Old 07-21-2013, 11:17 AM   #1
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Default ABC improvements?

I spend some time with my 2-year-old grandson (and his mom, my little girl) and the one song that came up over and freakin over again was the pedestrian old thing that all kids in English-speaking communities learn. "Now I know my ABCs, next time won't you sing with me."

Gawd I hate that song. It is so MAJOR, so Sesame Street/Mister Rogers! It is in my head and I want to scream it out of there!

So I came back thinking I need to write a few more, or some smarter and more culturally rich variations.

Anyone want to try their hand too?
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Old 07-21-2013, 11:28 AM   #2
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Well, Sesame Street does have *some* cultural variation... I'd suggest also playing "African Alphabet" by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, featured on the "Songs From The Street" album. It sounds absolutely *awesome* (until Kermit spoils it, hehe). The track "1-2-3 Sesame Street" by Stevie Wonder also has a very cute vocoder "A B C" ... but doesn't do the rest of the alphabet.

Have much fun with your grandson, gramps.
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Old 07-21-2013, 02:47 PM   #3
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Default abc

Thanks banned.

I have a version that is in progress and kinda fun. Here is the music.

http://www.reverbnation.com/msorenso...6866-abc-blues

I will finish it up tomorrow. Fun.

Gotta love kids! And we need em to learn more and learn better!

Although Sesame Street is not as great as I wanted it to be, all I can say is THANK GOODNESS it came around and kicked the asses of all those other kids' shows.
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Old 07-21-2013, 03:03 PM   #4
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I firmly believe that the reason why people from the USA incorectly pronounce the last letter of the alphabet is because of this song!
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:32 PM   #5
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I firmly believe that the reason why people from the USA incorectly pronounce the last letter of the alphabet is because of this song!
You mean non-Canadians?

So much for "incorrect".
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:36 PM   #6
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Another song that needs to be written is one that teaches kids the PHONOLOGICAL categories of the letters used in English. The Alphabet is really rather worthless on its own, at least as a linguistic tool. A cool song would group the letters in phonemic classes - like all the "stops" (ptk and bdg), or like all the sibilants (f, s, sh, v, th, etc), or the nasals (m and n), etc.

But that is a longer term goal. The immediate goal of replacing that horrible ABC song is the priority.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:23 PM   #7
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You mean non-Canadians?

So much for "incorrect".
Well there is also the British and every other English speaking country on the planet that pronounce it correctly as 'zed'.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:56 AM   #8
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Well there is also the British and every other English speaking country on the planet that pronounce it correctly as 'zed'.
No problem. How about us libtards value a little diversity? eh? In my song or any ABC song you could sing that last syllable any way you want to.
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:21 AM   #9
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No problem. How about us libtards value a little diversity? eh?
.....
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:54 AM   #10
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I added some singing.
Still working on the chorus.
Try this out.

http://www.reverbnation.com/msorenso...5355-abc-blues

My daughter says it is too hard to follow the melody, but she is speaking from 31 years of listening to pop radio. So her ear is prejudiced against cool, different, ethnic or non-major melodies. When a kid is two, and does not have that genre-specific training - they can learn ANY melody. In fact they do. And it takes them a while to get USED to any melody - even the ones we pop-trained adults find "normal".

Fighting a forced normality is important.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:54 PM   #11
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No problem. How about us libtards value a little diversity? eh? In my song or any ABC song you could sing that last syllable any way you want to.
You might have gotten away with it if it was any letter other than Z. Z and X are the sexiest letters in the alphabet, with X having a female gender and Z having the strong Male Gender. Which is why you will have sports cars with sexy names like "300Zed-x", or if you wanted a masuculine muscular name something like Zed-28. A feminine example would be something like 'Lexus', which conjures up an image of 'refined sexy' or 'beautiful like a woman' rather than powerful.

X will sometimes stand in and take Z's place, like in words like Xylophone or Xeon, but Z will never stand for X. S will also be used to sound like Z when there is a masculine connotation, for instance when you want to refer to a woman with male like sexual tendencies we refer to her as a 'LeZbian'. S is aslo morphed into a Z sound when you want the word to sound strong and menacing, like 'IZraeli Army', but if you wanted to talk about people from the same country in a more peaceful tone we say 'Isrealites'.

