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Sheldon Cooper

More news on Big Bang Theory’s Warm Kitty

As I reported to you in May, Willis Music is connected to the show Big Bang Theory through the song Warm Kitty. Sheldon’s Mother used to sing it to him when he was sick and through 9 episodes Sheldon convinces others to sing the song to him. Willis Music owns the song which is in a book from 1937 called Songs for the Nursery School.

As the song and show have become more popular we decided it would be fun to produce a separate sheet of music based on the original song. The challenge for any arranger is that the original song contains just 8 measures. Several folks tried their hand at it before we turned to Composer Glenda Austin to take on the challenge.

Glenda is world famous for her educational piano music. Glenda continues to create music that helps teachers inspire their students and encourages students of all ages to practice by giving them music they enjoy playing. Glenda has recorded her music and the music of composer William Gillock in Nashville with a visiting Japanese recording team. She later toured Japan playing and teaching to the delight of hundreds of Japanese piano teachers.
You can see Glenda’s music at by clicking here.

I recently spoke to Glenda about her project of recreating the magic of Warm Kitty.

How familiar were you with the song and the show before we asked you to get involved?
First of all, I have NEVER watched Big Bang Theory. Heard of it, yes, but never tuned in. However, since the Warm Kitty, Theme and Variations project, I’ve seen excerpts online, mainly the clips where Warm Kitty is sung. I may have to start watching it!

When you agreed to give it a try what was the process you went through?
When asked to arrange Warm Kitty, of course, my first thought was to learn it (since I was not familiar with the tune)! IMMEDIATELY after seeing and hearing it, I realized I would have to put on my thinking cap to create something from 8 measures! That’s not a lot to work with, especially when you’re trying to turn it into a ‘stand alone’ solo! Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was a THEME and VARIATION. And having just done some of John Thompson’s Theme and Variations at my workshops this summer, I knew that was the way to go.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?
I’m not a terribly competitive person, but occasionally, I like a challenge. And the challenge here was to see if I could really come up with something substantial! Once I focused on the project, it materialized quickly. Improvisation is how I compose. So that’s how 8 measures grew into 128 measures of a waltz, tango, jazz and more!

Thank you, Glenda, for taking on this project. Since the music will be released in early October, you can be one of the first to see it. In addition, if you would like to hear Glenda play her new creation click below:

Be one of the first 5 people to post a comment to this blog and receive a free copy of Glenda’s Warm Kitty.

Soft Kitty Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Do you remember the movie “Big”? How about this scene from the movie?

We have our very own big piano to play now in Downtown Cincinnati! We thought “well, we are a music
company and piano music is kind of our thing so why not get a couple of our awesome employees and take a field trip downtown. So that is what we did. We took our marketing employee Laura Barrowman, Store manager Denise Burkhardt, Band rep Michelle VanSickle, the Education Coordinator Colleen Cranley, and Rob Mulhauser. When we arrived, Smale Park was crawling with families enjoying a nice warm day outside! Kids were pretty excited about jumping all over the piano, making their own form of music.

Once we saw an opportunity, Willis employees took over the piano! What did we play? Well, Soft Kitty of course. If you didn’t know this is an original Willis Music Publication. You can read all about it in President Kevin Cranley’s blog here. It took us a few practice runs to get the keys down since it is such a large piano and we had so many of us playing at one time. Once we got it down it sounded pretty awesome! After a few minutes, kids and parents started coming over and playing with us. It was pretty cool getting to teach kids the right keys to step on and see their faces as they helped us play a whole song. They were so excited!

We also decided to play “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in honor or the MLB All-Star game being right here in our hometown this summer. That one took a little more practice and coordination! You can check out our mad skills in the video! We got a pretty good audience as we played. We even got some claps…or that could have been for Rob’s ballerina moves (We are going to start calling him ‘twinkle toes’)! Either way, it was a blast.

If you haven’t made your way to Smale Park yet you need to check out this piano! Your kids will love it! It is awesome that Cincinnati has installed something like this for the public to use whenever they want. It is great that kids can be exposed to music at an early age. But it isn’t only fun for the kids. Take it from us–we had a great time getting to act like kids again. Here is the video of us playing.

Laura Barrowman

Sheldon Cooper

Soft Kitty – Where does it come from?

Warm kitty, soft kitty, little ball of fur, Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr! purr! purr! I trust many of you have heard this song although with slightly altered words. What I’m guessing is that almost all of you don’t know the connection with Willis Music.

Willis Music is an international music publisher in addition to the retail stores you are familiar with. We publish the most used piano course in the history of piano methods. The name of that course is John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano. It along with other books by John Thompson and many others are published all over the world and in 17 languages and counting. Since 1899 we have published over 13,000 individual titles.

In 1937 we published a book called Songs for the Nursery School and we sold tens of thousands of copies. It is a hardbound book of over 150 songs for children. The book was written by Laura Pendleton MacCarteney. In that book on page 27 is Warm Kitty.

Warner Brothers and I worked together to secure the rights for the show The Big Bang Theory and they have been using the song ever since. The writers wanted the song because one of them remembered it as a child. They also wanted to slightly change the words and I’m really not sure of the reason for that change. Here is the original and the Big Bang version.

Original:

Warm kitty, soft kitty, little ball of fur, Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr! purr! purr!

Big Bang:

Soft kitty, Warm kitty, little ball of fur, Sleepy kitty, happy kitty, purr! purr! purr!

The storyline of the use of the song is that Sheldon Cooper’s mother used to sing the song to Sheldon as a child whenever he was sick. Over 8 episodes Sheldon has convinced various other characters to sing Warm Kitty to him when he was under the weather. I love the show and especially like hearing Warm Kitty.

The song has become so popular that you can find t-shirts, stuffed animals, hats and many other items with the words.

 

Kevin Cranley