Ut Queant Laxis Resonare Fibris
Ut Queant Laxis Resonare Fibris
The first line of a hymn in honour of St. John the Baptist

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

Ut Queant Laxis Resonare Fibris
    Ut Queant Laxis Resonare Fibris
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Ut Queant Laxis Resonare Fibris
    The first line of a hymn in honour of St. John the Baptist. The Roman Breviary divides it into three parts and assigns the first, "Ut queant laxis", etc., to Vespers, the second, "Antra deserti teneris sub annis", to Matins, the third, "O nimis felix, meritique celsi", to Lauds, of the feast of the Nativity of St. John (24 June). With hymnologists generally, Dreves ascribes the authorship to Paulus Diaconus aud expresses surprise at the doubt of Duemmler, for which he can see no reason. The hymn is written in Sapphic stanzas, of which the first is famous in the history of music for the reason that the notes of the melody corresponding with the initial syllables of the six hemistichs are the first six notes of the diatonic scale of C. This fact led to the syllabic naming of the notes as Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, as may be shown by capitalizing the initial syllables of the hemistichs:
    UT queant laxis REsonare fibris MIra gestorum FAmuli tuorum, SOLve polluti LAbii reatum, Sancte Ioannes.
    
    Guido of Arezzo showed his pupils an easier method of determining the sounds of the scale than by the use of the monochord. His method was that of comparison of a known melody with an unknown one which was to be learned, and for this purpose he frequently chose the well-known melody of the "Ut queant laxis" . Against a common view of musical writers, Dom Pothier contends that Guido did not actually give these syllabic names to the notes, did not invent the hexachordal system, etc., but that insensibly the comparison of the melodies led to the syllabic naming. When a new name for the seventh, or leading, note of our octave was desired, Erich Van der Putten suggested, in 1599, the syllabic BI of "labii", but a vast majority of musical theorists supported the happier thought of the syllable SI, formed by the initial letters of the two words of the last line. UT has been generally replaced by DO because of the open sound of the latter. Durandus says that the hymn was composed by Paul the Deacon on a certain Holy Saturday when, having to chant the "Exsultet" for the blessing of the paschal candle, he found himself suffering from an unwonted hoarseness. Perhaps bethinking himself of the restoration of voice to the father of the Baptist, he implored a similar help in the first stanza. The melody has been found in a manuscript of the tenth century, applied to the words of Horace's Ode to Phyllis, "Est mihi nonum superantis annum" . The hymn offers exegetical difficulties in the stanza "Ventris obstruso", etc. Littledale's version, used in Bute's "The Roman Breviary", refers the "uterque parens" to Mary and Elizabeth:
    "Pent in the closet of the womb, thy Saviour Thou didst adore within His chamber shrined: Thus did each parent in their unborn offspring Mysteries find."
    
    Caswall translates similarly: "What time Elizabeth and Mary sang." Pauly refers the two words to Zachary (for his canticle of the Benedictus) and Elizabeth (for her address to Mary: "Blessed art thou among women", etc.); and "uterque" would better support this view. Also, "Mysteries find" is a poor version of "Abdita pandit", since it conceals the allusion to the twofold "utterance" of the parents. Greater difficulty is found in the interpretation of the stanza "Serta ter denis", etc. A sufficiently close rendering would be:
    "Some crowns with glory thirtyfold are shining; Others, a double flower and fruit combining: Thy trinal chaplet bears an intertwining Hundredfold fruitage."
    This is an evident allusion to the parable of the sower (Matt., xiii, 8) whose seed fell upon good ground and brought forth fruit, "some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold"; but the composer of the hymn clearly adds the thought of a triple crown — perhaps that of Precursor, Prophet, Martyr; perhaps that of Prophet, Virgin, Martyr.
    H. T. HENRY
    Transcribed by Tomas Hancil and Joseph P. Thomas

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


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  • Ut queant laxis — or Hymnus in Ioannem is a plainchant hymn to John the Baptist written by Paulus Diaconus, the 8th century Lombard historian. It is notable in that each of the first six musical phrases of the first stanza of the hymn begins on a successively… …   Wikipedia

  • Ut queant laxis — Der Johannes Hymnus ist ein Hymnus von Paulus Diaconus (ca. 720–799) auf den Heiligen Johannes. Der Hymnus beginnt mit den Worten Ut queant laxis. Mit seiner Hilfe hat Guido von Arezzo seine Gesangsschüler das Memorieren der Töne gelehrt. Dazu… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ut queant laxis — es el primer verso del Himno a San Juan Bautista, escrito por el historiador lombardo Pablo el Diácono, en el Siglo VIII. El himno a san Juan Bautista. De las primeras sílabas de los versos de este himno se toma el nombre las notas musicales de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • ut — [ yt ] n. m. inv. • XIIIe; subst. XVIIe; en lat. (XIe), du premier mot de l hymne à saint Jean Baptiste : « Ut queant laxis » 1 ♦ Anciennt Première note de la gamme. ⇒ do. Mod. Ut de poitrine (cf. Contre ut). 2 ♦ Mo …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ut (note) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ut. La note ut est l ancienne appellation de la note do, première note de la gamme majeure sans accident. Ut est le premier mot du premier vers de l hymne latin de saint Jean Baptiste attribué à Paul Diacre  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ut, re, mi, fa, sol — Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, (si, später eingefügt) la, Sylben zur Bezeichnung der Guidonschen Tonleiter, durch si zum Heptachord ausgebildet, nach den Sylben der folgenden sapphischen Strophe: Ut queant laxis resonare fibris Mira gestorum famuli tuorum …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Do (note) — Ut (note) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ut. La note ut est l ancienne appellation de la note do, première note de la gamme majeure sans accident. Ut est le premier mot du premier vers de l hymne latin de saint Jean Baptiste attribué à Paul… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Do majeur — Ut (note) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ut. La note ut est l ancienne appellation de la note do, première note de la gamme majeure sans accident. Ut est le premier mot du premier vers de l hymne latin de saint Jean Baptiste attribué à Paul… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Nota (sonido) — Para la acepción del término nota referente al signo utilizado para representar uno de estos sonidos, véase Figura musical. En el ámbito de la música, el término nota se refiere a un sonido determinado por una vibración cuya frecuencia… …   Wikipedia Español

  • gamut — [15] Gamut began life as a medieval musical term. The 11th century French born musical theorist Guido d’Arezzo devised the ‘hexachord’, a six note scale used for sightreading music (and forerunner of the modern tonic sol fa). The notes were… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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