All About The "Do Re Mi" Scale - Including Hand Signs! Tuesday November 28 2023, 9:30 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
All About The "Do Re Mi" Scale - Including Hand Signs!

The "Do Re Mi" Scale 

Many people ask me about this scale, and I find it pretty funny that the true term for it isn't widely known, but the scale itself is. 

The "do-re-mi" scale refers to the solfège system, a musical scale that uses syllables to represent the pitches of the notes.

The solfège system is commonly used in music education to teach pitch and sight-singing. The syllables in the do-re-mi scale are as follows:

  1. Do - represents the first note of the scale.
  2. Re - represents the second note of the scale.
  3. Mi - represents the third note of the scale.
  4. Fa - represents the fourth note of the scale.
  5. Sol - represents the fifth note of the scale.
  6. La - represents the sixth note of the scale.
  7. Ti - represents the seventh note of the scale.

The "do-re-mi" scale can be applied to any major scale, and it serves as a simple and effective way to teach and remember the relationships between different pitches in a musical context.


This system is often associated with the "Sound of Music" and the song "Do-Re-Mi" from the musical, where the characters use it to learn and remember musical notes.

Solfege, sometimes referred to as solfeggio or solfa, is a musical system that makes it easy to identify notes on a scale when it comes to Western music traditions. 

With Solfege, people of all ages can easily learn about the seven notes of a major scale to sing and create their own songs in their musical journey. 

Solfege originated in the classical music world of Italy and is often used in music schools to help youngsters be able to easily identify patterns in the world of music. 

The Origins Of The Scale

The "Do-Re-Mi" scale, as part of the solfège system, has ancient origins and has undergone various developments over time.

The use of syllables to represent musical pitches can be traced back to medieval music theorists, and the specific solfège syllables we commonly use today evolved over centuries.

Guido of Arezzo, an Italian Benedictine monk, is often credited with the development of an early version of the solfège system in the 11th century.

Guido is known for his contributions to music education, including the invention of a system to teach singers to sight-read. He used a hymn to St. John the Baptist, "Ut queant laxis," to associate each line of the hymn with a specific pitch.

The syllables associated with the scale were derived from the initial syllables of each line:

  1. Ut (later changed to Do)
  2. Re
  3. Mi
  4. Fa
  5. Sol
  6. La
  7. Si (later changed to Ti)

Over time, "Ut" was replaced with "Do" for ease of singing, and "Si" was later changed to "Ti" to maintain a consistent pattern of two-syllable endings.

This evolution led to the establishment of the solfège system we use today, with the "Do-Re-Mi" scale being a fundamental component.

The "Do Re Mi Scale" In Media 

The "Do-Re-Mi" scale has been popularized in various forms of media, and here are a few examples:

The Sound of Music (1965)

One of the most iconic uses of the "Do-Re-Mi" scale is in the musical film "The Sound of Music."

In this classic movie, Julie Andrews's character, Maria, teaches the Von Trapp children how to sing using the solfège system, and they sing the famous song "Do-Re-Mi" while exploring the hills surrounding their home.

Sesame Street (TV series)

The "Do-Re-Mi" scale has been featured on Sesame Street in various segments to teach children about music. Characters like Big Bird and others often engage in musical activities that involve the solfège system.

The Simpsons (TV series)

In the episode titled "Selma's Choice" (Season 4, Episode 13), the character Sideshow Bob sings a parody of "Do-Re-Mi" from "The Sound of Music" called "Cape Feare." It's a humorous take on the original song.

Shrek 2 (2004)

The "Do-Re-Mi" scale makes a cameo appearance in the movie "Shrek 2" during the scene where Shrek and Donkey encounter the Fairy Godmother's factory. The characters briefly sing a version of "Do-Re-Mi."

These are just a few examples, and the "Do-Re-Mi" scale is often referenced or used in various ways across different forms of entertainment and media, especially when there's a need to convey the concept of learning or teaching music in a lighthearted manner.

Tips For The "Do Re Mi Scale"


Sing Scales And Intervals

Singing scales and intervals is an effective way to train your ear and develop your ability to recognize and reproduce different pitches.

Start by singing simple major scales using solfege syllables, gradually moving to more complex scales and intervals. This practice will help you develop a strong sense of relative pitch.

Related Post: Who Is The Inventor Of Music? Going Back To The Earliest Evidence

Apply Solfege To Melodies

Take familiar melodies and practice singing them using solfege syllables.

This exercise helps you connect the solfege system to real musical phrases, improving your ability to understand and reproduce melodic patterns. Start with simple tunes and gradually progress to more complex melodies.

Practice Sight-Singing

Sight-singing is the skill of reading and singing music notation on sight. Start with simple exercises and gradually increase the difficulty level.

Use solfege syllables to sing the notes accurately, paying attention to rhythm and pitch. Sight-singing regularly will enhance your ability to read and interpret music notation.

Practice Melodic Dictation

Melodic dictation involves listening to a melody and notating it using solfege syllables. Start by listening to short melodies and transcribing them using the appropriate solfege syllables.

This exercise helps train your ear to recognize melodic patterns and improves your ability to notate music accurately.

Sing In Different Keys And Modes

Once you are comfortable with solfege in the major scale, challenge yourself by singing in different keys and modes.

Practice singing the solfege syllables in minor scales, modes such as Dorian or Mixolydian, and other musical contexts. This expands your understanding of tonalities and improves your overall musicianship.

Related Post: Conjunct Vs. Disjunct Melody - Two Main Forms Of Melodic Motion

Solfege Scales Charts

Check out these charts I've made below that can help you learn and memorize your solfege. You can download each chart as a PDF for free, in addition to studying it here on my site. 

Note: In the "fixed do" method, your "do" will always be C.

That means if you are singing in a key that isn't C, you will need to use chromatic solfege from the last chart below. If you are in "movable do, " your "do" can be C, C#, F, Bb, or any other starting note. 

Related Post: Why Are There Only 7 Notes In An Octave?

Simple Solfege Chart

This is a basic chart that you can start with as a beginner. Note that if you're using "movable do", the first note (tonic note) in this scale can be whatever note you want it to be.

If not, you should assume that you are starting with C as the first note of the scale. Most people use moveable do since it's easier to grasp with a variety of different song keys. 

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Solfege Chart With C Scale 

Here's a chart you can use to get used to seeing how the scale matches with a specific key. The most common music scale is the key of C major.

If you use fixed do, you will stick with these notes no matter what key you're singing in. You will need to also refer to the chromatic solfege chart below to account for accidentals. 

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Solfege Chart With Hand Signs

Check out this chart if you're looking to take things to the next level with hand signals. This works well for groups of singers and young students in voice lessons that are learning how to sing through scales with a professional teacher. 

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Chromatic Scale Solfege Chart 

Here's an advanced scale that takes into account each note in a chromatic scale. This will cover every note possible in a scale that is possible, including accidental notes.

Don't worry too much about this chart if you're just getting started with solfege and are looking for the basics only. 

Related Post: The Simple Brilliance Of The Picardy Third

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Download The PDF for these charts. 

Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

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