Let's Sing French: Fais do do

Fais do do is a charming little french song I ran across this week as I was making lesson plans for a third grade elementary music class. The song is very simple and the melody is easy for children to pick up. Here are the words: 

Fais do do, colas mon 'petit frère 

Fais do do, 'taurat du lo lo

Maman est en haut, qui fait des gateaux, 

Pap est en bas, qui fait du chocolat.

Translation: Lullaby, my little brother. Go to sleep and do not cry. Mama is in the kitchen making cakes and Papa is down there making hot chocolate for you. 

Here's a recording of the song so you can hear it. . . 


Some reasons I like this song: 

1. It's a way to explore another language and another culture. 

Even as a kid I always enjoyed singing songs in other languages. I loved hearing unusual sounds and trying to recreate them on my own. I loved knowing the translation of songs. I loved thinking about kids my age singing the same song at other points in history in another part of the world. Now that I'm an adult, not much has changed. :)

2. It's a great example of triple meter. 

Triple meter means that there is one strong beat, and two weak beats throughout the song. It's the kind of meter that gives a waltz or a swaying feel. . . or in this case, a rocking feel since it's a lullaby.

1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 3.

It's important for kids to start to recognize the difference between duple and triple meter so that they can become critical listeners. Lullabies are good for this since many of them are in triple meter.

Compare them to something like a march that has one strong and one weak beat like this: 

You can hear that the two are very very different. 

3. This song is a good way to practice our solfege. 

I love solfege because it's a way to learn music literacy even if you don't take instrumental lessons. Once your ear establishes familiarity with the solfege scale, it's very easy to transfer those notes to a staff and begin the process of learning to read and write music. In fact, many teachers recommend this approach over piano or violin lessons when students are learning to read music at an early age.

The opening notes to this song - mi re do - make a very simple pattern that kids can pick up on easily. Recognizing mi re do in simple songs such as this is a great way to get kids to start thinking about pitch and pitch direction. 

Ready to try it?

Now it's your turn to sing in french. Your part is very easy. Just sing those mi re do words at the beginning. In the middle I'll take over (we call this the B section -  the part of the music that sounds different from the rest). Then you'll come back in at the end. Your words are:

Fais do do

(It sounds more like "feh doe doe")

Let me know how it goes!

Keep singing, 

- Victoria