Monday 19 February 2024

Uke-Song: "NO ELEMENTS", a Latin listing, imaginatively attributed to Tom Lehrer


ORIGINAL SONG: "The Elements", Tom Lehrer, 1959.

PARODY COMPOSED: Giorgio Coniglio, 2013. A decade later, it might be worthwhile to review these once more.

Please note that T.L.'s genius has provided inspiration for a handful of other parody patter-songs; these are summarized at the bottom of this post.

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")

A famous building in Rome

Most names for elements are
 neutral Latin nouns

Roman empire included England




Singable Introduction

The Patter-Song Lyrics:

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!)

You crave more patter-songs in the style of Tom Lehrer???
T.L. inspired a significant platterful of songs related to our interest in grammatically paired words, including binomials and reduplications. And, you should have your foot in the door, having mastered the complexities of singing and playing our above offering "No Elements".  So, enjoy trying these as well !!!     
1a. "Alliterative Binomials, part#1"
3.  "A Lesson about Reduplications" (not a patter-song)
5.  "No Elements", 3rd declension Latin nouns
6.  "The Uniqueness of Nuclear", Latin adjectival listing, scheduled for April 2024.

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)

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