The notes in music graphically represent distinct sounds, and a musical composition right combines sounds. Notes are very important. They make it possible to create and record new pieces and to reproduce well-known pieces. When did the familiar “do-re-mi” and other names appear?
History of origins
Notes are an integral part of musical notation. But before their emergence, musicians used special signs – nevmas, with which graphically recorded musical compositions. However, neumes had many disadvantages. They could only be used if the melody was well known.
Notes appeared in the eleventh century thanks to the Italian theorist and music educator, Guido d’Arezzo (circa 991-1033 A.D.). He contributed tremendously to the music of the Middle Ages, as well as to Western European music. Guido worked at various churches, teaching music and choral singing.
He set himself creating the music that would be easily used all over the world. For example, he once invented a way of learning new melodies more easily.
To do this, d’Arezzo used an acrostic of a prayer to John the Baptist called “Ut queant laxis”. The author of this prayer, written in Latin, is believed to be the monk Paul the Deacon.
“Ut queant laxis.”
Guido used the first syllables of each line as the title for the notes. He was also the first to record musical compositions on a stanza comprising rulers and spaces between them. Thus, d’Arezzo invented the system of solmization – chanting, which is still used today.
Interesting fact: “Ut queant laxis” later became a hymn to John the Baptist. In Catholic liturgy, it is sung on the day of the Nativity of John the Baptist. It is sung according to the principle that each new line is sung according to a certain pitch and key.
The names of the notes
The Latin not (note) means a mark or sign. The peculiarity of the acrostich is that all the notes are easy to sing, because they end in a vowel sound (except for the first Ut). Therefore, around the 17th century, the note Ut was replaced by Do for convenience. This was done by the Italian humanist Giovanni Doni. The note Si was also added.
The original hymn displays a believer’s appeal to John the Baptist to absolve his sins and to see a veritable miracle. There is a more modern interpretation of the names, according to which each note has a full name. For example, Do is from the word Dominus (Lord), Mi is from the word miraculum (miracle), etc.
Despite the prevalence of this interpretation, it is false, because the names of the notes came precisely from the acrostiche-prayer.
Guido d’Arezzo also skillfully directed the choir with his left hand. At certain moments, he would bend a joint on his fingers, showing the singers which note to take.