birthday song

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A birthday song is a song for a birthday , the anniversary of a person's birth . The “first birthday” means the first anniversary of the birth. Traditional children's or folk songs for a birthday are rather short with a lot of text repetitions. Birthday songs by modern songwriters usually have several stanzas with many content-related aspects relating to the birthday party.

Happy Birthday to boomwhackers, Orff instruments and guitar

Content and text structure

Words like “birthday” , “happiness” and “health” are typical for birthday songs and are sometimes repeated several times. The wishes Happy Birthday or Happy Birthday to him unfold their effect by constantly repeating the central message of the song title. How nice that you were born , because today is your birthday or if the rooster crows early in the morning, on the other hand, all the details of the birthday party describe that “people dance, sing and laugh” , that a “colorful bouquet” is on the table and “cake " And " chocolate "is eaten.

word Frequency in the lyrics Title of the songs
birthday 1 to 4 times 4 times in Happy Birthday to you ; 3 times in Today is birthday ; 2 times in birthday, birthday ; How nice that you were born ; Your birthday is funny ; 1 time in How nice that you were born ; The rooster crows early in the morning
to celebrate 1 time 1 time in How nice that you were born
to sing 1 time 1 time in How nice that you were born ; Because today is your birthday
wish / wishes 1 time 1 time in How nice that you were born ; We wish you from the bottom of our hearts
happy / lucky 1 to 3 times 3 times in Happy Birthday to you ; 1 time in How nice that you were born
blessing 1 time Good luck and many blessings
rejoice / joy 1 to 2 times The rooster crows twice in the morning ; 1 time in Because today is your birthday ; How nice that you were born ;
glad 1 to 2 times To be happy twice ; 1 time in How nice that you were born
high 9 times He should live high
Life 7 times He should live high

Melody and chords

Most birthday songs are short with only one verse, 8 to 12 bars long. Modern songwriters have composed birthday songs with verses and choruses that are twice or three times as long .

Songs with a chord

Birthday songs with a chord are mainly sung in day care centers and elementary schools . The children sing the songs in canon and accompany them with Orff instruments or JelGi song accompaniment .

Birthday canons with a chord

Today is birthday

This traditional canon with its dotted opening motif only uses the notes of the D major chord . Children can play the tones d, f # and a continuously on xylofon , glockenspiel , boomwhackers or guitars in open C tuning with capo in the 2nd fret .

Birthday, birthday

This birthday song originally comes from the Netherlands with the following text: "Verjaardag, verjaardag, voor wie dan wel, voor wie dan wel, voor Hansje, voor Hansje, hoera, hoera." The name of the person whose birthday is used is used in the song text . This song is also a canon that only uses the tones d, f # and a and can therefore be easily accompanied.

We wish you from the bottom of our hearts

This birthday canon is melodically more demanding in 3/4 time using all notes of the D major scale . Nevertheless, a continuous drone accompaniment with the D major chord is also possible here.

Songs with two chords

Birthday songs with two chords

It takes little to be happy

This well-known song by August Mühling (1786–1847) is often sung on birthdays, even if the word “birthday” is not included in the lyrics. The C major chord as the dominant and the F major chord as the tonic alternate regularly per measure , so that this song can be sung as a four-part canon. Rolf Zuckowski wrote a radio play text for this song.

He should live high

There are many rituals for this children's and folk song in kindergartens or schools, including lifting the birthday child three times on a chair and the like. Song accompaniment with two children's groups alternating is also easy, since the C major chord is only used as a dominant for the word "three times" . The third line, "Live high, live high, live high three times!" Is not sung in this form everywhere. In northern Germany in particular , the Dutch folk song Hij leve hoog takes its place here in the German translation of the text "Er / Sie lebe hoch" .

Good luck and many blessings

In this short canon of eight bars in 3/4 time, "good luck" , "much blessings" , "health and joy" are wished. The F major chord alternates as a subdominant and the C major chord as a tonic per measure . Text and melody are by Werner Gneist (1898–1980), the copyright lies with Bärenreiter-Verlag in Kassel.

It's your birthday today

The melody for this song comes from the well-known children's and folk song It sounds the songs . It is a three-part canon with the regular chord progression D - A - A - D.

I am happy that I was born

This traditional birthday song in 6/8 time focuses on visiting friends, gifts, food and games. It is already suitable for kindergarten.

Songs with three or more chords

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday to You is sung in many languages ​​around the world. The melody was written by Mildred J. Hill (1859-1916) from Louisville, Kentucky, USA,as a welcome song for kindergarten, her sister Patty Smith Hill (1868-1946) wrote the original text "Good Morning to All" . Until September 2015, Happy Birthday to You was copyrighted almost worldwide and was not in the public domain. The German version "Happy Birthday to You" comes from Egon Louis Frauenberger and is still protected by copyright with Edition Effel Music in Haar.

