The transition from the Greek to Roman letters, which are also currently used in Anglo-Saxon influence countries, is attributed to Boetius (480-524 AD). In his fundamental work De Institutione Musicae (500-507 AD), Boetius defines the elements of the music according to the Pythagorean tradition and adopts Alipius notation, replacing the Greek letters, with the first 15 of the Latin alphabet.
Is due to a Benedictine monk, Guido d’Arezzo (a. 990-1050 AD), the current name of the notes; he made use of the first syllables of each verse of the St. John hymn to facilitate the study to his students when he taught at the Abbey of Pomposa.
This song, very well known at the time, and it seems foolproof against hoarseness, was written around 770 by Paul Deacon:
To the faithful to sing loudly the wonders of your business, clears the error of the unworthy lip, oh St. John.
The name Ut became do only in the seventeenth century. It appeared only in the XVI, some 500 years after Guido d’Arezzo. The fact is that the good fathers feared this note, whose relationship with fa generates a feeling of lasciviousness. Was not in the Middle Ages, the interval FB called diabolus in musica? is called the tritone/three tones (the si united to fa),abnormal fifth interval. It is ignored the name of the debauched who invented it, the initials of Sancte Ioannes: maybe Anselm of Flanders, or François Lemaire.
In his method, the learned theorist Guido d’Arezzo adds syllables (ut, re, etc) to the traditional letters only to clarify different aspects of the range, for example: G. sol. re. ut. Likewise, mi-fa designated all semitones, hence the solfeggio range Ut:
C D E F G A B C
ut re mi fa sol re mi fa
But, before they used two species of B, differentiated by St. Odo of Cluny (878-942) in two written representations. One, the A quadratum (angular, square), corresponds to our si natural; the other, the B rotundum (rounded, soft), corresponding to our si flat:
Si bemolle (flat) = Si B molle (rounded, soft, flat)
The range of ut above is therefore sung with B quadratum. If B is flat, always solfeggiando from C to C, one writes, moving semitones:
C D E F G A Bflat C
ut re mi fa re mi fa sol
We see that the notation is cumbersome: only much later the method was simplified:
C D E F G A Bflat C
do re mi fa sol la si bemolle do
This series is one of the eight modal ranges of cantus planus, as was called the real proper liturgic singing as opposed to the figurative and mensurato singing. The cantus planus has severe nature. The eight Gregorian chants are (next to the more proper name there are put in brackets the traditional Greek names still in use): 1 Protus Authenticus (Doric); 2 Protus Plagalis (ipodorico); 3 Deuterus Authenticus (Phrygian) 4 Deuterus Plagalis (ipofrigio); Tritus Authenticus (Lydian); 6 Tritus Plagalis (Hypolydian); 7 Tetrardus Authenticus (Mixolydian); 8 Tetrardus Plagalis (Ipomixolidian).
This series in the late tenth century, to a regrettable mistake, was wanted to play with the Greek names of the great perfect system (“GPS”), after being Latinized. So our range, which is the Tritus Plagalis (what amounts to as number three in the severe form), was misnamed Ipolidian, while its equivalent in (“GPS”) should be instead the Lydian (Tritus Authenticus).
On the other hand, we must consider that the Greeks of the fourth century b.C believed the Ionians and other ancestors as barbarians; their music, moreover, no longer possessed the exotic feature that at the time justified the severity of Plato (Republic, Book III):
…… the only harmonies we need to preserve are the Dorian and Phrygian
…….the Ionian is made for drunkards
…….the Lydian is dangerous for women, whose duty requires a proper behavior, and so even more for men …..
Despite all the cultural influences, it nevertheless remains a similar use in the Tritus Plagalis of the Middle Ages clergy. To escape the lure of pleasure, good fathers musicians had to invent endless subtleties.
In this strange range lies the Law of Attraction. Agamemnon was not ignorant of that. Before leaving for the siege of Troy had very recommended to its musicians not to play that in Doric or Phrygian. During his absence Aegisthus hired them to play in Lydian, and that was how Clytemnestra took his lover.