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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dough a dear

I'm not feeling the blog tonight, I'm feeling Glee. The 90 minute season finale of Glee, no less. So now I'm thinking music.
It just occurred to me to wonder where the heck do re mi fa sol la ti do comes from. Wikipedia tells me that do re me is called solfège in French or solfeggio in Italian, named after the phonemes sol and fa. Wikipedia further tells me that solfège is a pedagogical solmization, which sounds kind of like something somebody would make up to sound smart. Pedagogical means something like teaching-related, and a solmization is a musical scale sung with a distinct syllable for each note. In Arabic, they sing, dāl, rā', mīm, fā', ṣād, lām, tā, and in South China, they sing 上, 尺, 工, 凡, 六, 五, 乙 , which sounds like siong, cei, gong, huan, liuo, ngou, yik.
Solmization, by the way, is named for sol and mi.


Joshua said...

I always hated that word: solfege. They would say, "Okay, solfege." I always thought, "Why not just say 'Do the scale, bitches!'?"

Anonymous said...

Western solfege developed from the Guidonian Hand, a pneumonic device created in the 11th century by a fellow named, of all things, Guido, to help singers in church scholas learn chant, since music notation had not been developed yet. The syllables are each taken from the first line of the Latin hymn Ut queant laxis ("do" replacing "ut" and "ti" replacing "sa/si" among English speakers some time later).

UT queant laxis
REsonare fibris
MIra storum
FAmuli tuorum
SOlve polluti
LAbii reatum
SAncte Joannes!

Since you are so fond of Wikipedia, here's its entry for the Guidonian Hand:

disheah said...

I don't know about "上, 尺, 工, 凡, 六, 五, 乙", but when I attended elementary school in China, it was Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do that was taught in music class.

denny16 said...

Do Re Mi is fun when you're a kid, but I have to say that I was happy to move onto using numbers for the scale rather than it. I couldn't not think of The Sound of Music whenever we used it.