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#935126 - 08/05/08 10:38 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Pete the bean Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 450
Loc: Canada
Moveable do makes perfect sense if you understand that there are 12 major keys and that the tonic of a key has gravity. Certain scale degrees are active tones and demand resolution 2-1, 4-3, 6-5, 7-1. (Suspensions) You can feel the pull back to the stable tones 1,3,5.
It is feeling that "pull" that really opened up the point of the moveable do for me.
If your intent is to dictate a piece or modulate to new key the moveable system is absolutely a thing of beauty. You don't need to know what key the piece is in, the functions of the notes remain the same in any key.
The fixed do system makes no sense at all to my brain.

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#935127 - 08/05/08 11:02 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by MA:
Isn't la the tonic of minor keys with moveable do? [/b]
It can be done either way, and each has its supporters.
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#935128 - 08/05/08 11:11 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
 Quote:
Originally posted by MA:
Isn't la the tonic of minor keys with moveable do?[/b]
There are two major varieties of moveable do. One uses la as the tonic of minor keys, and one uses do as the tonic of minor keys. Both use do as the tonic of major keys.

The 'la-minor' system is the one that was used in 19th-century England and later adopted by Kodály. Of the two movable do systems, it is the one more commonly used to teach children in the United States. The 'do-tonic' system, on the other hand, is popular in university theory departments in the U.S. because it emphasizes the sharing of chords and functions between parallel major and minor keys.

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#935129 - 08/05/08 11:25 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
 Quote:
Originally posted by Pete the bean:
Moveable do makes perfect sense if you understand that there are 12 major keys and that the tonic of a key has gravity.[/b]
If the implication is that someone who is confused by moveable do must not understand scale degree functions, then I disagree. The issue is not that scale degree functions are confusing, but that using the same syllables to name both fixed pitches and scale degrees is confusing. Imagine having to use the letters A-G to identify scale degrees when you are already used to using them to identify fixed pitches. That is what it is like for someone who grew up with fixed do who encounters moveable do as an adult.

Eastman's approach, singing both with fixed do solfege and with scale degree numbers, is a way of working around this problem (since many of their students come from a fixed do background).

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#935130 - 08/05/08 11:38 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Late Bloomer:
The issue is not that scale degree functions are confusing, but that using the same syllables to name both fixed pitches and scale degrees is confusing....
Eastman's approach, singing both with fixed do solfege and with scale degree numbers, is a way of working around this problem (since many of their students come from a fixed do background). [/b]
Whereas for those who haven't come from a fixed do background, the use of letter names for fixed pitches and moveable do for scale degrees would seem to make sense.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#935131 - 08/06/08 01:57 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
Whereas for those who haven't come from a fixed do background, the use of letter names for fixed pitches and moveable do for scale degrees would seem to make sense.[/b]
Right. There is a certain symmetry to the problem. The solfege syllables are so much more singable than the alternatives that they are begging to be used for something, and once a certain way of using them is internalized, we don't want to mess with it.

On the other hand, pianobuff said she teaches her students both fixed do and moveable do, in that order. Maybe it isn't as big a deal as it seems to be to learn both.

Anyway, speaking of symmetry: To put more clearly a point I made earlier, both sides, upon initial exposure, could see the other as "pretending that everything is in C", but in different senses. A fixed do user might look at moveable do and think of it as "pretending that the tonic is C". A moveable do user might look at fixed do and think of it as "pretending that C is the tonic". Both perspectives start with the familiar sense of 'do' and try to interpret the other system in those terms.

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#935132 - 08/06/08 02:35 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Late Bloomer:
Anyway, speaking of symmetry: To put more clearly a point I made earlier, both sides, upon initial exposure, could see the other as "pretending that everything is in C", but in different senses. A fixed do user might look at moveable do and think of it as "pretending that the tonic is C". A moveable do user might look at fixed do and think of it as "pretending that C is the tonic". Both perspectives start with the familiar sense of 'do' and try to interpret the other system in those terms. [/b]
Nicely put \:\) .

