Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Culture shot: ABC song

Lillie has taken a strong liking to the ABC song. And, she will sing it on command or anytime there is a pause in conversation, playtime, eating, and whenever someone may need to break out into song. The best is that she has yet to master the alphabet, so the song is a muddled version of the original with long pauses and gaps. But, what is always the same is the tune.

Since this little ditty has been sung to me countless times in the past few weeks, it made me wonder. Where the heck did the alphabet song start? And, who gave our language building blocks such personality? Well, our friends at Wikipedia had the answer. Here is their (condensed) synopsis:

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, an 18th century composer. The Newberry Library says, "The theme is that used by Mozart for his piano variations, Ah, vous dirai-je, maman.This tune is more commonly recognizable as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".

My thanks to Mr. Bradlee and Louis Le Maire for their genius composition. Little Lillie's day wouldn't be the same without it.

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