Catholic Search
Custom Search

New Release! Chant Compendium 8 with beautiful Gregorian chant

Ut Queant Laxis
(Divine Office - Vespers Hymn from the feast of St. John the Baptist)

1. Ut queant laxis resonare fibris
Mira gestorum famuli tuorum,
Solve polluti labii reatum,
Sancte Joannes.

2. Nuntius celso veniens Olympo,
Te patri magnum fore nasciturum,
Nomen, et vitae seriem gerendae
Ordine promit.

3. Ille promissi dubius superni,
Perdidit promptae modulos loquelae:
Sed reformasti genitus peremptae
Organa vocis.

4. Ventris obstruso recubans cubili
Senseras Regem thalamo manentem:
Hinc parens nati meritis uterque
Abdita pandit.

5. Sit decus Patri, genitaeque Proli,
Et tibi compar utriusque virtus,
Spiritus semper, Deus unus, omni
Temporis aevo. Amen.

Initially written by Paolo Diacono as a hymn to Saint John the Baptist (circa 720 - 799), the Latin words "Ut queant laxis, Resonare fibris, Mira gestorum, Famuli tuorum, Solve polluti, Labii reatum," translate to "So that Your servants may sing at the top of their voices the wonders of Your acts, and absolve the fault from their stained lips."

1. UT - queant laxis
2. RE - sonare fibris
3. MI - ra gestorum
4. FA - muli tuorum
5. SOL - ve polluti
6. LA - bii reatum

Using the syllables ut, re, mi, fa, sol, and la as names for the six tones, C to A, an Italian monk named Guido d'Arezzo (990-1050) created the system of Solmization, a system of using syllables, especially sol-fa like syllables, to represent the tones of the scale (known as the Guido System). Later in history 'Ut' was replaced by the more easily singable 'Do,' and another syllable, si or ti, was added at the end, giving the scale of seven syllables called do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti, which forms the present basic system of singing names for the tones of the scale. The syllable sol was later shortened to 'So,' making all of the syllables uniform in spelling and all ending with a vowel. This allowed for ease of remembering for faster learning and making it easy to do 'sight singing', or being able to instantly sing new music in tune from reproduced standardized sheet music.

Return to Gregorian Chant Lyrics page on