Twinkle: A Different Set of Variations

November 11, 2017, 5:57 PM · A most famous melody…I will sometimes play its opening notes in order to lighten the mood of a lesson. Of course, I play it badly with my bow going in every direction — except the correct one:)

When teaching the simpler pieces of the repertoire, whether for a young student or adult, it is very important to introduce more advanced skills. This should be done in a slow and progressive pattern throughout the student’s study.

With this short example, it is my wish that you gain a little bit of insight on how to do so.

We all use open strings, like "pedal tones," to assistant training our focus and accuracy of intonation and tonal quality. This is to be a lifelong method — refining our skills on a daily, hourly, even minute by minute basis.

Combining basic skills of excellent intonation, we additionally learn the necessity and gain the skills to vary the balance and posture of our left arm, hand and fingers — technique required per a given passage.

It is my wish that you find this of benefit — enjoy!

God bless,

Original melody is the French folksong, c.1774:
"Ah vous dirai-je, Maman"

French lyrics:

Ah! vous dirai-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.

English translation:

Ah! I shall tell you, mommy, what causes my torment. Papa wants me to reason like an adult. I say that candy Is better than reason.

Perhaps we could substitute chocolate for "candy" :)

Click here to download the sheet music for free.


November 12, 2017 at 01:53 AM · A tune that has been used with great success by many composers from Mozart to the present day. It is also very effective in its simplicity - with no place to hide - for displaying what stage one's technique has reached (or hasn't!)

November 14, 2017 at 07:16 PM · Thanks for the great teaching exercises for string crossings. I will use them.

November 15, 2017 at 06:09 PM · How can "Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman" be a French folk song when Mozart, an Austrian wrote it at age four. When Mozart was 23 he wrote twelve variations for his tune for keyboard. You version of the variations is nice for violin.

November 15, 2017 at 06:12 PM · Hi Trevor — Yes, the simplest join the most difficult.

You are most welcome, — addressing a number seems so Orwellian:)There is now a link to the sheet music added for a free download.

I hope it is of further benefit to you and many others.


November 15, 2017 at 06:36 PM · Hi Victor — Perhaps my knowledge is terribly mistaken. I always thought it to be a French childrens' folk song that Mozart arranged — rather brilliantly.

Thank you:)


November 15, 2017 at 06:58 PM · It's a common mistake people make, but Mozart did not write it. Love those variations, though!

November 15, 2017 at 09:11 PM · I've read somewhere that there is another set of lyrics that are definitely not for children and quite risqué - from what we know of Mozart that may have been what he was thinking about.

November 17, 2017 at 12:35 AM · Thanks, Laurie — now I can sleep tonight, thinking of bonbons and stars:-)

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