Lyrics By Oscar Hammerstein II Music By Richard Rodgers
“Do-Re-Mi” is Maria’s teaching song, sung to the reluctant children, who have just been introduced to yet another governess. Though the children tell Maria there is no music in the house, she forges ahead, unperturbed. One by one, the children warm to Maria and the notion of singing. By the end of the song, they have all been won over.
When Oscar Hammerstein II jotted “Singing Lesson” down in May 1959, he knew he would use “a word for every note, a note for every word” in what would soon become one of the most memorable songs in American pop culture. “Do-Re-Mi” is another song that was repurposed in the film, used during a scene that begins at a picnic in the hills and travels all over Salzburg.
Original handwritten notes for “Do-Re-Mi”
Maria: Let’s start at the very beginning,
A very good place to start.
When you read you begin with A-B-C.
When you sing you begin with do-re-mi.
Children: Do re mi?
Maria: Do re mi.
The first three notes just happen to be
Doe – a deer, a female deer,
Ray – a drop of golden sun,
Me – a name I call myself,
Far – a long, long way to run,
Sew – a needle pulling thread,
La – a note to follow sew,
Tea – a drink with jam and bread.
That will bring us back to do!
When you know the notes to sing,
You can sing most anything.
"Do-Re-Mi" (Rodgers/Hammerstein II)
© 1959, Copyright Renewed, Williamson Music Company (ASCAP) c/o Concord Music Publishing.
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.