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Why are Notes of the Tonal Scale Called "Do, Re, Mi" etc.?

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Solmization, or the practice of assigning syllables to the different “steps” of the scale, originated in ancient India. Fast forward a few thousand years, when Isidore, the Archbishop of Seville during the sixth century, lamented that "Unless sounds are remembered, they perish, for they cannot be written down." A Benedictine monk who was also a master of music named Guido d'Arezzo set to work to prevent so many sacred tunes from being lost. 

Brother Guido was familiar with solmization, and noted that most of the Gregorian chants popular at that time could easily be learned by singers if they could see the tone progression up and down the scale, and associate it with the sound. He assigned the notes of the scale—C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C—a syllable: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do. (We know what you're thinking: Yes, it actually is SOL—it's traditionally written that way when the tonic notes are spelled out, and often referred to as the "sol-fa scale" colloquially—but that final L is hard to hear thanks to the LA that follows.)

Those weren’t just random sounds he chose; they came from “Ut Queant Laxis,” a well-known hymn of the Middle Ages that was chanted for vespers. Each succeeding line of the song started one note higher than the previous one, so Guido used the first letters of each word of each line: UT queant laxis, REsonare fibris: MIre gestorum , FAmuli tuorum: SOLve, etc. “Ut” was eventually deemed too difficult pronounce and was changed to “Do.”

Did the Guido method work? Well, as Rodgers and Hammerstein later put it, “When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything!”

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Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
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What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at www.thinkbiotech.com. For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Do Cats Fart?
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Certain philosophical questions can invade even the most disciplined of minds. Do aliens exist? Can a soul ever be measured? Do cats fart?

While the latter may not have weighed heavily on some of history’s great brains, it’s certainly no less deserving of an answer. And in contrast to existential queries, there’s a pretty definitive response: Yes, they do. We just don’t really hear it.

According to veterinarians who have realized their job sometimes involves answering inane questions about animals passing gas, cats have all the biological hardware necessary for a fart: a gastrointestinal system and an anus. When excess air builds up as a result of gulping breaths or gut bacteria, a pungent cloud will be released from their rear ends. Smell a kitten’s butt sometime and you’ll walk away convinced that cats fart.

The discretion, or lack of audible farts, is probably due to the fact that cats don’t gulp their food like dogs do, leading to less air accumulating in their digestive tract.

So, yes, cats do fart. But they do it with the same grace and stealth they use to approach everything else. Think about that the next time you blame the dog.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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