Thursday, December 14, 2006

You Can Thank Guido

Wanna know where that pesky staff and all that music notations stuff started? A little monk by the name of Guido of Arezzo.

Guido was a monk of the Benedictine order from the Italian city-state of Arezzo, thus the last name. Anywho, his birthdate is presumed to be around 991 or 992. He spent most of early years as a Monk in a monastary on the Adriatic coast near Ferrara. Now Guido, well he was kind of particular. As he would sit back and hear the monks go at trying to remember certain chants and screwing them up he got tired of his ears bleeding from the bad singing. So, old Guido decided that he had had enough of this pitiful singing and he developed a system of notation that would help the poor tone-deaf monks to remember how the crap the chant went. His meathod became so popular and accessible that it quickly became famous throughout north Italy. However, Guido's popularity and know-it-all muisic attitude didn't win him any popularity points with the other monks at his monastary. As a matter of fact, they got downright hostile to poor Guido, prompting him to move to Arezzo, a town which had no abbey, but which did have a large group of singers needing training.

Another intersting and useful thing about Guido is that he is also responsible for inventing Solfeggio. If it weren't for Guido, the Von Trap kids would have been up a creek without a song. Therefore never getting to pull the heartstrings of their dear old dad Gayorge (George?) thus causing the Captain's heart to harden and never fall head over heals for poor Maria. If it weren't for Guido the Von Traps would have all ended up Nazis. It is amazing how far-reaching the consequences are for musical excellence.

As far as music theory goes, Guido is the great great great great great gran-daddy of us all. Everytime you sing a melody, hymn, lullaby, or whistle in the shower, know that if it weren't for Guido, instead of whistling a sweet melody while you work you might be grunting and making wierd clicking noises like the indigenous tribes found in the Amazon or African jungles.

Three grunts and clicks for Guido!