Au Claire De La Lune

Album: Pour Enfantes Sages (1795)
  • Although it dates only from the 18th Century, "Au Claire De La Lune" is one of the most famous of French folk songs, including in England where it is particularly well known in primary schools as an elementary tune for descant recorder. Where it is sung, the French lyrics are universally preferred.

    The opening lines are especially well known:

    Au clair de la lune
    Mon ami Pierrot
    Prête-moi ta plume
    Pour écrire un mot


    The provenance of the song is not known, nor is it known if the words and music came together, or if one preceded the other. There are of course variants, especially on the words.

    Unlike many folk songs, it appears to have no particular regional, national, political or moral significance or message, but it does have one particular significance; on April 9, 1860, the Parisian inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville made what is believed to be the first-ever recording of the human voice. It was discovered in February 2008 hidden away in the archives of the French Academy Of Sciences, and the following month the 10-second clip was retrieved from the original soot-covered paper phonoautograph recording by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. The voice was originally thought to be an unknown woman's due to a miscalculation of the playback speed that pitched the sound higher and faster. The revised version renders a male voice, possibly the inventor's, slowly singing a snippet of the song.
  • Among the many published versions is a 1925 arrangement issued by Boston Music (of Boston!) in 1925, "Variations on a French Folk Song" by Mark Wessel. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • This features prominently in the 1956 thriller The Bad Seed. The murderous child, played by Patty McCormack, incessantly practices the tune on the piano.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Jack Tempchin - "Peaceful Easy Feeling"They're Playing My Song

When a waitress wouldn't take him home, Jack wrote what would become one of the Eagles most enduring hits.

Alice CooperFact or Fiction

How well do you know this shock-rock harbinger who's been publicly executed hundreds of times?

The FratellisSongwriter Interviews

Jon Fratelli talks about the band's third album, and the five-year break leading up to it.

Lajon Witherspoon of SevendustSongwriter Interviews

The Sevendust frontman talks about the group's songwriting process, and how trips to the Murder Bar helped forge their latest album.

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")Song Writing

Director Mark Pellington on Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," and music videos he made for U2, Jon Bon Jovi and Imagine Dragons.

Dave Pirner of Soul AsylumSongwriter Interviews

Dave explains how the video appropriated the meaning of "Runaway Train," and what he thought of getting parodied by Weird Al.