"Au clair de la lune" is THE French children's song. It dates back to the 18th century.

Au clair de la lune - French Children's Songs - France - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

"Au clair de la lune" is by an anonymous author. The common attribution of the music to Lully has been discounted. Therefore, it's considered as being fully anonymous.

It dates back to the 18th century (for lack of any reliable sources that state differently). It first appeared in print in "Chansons nationales et populaires de France" by Théophile Marion Dumersan in 1846.

There's a recording of the 2nd verse that goes back to 1860 and is the oldest known recording of the human voice.

Au clair de la lune - French Children's Songs - France - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Comment After Song Image

Comments

If you'd like to listen to a more old-fashioned version, here you can hear a 1931 recording of Au clair de la lune by Yvonne Printemps.

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Many thanks to Tiphaine Woerth for recording this song for Mama Lisa's World!

This recording of the beginning of the 2nd verse (Au clair de la lune, Pierrot répondit, 'Je n'ai pas…) dates back to 1860 and is the oldest known recording of the human voice.

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This song was sung and recorded on paper with a phonautograph in 1860 by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville. It was converted back to sound in 2008 by David Giovannoni's team at First Sounds. Recording is cc - learn more on Wikimedia here.

Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Au clair de la lune

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Elena for contributing the 1st two verses of this song and to Monique Palomares for contributing the missing verses and creating the midi music. Translation by Lisa Yannucci and Monique Palomares.

Illustration by Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel (1851-1913) from Vieilles Chansons pour les Petits Enfants: Avec Accompagnements / de Ch. M. Widor (1844 - 1937); Illustrations par M.B. de Monvel. Paris: E. Plon, Nourrit et Cie, [1883]. The image was graphically edited by Lisa Yannucci.

The 2nd illustration is from Chansons et rondes enfantines (1871) with a little graphical editing by Lisa Yannucci.

Merci beaucoup !

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