Oranges and Lemons


Children’s song, U.K.

“Oranges and Lemons” is a nursery rhyme and one of the most popular singing games.

The text cites, through their bells who are supposed to talk to each other, several churches of London. The first of them, St. Clement, could be referring to the church of St. Clement Danes or St. Clement Eastcheap, close to which there is a market of citrus fruits. The bells of St. Clement Danes are today tuned to the melody of the rhyme.

The last stanza appears for the first time in James Orchard Halliwell’s collection of English Nursery Rhymes, in 1840’s, while in earlier versions it was absent.


To download your free instrumental mp3 of “Oranges and Lemons” , right click (or tap and hold, on mobile devices) on the following link, then choose “Save link as…”

“Oranges and Lemons” free mp3 download (instrumental, 1:40 – 3/4 – 133 bpm)

Oranges and Lemons song download

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To download your free midi file of “Oranges and Lemons” , right click (or tap and hold, on mobile devices) on the following link, then choose “Save link as…”

“Oranges and Lemons” – free midi file download

You may also like: London Bridge is falling down, Old MacDonald had a farm, Five Little Monkeys, Did you ever see a lassie?

“Oranges and Lemons”  lyrics

1. Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

2. When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

3. When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

4. Here comes a candle
to light you to bed.
And here comes a chopper
to chop off your head!

“Oranges and Lemons”  Music Score with chords

To save this free music sheet of “Oranges and Lemons” to your computer, right click (or tap and hold, on mobile devices) and choose “Save Image As…”.

Oranges and Lemons_Singing Bell


To download a ready-to-print PDF of “Oranges and Lemons” for music activities with a music sheet, lyrics and a colouring sheet for kids, right click (or tap and hold, on mobile devices) on the following link, then choose “Save link as…”.

“Oranges and Lemons” free PDF download – Singing Bell

“Oranges and Lemons”  Karaoke Video


“Oranges and Lemons”  Teaching idea and activities

The song “Oranges and Lemons” is followed by a very popular game:

A couple of children determine in secret which of them shall be an ‘orange’ and which a ‘lemon’, and they form an arch with their arms. The other children form a row and pass under the arch.

At the last verse of the song the arch falls and the two children catch the child who passes at that moment, asking him privately whether he chooses ‘orange’ or ‘lemon’. He goes behind the corresponding child and the game goes on by singing again.

When there are no more children in the row, the two groups – ‘oranges’ and ‘lemons’ – play a ‘tug of war’ or they just count how many they are, in order to find the winner.

In another version of the game, the children pass in couples under the arch, and if they are caught they form another arch next to the first one. As the series of arches becomes longer and longer, the children have to run faster in order to escape from them.

For older children that learn music, you can teach them the harmonic relationship between the chords of tonic and dominant:

The song starts at E major (tonic) combined with its dominant B, but at the next phrase B major is the tonic and it’s followed by F# major which returns again at B. Can you transpose the melody using other pairs of tonic-dominant? (as C-G, G-D, D-A, etc.)




Singing Bell is a comprehensive collection of Christmas Carols and Children's songs.

It was created to provide teaching material to anyone giving music lessons to children or adults, that is music teachers and parents. It was also conceived for anyone who would like to live the Christmas spirit or the spirit of childhood.

Singing Bell offers free nursery rhymes and other free songs for children from all over the globe, as well as nursery rhyme lyrics. Popular songs like "London Bridge is falling down", "Old MacDonald had a farm", "Rain, rain, go away", "Itsy-Bitsy spider" and, of course, "The Wheels on the bus". Great hits also include "La Cucaracha" (with original English lyrics for children), "Auld Lang Syne" and "Mexican Hat Dance" (also with original English lyrics for kids).

Then again, especially for our babies, you can find and download our free lullabies like "Twinkle, twinkle little star", "Rock-a-bye baby", "Brahms Lullaby", and the lovely French "Fais dodo".

Its Christmas music section includes popular carols from Europe, like Britain's "We wish you a Merry Christmas" and "Deck the halls", "Petit Papa Noel" from France, Italy's "Tu scendi dalle stelle" and Spanish carols like "Fum Fum Fum" and "Los peces en el rio".

It also makes a collection of carols from North America ("Jingle Bells", "Santa Claus is coming to town"), but also popular South American carols like "Huachi Torito". Even more, it includes famous Christmas songs like "Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer", "White Christmas", and many others.

The musical piece presented above is titled "Oranges and Lemons" and is one of Singing Bell's Children's Songs.

All songs are offered for free mp3 download in their instrumental version. You can also download a free midi file for use in music programming or scoring, their music score in jpg, their lyrics and teaching ideas for singing in class or in a choir. The very same material might also be used simply as a karaoke version where anyone can sing along these Christmas Carols and children songs.

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