Frère Jacques


Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Ding, daing, dong. Ding, daing, dong.

Frère Jacques is a French nursery melody. In English, it is sometimes called “Are You Sleeping?,” or “Brother John”. The tune is one of the most basic repeating canons along with the melody of “Three Blind Mice”. It bears a resemblance to the piece Toccate d’intavolatura, No.14, Capriccio Fra Jacopino sopra L’Aria Di Ruggiero composed by Girolamo Frescobaldi, which was first published around 1615. “Fra Jacopino” is one potential Italian translation for “Frère Jacques”. The exact origins of the melody are unknown.

See a list of other potential traditional song themes here.

Anders Bondeman – Improvisation Frere Jacques – Stockholm City Hall Organ
Xaver Varnus – Variations on Frère Jacques – Dominican Church, Budapest
Andrea Kumpe, Max Pöllner & Christian Kohler – Six Handed Improvisation on Frère Jacques – Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus, Immenstadt