Alphabet song

An alphabet song is any of various songs used to teach children the alphabet, used in kindergartens, pre-schools and homes around the world.

"The A.B.C."

This is one of the best-known English language alphabet songs, and perhaps the one most frequently referred to as "the alphabet song" especially in the United States. The song was first copyrighted in 1835 by the Boston-based music publisher Charles Bradlee, and given the title "The A.B.C., a German air with variations for the flute with an easy accompaniment for the piano forte". The musical arrangement was attributed to Louis Le Maire (sometimes Lemaire), an 18th century composer. This was "Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1835, by C. Bradlee, in the clerk's office of the District Court of Massachusetts", according to the Newberry Library [ [http://i-share.carli.illinois.edu/nby/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First Newberry Library catalog] ] , which also says, "The theme is that used by Mozart for his piano variations, Ah, vous dirai-je, maman." [The alphabet song is sometimes said to come from another of Bradlee's publications, "The Schoolmaster", but the first line of that song is given as "Come, come my children, I must see", in [http://orbis.library.yale.edu Yale University's library catalog] . It is described as "a favorite glee for three voices, as sung at the Salem glee club."] This tune is more commonly recognizable as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".

Lyrics: "(each line represents a measure, or four beats)":"a-b-c-d-e-f-g," (the comma denotes a short pause):"h-i-j-k-lmnop," (l-m-n-o spoken twice as quickly as rest of rhyme):"q-r-s, t-u-v," (pause between s and t):"w--x, y-and-z," (pause between x and y) (w and x last for two beats):"Now I know my ABCs,":"next time won't you sing with me ?" [cite web|url=http://evaeaston.com/pr/media/r/alpha-song.ra|format=RealPlayer|title=Listen to the song sung]

Zed for Zee

In the United States, Z is pronounced "zee"; in most other English-speaking countries it is pronounced "zed", which spoils the final rhyme. (This is also the case when it is sung in French, where "y and z" becomes "i-grec, zed".) Generally the absent "zee"-rhyme is not missed, although some children use a "zee" pronunciation in the rhyme which they would not use elsewhere. Variants of the song exist to accommodate the "zed" pronunciation. One variation shortens the second line and lengthens the last, to form a near-rhyme between N and zed:

:"a-b-c-d-e-f-g":"h-i-j-k-l-m-n":"o-p-q, r-s-t":"u-v-w, x-y-z":"Now I know my "ABC's"," :"Next time won't you sing with me"

Other variants make significantly more changes in order to rhyme with zed, and even alter the rest of the song to fit a new rhythm. For example::"a-b-c-d-e-f-g":"h-i-j-k-lmnop":"q-r-s-t":"u-v-w-x-y-z":"x-y-z":"Butter on your bread":"If you don't like it":"You'll have to go to bed."

In other languages

Another variation of this song is (to the same tune, also used in Germany)::"a,b,c,d,e,f,g:"h,i,j,k,lmnop,:"q,r,s,t,u,v,w:"x und y, z - Juche!:"Jetzt kann ich das ABC!

The alphabet song as learned by many children in Japan is sung as:

:"a-b-c-d-e-f-g:"h-i-j-k-l-m-n:"o-p-q-r-s-t-u:"v-w, x-y-zed

In Finland:

:"a-b-c-d-e-f-g,:"h-i-j-k-l-m-n,:"o-p-q-r-s-t-u,:"v-x-y-z-å-ä-ö,:"a-b-c-d-e-f-g,:"Osaan kaikki aakkoset!

Phonics

This alphabet song, sung to a different melody from that of the previous, is taught by some pre-schools that use the phonics method.

:"What does the A say? Ay Aa Ah" (the vowels are sounded completely):"What does the B say? B* B* B*" (only the leading sound of consonants are sung in the response part):"What does the C say? S* and K*" :"What does the D say? D* D* D*":"What does the E say? Ee and Eh":. . . (continue for each letter with several slightly different melodies) :. . .:"What does the X say? Ks Ks Ks":"What does the Y say? Yuh* Ee* Eye*":"What does the Z say? Zzz Zzz Zzz"

:"What do you call these phones and sounds?":"English alphabet letters.":"Yeah!"

This song teaches children that each letter has a name and sounds. Just like a dog says "woof" and a cat says "meow", the "I" says "eye" and "ee".

Acrostic songs

There are also songs that go through the alphabet, making each letter stand for something in the process. The following is an example popular at many children's summer camps:Fact|date=April 2007

:"A: you're an alphabet":"B: you're a belly button":"C: you're a cantaloupe with arms":"D: you're delirious":"E: you're an elephant":"F: you're the fairy of my arms":"G: you're a goony goon":"H: you're a hairy loon":"I: you're an icky dicky doo":"J: you've got joppy knees":"K: claustrophobia":"L: you've got leprosy too!":"M, N: you're a maniac":"O: you're an octopus-pus-pus-pus":"P:, Q: particularly queer":"R, S, T,: responsible for stupid things":"U: pick your nose in bed":"V: you're a vomit head":"W, X, Y, Z"

A popular song with a similar structure was recorded in 1948, by Buddy Kaye, Fred Wise, Sidney Lippman, and later Perry Como, called "'A' — You're Adorable":

:"A, you're adorable":"B, you're so beautiful":"C, you're a cutie full of charms":"D, you're a darling":"And E, you're exciting":"And F, you're a feather in my arms":"G, you look good to me":"H, you're so heavenly":"I, you're the one I idolize":"J, we're like Jack and Jill":"K, you're so kissable":"L, is the love light in your eyes":"M, N, O, P":"I could go on all day":"Q, R, S, T":"Alphabetically speaking: "You're OK":"U, made my life complete":"V, means you're very sweet":"W, X, Y, Z":"It's fun to wander through the alphabet with you to tell you what you mean to me"

Backwards song

The song starting with Z was first made popular in Wee Sing. It is called ZYX's. It goes as follows:

ZYXWV and U

T and S and R and Q

PONMLKJ,

IHGF EDCBA (EDCBA said like LMNOP in alphabet song)

Now I know my ZYX's

Next time we'll sing down in Texas

This song decreased popularity after its Wee Sing release, and very few people know this to date.

References

ee also

*ABC-DEF-GHI, a song sung by Big Bird of "Sesame Street"
*The Elements, a mnemonic song of the periodic table by Tom Lehrer
* The song "Do-Re-Mi" from "The Sound of Music", which is used to learn the order of the notes in the Solfege scale, just like the alphabet song is used to learn the order of the letters in the alphabetical order.


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