Lyrics: Adapted by Stacey Philipps from poetry by Sara Teasdale, Jane Taylor, and anonymous with inspiration from the Oregon Repertory Singers Youth Choir
Duration: ca. 5:00
Difficulty: Moderate (GIA level 3)
Practice tracks available here.
Stars mean many thing to many people, including the singers who helped inspire this piece with their thoughts on stars, from the literal to the metaphorical: a celestial object producing great energy, heat, and light, a point in a constellation, a guiding light, a beacon of hope, a chance to wish, an inspiration, a future destination, destiny, beauty, relaxation, as well as a distant, potent point of perspective on our small, bright place in the universe. Hinting at this varied and universal human connection to stars, the lyrics of "Twinkle, twinkle" appear in the multiple languages representing just some of those spoken by the singers who inspired this song.
What makes a star twinkle? From earth, fluctuations in the atmosphere. From space, amazingly, it's the same thing that makes them emit sound: a repeating cycle of convection waves of gasses heating in the stars' cores, rising to the surface, cooling and dimming, and returning to the core. Yes, the twinkling stars are also constantly creating celestial harmonies! The frequencies of sound vary depending on what each star is made of, how old they are, and how big they are. In space, these sounds are too low to be perceived by human ears, but in this song, star-like harmonies open the piece with humming, ringing pitches organized in ascending pitches roughly according to the ages of the singers.
A sparkling, atmospheric constellation of notes in the piano emerges, followed by the words of American poet Sara Teasdale, who paints a vivid picture of day turning to dusk as stars first become visible and as birds head for nighttime nests. The treble voices weave in "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," and the lower voices bring a hint of "Star Light, Star Bright" into the evolving constellation of music until the whole array of lyrics and melodies combine to create an expanse of sound.
Like Birds, Like Stars
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