I am pretty firmly in the moveable camp, feeling that fixed is just duplicating letter names, but I understand that there is a longish history of do-re-mi for actual pitches in eg France. I think it's unfortunate in some ways, but we can't change history. I learnt moveable do in my early schooldays with a chart something like keystring's, I guess (Tonic solfa "modulator" I believe it was called), and later taught Kodaly-based moveable do with small children, using hand signs. But I've also used scale degree numbers with some success in sight singing and ear training with adults. Probably as long as you're not using fixed and moveable at the same time there needn't be too much confusion.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#935133 - 08/06/08 02:46 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
I think of fixed Do as the same as learning letter names to notes, really no different.

I think of moveable Do as the same as transposition. Or it can be used for interval ear-training.

Two different systems. Really not that confusing.
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#935134 - 08/06/08 02:48 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
The thing that bothers me about learning moveable Do first (as a child) is that you really cannot hear and internalize the actual pitches of the notes.
_________________________
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member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#935135 - 08/06/08 03:06 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
Boira,

If you are still keeping track of this thread, I have a few more questions for you (besides the one about the Eslava book):
  • Were you introduced to solfege and staff notation at the same time?
  • When you were asked to sing solfege, were you usually reading from sheet music (as opposed to repeating after your teacher, singing something you had memorized, etc.)?
  • When you were introduced to a new musical concept, such as the 'black key' notes, the melodic minor scale, or diminished seventh chords, were you introduced to the written notation for these things before you were asked to sing the solfege? Or was it the other way around?
  • When you had to sing different pitches with the same names---for example, a D major triad and a D minor triad---did you find it confusing at first? If so, did you have exercises or drills to help make you more comfortable?
  • Do you have absolute pitch (often called 'perfect pitch')? That is, can you hear a tone and instantly know what musical pitch it is, without using any external references?
  • If you don't have absolute pitch: Do you ever get the urge to practice solfege when you don't have a pitch reference nearby? For example, you're walking down the street, you have a popular song stuck in your head, and you'd like to figure out the notes---but you're not sure what key you're hearing it in. What do you do in a situation like that?
  • Do you play any transposing instruments? If so, did you have to solfege your instrumental music? Were the solfege syllables based on the written pitch or the concert pitch?

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#935136 - 08/06/08 03:15 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
The thing that bothers me about learning moveable Do first (as a child) is that you really cannot hear and internalize the actual pitches of the notes.[/b]
Do you mean that the child "cannot hear and internalize the actual pitches of the notes" until he or she studies fixed do? Or do you mean that there is a lasting disadvantage to learning moveable do first, something that persists even after fixed do is studied later?

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#935137 - 08/06/08 03:27 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11577
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
The thing that bothers me about learning moveable Do first (as a child) is that you really cannot hear and internalize the actual pitches of the notes.
That would be a theory of what might happen if a person learned m.D. first. However, that is exactly what I learned, within a period of maybe 3 months when I was about 8 years old in school, and it is the only thing that I had for most of my life. I can be the guinea pig, then.

I think that you can hear an imitate pitch without having learned to name it or be conscious of it. My pitch was good enough that when I joined the first and most amateur choir, some sopranos told me that they used me as a reference if they felt they were drifting.

However, I did not conceive of pitch as a separate and unique entity until about 3 years ago when I was in a better choir that sang Brahms, Bach, Handel. In my solfege context, we would leave off on a D which was "do" and came back to it when it had become "sol" to my ears. but the other voices had twiddled about in different keys the way it happens in that music so that it was hard to come in on that particular note. I learned to "hold on" to that pitch and remember its sound so that I could sing it cleanly later. That was the first awareness of pitch as pitch.

Then when I did the ear training last year the awareness of pitch as a separate entity, and starting to be able to hear music in the context that most people hear it, happened for the first time. I had to sing a scale while saying pitch names and also thinking solfege intervals. In the beginning I was to sing the m.d. solfege while thinking pitch names. It was weird, because on day I'd be singing in G major, and another and F# would be Ti or Subtonic. Another day I'd be singing D major and F# would be Mi or the Mediant. After a while I became conscious of pitch itself which was the beginning of developing "absolute pitch", and I'd be thinking "Hey, there goes that F# again, but it lives in a different house today. But it's still F#." That was totally new to me.

