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Alphabet Song

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So you need to teach the alphabet and want to make it easy? Why not go for the Alphabet Song! The Alphabet Song is a song designed to teach others about the alphabet, typically by reciting the names of all of the letters of the alphabet. It is popular in two different flavors (although other variants exist):

  • A song that associates the letter with an object or action e.g. "A is for Apple, B for Bus..." .
  • Just singing the letters in alphabetical order e.g. "A, B, C, D...."

This particularly shows up in media designed for younger children, usually as a simple and catchy way of teaching them the alphabet. However, it may show up in media aimed at an older audience, usually as a Parody or as part of a Subverted Kids' Show. Alternative versions also exist which do the song but go from Z to A instead, as well as those which emphasize the need to teach the phonemes associated with each letter instead.

It should be noted that words beginning with X and Z are scarce, which may lead to words with the X or Z sound sometimes being used instead like "axe", "extra", etc. Also in British English, the letter Z is pronounced "zed" rather than "zee", which can mean that some versions do not rhyme.

Usually takes the form of a List Song. A Sub-Trope of Educational Song. Compare Spelling Song. May involve Anthropomorphic Typography or Fun with Alphabet Soup.

Not to be confused with the band ABC. Nor with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation or American Broadcasting Company, for that matter. Nor with the parent company for Google.


    open/close all folders 

  • This catchy commercial for Post Alpha-Bits cereal features The Jackson 5 covering the Alphabet song while playing in a park — one that happens to be outfitted with oversized cereal letters.
  • The (seemingly) defunct toy store Toys "R" Us once had a promotional video showing Geoffrey Giraffe showing musical video clips about animals called the "Animal Alphabet". The animals in the video are, in alphabetical order: alligator, bear, camel, deer, elephant, fish, giraffe, horse, iguana, jaguar, kangaroo, lion, monkey, newt, ostrich, penguin, quail, rhinoceros, seal, tiger, unicorn, vulture, whale, ox, yak, and zebra.
    Geoffrey: How much more fun can an alphabet get?

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sweets Parade, sung by Kana Hanazawa for Inux Boku SS, does a variation of this with the Japanese hiragana alphabet. Each line of the chorus starts with a recitation of the next line of the alphabet (e.g., a i u e o, ka ki ku ke ko etc.), but recontextualises those syllables into actual words, creating (rather silly and sometimes nonsensical) sentences. This is, of course, pretty much impossible to translate faithfully into English.
    Ai, ue, okashi, shita / Kaki kuu kke? Konna ni mo (Love, up, sweets, down / Wanna eat a persimmon? There's plenty to go around.)
    Sashi su se sofuto kuriimu / Gozou?roppu?de ikou (Let's say that soft serve ice cream looks like innards.)
  • Mitsudomoe: Grade schooler Futaba has an Image Song titled "ABC, Then DEF!" which is a parody of a grade school Alphabet Song. Since Futaba is a little pervert, it's about bust sizes. In episode 8 of the anime, it plays during her Hard-Work Montage searching for a lost child's mother.
  • The song "Sweet Song ABC" from Ojamajo Doremi lists a dessert or snack item associated with each letter of the English alphabet.

    Comic Books 
  • In one licensed comic based on The Loud House, Lucy writes an alphabet poem to cheer up her crying baby sister. It involves lines like "S is for staircase where Leni pratfalls".

