Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bedtime Songs

Lately, the children have been very interested in an increasing repertoire of bedtime songs, and Rambunctious in particular has decided that he no longer wants his lullaby cd. So I'm getting a longer and longer list of songs to sing, but seem to need even more to add.

Not every nice, soft, quiet song makes a good lullaby, though, for if it relies too much on background instrumentation, or is repetitive in its melodic verse structure, the voice is the only thing to carry the line, and the song gets boring very quickly. This, sadly, is the problem with some of my favorite lullabies for cds, "Hallelujah" and "Halfacre", which violate both rules.

Here's what's in the repertoire now, though some, (like "Scarborough Fair") only get one verse, sometimes repeated once, to avoid being too mundane, and some (like Don Henley's "Lilah") only get snippets because I don't know them all.

"Scarborough Fair"
"Lilah" (Don Henley)
"Sweet Baby James"
"Tender Shepherd"(A lullaby from the musical Peter Pan)
"Unforgettable" (Our wedding song)
"The Impossible Dream" (or, as rambunctious calls it, "The Important Dream")
"Soon it's Gonna Rain" (from The Fantasticks)
"Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair"
"In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning"
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
and, my favorite, "Moon River"

Willow also sings a few not in my repertoire:
"My Funny Valentine"
"Peaceful Easy Feeling" (Someone's a big Eagles fan)
"Somewhere over the Rainbow"
"The Rainbow Connection" (which she's just told me, and which I must add into the rotation)

So what lullabies do you remember loving? What have you sung to your children? What makes a good lullaby for you?


Anonymous said...

My Dad used to sing these ones to me:

Brahms Lullaby, Tammy, Sweet Melissa,

Scrivener said...

I used to sing the kids "Summertime" and "Yellow Submarine." Also the Wilco tunes "California Stars" and "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key."

JBJ said...

I have been singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" for more than 2 years.

Every night.

Slightly worried that I'm going to take the boy to a public sporting event and he's reflexively going to fall asleep.

Horace said...

Scriv, Summertime's a great idea, and I also remembered the Carpenter's "Close to You" as a favorite of mine.

I think "Yellow Submarine" would work against me--I can only imagine hearing those strains over the monitor at ten, long after they should be asleep.

JBJ, I could not control a snort of laughter, even though willow was talking to me about something completely different (and not funny) when your comment appeared. Let me know how he survives his first Yankees/Sox game.

Genevieve said...

I sing:

The Shema
Sweet Baby James
Someone to Watch Over Me
You Are My Sunshine (which my mom used to sing to me)
A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
The Stars Are Ours Tonight
Our Love Is Here To Stay
Goodnight My Angel

Besides Sunshine, my mom sings Sweet Violets to the kiddo; she used to sing it to me and her mom used to sing it to her.
My mom also sings A You're Adorable.

I make attempts at some of the songs from O Brother Where Art Thou (Go to Sleep Little Baby; Down to the River), but I can't finish them.

Mo said...

My parents usually read to me until I fell asleep instead of singing, but sometimes when I was sick they'd cradle my head and just hum quietly, making up the melody as they went along. For some reason, the slow "hmm hmm hmm" in no particular melody is incredibly relaxing. (Akin to windchimes, perhaps?) Anyway, I find myself doing this now when I rock my baby sister to sleep.

meli said...

Oh I love 'Black is the colour of my true love's hair'. I used to listen to the Christy Moore version over and over and thought it was the most incredible thing in the world.

My dad didn't sing us to sleep, but he did sing 'Morning has broken' a lot, as he walked along. Still makes me smile.

Anonymous said...

I've only ever had one song - Raindrops Are Fallin' on My Head. Learnt it in third grade from a male teacher who loved to play the guitar and sing, and I've been singing it to my daughter for several years now. Most nights. I sure am glad to find your list so I can expand my repertoire!