But I was not off key or out of tune before.

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#935138 - 08/06/08 03:35 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11577
Loc: Canada
A remembered metaphor:
Pitches and pitch names are like people: Charlie, Bob, Mary, Helen, Mike, Marge.

Degrees or movable do solfege names are like roles. The Mediant is the barber. The tonic is the spouse. Supertonic is your neighbour.

So when in C major, E is the mediant, it's like Charlie being the barber. Another time you run into Charlie and he happens to be your husband. That's E as the tonic of E major. Next time Charlie lives in the house next door so he's your neighbour - E as supertonic of D major. He's got all those roles but he's always Charlie. But his character is different when he is barber, spouse, our yourself. E is always E, but it's a different kind of E when tonic, supertonic or mediant.

That's the metaphor that came to me after doing those exercises.

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#935139 - 08/06/08 04:13 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
LB, of course I'm keeping track! Living in a different time zone, I wait untill you're all sleeping to take my revenge on those who say I don't understand that there are 12 major keys. \:D

Disclaimer: I have 3 days experience with movable do, that meaning the concepts are still too foggy.


Pianobuff is right, fixed Do is the same as learning letter names to notes. The problem/confusion comes when you realize that these note names are used in moveable Do to define a different thing. You're giving the same name to different concepts, and that's what creates confusion.


- Were you introduced to solfege and staff notation at the same time?[/b]
Yes, that was the usual.

- When you were asked to sing solfege, were you usually reading from sheet music (as opposed to repeating after your teacher, singing something you had memorized, etc.)?[/b]
Yes we read from shet music. Now that you mention it, maybe beacuse of that, I'm a better sight-reader than memorizer!

- When you were introduced to a new musical concept, such as the 'black key' notes, the melodic minor scale, or diminished seventh chords, were you introduced to the written notation for these things before you were asked to sing the solfege? Or was it the other way around?[/b]
Theory came first, the explanation of the new concep, its whys and hows and then we tried to sing it (some people were more successful that the other).

- When you had to sing different pitches with the same names---for example, a D major triad and a D minor triad---did you find it confusing at first? If so, did you have exercises or drills to help make you more comfortable?[/b]
Not at all, right from the start you get the idead of having different pitches with the same names. It's like having two friends called Jim. They have the same name but youdon't have any trouble identifying them by their voice when they're calling you on the phone and say "Hi, I'm Jim" \:D

- Do you have absolute pitch (often called 'perfect pitch')? That is, can you hear a tone and instantly know what musical pitch it is, without using any external references?[/b]
I don't have perfect pitch, but it has nothing to do with fixed or movable do. \:D

- If you don't have absolute pitch: Do you ever get the urge to practice solfege when you don't have a pitch reference nearby? For example, you're walking down the street, you have a popular song stuck in your head, and you'd like to figure out the notes---but you're not sure what key you're hearing it in. What do you do in a situation like that?[/b]
I practice solfege regularly because apart from piano lessons I'm taking also solfege and harmony lessons every week. I don't know if anybody who doesn't practice it regularly would have the necessity to keep it fresh.
When I've tried to figure out the notes of a song I usually sit at the piano and press a key. Hearing it, I know "how far" I'm from the 1st note, correct and adjust.

- Do you play any transposing instruments? If so, did you have to solfege your instrumental music? Were the solfege syllables based on the written pitch or the concert pitch?[/b]
Sorry, I wish I could play but I don't. Unfortunately, my parents though that "loosing time and money" in music lessons was too frivolous and I had to wait 27 years to continue my music journey.
Can you elaborate a bit more on 'concert pitch'? I don't understand what you mean...

* * * * *

If there's somebody still awake after all this, I have a couple of points I'd like to comment.

Other detail why people who grew up with the fixed do may find confusing the movable do is the clefs' names. That was another thing I had to adapt to when I first came to this forum.

You say trebble clef, bass clef, alto clef.... there's no written connection in these names with any particular note.

