Solfege, Do re mi
Larry F
Apr 6 2013, 08:32 PM
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Joined: 30-January 13
Here's a little testimonial. When I was younger, I was pretty good on guitar and did a lot of gigging. I eventually migrated to academia and became a professor of composition and theory. Along the way, I struggled with ear-training. In grad school, we had practicum exams to pass before we could defend our thesis: piano sight-reading, sight-singing, reading orchestral scores on the piano by sight, sight-reading old clefs in 4 parts, sight-reading figured bass realizations, dictation of Bach chorales. The sight-singing was tough, they were arias from operas of Wagner, usually, which meant changing key several times. We could sing la, la, la, or scale degree numbers,2, 3,1, 4, 3,etc. or use solfege. I poo-pooed solfege, because scale degree numbers were equivalent. Failing this a lot, I finally got help from one of my friends who insisted that I learn solfege: do re mi fa sol la ti do. That's the major scale for any key. Sharps and flats are also handled by different syllables. Europeans often learn the fixed do method, where do is C, re is D and so on. In the US, moveable do is usually taught. Here, do is the tonic of the key, re is scale degree 2, and so on. It was like magic. I sang solfege in the shower, walking to school, etc. I passed the sight-singing right away. It can be better than learning interval recognition is you are focused on staying in one key. The way we here is in relation to the key, not the relation of isolated intervals in the key, so goes the thinking. If you want to focus on isolated intervals, I think that is a more difficult thing to do, as we don't usually hear two notes in isolation and that's that. Instead, we hear melodic lines in a key. I would recommend starting with solfege in a major key, then minor, then start modulating to other keys. At some point in a modulation, you have to decide whether to change the new tonic to do, or keep the original syllable. There are well-defined guidelines for when you should start thinking in a new key. Kostka-Payne has been a very popular book for music theory classes in universities, and it will help you learn about modulations. It is, however, focused strictly on classical music repertoire.

Anyway, I just wanted to try to indoctrinate others into adopting the solfege system for sight-singing and ear-training.

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The Professor
Apr 6 2013, 09:01 PM
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From: Manchester UK
Great points Larry. I grew up in Canada so we learned moveable Do Solfege. It really got my ears and voice connected when singing and hearing lines in classical, rock, pop, jazz, or any style of music.

Bad thing was, I did my Grad school in the US and they used fixed Do, messed me up like you wouldn't believe. So now that I'm past that I prefer moveable Do, just find it easier to think about and sing on the spot.

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jstcrsn
Apr 6 2013, 10:27 PM
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well, you 2 are talking in a foreign language, much explanation is needed to explain solfege

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leonard478
Apr 6 2013, 10:51 PM
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Hey Matt! so ive learned moveable Do solfege as well, but since i may transfer to a school in the US after my schooling here, do you recommend that i start taking a look at fixed Do right now?

QUOTE (The Professor @ Apr 6 2013, 08:01 PM) *
Great points Larry. I grew up in Canada so we learned moveable Do Solfege. It really got my ears and voice connected when singing and hearing lines in classical, rock, pop, jazz, or any style of music.

Bad thing was, I did my Grad school in the US and they used fixed Do, messed me up like you wouldn't believe. So now that I'm past that I prefer moveable Do, just find it easier to think about and sing on the spot.

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The Professor
Apr 7 2013, 07:20 AM
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Posts: 888
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From: Manchester UK
QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Apr 6 2013, 10:27 PM) *
well, you 2 are talking in a foreign language, much explanation is needed to explain solfege


The easy answer is that Solfege is a set of syllables used to sing melodies that don't have words, mostly in classical music. The syllables are Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do. You have probably heard the syllables before, but just might not have known what they were called.

QUOTE (leonard478 @ Apr 6 2013, 10:51 PM) *
Hey Matt! so ive learned moveable Do solfege as well, but since i may transfer to a school in the US after my schooling here, do you recommend that i start taking a look at fixed Do right now?


I would ask the school you are transferring to which system they use and then see if you need to switch. I used to teach at a school that didn't use Solfege at all, just used numbers like 1 2 3 etc. So if you know what system your school uses, then you can start practicing the correct one ahead of time.

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Larry F
Apr 8 2013, 06:00 AM
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QUOTE (leonard478 @ Apr 6 2013, 09:51 PM) *
Hey Matt! so ive learned moveable Do solfege as well, but since i may transfer to a school in the US after my schooling here, do you recommend that i start taking a look at fixed Do right now?

No, you're good. It is moveable do here in the US.

larry

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The Professor
Apr 8 2013, 06:54 AM
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QUOTE (Larry F @ Apr 8 2013, 06:00 AM) *
No, you're good. It is moveable do here in the US.

larry


I would say it depends on the school. I did my Masters at Western Michigan and they used fixed Do, which threw me off, and then I taught in Illinois and they used numbers and no Solfege. So I think there's more variation in the US depending on the school than in other countries when it comes to choosing one or the other. Might be good just to check with the school first to see what they use.

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zoom
Apr 8 2013, 08:11 AM
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Posts: 636
Joined: 23-March 07
From: Australia
QUOTE (Larry F @ Apr 6 2013, 08:32 PM) *
Here's a little testimonial. When I was younger, I was pretty good on guitar and did a lot of gigging. I eventually migrated to academia and became a professor of composition and theory. Along the way, I struggled with ear-training. In grad school, we had practicum exams to pass before we could defend our thesis: piano sight-reading, sight-singing, reading orchestral scores on the piano by sight, sight-reading old clefs in 4 parts, sight-reading figured bass realizations, dictation of Bach chorales. The sight-singing was tough, they were arias from operas of Wagner, usually, which meant changing key several times. We could sing la, la, la, or scale degree numbers,2, 3,1, 4, 3,etc. or use solfege. I poo-pooed solfege, because scale degree numbers were equivalent. Failing this a lot, I finally got help from one of my friends who insisted that I learn solfege: do re mi fa sol la ti do. That's the major scale for any key. Sharps and flats are also handled by different syllables. Europeans often learn the fixed do method, where do is C, re is D and so on. In the US, moveable do is usually taught. Here, do is the tonic of the key, re is scale degree 2, and so on. It was like magic. I sang solfege in the shower, walking to school, etc. I passed the sight-singing right away. It can be better than learning interval recognition is you are focused on staying in one key. The way we here is in relation to the key, not the relation of isolated intervals in the key, so goes the thinking. If you want to focus on isolated intervals, I think that is a more difficult thing to do, as we don't usually hear two notes in isolation and that's that. Instead, we hear melodic lines in a key. I would recommend starting with solfege in a major key, then minor, then start modulating to other keys. At some point in a modulation, you have to decide whether to change the new tonic to do, or keep the original syllable. There are well-defined guidelines for when you should start thinking in a new key. Kostka-Payne has been a very popular book for music theory classes in universities, and it will help you learn about modulations. It is, however, focused strictly on classical music repertoire.

Anyway, I just wanted to try to indoctrinate others into adopting the solfege system for sight-singing and ear-training.



Thanks for sharing this. I struggle with intervals also. It's always good to hear someone's struggle and how they got through it.
I should have a look at this.

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