street with flags in Arezzo

Guido of Arezzo's street

A thousand years ago, a man named Guido of Arezzo lived in this street in Italy. He taught people to read music, so they could sing melodies they had never heard.

Sign on Guido's house: Guido the monk lived here with the notes of the scale

Guido the monk's notes for singing

If you look closely, you can see most of the familiar notes from The Sound of Music: “Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Ut.”

The “Ut” was later replaced by “Do” because it was easier to sing. These note names came from the first syllable of each line in the Hymn to St. John the Baptist.

This hymn or song is about singing, just like “Do[e] a deer, a female deer. . .” in The Sound of Music.

Guido of Arezzo wrote many books about learning to sing. No one knows how he collected so many different ways to teach singing. Nothing is known about Guido’s father or his siblings.

THE WOUNDED BOOK is the story of how it might have happened and what his younger sister could have gotten involved.

Guido of Arezzo's house

house with lamp and window and sign
 © Laurel Decher, 2021

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