Trebble clef is called Sol clef (G clef), because you start to write it close to the 2nd line and make a circle - more or less - around it, and thus every note head on the 2nd line will be called Sol. No matter the scale we're working in or how many modulations surprise us on our way.

Fa clef on 3rd [line] or Fa clef on 4th [line]: just the same thing as above. If the two dots of our Fa-clef are framing the 4th (or 3rd line), every note on the 4th (or 3rd ) line will always be called Fa.

For the Do clef there's no surprises either: the line framed by the Do Clef is the line where you put all the notes called do. Pretty obvious, uh?

Now try to tell somebody (like me) who was taught from the early childhood that G-clef marks the G-notes, Fa-clef tells you where the fa's must be and that Do-clef rules where you write your do's, that a note on a 4th line with a Fa-clef is not Fa, but Do. Or that Sol-clef is now marking Mi's but later on will be Re's. It's right down weird.

I'm *NOT*[/b] questioning the movable do system, in fact I'm looking for bibliography about it because I'm interested in having a deeper insight. It's just that naming "Re" a note on the Sol line of a Sol clef is funny.... and confusing.

Late Bloomer, I don't know if there are available here (in Barcelona) fixed do solfege books in English, but I'm going to investigate it. If I find anything and you're still interested, I can PM you with the details. Are you fluent in French? Chances are that finding French books will be easier than English ones. Any other languague you could be interested in?
The Royal Conservatory of Barcelona is closed on August, otherwise I could go there and ask for bibliography in English (if any). My piano teacher also teaches in the Conservatory, but she's out on holidays now. She's Russian and grew up with the fixed system too.
Other possibility is asking in the ESMUC (Catalonia's College of Music). Some of their offices must be working on August, I'm sending them an email.

One last thing (I promise it's the last): Never heard about the Eslava book, but I've taken note of it and will have a look, to tell you my impressions about it.

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#935140 - 08/06/08 04:41 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
AHA! I just had a light bulb moment!


Your scales ALWAYS begin with a DO! DO is how you call the 1st[/b] note on your scales, no matter how low or hight the pitch is!
You name with the sillable the position on the scale, not the pitch.
Is that it?

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#935141 - 08/06/08 05:39 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
LB, of course I'm keeping track![/b]
:D
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
[...]right from the start you get the idea of having different pitches with the same names.[/b]
Do you always sing the 'short name' of each note (for example, 'fa' instead of 'fa sostenido') even when singing very slowly? If you sing the wrong pitch, does your teacher use the full name of the note or the short name when correcting you?
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
Can you elaborate a bit more on 'concert pitch'? I don't understand what you mean...[/b]
The term is used when discussing transposing instruments to refer to the sounding pitch as opposed to the written pitch. For example, I used to play alto saxophone and later tenor saxophone when I was younger. Music for both instruments is written in the treble clef. The same written note will have the same fingering on both instruments, but will sound at a lower pitch on the alto sax than on the piano, and still lower on the tenor sax. For example, a written middle C, when played by an alto sax, will sound at the pitch of the E-flat below middle C on the piano. The same written middle C, when played by a tenor sax, will sound at the pitch of the B-flat a ninth below middle C on the piano. The sounding pitch is the concert pitch.

So if a saxophonist is asked to sing his or her part in fixed do solfege, there is a problem. The syllables can match either the written pitch or the concert pitch, but not both.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
[discussion of clefs][/b]
I'm curious---do you have to sing solfege in all seven clefs? All of the fixed do books I have seen use all seven clefs, so I'm wondering if it is an integral part of the system.

Also, do you sometimes have to speak solfege in rhythm? That is the approach of another fixed do book I have, Rhythmical Articulation by Pasquale Bona (published by G. Schirmer in the U.S., like the Eslava book).
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
Are you fluent in French?[/b]
Sorry, I fit the American stereotype of not being fluent in any foreign language. I have had two years of college-level German, which is better than nothing, but the Germans use letter names anyway, so that's no help.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
Chances are that finding French books will be easier than English ones.[/b]
I have considered studying French for just this reason. Well, that and Victor Hugo novels.

