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#935186 - 08/11/08 04:30 AM 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:
Boira,

Do any of the books have a detailed discussion of how to study fixed do, as opposed to page after page of staff notation with very little discussion? [/b]
No, sorry \:\(
None of them included detailed explanations. Maybe because none on them were intended for self-study. As explanations should come from the teacher and the student must take notes in a separate notebook, few discussion is included on the textbooks.

Well... there's no need either for detailed explanations on how to study fixed do because it's the most logical system and with one little comment from our teacher we have enough \:D

[EDIT to add]:
More seriously, maybe the first contact the student makes with solfege (mDo or fDo) is accepted as the most logical.
I'm still trying to find the benefits of a tonic allways called Do no matter the pitch... as I suppouse you'd think is weird to have a tonic which name changes constantly :rolleyes:

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#935187 - 08/11/08 06:33 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5959
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
I'm still trying to find the benefits of a tonic always called Do no matter the pitch... [/b]
It's because in the movable system "do" is the word for "tonic". \:\)

Actually, I'd be quite content without any solfa syllables, if need be. I'd just use letter names for fixed pitch (ABC) and numbers for scale degrees (123).
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#935188 - 08/11/08 03:32 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 Boira:
None of [the books] included detailed explanations. Maybe because none on them were intended for self-study. As explanations should come from the teacher and the student must take notes in a separate notebook, few discussion is included on the textbooks.[/b]
Perhaps a teacher's manual then? Eventually, I plan to teach ear training, sight-singing, and dictation, and I am determined to find out how the rest of the world is doing it.

Edit: I really will have to learn French to get to the bottom of this, won't I?
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
I'm still trying to find the benefits of a tonic always called Do no matter the pitch...[/b]
Don't forget the altered syllables. They are very important. Each syllable identifies one and only one pitch relative to the tonic.

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#935189 - 08/11/08 03:37 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 currawong:
Actually, I'd be quite content without any solfa syllables, if need be. I'd just use letter names for fixed pitch (ABC) and numbers for scale degrees (123).[/b]
You wouldn't miss having different syllables for altered scale degrees?

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#935190 - 08/11/08 05:35 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5959
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Late Bloomer:
 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
Actually, I'd be quite content without any solfa syllables, if need be. I'd just use letter names for fixed pitch (ABC) and numbers for scale degrees (123).[/b]
You wouldn't miss having different syllables for altered scale degrees? [/b]
I'd prefer movable do. But "one. two, three, four" are singable too, I suppose (six and seven are a bit more cumbersome). I just think it's very unfortunate that we have two systems using the same terminology to mean two different things, and I can see that realistically we aren't going to change the way some countries refer to the names of specific notes.

*sigh*

Just read your question again and realised you were talking about altered scale degrees, yes? Well yes, that's a loss. "one, two, thraw"?? \:\)
What do the American colleges which use fixed do and numbered scale degrees do for chromatic alterations?
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Du holde Kunst...

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#935191 - 08/11/08 06:34 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11801
Loc: Canada
What is meant by altered scale degrees? Is that like modes, octatonic or similar?

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#935192 - 08/11/08 06:45 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5959
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
What is meant by altered scale degrees? Is that like modes, octatonic or similar? [/b]
Modes, perhaps, but also just any chromatic alteration of a note which happens in a piece for whatever reason. Say for example a tune in C major which incorporates a few chromatic notes - as passing notes perhaps, or melodic decoration (without indicating a modulation, I mean).

That's if I'm talking about the same thing as Late Bloomer. I am, aren't I?
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Du holde Kunst...

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#935193 - 08/12/08 02:38 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 keystring:
What is meant by altered scale degrees? Is that like modes, octatonic or similar? [/b]
I'm pretty sure currawong and I are talking about the same thing, but since I noticed a vocabulary difference earlier in the thread, I feel the need to explain further.

Scale degree is the preferred term in English for what Boira called a 'grade'. Scale degrees are simply the notes of a scale numbered in ascending order of pitch, starting with the tonic as 1.

Let's consider only major scales here to simplify the conversation. Suppose a passage of music is in the key of B major and has the key signature of B major (five sharps). Then the only notes than can be written without accidentals are the notes of the B major scale. Any note that is not in the scale must be written by applying an accidental to a note that is in the scale (for example, applying a sharp to the scale note E). The pitch of the scale note is altered (raised or lowered) by the accidental. The resulting note is an altered scale degree.