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The kids' book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a poem book about a bunch of sentient letters racing each-other up a tree. Each letter is introduced in order and in a lyrical manner as they scale the tree, fall out, and suffer Amusing Injuries.
  • Sam Pig: When Sam learns the alphabet, he learns it via a poem ("A is for Anne, B is for Brock, C is for cabbage, D is for dock", etc.")
  • Fungus the Bogeyman: One book-within-a-book features a gross alphabet with things like "T is for tadpole tart".
  • K Is for Knifeball is a parody of children's alphabet books, where every page is a different bad idea. The bad ideas vary from the mundane (wearing the same underwear for several days running) to the incredibly dangerous (playing with a ball with a knife taped to it).
  • The children's book P Is for Poop is a poem about the antics of a married couple, their two kids, their cat, and their dog, and it has lines like "L is for laughing 'til your pants are wet" and "U is for underwear, Dad's only PJ's."
  • Treehouse: In one book, a psychic named Madame Know-it-All drains the memories of Andy and Terry, so Jill gets their memories back by reading a poem to them, which has lines like "J is for Jill, she lives next door" and "V is for vegetables which you both hate".
  • The Gashlycrumb Tinies: The book goes over 26 children, one for each letter of the alphabet, which each die in different ways.
    A is for Amy who fell down the stairs
    B is Basil assaulted by bears
    C is for Clara who wasted away
    D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh
  • The New England Primer published in 17th-century colonial America presented the alphabet with rhymed couplets, many of which had a Protestant Christian theme.
    "In Adam's fall, we sinned all."
    "Thy life to mend, this Book attend."
  • P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter and illustrated by Maria Tina Beddia, uses silent letters and odd spellings to take readers through the alphabet.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of Baby Talk (1991) centered around an alphabet song created by the male lead, which a kid show host stole for his own show. The song is never sung in its entirety during the episode, being always interrupted by plot before 'G'.
  • Bassie & Adriaan made one of the associating letters with words variety for their first series.
    De A van aap en B van bal
    C van club en D van dal
    E van eend en F van Fred
    Dat zijn de eerste letters van 't alfabet

    Zing dit liedje met mij mee
    De letters gaan van A tot Z
    De 26 letters van het alfabet
  • Letter Kenny: Wayne once sang the alphabet in French.
  • Spell Binders, an unsold game show pilot from 1978, used "The A.B.C." (see the Music folder) as the basis for its theme tune.
  • The 1999 Baby Einstein video Baby Shakespeare has six little girls singing the alphabet song with their puppet friends.

