The conformation and vibrational properties of 2-methoxy-1,2-diphenylethanone (MDPE) are investigated in the gas phase and in organic solvents. Ab initio calculations carried out at the B3LYP/6-31G(d) level demonstrate that three stable conformers having cisoid, skewed and transoid structures are present in the gas phase. In the gas phase, the conformers are separated by a low energy barrier and their relative energies do not differ by more than 7.2 kJ mol (-1) Like in crystalline MDPE 'Acta Crystallogr. Sect. C 44 (1988) 894', weak CH...O hydrogen bonds are present in the cisoid conformation. The IR and Raman spectra of solid MDPE are discussed. Several vibrational modes are split in organic solvents. A comparison between the theoretical data and the experimental dipole moments indicates that two conformers are present in solution, the population of the cisoid form increasing with the permittivity of the medium.