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Solmization is a system of attributing a distinct syllable to each note in a musical scale. Various forms of solmization are in use and have been used throughout the world, but solfège is the most common convention in Europe and North America. The seven syllables normally used for this practice in English-speaking countries are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and si (with a chromatic scale of ascending di, ri, fi, si, li and descending te, le, se, me, ra).
The syllables are generally accepted to derive from The Hymn of St. John written by Paulus Diaconus in the 8th century. An alternative explanation, first proposed by Franciszek Meninski in Thesaurus Linguarum Orientalum (1680) and later by J.-B. Laborde in Essai sur la Musique Ancienne et Moderne (1780), is that the syllables were derived from the Arabic solmization system درر مفصّلات Durar Mufaṣṣalāt ("Separated Pearls") (dāl, rā', mīm, fā', ṣād, lām, tā') during the Middle Ages, but there is no documentary evidence for it.
In India, the origin of solmization was to be found in Vedic texts like the Upanishads, which discuss a musical system of seven notes, realized ultimately in what is known as sargam. In Indian classical music, the notes in order are: sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, and ni.
In Han people's music in China, the words used to name notes are (from fa to mi): 上 (siong or shang4), 尺 (cei or chi3), 工 (gong), 凡 (huan or fan2), 六 (liuo or liu4), 五 (ngou or wu3), 乙 (yik or yi3). The system is used for teaching sight-singing.
In Japanese music, the first line of Iroha, an ancient poem used as an "ABC" of traditional kana, is used for solmization. The syllables representing the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G are i, ro, ha, ni, ho, he, to respectively. Shakuhachi musical notation uses another solmization system beginning "Fu Ho U".
Other systems invented for teaching sight-singing are:
See also Do Re Mi for songs named after those solmization syllables.
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