  • The Trope Codifier is probably a song called "The A.B.C.", which was first copyrighted in 1835 by music publisher Charles Bradlee. (The tune is also paired with other Nursery Rhymes such as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Baa Baa Black Sheep.") All together now:
    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, and Z.
    Now I know my ABCs
    Next time, won't you sing with me?
    • The final two lines have varying versions including "Now I've sung my ABC / Tell me what you think of me" or "Next time sing along with me".
  • In the UK, children learn a variant of the above song. The first two lines are the same, but Q to Z are sung to a different melody, and it doesn't have the last two lines. In the UK, Z=Zed.
  • A playground song is titled "A, My Name Is Alice". An improvised ball-bouncing or jump-rope jingle, the first verse might go, "A, my name is Alice, and my husband's name is Albert. We come from Alabama, and we sell apples." Repeat with every letter of the alphabet for the husband's and wife's names, their place of origin, and their sales wares. Can get tricky for Q and X, if you make it that far. A second, completely different version of "A My Name Is Alice" was recorded on an early, unofficial Sesame Street record (info is hard to find, but the writing credit might belong to Jeffrey Moss). The first verse goes:
    A my name is Alice,
    I live in a palace,
    And every afternoon at three,
    A footman serves me tea
    Yeah, yeah, a footman serves me tea
    Yeah, yeah, a footman serves me tea.
    (backup vocalists) Yeah, yeah, a footman serves her tea.
  • 'A' You're Adorable was popularized by Perry Como back in 1949. A song to one's sweetie using every letter of the alphabet, e.g., "A you're adorable, B you're so beautiful, C you're a cutie full of charm." Not all letters have a corresponding term of endearment, though, since in a few places a sequence of letters is recited, such as "Q, R, S, T, alphabetically speaking you're OK". (A playground parody seems to have caught on as well. )
  • Possibly the earliest known phonemic alphabet song in English is "Ba-Be-Bi-Bo-Bu". which was sung at the initiation ceremonies for new apprentices in London printing houses at least as far back as 1740. The lyrics repeat the following pattern through all of the consonants, starting with the letter B:
    B-a, Ba, B-e, Be, B-i, Bi, Ba-Be-Bi, B-o, Bo, Ba-be-bi-bo, B-u, Bu, Ba-be-bi-bo-bu.
  • "Game Over Tinies" by Brentalfloss is a parody of The Gashlycrumb Tinies that associates the letters with the fates of characters in video games.
    A is for Aerith, stabbed right through the tummy
    B is for Bowser, whose bridgework was crumby
    C is for Crono, or was that his double?
    D is for Dhalsim, who had yoga trouble
    E is for Ecco, and he was delicious
  • "A Gorey Demise" by Creature Feature features a dark version of this, associating the letters with the names of people who suffered gruesome deaths.
    A is for Amber who drowned in a pool
    B is for Billy who was eaten by ghouls
    C is for Curt with disease in the brain
    D is for Daniel derailed on a train
    E is for Eric who is buried alive
  • Lead Belly's "Rock Island Line" features a verse which begins: "A, B, C, double X, Y, Z / The cat's in the corner but he can't catch me.
  • Septimus Winner published "The Spelling Bee" in 1875, a phonemic alphabet song inspired by "Ba-Be-Bi-Bo-Bu" but with the vocal pattern changed slightly to make the lyrics fit an eight bar format. Like its predecessor, the lyrics start with B and repeat the same pattern for every consonant.
B, A, Ba, B, E, Be, B-I-bicki-bi, B, O, Bo, Bicki-bi-bo, B, U, Bu, Bicki-bi-bo-bu.
  • Songdrops has the "CBA Song", which is the alphabet backwards.
  • The Wiggles have their own version of the song, which notably concludes with "Zed or Zee," since with an international audience it could go either way.
  • The pop singer GAYLE was once dared to write a song that incorporated the letters of the ABCs. The result was her hit "ABCDEFU," with a chorus that starts out sounding like an alphabet song before going in a very different direction with the letter F.
  • The Barenaked Ladies's "Crazy ABC's" plays with the idea. Ed uses words start with the correct letter, but the starting letters are silent or don't make their usual sounds. So, for example, the beginning is "A is for aisle, B is for bdellium, C is for czar..." The two exceptions are "L is for llama" because Ed thinks it's strange there are two L's, and "R is for argyle" because he couldn't find a good R word.
  • They Might Be Giants recorded an entire album of alphabet songs, entitled Here Come The ABCs. Several of the songs focus on individual letters or letter pairs, but quite a few of them manage to include a quirky spin on the entire alphabet.
  • On their second album, Soft Machine bookend the track "Hibou, Anemone and Bear" with the two-part "A Concise British Alphabet". Both parts are roughly ten-second songs melodically reciting the alphabet, with the second part going backwards from Z in the same melody as the first.note 
  • A comical variant uses the melody of the original song but with all the letters in reverse order, concluding "Now I know my ZYXs / That's the way we say the alphabet in Texas."
  • An updated version that circulated online uses the traditional melody but gets rid of the extra eighth notes ("ellemenno pee") so the second line is simply "H, I, J, K, L, M, N," with the rest of the letters adjusted accordingly. This does have the advantage of being musically simpler but loses the rhyme between "Gee" and "Pee", as well as being different from the way learned by generations of schoolkids. Predictably, the responses were full of outraged people declaring They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
  • "The Lumberman's Alphabet", a traditional song.
    A is for axe and that we all know,
    B is for boy who can use it also,
    C is for chopping we first do begin,
    D is for danger we often fall in.
  • "Alligators All Around", co-written by Carole King and Maurice Sendak for the musical Really Rosie, which was based upon Sendak's books, Chicken Soup with Rice, Pierre, One was Johnny, Alligators All Around (all comprising 1962's The Nutshell Library), and The Sign on Rosie's Door.
    A, alligators all around
    B, bursting balloons
    C, catching colds
    D, doing dishes
    E, entertaining elephants

  • Edward Lear wrote many alphabetical poems, the X usually being "King Xerxes".
  • The Quarrel of the Alphabet:
    Great A was alarmed at B's bad behaviour,
    Because C, D, E, and F denied G a favour.
    H got a husband, with I, J, K, and L,
    M married Mary, and taught scholars how to spell.

