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The musical notes

 

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  #1  
Old August 28, 2011, 04:09 PM
Don José Don José is offline
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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
C D E F G A B

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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Old August 28, 2011, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don José View Post
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
C D E F G A B
G A B C D E (see my comments below)

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.
Guido d'Arezzo original system used only 6 syllables, referred to has a hexachord. The first six lines start on successively higher notes, but the first note of line "Sancte Iohannes" starts lower than the preceding line.

This system was extended upward by a method of overlapping hexachords onto one another and identifying the notes by the names in each series of overlapping hexachords that covered the note. The lowest hexachord in the system set "ut" on G: this ut was called the "gamma ut": this evolved into the modern musical term "gamut" = the entire series of recognized notes.

The introduction of "si", derived from the initials of Sante Iohannes, to name the 7th note to complete an ut-to-ut scale came later. The changes from 'ut' to 'do' happened in Italy in about 1600 in order to have the name end in a vowel instead of a consonant. The change from "si" to "ti" in English-speaking countries in the 19th century was to have each syllable start with a different consonant sound.

Guido d'Arezzo's system evolved somewhat differently in England and its American colonies, where the post popular naming system used the syllables fa-sol-la-fa-sol-la-mi-fa up until a musical education reformation that started in the early 19th century led to the current almost total domination of do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do in the US. The English system was, and still is, used to teach sight singing, although these days it is used almost exclusively in the context of "shape-note singing" in the US. (Disclaimer: I'm a long-time participant in shape-note singing, particularly in the variant called Sacred Harp singing.)
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Old August 29, 2011, 03:50 AM
Don José Don José is offline
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I was expecting comments on the writing rather than on the contents, but anyway it's interesting what you said. I've got some questions:


- When you said that 'ut' was G in the very begining, do you mean that the scores as this one has been transported?


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi.../Ut_queant.jpg

(I know wikipedia is not a reliable source of information, but this score can be found in many books on History of Music.)


I think I'm remembering one of the teachers at the Conservatory talking about what you said, but as I get older, I'm getting more absent-minded. I'm curently teaching music at a secondary school, and always keen on learning new things, so thanks for your information.

I was going to ask you what 'shape-note singing' was, but I just have a 'Google look' and found this website:

http://fasola.org/

Just from reading the first page, it sounds interesting. I'll be back to it.

Disclaimer?

Quote:
Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 Oxford University Press:
disclaim/dɪsˈkleɪm/

▶verb
  • 1 refuse to acknowledge.
  • 2 Law renounce a legal claim to (a property or title).

Last edited by Rusty; August 29, 2011 at 06:31 AM. Reason: merged back-to-back posts
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Old August 29, 2011, 04:29 AM
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Perikles Perikles is offline
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Originally Posted by Don José View Post
do you mean that the scores as this one has been transported?
transposed
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Old August 29, 2011, 04:35 AM
Don José Don José is offline
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Thanks.

Only that mistake?
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Old August 29, 2011, 05:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don José View Post
Thanks.

Only that mistake?
Well, I had to look hard to notice this superfluous (and incorrect) article, an incorrect preposition and a typo:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don José View Post
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 written in English.
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Old August 29, 2011, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don José View Post
...
- When you said that 'ut' was G in the very beginning, do|did you mean that (the) scores such as this one have been transposed?

...

I was going to ask you what 'shape-note singing' was, but I just had a 'Google look' and found this website:

...
Some additional corrections, since you asked.
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Old August 29, 2011, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don José View Post
I was expecting comments on the writing rather than on the contents, but anyway it's interesting what you said. I've got some questions:
Sorry about that: it's a hazard of being a partisan of a musical tradition that some people view as having lost the culture wars around musical education in America.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don José View Post
- When you said that 'ut' was G in the very begining, do you mean that the scores as this one has been transported transposed?
Perhaps. Because with the overlapping system for naming notes, the first overlapping hexachord above the lowest one starts with 'ut' on the 'fa' of the lowest hexachord, so that the first C can be identified as "fa-ut". Also it has been quite common to notate vocal music in a convenient key for the notation system and to pitch it for singing in a convenient key for the voices available, rather than assuming that the notated key is supposed to be the absolute pitch at which the music must be sung.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don José View Post
(I know wikipedia is not a reliable source of information, but this score can be found in many books on History of Music.)


I think I'm remembering one of the teachers at the Conservatory talking about what you said, but as I get older, I'm getting more absent-minded. I'm curently teaching music at a secondary school, and always keen on learning new things, so thanks for your information.

I was going to ask you what 'shape-note singing' was, but I just have a 'Google look' and found this website:

http://fasola.org/
Yes, my people. That's one of the 3 best resources of on-line information about shaped-note music in general and about Sacred Harp singing in particular.

The other two are: (1) the web site of Dr. Warren Steel at University of Mississippi (Oxford), and (2) the English wikipedia articles on Sacred Harp and on shape notes.

The Sacred-Harp resources listings attached to fasola.org and to Dr. Steel's page list most of the non-electronic sources of information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don José View Post

Just from reading the first page, it sounds interesting. I'll be back to it.
...
Cool! You can find videos of traditional and less-traditional renditions of the music on youtube, and fasola.org has links to most local and regional singing communities in the world.

Edit:
Sometimes "disclaimer" refers to an acknowledgement of the existence a relationship that some people may consider to be a conflict of interest or a possible source of bias.

Last edited by wrholt; August 29, 2011 at 10:40 AM. Reason: Added about "disclaimer"
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  #9  
Old August 30, 2011, 07:28 AM
Don José Don José is offline
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Thanks a lot to everybody. Just a doubt:

Quote:
but also a lot of pop or rock musicians who study on books and websites written in English.
I am understand it will be OK to write:

who study books and websites

From my 'spanish' point of view, it looks as if they were studying both the whole books and the whole websites.

Could I write, instead of 'on', 'using', 'by using', 'by means of', 'by means of using', 'through'?

Prepositions are one of the things that drives me nuts! (I think and hope this is not really a swear word)
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Old August 30, 2011, 07:41 AM
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... who study on
... who study using
... who study by using
... who study by means of
... who study by means of using
... who study through


It's perfectly fine to say that something drives you nuts. This is the same as volver loco.
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