Z comes from the Greek letter Zeta, which is also the first letter in Zeus who was the god of all gods in Greek Mythology. The sybol of Z itself is an effigy of a man on his knees bowing befor his power.

So when you take 'Zed' and call it 'Zee', you are emasculating it, making it as common as b,c,d,e,g,p,t and v. The fact that neither of those two letters, x and z, do not sound like any other letters in the alphabet is significant.

In a fourm filled with musicians, there must be somebody that understands the importance of the sounds that we use to communicate with one another, and the emotions and images that they invoke as well as the significance of thier roles.

I sincerely believe that the emasculation of 'Zed' is a form of brainwashing that has been perpetrated on the people of the United States. You need to wake up, grow some balls, and take 'Zed' back.


Last edited by Andy Hamm; 07-22-2013 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:01 PM   #12
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I added some singing.
Still working on the chorus.
Try this out.

http://www.reverbnation.com/msorenso...5355-abc-blues
Nice. Get the vocal a little tighter with the sax that doubles it and you're there.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:47 PM   #13
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I think it's no accident that the ABC song is so "MAJOR": the major scale is very natural in terms of the tension and release, it takes almost no musical knowledge to understand. Consider the audience here: children that young have very little musical sophistication (most musical sophistication that I'm aware of is deeply based on the assumption of vast music theory knowledge, a context which is far out of reach of those who are making benefit of a familiar song to learn fundamental language skills). The ABC song is supposed to be boring and utterly predictable, that is a benefit because of the function it serves (which has very little to do with enjoying complex musical content).

ETA: Your daughter's comments a couple posts above echoes what I'm talking about. I'd rather listen to yours but I wouldn't try to use it to teach a young'n.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:18 PM   #14
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not many realize it's the same melody as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Personally I can tolerate this one a little more
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML8IL77gQ3k

or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvNCmb9a6Qc

I also have a 2yr old.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:25 PM   #15
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not many realize it's the same melody as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
From the French folk song "Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman," and then there's Mozart's Twelve Variations for piano, K. 265/300e.

Quite a storied history!

-Susan
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:28 PM   #16
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it takes almost no musical knowledge to understand. Consider the audience here
Right, I never thought it was done for any other reason than the ease of learning the ABCs. Chances are excelling at that challenge is going cause musical diversity and cerebral interest to suffer.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:49 PM   #17
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Nice. Get the vocal a little tighter with the sax that doubles it and you're there.
Thanks TL. First run, not clean. But do you think the melody (actually there are two - a kind of verse followed by a countermelody reprise) meets the needs I laid out for the task?

learnable
singable
fun
non-major-ish
somewhat ethnic?

I am thinking maybe not for two-year-olds, but yes for six-year-olds and groups (where students follow and blend in while learning).

And you know I did put a zed in there, so that should take care of SOME of the ethnicity, right?
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:54 PM   #18
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I think it's no accident that the ABC song is so "MAJOR"...The ABC song is supposed to be boring and utterly predictable, that is a benefit because of the function it serves (which has very little to do with enjoying complex musical content).

ETA: Your daughter's comments a couple posts above echoes what I'm talking about. I'd rather listen to yours but I wouldn't try to use it to teach a young'n.
I know what you mean, but I have more faith in the ability of little ones to learn all kinds of odd and contradictory and dramatic stuff.

And I have less faith in that doctrine you express about tension, resolution and simplicity. I am not going to bash it, but it is often used to oversimplify what is given to children capable of more. There are kids who - even as toddlers - do successfully absorb stuff like Ellington, Ray Charles, Mahalia Jackson and John Lee Hooker.

And to the others who commented about the background and other names for the melody in question - that is all part of the ethnicity that I think is somewhat too narrow. Of course it is not only one little song, but if you examine all the hoards of stuff given to first-graders - most of it is pre-packed and ethnically cleaned up.

Epic - love your examples.
thnks to all.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:30 PM   #19
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I know what you mean, but I have more faith in the ability of little ones to learn all kinds of odd and contradictory and dramatic stuff.

And I have less faith in that doctrine you express about tension, resolution and simplicity. I am not going to bash it, but it is often used to oversimplify what is given to children capable of more. There are kids who - even as toddlers - do successfully absorb stuff like Ellington, Ray Charles, Mahalia Jackson and John Lee Hooker.
Mozart. Yeah for sure. My godson displays a remarkable (and mostly untrained) sense of rhythm, drums and dancing come very natural to him. There is a spectrum of talent and comprehension even at very young ages I suspect (again...Mozart!).