Some alterations are considered so drastic that they always(?) imply that a modulation has occurred. For example, if you see a B-double-flat, you are definitely not in the key of B anymore. Other alterations may have nothing to do with modulation, depending on how they are used. For example, the note E-sharp, used as a lower chromatic neighbor to F-sharp in the key of B, would not imply any modulation.

Moveable do provides unique syllables for all of the altered scale degrees that could reasonably be used without implying a modulation (including the lowered fifth degree, which usually does imply a modulation). The initial consonant is always the same as the unaltered note, but the vowel changes. Students must be aware of when altered scale degrees are used in order to choose the right syllable, just as they have to be aware of modulations in order to choose the right 'do'. If they see a note for which they think they have no syllable to use---such as the B-double-flat mentioned above---then it is a clue that they missed a modulation.

For the teacher, simply observing students' choice of syllables as they sing provides constant feedback about whether or not they understand these ideas. Choosing fixed do syllables, on the other hand, does not require analysis. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that the teacher learns comparatively little by observing the syllables chosen. A fixed do student, for example, could in theory sing all the way through a Schubert song with the correct pitches and syllables and have no idea that any modulations had occurred. That is why I need more information on how the system is taught.

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#935194 - 08/12/08 03:18 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
This thread is very interesting.

It seems to me there is definately a preference between moveable do and fixed do systems, when imo, both are very good tools and should both be used when the situation arises to use one or the other.

It really should not be confusing.
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#935195 - 08/12/08 03:41 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
 Quote:
Originally posted by Late Bloomer:


For the teacher, simply observing students' choice of syllables as they sing provides constant feedback about whether or not they understand these ideas. Choosing fixed do syllables, on the other hand, does not require analysis. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that the teacher learns comparatively little by observing the syllables chosen. A fixed do student, for example, could in theory sing all the way through a Schubert song with the correct pitches and syllables and have no idea that any modulations had occurred. That is why I need more information on how the system is taught. [/b]
LB, I'm afraid we're not understanding each other. Of course we're aware of the modulations. If a mDo student should sing a song using solfege syllabes, wouldn't s/he use these same syllabes even if the key changes? We change the syllabes when we change the key. How can we have no idea if the key has changed?

I've been thinking about this. Beeing honest, I'm thinking about this too much! I'm falling behind schedule of my summer practice.... September is approaching and my pieces aren't ready. :p

Imagine you don't have syllabes at all. Just letter names. That's how we do it, just with the pitches names. To keep your example of "Happy Birthday", transposing the phrase G G A G C B (C major) would be D D E D G F in G maj. One must be able to do that fluently.
Another detail still puzzles me: (your words) moveable do makes transposing easier because you sing the same syllables no matter what key you are singing a song in. Not exactly, it could be only if you always sing solfege syllabes and only that. If you're singing Im Frühling, you wouldn't have any trouble in changing the key because you're singing the same actual lyrics and not syllabes. No matter what kind of solfege you were taught.

I don't know, I still have the feeling that I'm missing something. Something important.
Suppouse you're given a score. In the key of C maj. And you have to transpose on the fly to G maj. You mentally have to 'move' your G's to D's in order to play, regardless of the lyrics (syllabes or whatever). You must know that G becomes D, read the intervals.

How many written and spoken exercices in transposing do you do with your teacher during lessons or as homework? We do a lot, is part of the weekly routine. Could it be that your/our lessons are structured differently and each method focus on a determined skill?

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#935196 - 08/12/08 04:08 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
It is puzzling to me too regarding the modulation thing, when using mdo. I think it would be easier and I hear it and can analyse better using fdo. Fixed Do to me is the same as using letter names, no different, they are just more singable that is all. For example singing a piece in C and then modulating to the dominate, you can mentally take note and hear that you are in the dominant especially because you are sing the syllables of G Major. If it was mdo, it would be the same syllables with pitches in the key of G. But then again, I suppose your mind/ears could adjust and see it this way too, hearing G (Do) as tonic.

