The Story about Itsy Bitsy Spider | treasure found in simplicity

Many years ago when I first heard the song Itsy Bitsy Spider, it was at the daycare my kids went to everyday. I was impressed to see that more than fifteen toddlers following their caregiver teacher singing the song, smiling widely, walking back from the playground to their room for the nap time. I was fascinated by the high spirits among the little singers!

Today, when I try to figure out how the song works and to sing in solfege, I am struck by the simplicity and the easiness to memorize the tune and the very uplifting meaning in the lyrics.

As a parent of two girls, I have always loved this song.

What are the elements in this song that make it sound so earthy, cheerful and harmonious and making it an all time hit? One will be surprised to find that there are only five different pitches and two melodic phrases involved in Itsy Bitsy Spider. The harmony follows the most fundemental, and basic tonic – dominant – tonic structure.

Let’t take a look at the lyrics.

Itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout

Down came the rain and washed the spider out

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain

Itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again

See how “spout” rhymes with “out”, and “rain” rhymes with “again”. Brilliant.

The lesson about perseverance in the lyrics also makes the song stand out: the spider’s wish to climb up the spout is not discouraged by the rain. Once the rain dries up, the spider tries again! What can be more encouraging than seeing a young kid being taught good values by the song they love to sing!

Published as the “spider song” in 1910, Itsy Bitsy Spider has long been categorized as a classical, traditional nursery rhyme. This popular song has been sampled and recorded numerous times since the turn of 20th century. From the perspective of musical education, it is one of the best children’s folk songs that can help young children to

  • cultivate their senses of rhythm and form
  • build their foundation of the understanding of harmony
  • develop their literary skills through rhyming, repetition and memorization

One can easily find various versions of the sheet music for Itsy Bitsy Spider through internet. This song serves as an excellent selection for young piano beginners as well.

Published by Wowospot

Produce and publish quality kids content for fun, creative learning and education.

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