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#1804985 - 12/12/11 06:11 PM Re: Student moving to France [Re: landorrano]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 13127
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
You are thinking only of tonality.

Guilty as charged, I am thinking only of tonality. Solfège deals with tonality.

The particular approach to teaching music via solfege that you have described deals with the tonality of a specific system of music that corresponds roughly to the Baroque era and music that was written in this manner. That means that any music which is not structured that way will not fit.

Actually -- are there any teachers who live in France who can clarify whether what Landorrano has described is how music is taught throughout France, or whether this is a particular approach that some schools might use in France? This is something that I haven't manage to get clear.

Edited by keystring (12/12/11 07:33 PM)

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#1805000 - 12/12/11 06:33 PM Re: Student moving to France [Re: Karisofia]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2572
Loc: France
There is a piano forum in France called pianomajeur.net pianomajeur.net

Naturally it is in French but I am quite certain that you will get many responses if you formulate a question in English.

#1805212 - 12/13/11 03:48 AM Re: Student moving to France [Re: Karisofia]
Gary D. Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 5032
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Karisofia

And, Gary, I think it would be like singing to letter names--which I was required to do in college. We sometimes used letter names, sometimes moveable do, sometimes "la." The letter names and fixed-do serve the reading purposes well since most instruments relate to "key names."

I already heard complex music in my head by the time I started college -- (Audiation). I thought everyone could do that, or any good musician, and I was shocked to find out that most could not.

I was part of an experimental group that was in class together for two years for music history, theory and "sight-singing". I was exempted from sight-singing because I was able to simply hum anything from the most advanced materials before the class even started, but because I was part of the group, I continued to come, observing other students struggling. In general, the students who could do what I could do were all pianists who played another instrument. I remember that one was a singer, another a violinist who was also a singer, another a brass player.

My conclusion is that playing piano and a second instrument builds the ear in a way that nothing else does (the second instrument can be "voice"). The worst sight-singers were the vocalists who played no other instrument.

Another teacher who taught using movable do admitted, privately, that what HE actually used was the connection to French horn, his instrument, mentally feeling fingers depressing valves and hearing the pitches as he felt them in his lips.

For this reason I am behind any system that helps people learn to hear, but I feel that naming notes is a totally separate issue. It doesn't matter if you say B, si or ti (using fixed names), but without one of those links to the key we call those names there will be an immediate problem when key signatures are introduced, among other things.

The blurring of these two very different concepts here is what has bothered me. Deciding to call a key either G, or so, or sol is child's play. Deciding on a system to aid people in hearing is immensely complex, and only a fool thinks that there is one way and ONLY one way to accomplish that. laugh

Edited by Gary D. (12/13/11 03:49 AM)
Piano Teacher

#1805294 - 12/13/11 09:02 AM Re: Student moving to France [Re: Karisofia]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3575
Loc: Maine
I speak French and will happily post the question to pianomajeur. First I'm checking the pianomajeur.net archives, searching for "solfege" and "solfège". Just on a quick scan, one of the first threads is from a person studying piano with 1/2 hour piano, 1 1/2 hours solfege per week at a conservatory, and then an additional 1 hour per week piano with a private teacher. And there's a long thread on "Comment apprendre le piano à des enfants ?" ("How to teach the piano to children?")

So, what would we like to ask? Something like: How is sightsinging and eartraining taught to music students in France, and how do they deal with accidentals and non-common-practice music -- e.g. blues, whole tone, atonal?

Edited by PianoStudent88 (12/13/11 09:25 AM)

#1805404 - 12/13/11 12:41 PM Re: Student moving to France [Re: Karisofia]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 13127
Loc: Canada
Here is what I am understanding from Landorrano's descriptions. The fact of note names being Do Re Mi instead of C D E is clear to everyone, ofc. Then there is this reference to "tonality" in conjunction to why in F major, Bb is called Si just like B is called Si. I understand what is being said. The idea is that what you are really focusing on are the degrees in a particular key. So this "B" is like saying "the fourth note up from the Tonic - or "the fourth note up from F". If you are focusing on the "fourth note up" - then you don't have to worry whether it is B, Bb, or B#.