Again, I think Mdo is best used in theory for transposition purposes, but now that I am thinking about it I suppose it could be used when singing a complete piece; but you would have to be really on top of your analyses for it to work! Intersting.
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member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#935197 - 08/12/08 04:09 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5959
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:

Suppouse you're given a score. In the key of C maj. And you have to transpose on the fly to G maj. You mentally have to 'move' your G's to D's in order to play, regardless of the lyrics (syllables or whatever). You must know that G becomes D, read the intervals. [/b]
But we're not talking "play", we're talking "sing". You don't have to move your Gs to Ds in order to sing in a new key. You just call the new tonic "do" and sing the other notes in relation to do. Movable do solfa is primarily a relative pitch singing aid.

With fixed do, singing a "twinkle twinkle" in G major you are singing so so re re mi mi re. In D major you are singing re re la la ti ti la. In F major you are singing fa fa do do re re do.
With movable do, every time you sing "twinkle twinkle" in any key at all, you are singing do do so so la la so. It's the same tune, and you are singing the same syllables every time.

pianobuff - you say it shouldn't be confusing. I wish it wasn't. But whenever you have the same terminology with different meanings, there is the potential for someone to be confused.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#935198 - 08/12/08 04:14 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5959
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
Fixed Do to me is the same as using letter names, no different, they are just more singable that is all. [/b]
Exactly. Then why use them? Because they're more singable. If only they'd picked different singable syllables for the fixed system then we wouldn't be having this conversation (interesting though it is \:\) ). We would know that one was for relative pitch scale degree identification, and one was for absolute pitch note identification.
The problem is that the same syllables are used for two different things. It bugs me, but there's nothing I can do about it \:\) .
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#935199 - 08/12/08 04:20 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:
Of course we're aware of the modulations.[/b]
Boira,

I tried to make it clear that I was not making a sweeping statement about all students of fixed do. I emphasized the word 'could' because I was talking about a hypothetical student. It is difficult for me to walk the tightrope of asking questions without unintentionally being offensive.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
If a mDo student should sing a song using solfege syllabes, s/he would use these same syllabes even if the key changes. We change the syllabes when we change the key. How can we have no idea if the key has changed?[/b]
Let me talk about a fictional student of fixed do named John. John is asked to sight-sing a piece containing some modulations. He is not asked to transpose the piece, but simply to sing it as written.

While singing, John comes across the note C. If he thinks the music is in the key of C at that point, he calls the note 'do'. If he thinks the music is in the key of G at that point, he still calls the note 'do'. Key of B-flat? 'Do'. Key of C-sharp? 'Do'. How does the teacher, listening, know what key John thinks the music is in at that point? He can't. He would have to stop John and ask him to find out, because John always calls the note 'do' no matter what.

Meanwhile a second student named Bill is studying moveable do in another class. He is asked to sing the same song (in the original key, without transposing, like John), and he comes across the same C in the music. If Bill thinks the music is in the key of C at that point, he calls the note 'do'. If he thinks the music is in the key of G, he calls the note 'fa'. Key of B-flat? 're'. Key of C-sharp?... he would stop and scratch his head if he thought the music was in the key of C-sharp, because in that key a C would be the lowered tonic, and there is no moveable do syllable for the lowered tonic. Bill's teacher can tell what key Bill thinks the music is in when he sees the C by whether Bill calls it a 'do', a 'fa', a 're', or something else.

John may know exactly what is going on in the music---he may understand modulations much better than Bill---but the fact that he calls the C 'do' tells his teacher nothing about his understanding of the structure of the music, because he always calls a C 'do', no matter what the context. The teacher must use other means to test John's understanding of the musical structure.

Does that make sense?

(Transposition is a separate issue. I'll leave that for another post.)

Edit: corrected one of my examples

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#935200 - 08/12/08 05:15 AM 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:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
Of course we're aware of the modulations.[/b]
Boira,

I tried to make it clear that I was not making a sweeping statement about all students of fixed do. I emphasized the word 'could' because I was talking about a hypothetical student. It is difficult for me to walk the tightrope of asking questions without unintentionally being offensive.
[/b]
No, no, you're not being offensive at all!
I didn't mean to sound harsh. A lot gets lost in translation, and add to that the fact that written communication lacks the visual aid needed to give the words its real meaning.

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#935201 - 08/12/08 06:49 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
Oh my! LB your last post has made me think about how defficient my communication skills are.