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#935142 - 08/06/08 05:42 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
The thing that bothers me about learning moveable Do first (as a child) is that you really cannot hear and internalize the actual pitches of the notes. [/b]
Yes you can - you just call them A B C etc, not do re mi. That is, when you're learning an instrument. When you're singing perhaps you're not learning actual fixed pitches. But is that so important? You're learning relative pitch, not absolute pitch.

What moveable do gives you is the sense of relationship between degrees of the scale. This is what makes you recognise a tune no matter what key it's in - because the relationship between the degrees of the scale is the same.

Keystring, your illustration of the difference between a person's name and their job is spot on!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#935143 - 08/06/08 05:44 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
AHA! I just had a light bulb moment!


Your scales ALWAYS begin with a DO! DO is how you call the 1st[/b] note on your scales, no matter how low or hight the pitch is!
You name with the sillable the position on the scale, not the pitch.
Is that it? [/b]
Yes, that's it. That is the basic idea behind the moveable do system. For actual specific pitches, we use the ABC names.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#935144 - 08/06/08 05:50 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
AHA! I just had a light bulb moment!

Your scales ALWAYS begin with a DO! DO is how you call the 1st[/b] note on your scales, no matter how low or high the pitch is!
You name with the syllable the position on the scale, not the pitch.
Is that it?[/b]
Yes, if it is a major scale, then that's it. With moveable do, the first note of any major scale is called do.

If it is a minor scale, then it depends on which tradition of moveable do you are talking about. One tradition starts all minor scales with la, and the other tradition starts all minor scales with do. People tend to favor one or the other. I would guess that in Europe you are more likely to find la-minor, because that is the English approach and the Kodály approach.

[Edit: That's the second time in this thread I have been beaten by currawong in replying to a post. Oh well.]

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#935145 - 08/06/08 07:49 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11577
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
The thing that bothers me about learning moveable Do first (as a child) is that you really cannot hear and internalize the actual pitches of the notes.
I'm the ultimate guinea pig since I had m.Do around age 8 in the classroom and nothing else afterward - I learned note reading a few years ago in my late 40's and really clued in on pitch as a separate entity last year. But I've always been quite in tune in comparison to many untaught amateurs. Some sopranos in the first most amateur choir told me that they used me as a reference. I suppose that I held steady through relativity since I placed my notes on that invisible solfege ladder, but I had to have some awareness of pitch to be able to do so.

I became a tiny bit aware of pitch as an entity while in the choir that did Brahms, Bach etc. because you would have a long pause while the other voices twiddled along modulations and then suddenly start of "fa" which was C - I tried to hold on to the sound of that C so that I could hit it square centre: that was pitch as pitch.

When I did the ear training and had to think the pitch while singing m.d. solfege names, or sing the pitch names while thinking m.d.s. I became aware consciously that I kept encountering that C in different contexts. I was also developing some degree of absolute pitch. The day that I actually caught on to the perception of pitch as pitch which is always the same I was mind boggled. I realized to what extent my perception of music is tied into the structure of scales, and that most people perceive music as a series of pitches and might not even have that context in their system while they listen, sing or play.

The understanding made me more accurate and I was less likely to drift when singing a capella. It was easier to handle "modern" music which often doesn't have a clear context in a scale. But I did have a sense of pitch before this. The difference is that now it has happened that I have sung a scale and my violin across the room has vibrated sympathetically on the E string with a loud "ping" when I sang E. It is aware pitch and it is more accurate. I'd say that they are two entirely different perceptions of musical reality. I also have had the impression that some people who have only had pitch, when they have to learn m.D seem to "translate" rather than come into it as a different reality and concept. (?)

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#935146 - 08/06/08 03:04 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
 Quote:
Originally posted by Late Bloomer:
I'm curious---do you have to sing solfege in all seven clefs? All of the fixed do books I have seen use all seven clefs, so I'm wondering if it is an integral part of the system.

Also, do you sometimes have to speak solfege in rhythm? That is the approach of another fixed do book I have, Rhythmical Articulation by Pasquale Bona (published by G. Schirmer in the U.S., like the Eslava book).
[/b]
In advanced courses and specially if you study at the Conservatory, you must read fluently all clefs.
Of course, depending on the instrument/s you play, (and outside the Conservatories) you're not expected to read every clef at full speed. However, all the clefs are teached to the alumni because they need to be able to identificate the notes as a part of a well rounded musical education.

