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Amino Acid Jazz

by Greg Crowther


Amino acids are the building blocks from which proteins are made. This call-and-response song uses scat singing (in the style of vocal jazz) to create a musical model of protein structure. A 41-amino-acid-long peptide is constructed gradually, with one phrase added at a time, each emphasizing a different amino acid feature. Much more information about the song and its educational uses can be found in the article Amino Acid Jazz: amplifying biochemistry concepts with content-rich music by Crowther & Davis (Journal of Chemical Education 90: 1479-1483, 2013). If you would like a copy of this article but do not have access to it, please email me (crowther at uw dot edu). Even more ideas for implementation are given in a 12th grade biology lesson plan based on the Crowther & Davis article.


Methionine! Alanine!
(Methionine! Alanine!)

His, His, His, His, His, His!
(His, His, His, His, His, His!)

Lys, His, Arg! Asp, Glu!
(Lys, His, Arg! Asp, Glu!)

Trp, Ser, Trp, Cys-S-S!
(Trp, Ser, Trp, Cys-S-S!)

Leu, Val, Met, Pro, Ser ... phosphate?
(Leu, Val, Met, Pro, Ser ... phosphate?)
Pro, Phe, Trp, Gln, Thr ... phosphate?
(Pro, Phe, Trp, Gln, Thr ... phosphate?)
Ile, Ala, Asn, Gly, Tyr ... phosphate?
(Ile, Ala, Asn, Gly, Tyr ... phosphate?)

Met, Ser, Val, Cys-S-S!
(Met, Ser, Val, Cys-S-S!)

Gly, Glu, Leu, Val, Ala ... Yeah!
(Gly, Glu, Leu, Val, Ala ... Yeah!)

Other Files

MP3 (demo)

sheet music (with melody play-back)