I'm really enjoying this thread and find your (everybody's) point of view interesting (though I don't understand it \:D -yet- )

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#935202 - 08/12/08 06:53 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: 11801
Loc: Canada
I suspect that something did get changed (lost) in the new way that it is being taught. It is an important change, since it involves perception. This will be hard to set up, because it is so different from what you guys are used to. My perception, in the way it was formed in the 1960 method, begins with a heard sequence of sounds which the mind fits on top of mental template of the major and minor scale *aural* pattern, also heard. There are no isolated notes that will lead to this: it is a grouping fitting itself into a grouping, and it is by sound. Major scales are a sequenced sound-pattern, like a melody and mood (they are modes, in fact). This is the pattern I carry.

Trying to set this up: Our work was oral and had no written music other than the upright solfege chart. What got built into our aural minds was a map of the major/minor scales, and then the common patterns used in music such as Alberti bass (now I recognize it). All of it was by ear. This is has a significant result:

Having only this, I could recognize mD note names only within the pattern of a scale, and only if I heard a group of notes. They had to fit a pattern. This was automatic without analysis: that is the training. What happens is I "hear" (including when reading) the notes as "melody". After 3 - 4 notes, my mind begins naming the notes. The word "mi" pops up automatically. I am still thinking with my ear. It is as if the notes derive their name from their context in a scale, so that context must be heard first. I hear notes in a group as a group. It's as though subconsciously I am then sliding that group back and forth over the major scale until intervalically they match because all the notes line up. But it is automatic, non-thinking, and aural.

This totally aural mentality which goes from ear to voice, will also go from ear to instrument, as though the instrument were a voice.

The same process also goes to written music. My ear immediately searches until it hears the melody within a framework where "that note" calls itself La. It is as though I were still singing, with no written notes in sight. The ear, within the framework of the scale, leads - the written notes are barely there.

When I read music the old way, I will sing a couple of notes and then one of them calls itself La. That's when I have situated myself in a scale, in modern perception I have recognized that note as the 6th degree or 1st of the minor. But that's not how I'm seeing it. I see it related to the tonic, the scale, and the role it plays. I am still hearing the sung scale.

If I play an instrument, the sung scale is still foremost. Even while looking at written notes and playing an instrument, I am hearing what is on the page as a sung melody in the framework of the sung scale, and then I play what I hear. It is rather fluid playing from the start.

Supposing that the music modulates from C major to G major. I don't arrive at that through analysis. I'm singing along, and I suppose that there will be an F# as it modulates, and I'll grab that F# intervalically. The flavour of the G will have changed. Instinctively I will have begun calling the G "Do". I won't be aware that I am now calling it "Do". It happens fluidly and automatically. I am sensing the music with my mind's ear. I hear the music as a grouping and as a whole.

When seeing how others have learned to perceive music, this seems to be a powerful thing. It is a totally different perspective.

There is one occasion where it came to light, and because my teacher has all methods and perspective, he perceived immediately what was happening and "translated" for me:

He had given me a sequence of notes in order to practice shifts on the violin, and I played them by ear. His sequence actually ran back and forth on a major scale starting with the 6th degree - "heard La" and thought I was playing this in the framework of a minor scale. One of the later notes "didn't make sense" and I was paralyzed in confusion. If I had heard this a sequence of intervals, in the modern way, I would have been ok. I played the wrong note and it sounded wrong. - My teacher knows my mD solfege framework, and he called out "Ti". I had my place in the generic major scale and then I was no longer lost. This even would not happen with a modern student.
------------------
Late Beginner, you have learned mD solfege, but it is much closer to the modern pitch-orientation (whether alphabetically or fixed Do). You guys look at the note and analyze it, and then you derive its place in the solfa scale. It happens with the eye first, with consideration of isolated pitch, and by mental analysis. You go from individual notes, to two notes, to getting the context of the whole. I go from the grouping which matches the grouping of a scale, and am in "interval groups" from the beginning.

The modern system seems to be adapted to modern thinking and lies very close to it. It is almost like a translation. It may be superior to what I learned in a number of ways. But I think also this automatism that resides in the ear and almost bypasses the mind does not exist. When I sight read unknown music it flows out almost as fluidly as singing a melody I have heard all my life --- as long as the music is old fashioned enough that it stays in known patterns. This is an advantage I have gained.