Needless to say, if you're not interested in theory you don't need any of that.

The usual path for solfege students is begining with the sol clef, then fa clef in 4th, later Do clef in 2nd...
I'm at a stage where can read fluently sol, fa and do clefs but nothing more. I'm able to identify the others but can't read "live".

Part II: Rhythm! yes, we have to read solfege in rhythm. As soon as the concept of note names rhythm is introduced, we proceed with the rhythmical articulation. First, just with a neutral sillable: TA. Later on with real notes.
Solfege are group lessons, and sometimes when we read rhythms the exercice ends up in some sort of atonal abstract cacophony, to the horror of our teacher \:D

Almost forgot: when you're singing, you don't say the name of the accidentals, just the name of the note. It would ruin the rhythm trying to fit the words 'sostenido' or 'doble bemol' in the middle of a group of semiquavers.

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#935147 - 08/06/08 03:41 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
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Boira, what does 4th and 2nd mean in "fa clef in 4th, Do clef in 2nd" refer to? It sounds like a thorough and effective program.

KS

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#935148 - 08/07/08 12:53 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
pianobuff Offline
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Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Late Bloomer:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
The thing that bothers me about learning moveable Do first (as a child) is that you really cannot hear and internalize the actual pitches of the notes.[/b]
Do you mean that the child "cannot hear and internalize the actual pitches of the notes" until he or she studies fixed do? Or do you mean that there is a lasting disadvantage to learning moveable do first, something that persists even after fixed do is studied later? [/b]
I would think it would be more difficult, yes. But then according to keystring's post maybe not.

I think that moveable Do is excellent for training the ear to hear intervals in a relative manner.

Fixed Do is obviously more absolute. The reason I teach solfege to children, and I mean to 4 year olds and older, is so they can internalize and develop an absolute ear for the pieces they are learning. This would be impossible to do using the moveable Do system. For them Do is Do. I do not use letter names when I teach beginning students. Singing in solfege, their melodies also sounds beautiful which, imo, develops musicality and sensitivity in their playing.

Moveable Do, is a tool for something else and can quite easily be learned later.
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#935149 - 08/07/08 03:51 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
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Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
pianobuff,

When teaching fixed do to your very young students, do you spend a lot of time with just the white key notes before introducing any sharps or flats?

One of the fixed do method books I have, Solfège des Solfèges by A. Dannhäuser (yet another G. Schirmer reprint), uses no sharps or flats for the first 75 or so exercises. All of the notes of the C major scale appear from the very beginning. The intent seems to be to strongly associate each syllable with one and only one pitch class, and only then move on to altered notes. But using the entire major scale from the start makes it impossible to use any major key but C at this stage. If the student already knows moveable do, the exercises simply reinforce it.

I am more familiar with the Kodály approach of beginning with just two notes of the scale (so-mi) and slowly adding the others. I wonder how well a hybrid approach would work, especially with students who already know moveable do.

For example, the Kodály approach uses pentatonic melodies quite a bit. Each of these melodies can be sung in three different keys without requiring any sharps or flats. Doing so with fixed do syllables would provide a simple contrast with moveable do early on.

Edit: One other thing about the book by Dannhäuser is that when it does introduce sharps and flats, each one is used as an accidental before being used in key signatures. The book by Eslava does the same thing. Again, this is different from the Kodály approach I learned, where you'd see a lot of purely diatonic, non-modulating pieces in several keys before seeing any accidentals.

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#935150 - 08/07/08 05:07 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
Needless to say, if you're not interested in theory you don't need any of that [clef study].[/b]
I have read that one of the practical reasons students are asked to learn all seven clefs is to aid in transposition. Any line or space on the staff can be made a C using one of the seven clefs. If the student knows all seven clefs well, then to transpose he or she must simply read the notes as if they were in a different clef (and key signature). Accidentals must be treated specially.

