All songs can be written as a series of symbols referencing their changes in tone. I will be using a variation of the Parsons Code. Specifically, the first note of each song is denoted as "$*$", and every following symbol describes whether the pitch goes up ($\land$), down ($\lor$), or stays the same ($-$). For example, "Twinkle, Twinkle" would begin as such:

$\ * \ \ - \ \ \ \land \ \ \ - \ \ \land \ - \ \ \ \lor \ \ \ \ \ \ \lor\ \ \ - \ \lor \ \ - \ \ \ \ \lor \ \ \ \ - \ \ \ \ \lor$
Twinkle, $\ \ \ $Twinkle $\ \ \ $Little $\ \ \ $Star. $\ \ $How $\ \ \ $I$\ \ \ $Wonder$\ \ $What$\ \ $You$\ \ $Are.

Using this information, determine the following songs, and the common theme that links them.

  • $*\land\land\lor\land\land\lor\lor\lor\land\land\lor\lor\land\lor\land\lor\lor\land\land\lor\lor\lor\lor\land\land\lor\lor\land \ \lor$

  • $*\land\land------\lor\land\land------\lor\land\land-------- \ \lor$

  • $*--\land\land\lor--\land\land\lor-\lor-\lor-\lor---\land\land\lor--\land\land\land\land\lor\lor\lor\lor \ \lor$

and, by popular demand:

  • $*\lor\lor\land\land--\lor--\land\land-\lor\lor\lor\land\land---\lor-\land\lor \ \lor$


The first song was released in 1961, yet is still well known.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm sad that Mary Had a Little Lamb isn't in here, after that little bit of twinkle twinkle. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Truly regrettable. : ) $\endgroup$
    – PiGuy314
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ Lol 😂 okay, I wish I could upvote a second time haha $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 0:37

2 Answers 2


The first song (which I believe is the only one still missing if the two given by @Bass are correct - they seem good to me anyway...) is:

The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens.

And, of course, the newly added fourth example is:

the nursery rhyme, Mary Had a Little Lamb, as requested by a user in comments...

Feedback: Knowing the year of release certainly made what seemed an otherwise impossible task far more achievable. In future, providing an additional piece of information like this (which could serve either as a starting point or a method of confirmation) would make this type of puzzle easier to break in to and more robust in cases of multiple songs having the same pattern (which will almost never be unique to an individual song).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you so much. I will keep this in mind, as it is neither an instant giveaway nor a useless bit of information. $\endgroup$
    – PiGuy314
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 19:10

I think I got one, posting as partial since this is stupidly difficult and a break-in might help others:

The middle one seems to fit Baby Shark just about exactly.

In addition to that,

With the notable exception of the 17th note (that ends the first phrase), the third one fits La cucaracha

A single note difference may or may not be significant here, but if you sing that note like OP has written it, the song still sounds right, so it's not unreasonable to think this may be from some particular performance of that song.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Oh if that's true, I'm even more sad that Mary Had a Little Lamb was left out lol $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 20:28

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