Do-Re-Mi ドレミの歌

Do-Re-Mi ドレミの歌

The other day Do-Re-Mi from The Sound Of Music was playing in the background during a TV programme about Switzerland, and Mrs M started singing along.

‘Do is the do of doughnut,’ she sang. ‘Re is the re of…’
‘Hang on, hang on,’ I interrupted. ‘Did you just say “doughnut”?’
‘Yes. “Do is the do of doughnut”. Why?’
‘Do isn’t the do of doughnut! Do is a deer, a female deer!’
‘What, you mean the English lyrics are different?’

Over the years, several people have translated The Sound Of Music into Japanese, but the version that stuck is by a woman called Peggy Hayama. Having seen the original stage musical in the early sixties, Hayama realised that particularly in the case of Do-Re-Mi, a literal translation wouldn’t work, so not only are her mnemonics different, but because the Japanese alphabet has no ‘la’ or ‘ti’ sounds, so are her syllables for the musical notes:

‘Do’ is the ‘do’ of ‘doughnut’
‘Re’ is the ‘re’ of ‘remon’
(er, lemon)
‘Mi’ is the ‘mi’ of ‘min-na’
(everyone)
‘Fa’ is the ‘fa’ of ‘faito’ (fight)
‘So’ is the ‘so’ of ‘aoi sora’
(blue sky)
‘Ra’ is the ‘ra’ of ‘rappa’ (trumpet)
‘Shi’ is the ‘shi’ of ‘shiawasé’
(happy)
Right, let’s sing!

Another sound you don’t get in Japanese is ‘lé, hence a lemon becoming a remon, and just in case you think Hayama is advocating the use of violence, in Japan, using the English word ‘fight’ is a way of exhorting someone to do their best.

Hayama also added a second verse, which mixes in a couple more mnemonics for good measure:

DOnna toki demo (whatever)
REtsu wo kundé
(queue)
MInna tanoshiku
(everyone)
FAito wo motté
(fight)
SOra wo aoidé
(sky)
RAn rararararara
(er, la la la)
SHIawasé no uta
(happy)
Sah, utaimashoh
Do-re-mi-fa-so-ra-shi-dondo

Translated back into English, it goes like this:

Whenever you want
Link your arms
Everybody having fun
Prepare to do your best
Look up at the sky
Lan-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
A happy song
Right, let’s sing!
Do-re-mi-fa-so-ra-shi-dondo

Doughnuts? Fighting? Olanges and Remons? Rodgers and Hammerstein must be turning in their graves. But anyway, just for the sake of completeness, here is Hayama’s Japanese version in full:

ドはドーナツのド 
レはレモンのレ
ミはみんなのミ 
ファはファイトのファ
ソは青い空 
ラはラッパのラ
シは幸せよ 
さあ歌いましょう 

ドはドーナツのド 
レはレモンのレ
ミはみんなのミ 
ファはファイトのファ
ソは青い空 
ラはラッパのラ
シは幸せよ 
さあ歌いましょう

ドレミファソラシド ドシラソファミレ
ドミミミソソ レファファラシシ
ドミミミソソ レファファラシシ……
ソドラファミドレ ソドラシドレド

どんなときにも 
列を組んで
みんな楽しく 
ファイト持って
空を仰いで 
ランララララララー
幸せの歌 
さあ歌いましょ 
ドレミファソラシドソド

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