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Ut queant laxis

From Academic Kids

Ut queant laxis or Hymnus in Ioannem is a hymn to Saint John the Baptist written by Paolo Diacono (ca 720 - 799) of Italy. It is notable in that the first syllable of each line gave its name to a successive note of the major scale in solfege, as each line begins with the successively higher note, until the last line, which returns to "sol". The lyrics are:

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

(So that (Ut) these your servants (Fa) may, with all their voice, resound (Re) your marvelous (Mi) exploits, clean (Sol) the guilt from our stained lips (La), O Saint John.)

Ut is now mostly replaced by do due to the latter's open sound, probably inspired by the word Dominus (Lord). Si has been replaced by ti in English.

The use of Ut queant laxis to name the notes is usually attributed to Guido of Arezzo.

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