Lullaby

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Lullaby - Version 2.jpg

Origin

obsolete English lulla, interjection used to lull a child (from Middle English) + bye, interjection used to lull a child, from Middle English by

In 1072, Turkish writer Mahmud al-Kashgari mentions old Turkish lullabies as 'balubalu' in his book Dīwānu l-Luġat al-Turk (Compendium of the languages of the Turks). It is also speculated the term may come from "Lilith-bye" or "Lilith-Abi" (Hebrew for "Lilith, begone"). In Biblical tradition, Lilith was a demon who was believed to steal children's souls in the night. To guard against Lilith, Jewish people would hang four amulets on nursery walls with the inscription "Lilith – abi!" ["Lilith – begone"] which is a possible origin of the English word "lullaby".

Definition

  • 1: a soothing refrain; specifically : a song to quiet children or lull them to sleep

Description

A lullaby is a soothing song, usually sung to young children before they go to sleep, with the intention of speeding that process. As a result they are often simple and repetitive. Lullabies can be found in every culture and since the ancient period.

Typically a lullaby is in triple metre, or in a compound metre like 6/8. Tonally, most lullabies are simple, often merely alternating tonic and dominant harmonies: Because the intended effect is to put someone to sleep, wild chromaticism would be somewhat out of character.

Many Christmas carols are designed as lullabies for the infant Jesus, the most famous of them being "Silent Night".[1]