Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si…

2005.Aug.16 Tuesday · 5 comments

in Life

Buenos Aires – Ahh sweet music. And who knew that do-re-mi was more than just an exercise in Sound of Music? And why do they change the “ti” to “si” in Spanish? And why am I nattering on about this?

My friend Michael sent a note yesterday morning that he had an extra ticket to a concert at Teatro Colón. This is one of the most famous concert and opera houses in the world, and certainly the finest in South America. I’d taken a tour of it back in February with a friend from Paris and we’d had a great time, though unfortunately come away with minimal in the way of photos. At that point, they didn’t allow photos anywhere except the lobby. I understand that now, they don’t even allow the lobby! Maybe the souvenier book wasn’t selling well. Regardless, it’s a grand and glorious 150-year old theater with four tiers of balcony boxes and two tiers of single row seating and standing room above that. A stunning domed ceiling (not to mention the amazing stained glass lobby ceiling), marble columns, massive velvet curtains (I vaguely remember something about the weight of the curtains being something close to a metric ton, but I could be completely off), gold leaf everywhere, and spectacular lighting. Decent tickets, especially for sought after performances, can be nearly impossible to obtain – most of the theater is taken up by subscription.

Nonetheless, Michael had three tickets for Camerata Bariloche, the 40-year old national chamber orchestra of Argentina. I’m not going to go on ad nauseum about the music, suffice it to say it was brilliantly played. The orchestra’s international reputation is well deserved! In short, the program, entitled Por amor a Mozart, consisted of three pieces: Leoš Janáček’s Suite for Strings, Mozart’s Concert in D for Piano, No. 26, and his Symphony in E-flat, No. 39. The piano piece featured soloist Bruno Leonardo Gelber, one of the world’s most accomplished pianists, and a native Argentinian. The audience clearly adored him, with a standing ovation and three curtain calls (and he does know how to work the crowd, with bows and waves to the cheap seats). In fact, quite a few people (easily 5% of the audience) left during the intermission after this piece – they were clearly there just for him.

Truly a memorable, “lifetime moment” experience!


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

gustaw September 11, 2007 at 20:27


The names of the notes come from the Hymn to St. John:
Inno a San Giovanni

UT queant laxis
REsonare fibris
MIra gestorum
FAmuli tuorum
SOLve polluti
LAbii reatum
Sancte Iohannes

As you can see, DO-RE-MI-FA-SOL-LA-SI so the question is: Why did they change SI to TI in English?

My mom was a piano player and teacher, so I had to know this since my childhood.


dan September 11, 2007 at 20:40

Interesting info – which led me to search out why it might be – and this is what I found:

The seven syllables normally used for this practice in English-speaking countries are: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, and Ti. (In other Western countries, the older names “Sol” and “Si” are retained for “So” and “Ti”.) In Anglo-Saxon countries, “Sol” is often changed to “So”, and “Si” was changed to “Ti” by Sarah Glover in the nineteenth century so that every syllable might begin with a different letter. “So” and “Ti” are used in Tonic sol-fa and in the song “Do-Re-Mi”.
Prof. BRIAN Annan February 19, 2008 at 10:14

I find that the si sounds more flunt when teaching singing – The sound T i is too harsh to be used in singing – Thank you or supplying this information to the public arena

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