Julie Andrews frolicked across the Alps singing it in The Sound of Music and generations of children have learnt their musical scales by remembering it. Now Do-Re-Mi has been traced back more than 2000 years to one of the greatest poets of ancient Rome.
According to a book to be published next month, the origins of the song lie far from the female deer and ray of golden sun in the Rodgers and Hammerstein version sung by Andrews to the von Trapp children. Instead it was penned as a mnemonic by a medieval Italian monk who drew on a melody which accompanied Horace’s Ode to Phyllis, written in the 1st century BC.
The research has been carried out by Stuart Lyons, who won a classics scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge. “The monk who invented Do-Re-Mi told a lie about it because he didn’t want to go to the stake (for heresy),” Lyons said.
“The melody truly belonged to the Ode,” said Lyons. “It is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me in academic discovery. It is incredible to solve a mystery that is 1,000 years old. ”
A fascinating and highly recommended CD of the Ode’s first performance in modern times, performed by King’s Singer Christopher Gabbitas and lutenist David Miller – Musical Opinion
Pleasantly performed by Christopher Gabbitas- of the King’s Singers – and the excellent lutenist David Miller, the results are pleasant and intriguing listening – MusicWeb International