Our music for today is the famous “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” variations for solo piano by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart wrote these variations somewhere around the year 1780 as an exercise for young pianists. The melody that we now know as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” first appeared in 1761, when Mozart was in his late teens. There are twelve variations on the initial C Major theme. Here is a brief summary of each of them:
- Variation 1: The right hand performs the melody while the left hand plays running sixteenth notes.
- Variation 2: The two hands switch jobs.
- Variation 3: The right hand performs the melody in a triplet figure.
- Variation 4: They switch again.
- Variation 5: The right hand presents the melody in an off-beat pattern.
- Variation 6: The right hand plays a chord-heavy version of the melody while the left hand plays running sixteenth notes.
- Variation 7: The melody is heard in running scale patterns in the right hand.
- Variation 8: The melody is presented in C minor (parallel minor of C major) and there is imitation between the left and right hands.
- Variation 9: The melody is performed staccato (short, sharp notes).
- Variation 10: The left hand plays the melody with the right hand embellishing with sixteenth notes (just like variation #2).
- Variation 11: The tempo slows and the right hand performs the melody in a singing style.
- Variation 12: Both hands compete in a race to the finish.