|posted: 5/30/2006 at 2:11:03 PM ET|
The origin of modern, western notation is the Catholic Monasteries of the Medieval period. They developed some of the first symbols of notation for use with plainchant, more commonly known as Gregorian Chant.
These symbols were known as "Numes" and gave a general definition of pitch, and later of rhythm. Later versions added the five lines of the staff, and accidentals.
Solfege (Do, Re, Mi...etc) also hails from this period, they are something of an acronym for a well known Latin phrase that had specific pitch intervals associated with it, namely those of the major scale.