The beauty of this method, so I'm told, is that it works well for reading from multiple staves at once. The worst case would be reading from an orchestral score that includes parts for transposing instruments.

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#935151 - 08/07/08 05:16 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Boira Offline
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Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
Keystring, there're 7 different clefs because you can give middle C (central DO) seven different positions.
The numerals 4th, 3th... are the line number where you 'pin' the clef.



Of course you don't use them all, and some of them are now out of use. They are still taught only for historical reasons.
Ex. I can read now Do clef but the moment I pass the exam I'm going to loose my fluency because I'll never need it again. Of course at any given moment I could tell te notes' names, but bye-bye speed.

I've found this wikipedia entry about clefs in English but it doesn't eleborate too much on the topic. I like better the French version.
Here's another document in French you may find interesting.

Somewhere in the dephts of one of my hard disks, there must be a diagram with all the clefs. One of these days I should put the folders in order...

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#935152 - 08/07/08 05:38 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
LB, we learn all clefs, do our exercices and take our exams, but that doesn't mean that every amateur music student later on is able to read fluently them all and transpose at will on the fly.
Saying "hey, I know all clefs I read them all" as if I could pick up any music sheet in any clef and start reading it at full speed would be pretentious. Or taking an orchestral score and reading it like Barenboim.
Conservatory students can do that. Simple mortal amateurs don't.

 Quote:
One of the fixed do method books I have, Solfège des Solfèges by A. Dannhäuser (yet another G. Schirmer reprint), uses no sharps or flats for the first 75 or so exercises. All of the notes of the C major scale appear from the very beginning. The intent seems to be to strongly associate each syllable with one and only one pitch class [/b]
Wow, I never eleborated on that because I thought it was the 'universal' way to teach the 7 notes from day one.
Are the notes introduced to you in a different way? How? Gradually?

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#935153 - 08/07/08 06:07 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
[...]I thought it was the 'universal' way to teach the 7 notes from day one.
Are the notes introduced to you in a different way? How? Gradually?[/b]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kod%C3%A1ly_Method#Melodic_sequence_and_pentatony

The Kodály method is not taught universally in the U.S. by any stretch, but it is popular here, and it is the method I studied.

Edit: Let me make sure I'm clear. I studied the Kodály method as an adult by going to workshops at a local university, not as a child. It was my first training in any kind of solfege.

I first learned staff notation when I took group lessons with the saxophone section of the school band at around age 9. The notes of the treble clef were introduced to us one at a time along with fingerings for each one. I remember it went very slowly.

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#935154 - 08/07/08 07:12 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
Thanks for the link LB.

This is really interesting! And they say music is an universal languague.... \:D

More or less I'm putting the pieces of the jigsaw together and everything starts to make sense.

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#935155 - 08/07/08 07:21 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11577
Loc: Canada
A note on "learning" the notes of the seven clefs. If you understand that a particular part of the clef points to a given pitch/note then you can read all seven clefs immediately - it just isn't automatic. I.e. all the C clefs point to Middle C (middle Do) with that middle hook. There is, however, a good reason for spending the time to learn them systematically in the way that you are doing, Boira. I also have the impression that it could benefit anyone. (I'm thinking of adopting it. \:\) )

I worked systematically on sight reading (piano) this year. I discovered by accident that ** I can sight read four part pieces that have four different clefs ... prima vista ***. In reviewing my old theory, I wanted to hear what I had written, and out of curiosity also tried to play transcriptions to open score, to whit:

I was able to play this prima vista HT all four clefs*(very slowly) even though I had not practised the C clefs. The reading strategy was intervalic while knowing what the notes were going from the indicator-note** of the clef.

I can also sight-sing any of these sections of the open score, naming them as notes (alphabetical), or "la-la-la" including in the correct pitch provided that I have found the starting pitch via piano.

The reason I can do that is approach rather than prowess. I approach the notes a particular way.


** (I've just invented a term, "indicator note". On the (G) treble clef, the clef is called G, it is a stylized G, and it curls around the line of G. So G is the "indicator notes" from which you can find all other notes if you don't know this clef.)

* [edited: originally I grew an exta pair of hands. oops]

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