-------------
I think that what I learned is for singing. The system began for voice. It is also weak in a number of ways. When I see (hear) notes as a group I may miss one of them, and I won't know what key I'm in. It's not precise, and individual notes are hard to pinpoint at times.

That is why I have moved on to learning conventional reading which is aware of pitch and individual note names, and considers intervals as happening between two adjacent notes, rather than a place a bunch of notes hold within a scale.

 Quote:
.... both are very good tools and should both be used when the situation arises to use one or the other.
That's how it pans out for me. There is no either-or. Movable do situates me within the scale. Pitch-names give something different.

What I am realizing is how absolutely different the reality is between what I learned and the modern way. The difference is almost at a physical level, where the sound leads and the analytical mind is barely there.

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#935203 - 08/12/08 06:59 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: 11801
Loc: Canada
Late Bloomer, a teacher knowing what a student perceives by hearing what he calls the notes might indeed be valuable.

I'm thinking of the fact that I did not know my notes and was not reading in the conventional sense, but that was not realized until my third year of lessons. I was playing all my scales and arpeggios, and I was playing new music on the page. By all appearances I knew how to read music. But if I had been asked to name the notes of the scale or the notes that I was playing I could not have done so. It would have been caught.

When I saw written music it was in the old singing way I had developed. I fixed where Do was, saw the other notes as runs and arpeggios in large blobs, and my playing went from blob to blob. It was fluid. I also don't intend to lose the ability to read in groups. But I did not know how to read music and I needed that skill. Naming the notes would have revealed it.

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#935204 - 08/12/08 08:33 AM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5959
Loc: Down Under
Just a few brief comments on your experience and how it relates to the movable do system I've used, keystring:

[1] Kodaly-type movable do is vocal and aural. It does not start with the written note. You do not work out the solfa name by looking at the music, not initially anyway. When you do start, you start with concepts such as "if so is this line, mi is the line below". It's a general concept of staff notation before it becomes specific. This is one of the things I really like about it. General concepts first.

[2] Later when music reading has been established in a general way to some extent, letter names are introduced, at least in the version I was using.

[3] Tonic solfa in its English form was used instead of staff notation. Hymns, for example, were notated with s-m-d-l etc written above the words. These could be sung at sight by people instructed in the movable do method who couldn't read staff notation. They learnt that d-s sounded the same no matter what the key. So if you show someone a position on the stave and say "that's do" and play it for them, they can immediately sing so without having to know that E-B is a perfect 5th, or D-A or whatever.

[4] Movable do systems work best (perhaps they only work) for tonal and basically diatonic music. When I use them now in helping people learn to sight sing, I transition to reading intervals as soon as the music becomes complex. And of course, a system based on relationship to a tonic does not work for atonal music.

I think your experience with movable do probably helped you develop a good sense of relative pitch. In my view this is far more useful than absolute pitch, but that's a whole other thread \:\) . I had some other thoughts but they seem to have vanished, and it's late at night here.

Boira, I think you'll understand movable do better if you don't think about the do-re-mi stuff so much, but just think that this is the way we (who use letter names for fixed pitches) describe notes of the scale generally. They are our singing syllables for tonic-supertonic-mediant-subdominant etc (now they're not singable!!). Apart from that, I can't think of any more ways to make the breakthrough in understanding this. This is the problem with the same names/different meaning aspect of the fixed/movable systems.
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#935205 - 08/12/08 09:08 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: 11801
Loc: Canada
What has become clear to me, Currawong, is that for most of my life I have lived in a different world musically than anyone else. I was given the movable do chart and exercises, nothing else for 40+ years, but still listened to music and played music from written notes. The circumstances are unique and the results are probably unique to me. It is only as I encounter "normal" that I can see it. Before that what I know is the norm.

 Quote:
When you do start, you start with concepts such as "if so is this line, mi is the line below".
This is where on the deepest level, where body, mind and ear interact, my experience differs sharply. First I hear a series of tones, and as I hear them So and Mi name themselves. Then I might say "Oh, my mind has just called these two notes So Mi so that down there is Do."

There is nothing correct or incorrect about it. It is just a totally different way of perceiving than what anyone else has, at least among those I've encountered.