    It went hard at first with N, O, P, and Q,
    With R, S, T, with single and double U,
    The X and the Y it stuck in their gizzards,
    Till they were made friends by the two crooked izzards.

    This A, B, C, so little is it thought about,
    Although by its aid great knowledge is brought about;
    ?Tis the groundwork of science, of wisdom the key, sir,
    For what does a man know that knows not A, B, C, sir?
    He is a blockhead, take it from me, sir,
    That does not know his A, B, C, sir,
    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.
  • Willard R. Espy's The Game of Words:
    • The anonymous "An Animal Alphabet".
      Alligator, beetle, porcupine, whale,
      Bobolink, panther, dragon-fly, snail,
      Crocodile, monkey, buffalo, hare,
      Dromedary, leopard, mud-turtle, bear,
    • The equally anonymous "The Siege of Belgrade", which leaves out "J".
      An Austrian army, awfully arrayed,
      Boldly, by battery, besieged Belgrade;
      Cossack commanders cannonading come—
      Dealing destruction's devastating doom;
  • The Nursery Rhyme "A was an apple pie" dates to the 17th century, and is especially notable because it demonstrates how the ampersand was considered a letter of the Latin alphabet for quite a while. The earliest versions didn’t include I and U, because at the time they were not distinguished from J and V respectively. Also, the misspelled line "E ate it" is severely Accent Depundent, only barely excusable as a phonics lesson if you pronounce ate "et".
    A was an Apple pie; B bit it; C cut it; D dealt it; E ate it; F fought for it; G got it; H had it; J joined it; K kept it; L longed for it; M mourned for it; N nodded at it; O opened it; P peeped in it; Q quartered it; R ran for it; S stole it; T took it; V viewed it; W wanted it; X, Y, Z, and Ampersand, All wished for a piece in hand.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In The Noddy Shop episode "To The Rescue", there is a song called "The ABC's of Fire", which uses letters of the alphabet, in order, to teach fire safety rules.
  • Sesame Street:
    • In one skit, a little girl sings the original ABC song, but substitutes random letters with "Cookie Monster".
    • One of the many songs of the show is the "ABC-DEF-GHI" song, which is sung by Big Bird in one sketch:
      It's the most remarkable word I've ever seen
      I wish I knew exactly what I mean
      It starts out like an "A" word as anyone can see
      But somewhere in the middle it gets awful "QR" to me
      If I ever find out just what this word can mean
      I'll be the smartest bird the world has ever seen!
    • In the Direct to Video release, "Do the Alphabet", Big Bird sings "Do the Alphabet" to help Baby Bear say the alphabet by himself so Goldilocks doesn't have to do it for him.
    • The "Alphabet Chat" theme is the alphabet sung to the tune of one of Johann Sebastian Bach's songs.
    • One sketch has Elmo do a rap version of the alphabet.
    • In a Season 25 insert, Big Bird demonstrates how the alphabet song would sound without the letter A at the beginning.
    • "Alphabet Jungle"
    • "The African Animal Alphabet", which is mostly about African wildife (although the song also mentions peacocks and tigers, which are instead exclusively native to Asia)
  • The Alphabet Song is sung in The Sprout Sharing Show

  • Matilda has the "School Song", which teaches the letters during the song by emphasizing them in a sentence (The letters occur on the downbeat of the bar, helping emphasize them in words that don't start with the letter in question).
    So you think you're A-ble [able]
    To survive this mess by B-ing [being]
    A prince or a princess, you will soon C [see],
    There's no escaping trage-D [tragedy].
    And E-ven [even]

    Video Games 
  • One of the Enemy Chatter in Dishonored is the guard singing the alphabet, and he flubs the order only a few letters in.
  • The Taiko no Tatsujin series often features The Alphabet Song as part of its song list. Despite the simplicity of the tune, on higher difficulties it can be surprisingly challenging.

