This is a small collection of some of the chemistry songs that I written. Except as noted, the tunes are not original. I will be adding to this collection as I find more of my old songs. If you have any such songs I would be delighted to add them here and give you appropriate credit (and your share of any royalties I receive).



physical chemstry

organic synthesis

silver one-pot

iron one pot

a third verse for "The Elements"

nickel one pot

copper one pot

manganese one pot

chromium one pot

cobalt one pot

vanadium one pot

Beer's Law

























Physical Chemistry (Tune: "The Little Drummer Boy")

Come, they told me, to Physical Chem (Heisenberg, Heisenberg, Heisenberg)
You'll be unsure all year in Physical Chem (Heisenberg, Heisenberg, Heisenberg)
Is light like a ball or is it like a jump rope (Heisenberg, Heisenberg, Heisenberg)
With all these crazy ideas I really can't cope
There is no hope
Feel like a dope (Heisenberg, Heisenberg, Heisenberg)

I know I'll never pass this frustrating course,
Physical Chem

En-tro-py is alive in Physical Chem (delta S delta S delta S)
Learn all that thermo jive in Physical Chem (delta S delta S delta S)
Delta G, H, U, dq and T delta S (delta S delta S delta S)
Laws zero through three, that seems to me an excess
My life is a mess
I must confess
I hate Physical Chem

Don't, make waves they said in Physical Chem (Psi Psi Psi)
Schrodinger's not dead in Physical Chem (Psi Psi Psi)
Complex wavefunctions are so hard to make (Psi Psi Psi)
This quantum weirdness just gives me a headache
Give me a break
Why must I take
Physical Chem

I'll get an M-B-A, not a P-h-D
Thanks to Physical Chem

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Organic Synthesis (Tune: "I Don't Know How to Love Him")

I don't know how to make it
Should I stir, should I shake it
I don't care, the flask's not tared
In the past few days, when I made my stuff
It might be something else.

I just don't understand this
I don't see why it stops there
An amine, just an amine
And I've made so many, amines before
In oh so many ways. It's just one more.


Should I spin it down? Should I dry it out?
Should I try a base? I could scream and shout
I never thought I'd come to this.
What's it all about?

All my lab work is now micro
I can't even see my product
It might be there -- but I don't care
SN1 or SN2 -- I don't know what to do
I'll simply sit and watch, for a little while

Should I heat it more? Should I TLC?
Run an NMR? Why's it always me?
I never thought I'd come to this.
What's it all about?

I just don't know how to make it.
Maybe I can simply fake it
I don't care. My prof would swear.
She'd rant, she'd rave, but what the hell
She wouldn't have to know. I'll fool her so.

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Silver One-Pot Song (with D. Davenport) (Tune: "Silver Bells")

Silver nitrate, in your one-pot, add bicarbonate say,
And at once there's a feeling of winter,
Then hydroxide, makes it muddy, until chloride in turn
Changes mud into white curds and whey.

Silver ions, silver ions,
It's one-pot time in the city,
Ring-a-ling, re-act-ing,
If you'll just do it our way.

Pour ammonia, in your one-pot, see the curds go away,
They return when some bromide is added,
Get the hypo, from the darkroom, watch them vanish from view
And the beaker becomes crystal clear.

Silver ions, silver ions,
It's one-pot time in the city,
Ring-a-ling, re-act-ing,
If you'll just do it our way.

Take some iodide, then some cyanide, in your one-pot we mean,
See the solids, appearing and going;
Lastly sulfide, smelly sulfide, changes day into night,
And the tarnish will never come clean.

Silver ions, silver ions,
It's one-pot time in the city,
Ring-a-ling, re-act-ing,
If you'll just do it our way.

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Iron (Tune: Frankie and Johnny)

Iron two and citrate they complex
A light yellow color they form
Add some sodium hydroxide and a dark green solid is formed
But that's alright, we'll soon make it clear

Next add our old friend peroxide
Now we're up to iron three
Excess chloride, when acidified, its the prettiest yellow you'll see
Then salicylate, that purple color's just great

When Frankie shot Johnny the heme flowed
And soon that old lecher was dead
When we add thiocyanate, the iron turns blood red
They're not the same, but they're in the same vein

Forms a complex with iron plus two
Then oxidize to Prussian blue, a complex that's complex its true
Then hydroxide and then sulfide

This part of our story is ended
We hope that you liked it a lot
To teach some real hot chemistry, you should do it in one pot
But we're not through, in fact there's much more to do

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This is an additional verse to Tom Lehrer's "The Elements" that picks up at the ending to his version, and adds
information on the elements now known (even at Harvard) which had not been identified in 1959

Since Tom Lehrer wrote this song way back in nineteen fifty nine
New elements are known, they now number more than one-oh-nine
There's 103, where Lehrer left off, the element Lawrencium
And for awhile they gave the ones that followed names nonsensium
Like 104 which for a time was known as unnilquadrium
But now we know that it was named for Ernest Rutherfordium

And 105 we Otto know officially as Hahnium
And 107 has been named for that great Dane NielsBohrium
Once unniloctium, the next one's now called simply Hessium
If Napoleon named them all then we'd have Emporessium

The second woman honored gives us 109, Meitnerium
Her contributions were for many years just viewed as secondarium
This last guy's work is just too good for namers to ignorium
Now 106 forever after will be called Seaborgium

They've claimed 110 and 111, from just one atom at a time
The periodic table grows, from work both high powered and sublime

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Nickel One-Pot Song (Tune: "Five-Foot Two")

Nickel two of greenish hue
Add some chloride, do, do, do
It turns yellow, you know it's d eight.
(and it's a tetrahedron)

There's lots of green, then an ammine
A deep blue color as you've seen
An octahedral complex now.