I think it's important for me to know that the way I've experienced music is different from everyone else, for the sake of communicating about music. The last pieces have fallen into place in these discussions. My mD solfege is similar to everyone else's, but it is a very different experience in key areas so I should not muddy the waters. I am increasingly intrigued, however.

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#935206 - 08/12/08 01:02 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
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Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
Fixed Do to me is the same as using letter names, no different, they are just more singable that is all.[/b]
This much is easy to understand, I agree. I understood this much when I wrote the first post in the thread. What's confusing is the initial impression that a lot of Europeans seem to get by with no moveable system at all. That leaves people like me wondering, "Well, if you don't have moveable do or something like it, then how do music teachers teach this concept or that concept?"

Thinking about it more, I realize it is ridiculous for me to suggest that students in fixed-do countries have 'no moveable system at all'. I don't know Spanish, but when I look at this Wikipedia page , it is pretty clear that:
  • The page is explaining a Spanish term equivalent to the English term 'scale degree'.
  • The degrees of the scale are numbered using Roman numerals.
  • There are Spanish terms equivalent to the English terms 'tonic', 'dominant', 'mediant', etc.

Students in fixed-do countries may not sing on scale degree numbers or scale degree words, but they do have the concepts.

What we are used to in the moveable do world is that it is impossible for someone to learn to use moveable do fluently without understanding concepts of scale degree and modulation at least in some implicit, 'gut feel' way. Many of us are used to depending on moveable do to get these concepts across and to check whether a student understands them.

So we look at fixed do and we think, "But it's at least possible to sing using those syllables and not have the gut feeling for scale degree function and modulation that we would use moveable do solfege to develop. Isn't that bad?" And of course it's not bad as long as other teaching techniques are used to develop those same skills.

Here's a question for Boira. So far your description of the other music instruction in Spain has centered around staff notation. What instruction is there that does not start with staff notation? For example, do you study dictation (listening to music and having to identify and write the notes by ear)? Do you study 'ear training' (listening to musical elements such as intervals and chords in isolation and having to name them)?

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#935207 - 08/12/08 01:11 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
keystring Online   content
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Late Bloomer - I had a lengthy discussion with someone in the Russian system. The use fixed do AND solfege in the sense of this relatavism that I learned is put into it. There is a double awareness and double attention from the beginning.

I got trained into this "double-ness" last year and I've made the transition. I don't think I could describe it, though.

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#935208 - 08/12/08 01:47 PM 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
Yes, LB, we study ear training and dictation. Dictation can be of two kinds: the one you describe -identify notes- and rhythmic dictation.

You do your ear training, dictations, staff notation, theory exercices... from the beginning.
Solfege + Harmony go together, you can't study one and leave the other.

I have my notes and books from last year, but when I was about to scan some of the pages to show you, I realized they're not in Spanish, but in Catalan
Wow, I guess that happens when you're bilingual.... sometimes you just don't know what language you're using!

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#935209 - 08/12/08 04:26 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
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Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
What do the American colleges which use fixed do and numbered scale degrees do for chromatic alterations? [/b]
Eastman is the only U.S. school I know of that uses both. As far as I know, most schools here that use fixed do use only fixed do (in other words, they do not require students also to sing with numbers).

This page at Eastman suggests the same syllables are used for altered and unaltered notes, both with solfege and with numbers:

http://theory.esm.rochester.edu/th261/html/mission.html

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#935210 - 08/12/08 05:53 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
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Registered: 05/15/07
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Interesting, LB. I particularly liked:
3. Teaching fixed do and movable do in the same classroom is a sure way to place students and teacher in therapy sessions within five minutes.[/b]

I'm not entirely sure what they do about altered notes in the numbered system - it was implied but never spelled out. As they're not singing these numbers, perhaps it would be easy to just say "flat 6" or "sharp 4".

I think the important thing is that there be a comprehensively thought-out program of ear training/sight-singing/music reading, and that any gaps caused by the use of one system over another are filled by some other means. I'm assuming that this is what happens.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#935211 - 08/12/08 06:12 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
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Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
Near the end of the page, the author recommends "speaking the numbers [for each note] in rhythm" and says that the goal is to do this "at the tempo marked in the music". Any extra syllables would get in the way with that.

