Carboxylic Acid Derivatives

By James Ashenhurst

Making Music With Mechanisms (PADPED)

Last updated: July 7th, 2023 |

Putting The “PADPED” Patterns Behind Organic Chemistry Mechanisms To Music

My friend Harry has an annoying habit. When we’re hanging out, every once in awhile, he’ll put on a serious face and say he has something very important to tell me. Then, when he has my attention, he breaks out that annoying Bryan Adams song that begins with “Pleeease forgive me…”. He thinks this is hilarious. While it *is* funny watching a metrosexual Korean dude do a bad Bryan Adams impression it is also damn annoying because then I have that stupid song in my head for the next few days.

Like I do now. Anyway, this is all to prove a point.

What if remembering an organic chemistry mechanism was as easy as remembering an annoying song?

We’ve talked  before about the “hidden” similarity several organic chemistry reactions have in their mechanisms – for example, this post on the PAPED mechanism (actually PADPED if you divide the “proton transfer” in the middle into separate deprotonation/protonation steps).

Words and images only get you so far.

So I thought – wouldn’t it be cool if each step could also be illustrated with musical notes, where each step is mapped out onto a keyboard?

The result is this video.  Not only do you learn 8 mechanisms in the time it takes to learn one, but remembering the key pattern is as easy as remembering a song.

[Mechanisms covered: Fischer esterification, ester hydrolysis, amide hydrolysis, imine hydrolysis, imine formation, enamine formation, enamine hydrolysis, anhydride formation].

Naively thought this video would take 2 hours to make. Ended up taking more than 10.

So if you find this video useful – please encourage further videos with an upvote, share, or comment.

P.S. Happy birthday Harry : – )


Comment section

5 thoughts on “Making Music With Mechanisms (PADPED)

  1. you write just like matthew berry, he’s the fantasy guru on ESPN and he also wrote some of Married With Children(Great Show Man). Your website is so helpful, I show it to my professor all the time and he shows it during lectures now. It’s Great, thank you so much

    1. If I wrote about fantasy sports and Matthew Berry wrote about organic chemistry, would I still write like him and would he still write like me?


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