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Greek Alphabet Song

The poet Kallias wrote a Greek alphabet song in the fifth century BC. I discovered several years ago that it can be sung to the hymn tune CLONMEL, which Baptists may know as the tune to “We Praise You with Our Minds, O Lord.” If anyone can suggest additional, more widely known tunes that will work, I’d appreciate it.

ἔστ’  ἄλφα,  βῆτα,  γάμμα,  δέλτα  καὶ  τὸ  εἶ,
Est’ ahl-fah, vee-tah, gahm-mah, dhel-tah, keh toh ee

There’s Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and the E,

ζῆτα,    ἦτα,    θῆτα,    ἰῶτα,    κάππα,    λάβδα,    μῦ,
zee-tah, ee-tah, thee-tah, yoh-tah, kahp-pah, lahv-dhah, mee,
Zeta,    Eta,    Theta,    Iota,    Kappa,    Labda,    Mu,

νῦ,   ξεῖ,   τὸ οὖ,   πεῖ,   ῥῶ,   τὸ σῖγμα,   ταῦ,   τὸ ὖ
nee, ksee, toh oo, pee, roh, toh seeg-mah, tahv, toh ee

Nu,  Xi,  the O,  Pi,  Rho,  the Sigma,  Tau,  the Y

φεῖ,  χεῖ  τε καὶ  ψεῖ  καὶ  τελευταῖον τὸ ὦ.
fee, khee, te keh psee keh te-lef-teh-ohn toh oh

Phi,  Chi,  and also  Psi  and finally  the O.



  1. Delightful – I posted my rendition of the Hebrew a-b-c on my Sunday school blog – there is a wav file somewhere – but the written out song is on page 13 of this pdf (one of two suitable for printing.) The rest of the book is reachable from here http://stbarnabasvictoria.blogspot.com/2009/08/new-draft-of-alef-bet-book.html


  2. Linda Gabriel says:

    Hm, I’m Baptist and I’m not familiar with that tune, nor is there a tune in our church hymnal by the name of Clonmel. Any suggestions as to where I can find out how this tune goes? I want to teach my class a Greek alphabet song, with the correct pronunciations, as this has.


  3. Darrell Pursiful says:

    Welcome, Linda. The tune is in the 1975 Baptist Hymnal and (I think) the new Celebrating Grace hymnal from Mercer University Press. To hear how the tune goes, try this link: http://smallchurchmusic.com/Lyrics/D01/S01445.php


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