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#935212 - 08/12/08 08:41 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
currawong Offline
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Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5959
Loc: Down Under
Hmm, yes I did read that now you come to mention it. I'm afraid I just don't get it. It's like saying F# is the same as F because it uses the same letter name. I'd have to see it in action to judge whether it's as weird as it now seems to me \:\) .

I'm sorry, LB, I know what your original question (some pages ago) was, and I just keep seeming to turn this into a fixed vs movable discussion. My apologies \:\) . It's all so interesting, however!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#935213 - 08/12/08 09:18 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
Late Bloomer Offline
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Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 70
A good test case is the melody from Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 that begins:

5 #4 5 4
5 #4 5 4

I've found that singing two different notes on '4' feels a little less awkward when I'm looking at notation with accidentals (even crude notation like the above) as opposed to singing with no notation in front of me. Same with fixed do syllables.

Edit: Another good excerpt:

5 7 3'
2' 1' 7 b7 6 b6 5 #4 5
5 7 3'
2' 1' 7 6 5 1'

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#935214 - 08/12/08 10:48 PM Re: How is 'fixed do' solfege taught outside the U.S.?
keystring Online   content
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I assume 5 is sol, 7 is ti etc.? Interesting observation: it sings itself as easily as the original solfege, except that I rename it into solfege as I go along. The melody seems familiar.

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#935215 - 08/13/08 03:40 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
Interesting link Late Bloomer,

 Quote:

A good test case is the melody from Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 that begins:

5 #4 5 4
5 #4 5 4

I've found that singing two different notes on '4' feels a little less awkward when I'm looking at notation with accidentals (even crude notation like the above) as opposed to singing with no notation in front of me. [/b]Same with fixed do syllables.
Exactly! When you sing, is not musically possible to say the word "flat" or "sharp" without ruining the rhythm, but you 'see' the accidental, you feel it and you know it's there. You don't have room enough to speak it out loud, but you know it is there.

Back to the modulation issue:

 Quote:
Students in fixed-do countries may not sing on scale degree numbers or scale degree words, but they do have the concepts.

- The page is explaining a Spanish term equivalent to the English term 'scale degree'.
- The degrees of the scale are numbered using Roman numerals.
- There are Spanish terms equivalent to the English terms 'tonic', 'dominant', 'mediant', etc.

What we are used to in the moveable do world is that it is impossible for someone to learn to use moveable do fluently without understanding concepts of scale degree and modulation at least in some implicit, 'gut feel' way. Many of us are used to depending on moveable do to get these concepts across and to check whether a student understands them.
Aha!
Now, after 5 pages I think I'm starting to get what the misunderstanding is.

We (you and me, mDo countries and fDo countries) may give different names to the degrees of the scale *BUT* in this case the concepts are just the same. Harmony laws are the same for both worlds.
The patterns to build a scale are obviously common: W - W - H - W - W - W - S (for major scales) and W - H - W - W - H - W - W for minor sc. I'm not entering here the realm of melodic minors or armonics. Yes, maybe we give that conceps slightly different names, but it's just the translation into the native language. The "thing" is the same.

There are Spanish/French/Catalan/Euskera.... terms for the English terms 'tonic', 'dominant'...

We do analyse the scores to determine the key and the modulations (generally to 'neighbour' keys, but -of course- this is not always so)

The only thing that's different is what Pianobuff put in a nutshell some posts ago:

 Quote:
Fixed Do to me is the same as using letter names, no different, they are just more singable that is all.
We change the names, not the laws nor the concepts underneath these names.

I've scanned a page from a book (fixed Do), were you can see how to identify modulations..... I feel rather silly posting this on a teacher's forum, just take it as an example of how do you do that when your system doesn't have a second set of names for the degrees of the scale.
Click to open in a new window. Then click again on the pic to expand it to its actual size.



Maybe not the best example, but you getthe idea ;\)

Change the syllabes into letter names to have a reference in English et voilà!
The analysis is the same as you would do it (I think, correct me please if I'm wrong): Key signature (if any). Then, accidentals that may indicate 'something is happening', tonic (yes, the name of our tonic change, but it's the same tonic as yours), major or minor? What happens with VII? Why is VI sharped in bar 13? Neighbour keys? etc....


Music *is* universal after all, isn't it? \:\)

[Edited for typos]

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