maandag 24 juni 2019

Do-re-mi-fa-sol came from an 8th century Catholic hymn in honor of St. John the Baptist.

You’ve probably heard the song from the musical The Sound of Music called “Do-Re-Mi” (“Do a deer, a female deer,” etc). That song is based on something called solfège, in which each note in a musical scale is given a word, namely doremifasolati, and then back to do.
Where did this system come from? Well it turns out, at least to the standard theoryit ultimately came from an 8th century Catholic hymn written by a Benedictine monk!
Here’s the story: In the 8th century, an Italian Benedictine monk named Paul the Deaconcomposed the Latin hymn “Ut queant laxis” in honor of St. John the Baptist.
A few hundred years later in 11th century italy, music theorist Guido of Arezzo created an early version of the solfège system for mysical notation based on the lyrics of Paul the Deacon’s hymn. This was because as the melody moved about the scale, certain key words or syllables fell on successive notes going up.
Here’s the lyrics with the key parts bolded: “Ut queant laxīs resonāre fībrīs ra gestōrum famulī tuōrum, Solve pollūtī labiī reātum, Sancte Iōhannēs.”

See and hear:

We thank