Children’s Music: Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes

I recently saw a request for lullabies on the Guitar Noise Forums. Conveniently enough, I had recently begun writing out a few simple arrangements of lullabies and nursery rhymes for guitar. Not only are they quite popular with the children, they also make great lessons for beginning students. So for my next few lessons, I’ll be sharing a few of my arrangements.

Nearly every lullaby CD I’ve seen includes Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (though it’s commonly classified as a nursery rhyme), and that’s where I’ll begin. This is one I’ve played many times at bedtime, and it never seems to grow old.

My arrangement is very simple and is played entirely in the first position. For the most part, this tune uses half notes in the bass and quarter notes for the melody. I add harmony notes along with the bass, but you can ignore them if you’d like, making the arrangement even easier to play. One quick performance note: I often play the open G string instead of the C on the first fret of the B string as my harmony note on the C chord (measure two).

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star 1
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star 2
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star 3
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star copyright

London Bridge is a well-known nursery rhyme, and I’ve arranged this one in the key of G as well. I like to let notes ring together, and that’s why I start this tune at the third fret. I use my left hand thumb to play the G on the third fret of the low E string in measures one and two. In measure four, I play the G in the bass with my third finger on beat one, and with my thumb on beat three.

London Bridge 1
London Bridge 2
London Bridge copyright

I hope you (and especially any children you may play them for) enjoy these simple tunes.