Wednesday, March 04, 2009

“Do” is NOT a Female Deer

Oh, if you ain't got the do re mi, folks,
You ain't got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas,
Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden,
A paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot
If you ain't got the do re mi...

The above is the chorus of a song by Woody Guthrie entitled "Do Re Mi" written during the Great Depression, about migrants from Oklahoma and neighboring states, who moved to California in search of a better life, and away from the dust bowl storms of the 1930s.

It is also a Catholic invention. Jeffrey Tucker explains:

In his pedagogy, [an 11th century Benedictine monk named Guido d'Arezzo] adapted an existing song to illustrate the scale: Ut Queant Laxis, a hymn to St John the Baptist, who was then considered the patron saint of singers. On the first syllable of each ascending note, the words were Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol – the very foundation of music pedagogy to this day: do, re, mi, etc...

We're not putting you on, kids. From the Gregorian calendar to double-digit accounting,* the Catholic Church invented damn near everything worth admiring about Western civilization, including a rendition of the chant featured on our first video clip. On the other hand, She is probably not responsible for the second clip.

* "K.H." writes to inform me that the proper term is not double-digit accounting, but "double-entry bookkeeping." I don't know what either one is, I just write the stuff. The ugly truth has now been revealed...

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