The Fall of “Elemenopee”

Rebecca Blumenthal, Staff Writer

“When I hear it, I feel like I should shuck my ears off like corn.” Junior Charlotte Walton’s adamant, and punny, response to the recent change of the classic alphabet song tune echoed the sentiments of much of the student body upon hearing the news.

The now-viral YouTube video teaches kids a new tune for the alphabet song, breaking up the letters to help kids better distinguish between them. Although the song begins the same as the classic version, once it gets to the middle, there are some clear distinctions. Instead of the classic “elemenopee,” this version breaks it up to clearly identify L, M, N, O, and P. This changes the tune of the rest of the song. 

The video was originally posted by the children’s education channel Dream English Kids in April 2012 but recently became viral, generating over nine million views. It first attracted attention in a tweet by comedian Noah Garfinkel, in which he said that the new tune was “life-ruining.” The internet community and Ward Melville students have expressed similar frustration with the new tune.

Sophomore Stella Kahnis said, “I understand the change, but I do not support it. You can’t learn the ABC’s that way, it just doesn’t work!” Junior Amelia Lisa, upon listening to the new tune, was taken aback and found herself on the floor. 

Charlotte Walton and her friend, junior Emily Schneider, further explained their reactions to the new tune. In addition to the ear-shucking quip, Walton said, “My body is filled with unadulterated, burning rage.” Schneider added that the song “sets off her fight-or-flight reflexes.” These students explained that they felt so passionately about this, because they had grown up with this classic tune that shaped their childhoods, but now it’s being changed.

The classic alphabet song tune dates back to at least 1761, which is the earliest print record of the music for this tune. Dream English Kids first introduced their new tune ten years ago. Other classic songs, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Ba, Ba, Black Sheep” are also set to the original ABC tune.

The man behind the Dream English Kids channel, Matt, who did not disclose his last name, explained in a statement to the New York Times that he had learned that children find it difficult to learn the middle letters of the alphabet because it goes so fast, which inspired him to slow it down.

Sophomore Laura Massaro challenged this, and said, “I get how it’s easier to learn, but we all learned it that way and we’re fine.” Many other students agreed.

Regardless, actually implementing a new tune into curricula would be a big undertaking, and not likely to happen any time soon. Walton does not need to shuck off her ears just yet; it looks like the “elemenopee” will carry on.