  • Something Happens has a 13-strip parody variation on this that startshere, in that each letter gets a four-line poem, many of them full of Blatant Lies and other sillyness. It also gets the letter order wrong at the end. And as the strips go on, the accompanying pictures of children (which have nothing to do with the letters being discussed) change, and not for the better...

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Big Mouth: Coach Steve, who can't read and doesn't truly understand letters, has his own version of the traditional alphabet song in which the letters are replaced by what Coach Steve thinks they are.
    "Teepee, fat guy, sideways moon, other fat guy, sideways comb."
  • Blue's Clues had "I'll Never Forget My Alphabet" from "The Alphabet Train" as Joe describes what is in each train boxcar alphabetically.
  • Dinosaur Train has a unique take on the alphabet song with "Dinosaurs A-Z", which lists dinosaurs in alphabetical order.
    "A! Apatosaurus! B! Brachiosaurus! C! Corythosaurus! D! Deinonychus! E! Einiosaurus! F! Fabrosaurus! G! Gal-Limimus! H! Hadrosaurus! I! Iguanodon! J! Jaxartosaurus! Everybody, it's time for the chorus! Hey hey hey, come along with me (Choo Choo, Choo Choo), this is how we memorize dinosaurs A to Z!"
  • Dora the Explorer used the actual ABC song in one episode, among with a parody called the "animal alphabet" song.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Quagmire's Mom", a flashback of Quagmire as a kid shows him singing the classic alphabet tune - using the names of the men his mother slept with for each letter.
    • In "Yug Ylimaf", Stewie has a flashback to the time where he forgot what came after G and had to fake it. The cutaway shows him make it through the first verse, only to completely make the rest up on the spot.
      A, B, C, D, E, F, G,
      Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
      Standing here, with these kids,
      Waiting for the song to end,
      Now I know my ABCs
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The episode "Plankton!", has Plankton trying to play his Musical Sting, only to put the wrong side of the disc and have it play a kids' song about the alphabet. However, said song only goes from A (for apple) to F (for fish).
    • In the episode "I'm With Stupid", Patrick sings the alphabet song but hurries through the remaining letters after G after his "parents" show up.
  • Super Why! features a version of the alphabet song sung by Alpha Pig with a different melody than the traditional version. It merely goes through the alphabet before ending with the lyric "Sing with me."
  • What's with Andy?: In one episode, Andy is sent back to kindergarten for the day as punishment and he and the kindergarteners take part in the school talent show and diss the school faculty. Andy plays the teacher and asks the kindergarteners to sing the ABC, and the kindergarteners sing a song about how they start off happy but gradually get sadder:
    Girl 1: "A, B, and C, makes me happy."
    Boy 1: "D, E, and G. We're so gloomy."
    Boy 2 and Girl 2: "H, I, and J. Things never go our way."
    Girl 1: "K, L, and M. I agree with them."
    Boy 1: "N, O, and P. I have to pee."
    Boy 2, Boy 3, and Girl 3: "Q, R, and S. We're in distress."
    Boy 1: "T, U, and V. I still have to pee."
    Boy 2, Boy 3, Girl 1, and Girl 3: "W, X, Z, please set us free!"
    Andy: (spoken) "You forgot the letters Y and F. Why? Because you get an F!"


Phonics Song

KidsTV123's Phonics Song, which uses stock cartoon images as showcases for the sounds.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / AlphabetSong

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