CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, a “monk for the modern age” by George Parker, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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June 28, 2006

Do-Re-Midi (permalink)

Do-Re-Midi: Funkamentals of a Text-Based Musical Notation

version 1.0

Do-Re-Midi allows musical ideas, melody lines, riffs, arrangements, and even full scores to be easily shared via e-mail or other text-based (ASCII) English communication.  Now, when a friend writes asking how that bass line of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" goes, you can type it out and save humming it over a long-distance call.  Or you can compose a new song on an airplane when all you have is a PowerBook with a word processor.  No special composing software or music font is needed.  Each voice of a composition is typed as if in sentences using familiar and intuitive syllables, symbols, and phonemes.  Novices can read Do-Re-Midi more easily than standard musical notation, as no more than a rudimentary familiarity with the musical scale is requisite.

An example of a famous music passage written in Do-Re-Midi follows the full description of this notation below.

A standard fixed-width font (e.g. Courier) is required for writing and displaying Do-Re-Midi.

Note: A shareware program to automatically convert MIDI files into Do-Re-Midi is in the early stages of development.

Suggestions for revision are welcome.



I. Notes
II. Duration
III. Rests
IV. Octaves
V. Dynamics
VI. Time Signatures
VII. Other Tones, Sound Effects, and Noises
VIII. Other Notation
IX. Do-Re-Midi Example


I. Notes:

do = C
re = D
mi = E
fa = F
so = G
la = A
ti = B

do# = C sharp or D flat
re# = D sharp or E flat
fa# = F sharp or G flat
so# = G sharp or A flat
la# = A sharp or B flat


II. Duration:

do = quarter note
re = quarter note
mi = quarter note
fa = quarter note
so = quarter note
la = quarter note
ti = quarter note

doo = half note
ree = half note
mii = half note
faa = half note
soo = half note
laa = half note
tii = half note

dooo = dotted half note
reee = dotted half note
miii = dotted half note
faaa = dotted half note
sooo = dotted half note
laaa = dotted half note
tiii = dotted half note

doooo = whole note
reeee = whole note
miiii = whole note
faaaa = whole note
soooo = whole note
laaaa = whole note
tiiii = whole note


III. Rests:

: = quarter rest
:: = half rest
::: = dotted half rest
:::: = whole rest


IV. Octaves:

-do = low C
-re = low D
-mi = low E
-fa = low F
-so = low G
-la = low A
-ti = low B

do = middle C
re = middle D
mi = middle E
fa = middle F
so = middle G
la = middle A
ti = middle B

+do = high C
+re = high D
+mi = high E
+fa = high F
+so = high G
+la = high A
+ti = high B


V. Dynamics:

do = piano
re = piano
mi = piano
fa = piano
so = piano
la = piano
ti = piano

Do = forte
Re = forte
Mi = forte
Fa = forte
So = forte
La = forte
Ti = forte

DO = fortissimo
RE = fortissimo
MI = fortissimo
FA = fortissimo
SO = fortissimo
LA = fortissimo
TI = fortissimo


VI. Time Signatures:

(and so on)


VII. Other Tones, Sound Effects, and Noises:



VIII. Other Notation:

^ = slur
x = drum hit (specify type)
X = drum hit accented
* = cymbal (specify type)
5 = hand clap


IX. Do-Re-Midi Example (four seconds of a famous song)

In the example below, each voice of the piece is typed from left to right on its own line.  Voices which sound simultaneously are aligned vertically.  Notice that the melody has two lines to indicate harmony.  The arrangement of the piece can be easily altered in Do-Re-Midi by moving the notations left or right, just as notes are adjusted in sequencing software.

"Sweet Dreams Are Made of This" by Eurythmics (P) 1983

4/4 (180 bpm)

     Sweet dreams  are   made of           this

::   Ree#  Ree#    Doo   Re#  Reee#        Re#^Reee  
::   Soo   Soo     Ree#  So   Sooo         Soo^Faaa

-DOO do do re# re# do do -so# -so# -so# do -so -so -la# do

(bass drum)
x :  x  :  x   :   x  :  x    :    x    :  x   :   x    :

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Original Content Copyright © 2020 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.