Monday 19 February 2024

Uke-Song Imaginatively Attributed to Tom Lehrer: "NO ELEMENTS" (a Latin Listing)


ORIGINAL SONG: "The Elements", Tom Lehrer
PARODY COMPOSED: Giorgio Coniglio, April 2013. A decade later, it might be worthwhile to review these once more!

EXPLANATION: Lehrer had adapted the tune from "The Major General's Song" from Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance". There are 3 somewhat different melodies/chord-sequences used in alteration through the GandS song, and in Lehrer's derived take-off.

PARODY-LYRICS LINK: The lyrics for this song constituted one of Giorgio's  earliest submissions to the online parody-lyrics website at And, should you prefer, they are displayed without the chord-indications on our blogsite "Daily Illustrated Nonsense"; click HERE.


(to the tune of "The Elements")

Singable Introduction:
Tom [G]Lehrer became a legend with his scientific patter-song,
More [D7]popular and loved than his unpublished “Anti-Matter Song”;
En[G]hancing humdrum discourse, just to quote his ode lends elegance
To [D]conversation thrumming with the [A7]spectrum of the [D]elements.
We [D7]face this glum conundrum as alumni of Phi[Gm]lology -
Lay-[F7]folk would like a list replete with Latin ety[Bb]mology
The [D7]possibilities for neutral nouns in -U-M [Gm]loom awesome;
No [Eb7]need to invoke hokum terms like tantrum or o[D7]possum, chum.

Most names for elements are
 neutral Latin nouns

The Roman empire included England

A famous building in Rome



The Patter-Song Lyrics:
There’s [G]atrium, asylum, arboretum, auditorium
Com[D7]pendium and modicum and rostrum, crematorium
And [G]coliseum, quantum, condominium, euphonium
And [D]album, acetabulum, mu[A7]seum, pande[D]monium.
There’s [D7]maximum and minimum and optimum and [Gm]medium
And [F7]opium, opprobrium, colloquium and [Bb]tedium
Col[D7]ostrum, serum, sputum, sebum, nostrum and me[Gm]conium
And [Eb7]sternum, talcum, labium, ovum, spermato[D7]gonium.  

Ca[G]ladium, nasturtium and laburnum and geranium
And [D7]sacrum, cecum, ischium and tympanum and cranium
Con[G]sortium, memo[D7]randum, and sym[G]posium and [D7]podium
De[G]sideratum, [C]datum, vacuum, [G]ulti[D7]matum, [G]odium.

There’s [G]pablum, perineum, paramecium, petroleum
And [D7]locum and inoculum, lyceum and linoleum
A few English words ending in -UM
 are not of Latin origin
And [G]tritium, deuterium, trapezium and trillium
My[D]celium, flagellum, endo[A7]thelium and [D]cilium.

There’s [D7]quorum and decorum, mausoleum, mora[Gm]torium
And [F7]premium, per-annum, honorarium, em[Bb]porium
And [D7]pendulum and forum, fulcrum, speculum, bac[Gm]terium
And [Eb7]cerebellum, plenum, sum, curriculum, de[D7]lirium.

Gym[G]nasium and stadium and magnum and terrarium
So[D7]larium, momentum, myocardium, aquarium
And [G]scrotum and fac[D7]totum and post[G]partum and con[D7]tinuum
And [G]duodenum, [C]referendum, [G]rectum [D7]and re[G]siduum.

Addendum #1
There's [G]stratum, alum, [D7]allium, al[G]luvium et [D7]alia,
And [G]mom's pouch called mar[C]supium, but [G]mostly [D7]in Aus[G]tralia.

Addendum #2
To [G]plural them, heads [D7]swirling them, “What [G]single rule? - please [D7]answer, Pa”.
My [G]dictum, “Don’t in[C]flict ‘em with [G]erratums [D7]or chry[G]santhema !” 
et cetera!

(My suggestion for the first 3 verses of the patter-list portion of this parody are shown here, but adapt them as you like! Incidentally, the Eb7 chord may look formidable to some - just use the barred version of D7 one fret higher, than slide back for the D7 that follows!)

Related Palindromes:  Latin examples found at Auxilium: Palindroma 

There seem to be no published examples of phrases based on the  neutral nouns !!! 

Ave, Eva.  (Hail, Eve !)

Sum summus mus. (I am the top mouse)

Et tiger non regit te.  (And the tiger doesn't rule thee).

Aures serua.  (Safeguard your ears).

Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas. (The famous  "Sator Square" - can be read either horizontally or vertically 

Roma tibi subito motibus ibit amor. (In Rome, love will go to you suddenly)

No grasp, Alf, on no flaps -  argon.

No dare, elf - flee radon.

No comments:

Post a Comment