Frere Jacques

Click on this link to view/download/save the music for Frere Jacques, a very well known French song which can be sung or played as a round.

We have simplified it to make it as easy as possible for absolute beginners to play. Nonetheless, they will need to be able to play the notes C, D, E, F and G, and then be introduced to the note B.

There are scores for Cornet and Trombone, showing the note names and valve combinations or slide positions.

There are versions which also include the original tune for players to have a go playing, but be aware that the tune is usually in the key of G when sung i.e. a fifth higher. Our version is in the key of C to make it easier for beginners to play as the notes are not so high.

There is a also practise sheet with step by step guidance on playing the (simplified) tune.

To play as a round, divide the group into 2 or more sections. The 1st section starts playing. When they get to the 3rd bar “Dormez vous?”, the next section start playing from bar 1, so the 2nd section are playing “Frere Jacques” while the 1st section play “Dormez vous?”. If there is a 3rd section, then they start playing from bar 1 after another 2 bars, i.e. when the 1st section get to “Sonnez les matines” and the 2nd section get to “Dormez vous?”. If there is a 4th section, well you get the idea! Each section plays the whole thing repeated as many times as you want e.g. twice or 3 times, and either stop when they reach the end of the tune, so that eventually only the last section to start are still playing, or the conductor can stop everyone at the same time.

Here’s a version of the song on YouTube, including singing as a round:

The English translation usually swaps the first and second phrases so that each phrase still has the same number of syllables: “Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping? Brother John, Brother John. Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing! Ding, Ding, Dong, Ding, Ding, Dong.

You can find all our sheet music on our Google Drive.