But that's all specifically about music; my point is more that it's hardly about music at all in that the music is reduced to almost the barest, most recognizable cliche intentionally to be backgrounded and provide a vehicle for the information itself. The music can operate on a level where very little cognitive processing has to be devoted to keeping the melody and rhythm going. But the predictability makes for a reliable mnemonic device.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:35 PM   #20
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I'll tell you what I can get behind, though: a new birthday song. There's a song with no practical information transfer, equally banal and major'd out, and unlike the ABC song it's something I'm going to be subjected to at least once a year for the rest of my life. For an all ages song that doesn't necessarily benefit from its simplicity we could use a better birthday song.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:58 PM   #21
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I'll tell you what I can get behind, though: a new birthday song. There's a song with no practical information transfer, equally banal and major'd out, and unlike the ABC song it's something I'm going to be subjected to at least once a year for the rest of my life. For an all ages song that doesn't necessarily benefit from its simplicity we could use a better birthday song.
True. The birthday song sucks balls. I think that's what set Charles Manson off.
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Old 07-23-2013, 03:30 AM   #22
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Here is something good:

http://lollyhopwood.bandcamp.com/alb...dventurous-day

"A is for avocado" rattles along with funny lyrics. Delightful I thought as is the rest and not musically patronising but in a folky-rootsy vibe. Try not laughing to the laughing song!

(How I know about this recording is a whole long musical story in itself involving the imminent birth of my second grandchild. First one is two so high five to msore!)
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:21 AM   #23
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do you think the melody... meets the needs I laid out for the task?

...singable...
Perhaps the real value in this song idea is about personal creativity rather than the educational task (I'm saying that knowing well that anything presented in classroom learning has to be educationally justifiable as a baseline). If I had heard your recording in class when I was six I might have come away with the idea, "whoa!, so maybe I don't really have to think about this like they're telling me I do." Personally, I think that's valuable for any 6 yr old (or whatever-yr old) to hear as often as possible.
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:23 PM   #24
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Perhaps the real value in this song idea is about personal creativity rather than the educational task (I'm saying that knowing well that anything presented in classroom learning has to be educationally justifiable as a baseline). If I had heard your recording in class when I was six I might have come away with the idea, "whoa!, so maybe I don't really have to think about this like they're telling me I do." Personally, I think that's valuable for any 6 yr old (or whatever-yr old) to hear as often as possible.
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I'll tell you what I can get behind, though: a new birthday song. There's a song with no practical information transfer, equally banal and major'd out, and unlike the ABC song it's something I'm going to be subjected to at least once a year for the rest of my life. For an all ages song that doesn't necessarily benefit from its simplicity we could use a better birthday song.

You know, I suspect many of us think that there is just too damn much repetition of the same old things over and over. What is wrong with doing SEVERAL different ABC songs, or several totally different birthday songs? And in the classroom - way too bureaucratized - we should be giving kids OPTIONS, instead of stock responses.

But ... we live in a culture that likes ONE thing repeated. Yuck.

Anyone who wants to work out a new Happy birthday song, I will try to make helpful comments, okay?
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:38 PM   #25
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Anyone who wants to work out a new Happy birthday song, I will try to make helpful comments, okay?
One thing for sure, I - CRINGE - whenever I see adults singing that song to other adults at a birthday party. To small kids, sure, silly stuff is fun for toddlers. But it's very close to one of the silliest things I ever see people do with other grown people.

The birthday song should have a cutoff date, like.... age 6 or something.

Now if Tallisman showed up with an original birthday rap on someone's 30th, that would be entertaining.

The birthday song is just... stupid for grown ups. The second chourus "How o-old are you..." makes me want to commit homicide.

Do me a favor, please don't sing, just hire me a hot stripper.
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:42 PM   #26
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Here is a funny little Happy Birthday story.

In the eighties I was a grad student at the linguistics dept at the U of Texas in Austin. They had a linguistics library, a classroom sized collection that was really very good for a specific department. It was the Archibald Hill memorial library and it was paid for by revenues from the Hill family, which included the woman who wrote the Happy Birthday song, which over the years generated quite a bit of royalties.

But yeah, it is embarassing.
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