The Complex Simplicity of Songs Written for Children

Thanks to having a two year old around, my second most played Spotify playlist is an 18 song torture fest made up of Baby Sharks and multiple versions of Old MacDonald. But maybe there’s more to appreciate in that torturous soundtrack than I thought.

Fast talking, doodling music vlogger 12tone took a look at the songs he learned as a child and as a music theorist, centered in on the core musical structure of those nostalgic songs. While the songs sound simple there’s a quite bit of musical and cultural complexity going on within them.

There’s all sorts of music out there, but one genre that probably doesn’t get enough attention is the songs that we sing for children. It’s easy to write them off as simple (Because they are) but there’s more to it than that: Children’s music is how we pass on cultural ideas about the structure of music, and examining how they work can tell us a lot about what’s actually important to us.

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