A berceuse [bɛʁsøz] is "a musical composition usually in 6
time that resembles a lullaby".[1] Otherwise it is typically in triple meter. Tonally most berceuses are simple, often merely alternating tonic and dominant harmonies; since the intended effect is to put a baby to sleep, wild chromaticism would be somewhat out of character. Another characteristic of the berceuse, for no reason other than convention, is a tendency to stay on the "flat side"; noted examples including the berceuses by Chopin, who pioneered the form,[2] Liszt, and Balakirev, which are all in D.




  1. berceuse. (2010). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved August 8, 2010, from
  2. Jeremy Siepmann, The Piano: The Complete Illustrated Guide to the World's Most Popular Musical Instrument (1998), p. 67.
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