Musical Alphabets – words to play

I have blogged in the past on some of my projects that focus on Musical Alphabets. I cover quite a range of different approaches under the idea of ‘alphabets’, but one of the things I like to do with ESL students is ask them to list all the words they can think of that can be spelt with the letters A-G (the musical alphabet as it appears on our classroom percussion instruments) and to try playing the words.

Here is our list of words:

Age, aged, ace, aced

Bag, bad, bee, bead, beef, beg, bed, beaded, begged

Cabbage, cafe, cage, cad, cab, caged

Dag, dead, dab, dabbed, dad, deaf

Egg, egged

Fade, faded, fee, fed, feed, face, faced

Gee, gaff, gag, gagged, gab,

We have made some beautiful musical pieces in the past where each person plays their chosen word, and we try out different words in different combinations. Students might also write a melody by stringing a number of words together.

In a class of 15 students, we listened to each of the students’ word choices, tried out pairs and trios together, looking for pleasing combinations, then decided on an order of words for our class composition. We had a ‘chorus’ that everyone played that we returned to several times, giving our composition a Rondo form.

8 comments so far

  1. […] all the words we can spell with the letters A to G (the white notes of the musical alphabet – see here for a comprehensive list of possible words). I then asked them to string two or three of the words […]

  2. Amber on

    Very helpful! I needed to complete an assignment for music class, and I got assistance!

    • musicwork on

      Great! If you get to try it out on a class, let me know how it goes. Hope you got a good mark for your assignment!

  3. Chris Burcin on

    don’t forget “baggage”

    • musicwork on

      Yes! Thanks Chris.

  4. Stephen Davies on

    have tried this – it works so give it a go at whatever level you are working on!

  5. jennifer mok on

    Yay, I was looking for some A – G words to use for my son to start playing with music notation. I looked for worksheets, and there are quite a few online, but they just use random letters. Can you believe that?

    • Gillian Howell on

      Random letters that don’t spell words? Where’s the fun in that?? Jennifer, be sure to scroll through the comments too – I think other people have suggested words that I missed in the original list.

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