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I got into Tom Lehrer in middle school, when a Chemistry teacher played this song for me: at one time I knew every song off of his three albums by heart. It has been fun trying to remember all of these: I did it from memory, with the slight help of the 29th edition of the CRC handbook of Chemistry and Physics for spelling. It's hard to believe some of these are real, or could be put into a coherent [?!] song, this one the "Major General's Song" from _The Pirates of Penzance_ by Gilbert and Sullivan. Lehrer at times seems to be punishing himself, or us: the alliterations, especially in the penultimate verse, are easily some of the vilest tounge-twisters imaginable. Some of these names are difficult to pronounce slowly, in isolation!

                              The Elements
                              --- --------

As Sung by Tom Lehrer Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan

There's Antimony, Arsenic, Aluminium, Selenium and Hydrogen and Oxygen and Nitrogen and Rhenium Nickel, Neodynium, Neptunium, Germanium and Iron, Americium, Ruthenium, Uranium

Europium, Zirconium, Lutetium, Vanadium and Lathanium and Osmium and Astatine and Radium Gold and Protactinium and Indium and Gallium and Iodine and Thorium and Thulium and Thallium

There's Yttrium, Ytterbium, Actinium, Rubidium and Boron, Gadolinium, Niobium, Iridium and Strontium and Silicon and Silver and Samarium and Bismuth, Bromine, Lithium, Beryllium and Barium

Isn't that interesting? I knew you would. I hope you're all taking notes, because there's going to be a short quiz next period!

There's Holmium and Helium and Hafnium and Erbium Phosphorus and Francium and Flourine and Terbium Manganese, and Mercury, Molybdenum, Magnesium Dysprosium, and Scandium, and Cerium and Cesium

Lead, Praesodynium, Platinum, Plutonium Paladium, Promethium, Potassium, Polonium Tantalum, Tecnetium, Titanium, Tellurium and Cadmium, and Calcium, and Chromium, and Curium

There's Sulfur, Californium, Fermium, Berkelium and also Mendelevium, Einsteinium, Nobelium Argon, Krypton, Neon, Radon, Xenon, Zinc, and Rhodium and Chlorine, Carbon, Copper, Cobalt, Tungsten, Tin, and Sodium

These are the only ones of which the news has come to Harvard: and there may be many others but they haven't been discavard!

[With a "Shave and a Haircut – Two Bits" flourish at the end!]

  1. ———

As far as an updated version, by IUPAC 1983, Lehrer only misses four, elements 103 to 109 (skipping 108). Of these, only 103 has an accepted name (Lawrencium). The rest have "working titles" which are the latinizations of their atomic numbers, for example, "Unnilquadium" for element 104. Lawrencium could conceivably be shoehorned in before Mendelevium, replacing "and also".

Perhaps the end of the song could be changed to:

These are the only ones of which the names can be pronoun'ced And the rest have names in Latin but they haven't been accep'ted! Alan B. Canon UUCP: …!psuvax1!ulkyvx.bitnet!abcano01 440 Highfield Rd. INTERNET: Louisville, KY 40207 BITNET: abcano01@ulkyvx "You fool! You've just fallen victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is, `Never get involved in a land war in Asia', but only slightly less well known is, `Never go in against a SICILIAN when DEATH is on the line!!!'"

/data/webs/external/dokuwiki/data/pages/archive/music/elements.txt · Last modified: 1999/08/01 17:17 by

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