Chords are an essential element of music, providing the harmonic foundation and color for melodies and rhythms. They are created by combining two or more notes played simultaneously, and can be played on a variety of instruments including the guitar, piano, and ukulele.
One well-known song that is often used to teach about chords is “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music. This catchy tune uses a sequence of chords to provide the backdrop for its joyful and uplifting lyrics, which instruct the listener on how to sing a scale using solfège syllables (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do).
Chords in “Do-Re-Mi”
The chords in “Do-Re-Mi” are built off of the notes in the major scale, and follow a pattern of diatonic harmony. This means that the chords are drawn from the scale itself, rather than using any outside notes.
The lyrics of the song follow a pattern of rising pitches, starting on the note “do” and moving up the scale to “ti” before returning back down to “do”. The chords in the song follow a similar pattern, starting on the tonic chord (built on the first note of the scale, “do”) and moving through the rest of the chords in the major key.
For example, the first verse of the song uses the following chords:
- Do: C major chord
- Re: G major chord
- Mi: A minor chord
- Fa: F major chord
- So: G major chord
- La: A minor chord
- Ti: B diminished chord
- Do: C major chord
As the song progresses, the lyrics and chords both follow this pattern of ascending and descending through the scale. The result is a sense of motion and forward momentum, as well as a feeling of resolution when the song returns to the tonic chord at the end.
The emotional impact of the chords in “Do-Re-Mi” is heightened by the use of certain chord progressions and voicings. For example, the contrast between the major and minor chords creates a sense of tension and resolution, while the use of the diminished chord adds a touch of dissonance and uncertainty.
Playing “Do-Re-Mi” on the Piano
To play “Do-Re-Mi” on the piano, you will need to locate the chords on the keyboard. The piano keyboard is arranged in a repeating pattern of white and black keys, with each group of two black keys representing a “half step” (also known as a semitone).
The distance between any two keys on the keyboard, whether white or black, is a half step. The chords used in “Do-Re-Mi” can be found using the following pattern of half steps:
C major chord:
C (white key to the left of the group of two black keys), E (white key to the right of the group of two black keys), G (white key to the right of the group of three black keys)
G major chord:
G (white key to the right of the group of three black keys), B (white key to the right of the group of two black keys), D (white key to the right of the group of three black keys)
A minor chord:
A (white key to the right of the group of three black keys), C (white key to the right of the group of two black keys), E (white key to the right of the group of two black keys)
F major chord:
F (white key to the left of the group of four black keys), A (white key to the right of the group of three black keys), C (white key to the right of the group of two black keys)
B diminished chord:
B (white key to the right of the group of two black keys), D (white key to the right of the group of three black keys), F (white key to the left of the group of four black keys)
To play the chords in “Do-Re-Mi”, start by placing your fingers on the correct keys for the C major chord. Your thumb should be on the C key, your middle finger on the E key, and your fifth finger on the G key.
Once you have the C major chord sounding clean and clear, you can move on to the next chord in the progression.
For example, to move from the C major chord to the G major chord, you will need to lift your middle finger (on the E key) and place it on the B key, while keeping your thumb and fifth finger in place.
It’s important to make the chord changes smoothly and in time with the music. One way to practice this is to play the chords with a metronome, setting the tempo to a comfortable speed and gradually increasing it as you get more comfortable with the changes.
Tips for beginners:
- Take your time and practice each chord change separately before trying to play through the whole song
- Use a light touch on the keys to make the chord changes easier
- Pay attention to the rhythm and try to play in time with the music
Variations on “Do-Re-Mi”
Once you have the basic chords of “Do-Re-Mi” under your fingers, there are many ways you can experiment with the song and make it your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Try using different voicings for the chords. For example, you could try playing the chords with the left hand and adding a melody with the right hand, or vice versa.
- Experiment with different chord progressions. Instead of following the diatonic pattern of the major scale, you could try using different chords from other keys or modes to create a different mood or atmosphere.
- Add embellishments and improvisation to the chords. This could include adding arpeggios, runs, or other decorative elements to the chord progression.
- Arrange “Do-Re-Mi” in a different style. The song has been covered by many artists in a wide range of genres, from folk to rock to jazz. Try rearranging the chords and melodies to fit a style you are interested in.
Examples of how other musicians have interpreted “Do-Re-Mi” include:
- Folk singer Pete Seeger’s upbeat and catchy version, which features a strummed guitar accompaniment and a sing-along chorus.
- Rock band Faith No More’s quirky and irreverent cover, which features a distorted guitar sound and unexpected tempo changes.
- Jazz pianist Bill Evans’s introspective and atmospheric version, which features a solo piano arrangement and a more free-flowing approach to the melody and chords.
“Do-Re-Mi” is a fun and catchy tune that is a great way to learn about chords and how they work in music.
By analyzing the chords and experimenting with different voicings and progressions, you can gain a deeper understanding of harmony and how it can be used to create emotional impact in a song. So grab your instrument of choice and give “Do-Re-Mi” a try!