At high pH with DMG
A scarlet solid starts to form
Based on a square, but please beware
Extended bonding is the norm

We're almost through with nickel two
Add some sulfide oh PU!
Our nickel one-pot's done with now.

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Copper One-Pot Song (Tune: "Copper Kettle")

Get you some copper metal
Maybe some copper foil;
Toss in some nitric acid
And watch the one-pot boil.

Now add some sodium bromide
To give an emerald green
A tetrahedral complex
The prettiest we've seen.

Next oxalate and carbonate
Both solids - kinda blue
But ammonia clears it all up
As you knew that it would do.

We've almost finished copper
A few more steps it's true
We'll blacken our pot with sulfide
And once we do we're through.

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Manganese One-Pot Song (Tune: "Jealously" (with slight modification))

Man-gan-ese, Your colors surely please
The purple of passion, the blue-green of fashion
From three -to seven, an artist's palette's heaven
Plus two is colorless, the spin just can't change I guess

Start with per-man-ga-nate reduce it with bisulfite,
Add sulfuric. acid m n o two its black as the night
And down to three
And red you'll see
Dear old plus two
Lets all light through
There's more to do

Bismuthate, it causes oxida-
Tion back to the seven state
Dear old permanganate

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Chromium One Pot Song (Tune: "O'Tannenbaum")

O'chromium, O'chromium
We'll start out with the plus three state
O'chromium, O'chromium
To oxidize will be our fate

Plus three what colors, what a range
But ligands show such slow exchange
Peroxide will our savior be
We're done with thee o' chromium three

And now we're up to four and five
We hope to finish at chromate
The species we find in between
On that we'll have to cogitate

We play around with peroxide
Yellow to blue when acidified
We're almost done, its much too late
Throw it all down as lead chromate

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Cobalt One Pot Song (Tune: "When Johnny Comes Marching Home")

We started out with cobalt two hurrah, hurrah
In ethanol pink turns to blue hurrah, hurrah
Then back to pink, add carbonate, a lavender precipitate
Which turns to blue then green, its true, with N A OH

Then add some H C L. and it all turns back to pink
Then add some tartrate. careful here, what do you think
Will happen if we oxidize, green!, can you believe your eyes
Some ferrocyanide, then bipy and bor-o-hydride

We're almost done we've had such fun - hurrah, hurrah
We've got the cobalt down to one - hurrah, hurrah
What shall we mix, into our stew, add some sulfide wouldn't you
A long way to go for a black precipitate

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Vanadium One Pot Song (Tune: "I Don't Know How To Love Him")

I don't know how to make it
No one's watching I'll just fake it
I'm so glum - vanadium
Why can't you be, all in plus three
With colors bright and gay - but there's no way

All the faculty had warned me
I'd regret my decision
There's oxy ions - at several states
And many of the vanadates are polymers no less - oh what a mess

But I reduced it down, ammonium vanadate
Thru green and blue, then to the plus two state
The colors fell right into line
I felt they were all mine - it was so fine

Now I'll oxidize to five or six
I'll use peroxide or permanganate
And soon I'll stop, just one more drop
We've come full circle, its been such fun
Stand proud your time has come - vanadium

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(Tune: “Jingle Bells”)

You can calculate an MO
with semiempirical
or ab initio
and it will be beautiful
You can optimize the shape
minimize the energy too
and those are just a few of the many
wonderful things you can do, with

Gaussian, Gaussian,
We love Gaussian,
MP2, CCSD and
Density functionals too, Oh
Gaussian, Gaussian
We love Gaussian,
We don't need any beakers or flasks
Our labs are all Gaussian

Is it a greenhouse gas,
Will it cure cancer too,
Does it react by redox,
or is it SN2,
Is the lone pair on the C,
Is the LUMO on the O,
No need to mess with chemicals
You learn all you need to know, from

Gaussian, Gaussian,
We love Gaussian
Transition states and dipole moments
And torsional angles too, Oh
Gaussian, Gaussian
We love Gaussian
We could sing all day about Gaussian
But it looks like we are through

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Beer's Law (The Alphabet Song)

Absorbance equals little a, b c
That's Beer's Law my professor told me.
The deeper the glass or the darker the brew
The less of the incident light that gets through
You can measure A to digits three
Or you can calculate it from percent T

Plot one over c or the natural log
Of c versus t, my mind's in a fog
One of these curves should be a straight line
You can calculate the order, and I bet it's not nine
Then from the slope we will find little k
And that's the way that we will use Beer's Law today

Out in LA where the air is brown
Beer's Law keeps sunlight from reaching the ground
In the infra-red it's also the norm
And that may help explain why the globe is getting warm
We've seen a lot of uses, certainly not all
But now you understand why you must know Beer's Law

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