Category Archives: Research

Musical and verbal message in lullabies

Summary of the Research made in 2003/2004 at University Paris 5, departement of Sciences of education Sorbonne

Lullabies were the first love songs that a child would receive from his mother. Through each lullaby the parents transmitted something more than only love to the child: a certain view of the world, certain expectations.

The messages of lullabies, composed  hundreds of years ago, are they still relevant ? This was the question that I wanted to answer by analyzing about 50 traditional lullabies and 9 lullabies composed by famous authors ( Bhrams, Weber, Moussorgsy, De Falla, Stravinsky, Schubert, Strauss, Flies ) .

After having analyzed the choosen lullabies, I have found that lullabies composed by famous authors were not adapted for baby’s sleep because they have an unapropriate shape while the traditional ones have a problem of content .

Lullabies composed by great musicians use sharp sounds, soprano voices. These sounds attract attention, awaken the senses, create a lifting effect that breaks the conditions for sleep. The lyrics of lullabies composed by the great authors are too complex and are filled with figures of sense, including metaphors. These figures of sens could open the doors of reflection, of meditation but they are completely inaccessible to a young child. A two years old child is struggling to understand the symbols. Moreover, these texts awaken the senses instead of facilitating the action of falling asleep. They encourage the curiosity of the child instead of relaxing him.

Traditional lullabies have the ideal shape to induce sleep. The text and music are perfectly suited to rocking. But these lullabies contain many bygone educational methods which  – by using threats , fear, emotional blackmail , guilt –   aim to create an obedient child.
While the lullabies of great authors accompany the child to enter in the paradise of dreams, the traditional ones, impose the sleep. The child must sleep to prepare himself for a future not very pink . He has to sleep because if not he will  sorrow to his mother.