Now in movable Do, the solfege names are synonymous with degrees of major and minor scales. In commonly known types of music, degrees also have functions. So in movable Do, So = V = Dominant = wants to to move to Tonic. I lived and breathed this for 40 years. You internalize function and degree, and it helps you navigate in written music on an almost subconscious level. I was a strong sight reader for singing, and this transferred to instrumental playing. You perceive the written music on several levels. I think that this "Tonality" is going after the same thing.

A few years ago I learned to recognize notes as distinct pitches. I tended to perceive G as I of G major, or V of C major, and I was not really aware of that pitch in and of itself. I got some specialized training which gave me something akin to what people with "perfect pitch" have. I could hear G as G, or imagine G as G, in isolation. At the same time I was learning theory rudiments, and we got into blues, whole tone, octatonic, pentatonic scales.

As soon as you get to something like pentatonic or blues, your neat world of degrees falls apart. There is no 7th degree in pentatonic. Major scales have 8 notes in an octave: pentatonic has 5, blues has 7, yet these all have "Tonality". There is a tonal center, a "tonic". Whatever you have built in "degrees" falls apart, because the degrees we learned are specific to major and minor keys. There are immediate problems when writing out one of these scales of whether to name a note G# or Ab. The important factor is to be aware of PITCH. And at this point, having named something as G or A via a general "feel" of degrees doesn't cut it. You have to be aware of pitch, and pitch is a distinct sound. G# does not sound like G or A, but it sounds exactly like Ab.

I can understand Landorrano's explanation. You sing a song in F major and when you get to the 4th degree note you only care about it being 4 up = B or Si. Since your ear hears a major scale, it will know how to colour this 4th note up so that you sing Bb. This is an ear training along degrees, within the context of major and minor keys.

My problem with this is that you can also build an association, where the name of a note elicits a specific pitch in your ear - Bb or A# as distinct from B or A. Naming that pitch as B makes that ear-association fuzzy. Once your music is no longer strictly in the framework of a major scale - 4th note up from the Tonic - then you have to be able to switch to pure pitch. Bb is a different sound than B.

The thing is that as long as are staying with music that is limited in structure you're fine. But when it gets complex this sense of degrees can wreak havoc if the reference was too strong.

#1805417 - 12/13/11 12:55 PM Re: Student moving to France [Re: Karisofia]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3575
Loc: Maine
keystring, as you've moved out of common-practice music, have you extended your movable do to chromatic solfege names?

#1805647 - 12/13/11 07:02 PM Re: Student moving to France [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 13127
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
keystring, as you've moved out of common-practice music, have you extended your movable do to chromatic solfege names?

There have been quite a few changes and the adjustments are ongoing as I learn more. I started self-taught and the first thing I did was to learn note-names (ABC) to go with this awareness of degrees via Solfege. I had played piano when young, but for 30 years was playing mostly melody-instruments. My sense of chords was behind, but I did have a sense of function. I started the traditional harmony theory which has Roman Numerals, and is pretty well in line with what you get through movable Do (m.d.) solfege because you are still working with degrees. You get from IV what you used to get from "Fa" in the movable Do system.

At some point I started to learn chords per letter names, i.e. Dm/F instead of ii6. This has the same idea as recognizing the pitch Bb as Bb wherever it occurs regardless of key or function. You hear it as it is. A Dm chord can be ii of C major, vi of F major or anything. Being able to hear a chord purely as it is gives you a lot more flexibility. You can have a G7 chord which is not functioning as the dominant of C major or minor and your key may be something different.

At the end I found that the old associations were also useful. It seemed that the more ways you have of perceiving and naming music, the more sides to music you could address. I am still very much in the learning stage.

I think that for playing piano at some point you have to get a sense of chord, rather than only being able to sing the notes individually arpeggio-style, so that you can hear a major, minor, or diminished chord (or recognize it) and have it be one sound and unit on the keyboard. This is one part you can't do in singing unless you form a trio and have the person with the middle voice go up and down a semitone (which I have actually seen described somewhere).

Edited by keystring (12/13/11 07:17 PM)

#1806812 - 12/15/11 05:08 PM Re: Student moving to France [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3575
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I speak French and will happily post the question to pianomajeur.

J'ai posé la question. (I've asked the question.)

#1806845 - 12/15/11 06:26 PM Re: Student moving to France [Re: Karisofia]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 13127
Loc: Canada
Un grand merci, P88. Une seule réponse - c'est un début. Let's see if any teachers answer over there.

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