Words: Oscar Hammerstein; Music: Richard Rodgers (1959)

Lyrics

Do, a deer, a female deer.
Re, a drop of golden sun.
Me, a name I call myself.
Fa, a long long way to run.
So, a needle pulling thread.
La, a note to follow so.
Ti, a drink with jam and bread.
That will bring us back to do, oh, oh, oh…

Background

“Do-Re-Mi” is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. In the story, it is used by Maria to teach the notes of the major musical scale to the Von Trapp children, who learn to sing even though their father has disallowed merry-making since their mother’s death. The song is notable in that each syllable of the musical “solfege” system appears in its lyrics, sung on the pitch it names. The lyrics teach the solfege syllables by linking them with real words that sound the same:

Do refers to a doe, “a deer, a female deer.”
Re refers to a ray of sunshine, “a drop of golden sun.”
Mi refers to me, “a name I call myself.”
Fa refers to far, a distant place, “a long long way to run”.
So refers to sew, to work with a needle and thread, “a needle pulling thread.”
La is simply “a note to follow so.”
Ti refers to tea, “a drink with jam and bread.”

The song soon became popular in its own right, and is often taught to kids when learning to sing – just like in the movie.

Performances

Here is Julie Andrews singing the version from the movie.