is copyright Michael Curtis 2010-2021. All Rights Reserved.

Music Spelling (Musician Images)


I had ideas about using 26 x 26 melodies (676 melodies) as part of a memory system. Each melody would represent a pair of letters from AA to AZ.

It was intended to be a way to represent three letters of the alphabet by there being a person (who represents the third letter) performing the melody.

This evolved into a way to visualise a 4 letter word prompt by having 26 x 26 popular songs and people to sing them in a variety of accents.

For a 4 letter word prompt, the first two letters are the song choice; the 3rd letter is represented by a person; and the 4th letter is decided by the accent which the person sings the song in.

Accents are:

Accent Digit
Scouse or other Northern England accent 0
Indian or Welsh 1
American Southern state 2
German 3
Italian 4
Posh English of London 5
Japanese 6
Cockney or Aussie 7
Scottish (Glaswegian) 8
French 9

The digit suggested by the accent relates to the following table:

No# Person 1 Person 2 Person 3 Mexican or Irish accent for Q
0 O B L Q
1 I J Ch
2 A H Sh
3 E G Th
4 U D M
5 W N P
6 Y T

7 Z C K
8 X S

9 V F R

There are letters in each row of that table; the person you choose from the next table will decide not only the 3rd letter of the 4 letter word but also the 4th letter:

Letter Person 1 Person 2 Person 3
A Abba 1950s compilation 60s compilation
B Beach Boys Beatles, John Lennon More Beatles
C Chicago Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald Commodores, Lionel Richie
D David Bowie Deep Purple Dire Straits
E Elton John Elvis Presley Eurythmics
F Fleetwood Mac Bee Gees Billy Idol
G Genesis, Phil Collins, P Gabriel George Harrison, Ringo Starr Grease soundtrack
H The Hollies (Buddy Holly) The Dubliners Duran Duran
I Blondie, Ramones Eric Clapton, Cream Bruce Springstein
J Jimi Hendrix Billy Joel Bon Jovi
K KC and the Sunshine Band, funk Kinks Kenny Rogers
L Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday Leo Sayer Lou Reed
M Madness Madonna Manic Street Preachers
N Neil Young Stone Roses, Happy Mondays Supremes, Three Degrees, Diana Ross
O Oasis Oliver Soundtrack Musicals compilation
P Pink Floyd Police Prince
Q Queen Marvin Gaye Michael Jackson
R R. E. M. Rolling Stones More Rolling Stones
S Simon and Garfunkel Simply Red Stock Aitken and Waterman (Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue)
T Take That, Robbie Williams Talking Heads 2000s Compilation (eg. Katy Perry)
U U2 Red Hot Chilli Peppers Terence Trent Darby
V The Who The Proclaimers The Temptations
W Wham Whitney Houston Wings
X Xmas play list Robbie Robertson, The Band Rod Stewart
Y Yes, John Anderson More Kinks Tom Petty
Z Led Zeppelin Tina Turner Tom Jones
spare Blur Bob Dillon Bob Marley

Bond songs Chicago Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald

Commodores, Lionel Richie 70s compilation 80s compilation

90s compilation 2010s compilation 2020s compilation

For example, CRYP needs the CR song (and you will need a list of 676 songs for that); and

the Y is a person from the Y row, above: Yes, John Anderson ; More Kinks; Tom Petty.

I need to imagine a standard person per band or artist. So I can imagine john Anderson if Yes is the choice; I can imagine Dave Davies of The Kinks if 'More kinks' is the choice; I can imagine Tom Petty if Tom Petty is the choice.

Why are there three choices per letter? Because letter 4 of the 4 letter word needs to know which letter from the accent list table to apply.

Because CRYP has P as the 4th letter, I want digit 5 (W, N, P) of the accent table and I want the third choice (the P); so I need the corresponding third choice person from the Y row: Tom Petty.

So, if I imagine Tom Petty singing song CR in accent number 5 (posh English London accent) then that is CRYP visualised.

Since there are only 3 x 26 people, I would use this system sparingly to lower the risk of samey-ness between different memorised items. I would not have it as my first choice way of prompting words: I already have other ways of prompting words which have far more visual variety.

I chose the artists and bands, above, because I have heard many of their songs before and could pick 60 bands/artists and take 10 songs from their discography; and I could take about 15 other bands/artists and take 5 songs from their discography; and build up the 676 songs of an AA-ZZ song system.

Another purpose for the songs is to replace the lyrics with revision notes.

Here are some nursery rhymes, etc. which can be used for memorising revision notes; I like the idea that the tunes are simple:

1 Alphabet Song Charles Bradlee
2 Alice the Camel
Dem Bones
3 Alouette

4 Animal Fair
Hickory Dickory Dock
5 The Ants Go Marching
The Animals Came in Two by Two
6 A-tisket-a-tasket
a pocket full of posies
7 Baa Baa Black Sheep

8 Bear in Tennis Shoes
You are my sunshine
9 The Bear Went Over the Mountain
For he's a jolly good fellow
10 Be Kind to your Web-Footed Friends Here we go / fair music about fun
11 Bicycle Built For Two (Daisy)

12 Big Rock Candy Mountain

13 Billy Boy

14 Blow the Man Down

15 Brahm's Lullaby

16 Buffalo Gals Won't you COme out Tonight

17 Clementine

18 Do Your Ears Hang Low?

19 The Farmer in the Dell
A Hunting We Will Go
20 Frere Jacques

21 Frog Went a Courtin

22 He's Got the Whole World in his Hands

23 If You're Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands

24 Head Shoulder Knees and Toes

25 Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush

26 Hush Little Baby Don't You Cry

27 I Love You You Love Me
This Old Man
28 I'm a Little Teapot

29 Itsy Bitsy Spider

30 I've Been Working on the Railroad

31 London Bridge

32 Mary had a Little Lamb

33 Michael Finnegan

34 The More We Get Together

35 Oh Suzanna

36 Oh Where oh Where has my Little Dog Gone

37 Old MacDonald had a Farm

38 On Top of Old Smokey

39 Polly Put the Kettle On

40 Polly Wolly Doodle

41 Pop Goes the Weasel

42 Ring Around the Rosies

43 Rock-A-Bye Baby

44 Row Row Row Your Boat

45 Shell be Coming Round the Mountain

46 Shortnin' Bread

47 Sing a Rainbow

48 Sing a Song of Sixpence

49 Skip to my Lou

50 Take me out to the Ballgame

51 Waltzing Matilda

52 Yankee Doodle

The 26 x 26 AA-ZZ songs could be used for a further purpose. In the '31 Lists of 12' article, I wrote about using an image to represent a chemical substance; and the images were images of characters from the animal set. If I decide that one such image means the chemical 'Ethanol' then I can use the prefix ET.. of ethanol and find its matching ET song. I can imagine the character singing that song; and that reinforces the idea that the character represents 'ethanol'.

In the Medicine article, I mention that the cartoon people from the 1000s systems can be used to represent particular medical jargon; again, imagining the person singing a song can help to cement a memory of what jargon the person actually represents.