In the key of G major, the song begins with two eighth notes d 1 at the word "Happy" and reaches the highest note d 2 in three attempts before returning to the root note g 1 with the note repetition c 2 . In the first four bars, the G major chord as the tonic and the D major chord as the dominant are arranged in mirror image in the sequence G - D - D - G. The name of the person in measure 6 is harmoniously emphasized by the C major chord as a subdominant. The D major chord on the penultimate note can also be omitted.

Birthday songs with three chords

For he's a Jolly Good Fellow

The Guinness Book of Records lists For He's a Jolly Good Fellow as the second most popular song in the English-speaking world after Happy Birthday to You . It is not only sung at birthdays, but also at wedding parties or sporting events.

The text “For He's a Jolly Good Fellow” is sung three times, after lingering on the fermata the text “and so say all of us” follows three times , before the beginning of the song is repeated as da capo to Fine. The frequent use of the G major chord as a subdominant in the D major key gives the song a floating character.

How wonderful that you were born

How nice that you were born was written in 1981 by the German songwriter Rolf Zuckowski (* 1947) and appeared for the first time on the album Radio Lollipop . The copyright lies with MUSIK FÜR DICH Rolf Zuckowski OHG ( Sikorski Musikverlage ) in Hamburg . Zuckowski wrote an additional stanza for adults, Again a Year Older .

The refrain is about the joy "that we are together" and has a very simple harmonic sequence, for example in the C major key a bar G major chord as a dominant and a bar C major chord each as a tonic in constant change. In the three harmoniously more demanding stanzas, in which the F major chord occurs as a subdominant, on the one hand many activities are described, such as "partying" , "dancing" , "singing" , "laughing" , on the other hand Zuckowski uses one very much pictorial language, immediately understandable for children, with terms such as “raining” , “storming” , “snowing” , “sunshine” , “tears” , “rind” .

Because today is your birthday

The song Because today is your birthday is widespread in East Germany and was written during the German Democratic Republic . The text is by Kurt Hängekorb (1886–1962), the melody by Siegfried Bimberg (1927–2008). The copyright lies with Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag in Leipzig .

The first stanza is about singing a "beautiful song" to bring joy, the second stanza a "colorful bouquet" is placed on the table and the third stanza is about "cake" and "chocolate" . The melody of the song consists of 8 bars in 4/4 time with a simple harmonic sequence: D - D - G - D in the first four bars, G - D - A - D in the last four bars.

The rooster crows early in the morning

The song comes from the German writer Paula Dehmel (1862–1918) and is suitable for a circle game with children: each time a different child represents the rooster, the bunny or the squirrel, turns a few laps in the circle of the children, then bows to them Birthday child and gives him a small present. The harmonic sequence is simple: C - C - F - C - G - C - G - C.

Your birthday is funny

The text of this song comes from Heike Schrader using the melody of the folk song Eine Seefahrt, which is funny . The copyright lies with the Schott Music publishing house in Mainz .

The original lyrics are changed so that “Your birthday” takes the place of “A seafaring” , “What experience” takes the place of “foreign countries”, etc .: “A seafaring that is funny, a seafaring that is beautiful . Yes, there you can see foreign countries and many other things. ” The onomatopoeic yodel section “ Hollahi, hollaho ” ... is unchanged. The song has the unusual harmonic sequence G - G - G - G - D - D - C - G with repetition.


This birthday song by Volker Rosin (* 1956) appeared on the CD Come, let and dance in 2008 . The copyright lies with Moon-Records Verlag in Düsseldorf . The 1st stanza looks back on the time as a baby "without teeth, without a shoe" , the 2nd stanza deals with the visit of friends for a birthday, the refrain sets the title of the song "Congratulations, you're the birthday child" to music . In addition to the three main functions, minor chords such as the tonic parallels are also used.

Happy Birthday - it's your birthday

Another birthday song by Volker Rosin is included on the 2016 CD Volle Kraft Ahead . The copyright is also held by Moon-Records Verlag in Düsseldorf. The song consists of an intro on "Lalala ..." , a chorus "Happy Birthday, you have a birthday" , the stanza "Everyone congratulates you" and a bridge "Friendship, love and trust" . In addition to the three main chords C, F and G, the double dominant D and the chords A and Dm are also used.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. How nice that you were born , 3rd verse
  2. Journal “Music, Games and Dance with Children from 0 to 6” , Issue 1/2016, pages 18–21, “The Birthday Guitar”, five simple birthday songs with 1 or 2 chords
  3. There is little need to be happy as a radio play by Rolf Zuckowski
  4. Hij leve hoog , a Dutch birthday song
  5. Happy Birthday to You , in the public domain since 2015
  6. How nice that you were born , lyrics and source information
  7. Another year older , additional stanza for How nice that you were born
  8. Congratulations from Volker Rosin
  9. Happy Birthday - It's Volker Rosin's birthday