soothing melody and its story of a clown’s amorous journey!

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