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Guido d’Arezzo and His Important Musical Contributions.

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1 Guido d’Arezzo and His Important Musical Contributions

2

3 Actually, he probably looked more like this:

4 Guido was a monk in Arezzo, Italy. He was born around 991AD, and he died just after 1033AD. Nobody knows his exact birthday or day of his death because records were not strictly kept over 1,000 years ago. Guido taught singing to boys who were in choir school. At that time, choir schools were the only way that children could receive a formal education. They had to learn new songs every single day to be sung the next day at morning Mass. This added up to learning hundreds of new songs each year. Unfortunately, the only way to learn new songs was through rote teaching (which is when the students learn the song by listening and then repeating it back). There was no other system to learn music at that time.

5 So, Guido decided to fix that problem. He first created a system for classifying and categorizing musical sounds using syllables. He called this system Solfa. We now call it solfege. Ut (Si) La Sol Fa Mi Re Ut The seventh syllable, Si, was later added because the jump from La up to Ut was too large.

6 He got the idea for these syllables from a hymn (which is a song of praise) that Guido had written and they would have sung in their choir school: Ut (Si) La Sol Fa Mi Re Ut “Ut queant laxis resonare fibris, Mira gestorum famuli tuorum, Solve polluti labii reatum, Sancte Johannes.” This translates to: “So that your servants may, with loosened voices, resound the wonders of your deeds, clean the guilt from our stained lips, O Saint John.”

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8 This solfege became popular and was used throughout Europe. Later, probably after Guido’s death, the syllables were changed to the syllables that we know today: Do Ti La Sol Fa Mi Re Do

9 Now that he had created a way to classify notes (by giving them names – solfege syllables), he thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to not only hear music but also read and write music as well?”

10 So, Guido started with the concept of a single red line which he called “Do.” Any pitch above this line would be higher than Do, and any pitch below this line would be lower than Do. Do

11 In order to be more specific with pitches, three black lines are added above and below the red line. This will allow for more options of a wider range of pitches. We call this collection of lines (and the spaces in between) a staff. Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do Ti La Sol Fa Mi Re Do

12 A fourth and fifth black line is added above and below to create a new staff. Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do Re Mi Fa Sol Ti La Sol Fa Mi Re Do Ti La Sol Fa

13 There was great competition throughout Europe to decide which country was musically superior. Germany, France, and England decided that they needed to do things differently, so they assigned letters to each note from the alphabet rather than the solfege syllables. Do Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do Re Mi Fa Sol Ti La Sol Fa Mi Re Do Ti La Sol Fa Re C D B E A F G F G F A E B D C D E F G C B A G F

14 The Treble Clef is added to show the notes that are above the “C Line.” It is nicknamed the G Clef because the scroll of the clef surrounds the G Line. C D B E A G F G F A E B D C D E F G C B A G F

15 The Bass Clef is added to show the notes that are below the “C Line.” It is nicknamed the F Clef because the two dots of the clef surround the F Line. Fa Mi Re Do Ti La Sol Fa Mi Re Do Ti La Sol Fa Mi Re Do Ti La Sol C D B E A G F G F A E B D C D E F G C B A G F

16 “C Line” is removed since the clefs have been added. Now, notes are determined by the clef. C D B E A G F G F A E B D C D E F G C B A G F

17 The Grand Staff Added beam connects the staves. It shows that both staves are played simultaneously. C D B E A G F G F A E B D C D E F G C B A G F

18 The Grand Staff


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