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Old August 28, 2011, 04:09 PM
Don José Don José is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: España
Posts: 454
Native Language: Español
Don José is on a distinguished road
The musical notes

I would greatly appreciate corrections and suggestions on this text. I chose the topic after reading about it in another thread.

Firstly the musical notes used in Europe were just the first letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H. In the Middle Ages, Guido de Arezzo, being an italian monk who also wrote about music theory, made up a new way of naming the notes. He used the Latin hymn below, and called the notes after the first syllable in each verse (except in the last one). Doing that, the new names were: Ut, re, mi , fa, sol, la, si.

Ut queant laxis,Resonare fibris,Mira gestorum,Famuli tuorum,Solve polluti,Labii reatum,Sancte Ioannes.

As this hymn was already sung by the monks, each syllable was sung using a different note. It's worth noting that the first note in the first verse was the note C, and the next notes were the ones coming after the one in the previous verse; so it wasn't a random proccess at all. The result is sohwn below:

Ut re mi fa sol la si

Long after that, the word 'ut' was substituted by 'do'. As far as I can remember, this was done because of the difficulty found when pronunciating 'ut' while singing.

In the aftermath, the new names were used in the countries whose languages were originated from latin, meanwhile other countries kept on using the 'old' names.

Nonetheless, I've heard that the syllable system is also used in some English speaking countries to learn how to read music. An example of this could be one of the songs that can be found in the soundtrack of the film 'The sound of music'. By the way, this film was curiously translated into Spanish as 'Sonrisas y lágrimas' (smiles and tears).

Similarly, the alphabet system is also well known by jazz musicians all over the world as jazz music sheets use it. In fact, not only do the jazz musicians know it, but also a lot of pop or rock musicians who study on books and websites writen in English.
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