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#1755132 - 09/19/11 05:59 AM Do-Re-Mi or ABC  
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Liezl Tajanlangit Offline
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Hello teachers,

Is it true that everywhere around Europe is still following the Do-Re-Mi method? From what i know, Britain follows ABC. All the piano books (or most) are teaching ABC.

Teaching bot to your students is best but what if the student wants only one and claims that they have come from Europe and they all follow Do-Re-Mi but here in Dubai we are all doing ABC but she wants me to teach her young children Do-Re-Mi which i don't want to regret not stopping in case ABC will do more good.

haha are you all confused now? :p

Thanks,
Liezl Tajanlangit

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#1755135 - 09/19/11 06:04 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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ten left thumbs Offline
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I can't tell you how much confusion is caused here on these forums by the fixed do system. Mostly from continental Europeans who are not aware the rest of the world uses ABC and moveable solfa for aural/theory. There are good educational reasons for sticking to ABC.

#1755138 - 09/19/11 06:26 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
There are good educational reasons for sticking to ABC.


And what might these reasons be?

#1755278 - 09/19/11 12:04 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Actually, I think much of the world uses fixed-Do solfege as musical language. The exceptions that I'm aware of would be the US, Canada, Great Britain, and Germany, which uses letter names.

I started asking the parents of my students (who were from other countries) what they learned growing up. So far, I've found the following countries: most of Europe (Spain and France in particular), Russia, China, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico, Korea, and several countries in South America. Sounds like they are the 'rest of the world' and we in the US are the odd ones.

I use fixed-Do solfege with my students to build a strong ear-training foundation. My students will sing the notes of every song that they will play. Solfege helps to internalize pitch. Later, a few years down the road, I include traditional letter names so that students become fluent in both.

I don't know of any private piano methods that use fixed-Do solfege however, two group programs (Harmony Road Music Course and the Yamaha method) use solfege.


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#1755293 - 09/19/11 12:39 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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All the Romanesque languages use do-re-mi or sometimes ut-re-mi.

All the Germanic languages (including English) use some kind of ABC.

But even ABC can be quite complicated, because the Germans (and many other countries with them) use 8 letters: A-B-H-C--D--E-F--G--A, with "B" meaning English B-sharp, and "H" meaning English B. OTOH they do have really nice same-syllable suffixes for the sharps and flats.
The Dutch use the 7 English note names with the German same-syllable suffixes. The Scandinavians use either 7 or 8 note names, again with German suffixes.

I don't know about the other European language groups. I would expect ABC to be a little more widespread that just the Germanic languages. After all, "movable do" was invented by a Hungarian, so I'd expect the Hungarians to use ABC or at least something very different from fixed do.

You'll need to know which country the pupil is from, there is no such thing as "Europe".

Last edited by Syboor; 09/19/11 12:39 PM.
#1755308 - 09/19/11 01:01 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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I live in the Baltics( 3 country area in NE Europe.) My first two teachers taught me in ABC. However my current teacher uses Do-Re-Mi.

#1755354 - 09/19/11 02:30 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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This is off topic but I am curious, if it's ok. Countries like Dubai would be using either the system from the British or the French, stemming from the colonizing days before. Music books might be in English or Arabic with English terms (ABC instead of Do Re Mi) or a mix. But what about the indigenous culture? There was a different type of scale system with a different tuning and I imagine that those notes had names too (maybe a movable type of system). Does that still exist in the country? Would it be excluded from mainstream music in schools?

#1755364 - 09/19/11 02:40 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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#1755376 - 09/19/11 02:55 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Originally Posted by Liezl Tajanlangit
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
There are good educational reasons for sticking to ABC.


And what might these reasons be?


That when the absolute pitches are ABC you can then teach moveable solfa, where Do is the key note. Useful for aural work and theory. If you start with fixed Do, then moveable Do becomes very confusing for the student.

Of course, these are just words, one can use any system. It is easier if people around you use the same system, though.

#1755412 - 09/19/11 03:33 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Find out what "do-rei-mi" means to her. Is it absolute Do or Movable Do?

I personally use Note names (ABC) for absolute and solfege (do-rei-mi) for relative.

If she insisted on using solfege for absolute, you could always use numbers for relative (one-two-three-four-five-six-sev), though there are pronunciation advantages to the solfege system wrt the number system.

But taking a step back, is she a musician? Does she really know more about the relative advantages and disadvantages or learning one or more systems compared to yourself? Maybe just say that you expect your students to learn [insert whatever system you teach here] because in the real world they need to learn to adapt to different systems.

#1755540 - 09/19/11 06:10 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: dumdumdiddle]  
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Originally Posted by dumdumdiddle
Actually, I think much of the world uses fixed-Do solfege as musical language. The exceptions that I'm aware of would be the US, Canada, Great Britain, and Germany, which uses letter names.
And Australia.


Du holde Kunst...
#1755541 - 09/19/11 06:10 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook


That IS interesting. Thanks for the link.

#1755548 - 09/19/11 06:17 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
That when the absolute pitches are ABC you can then teach moveable solfa, where Do is the key note. Useful for aural work and theory. If you start with fixed Do, then moveable Do becomes very confusing for the student.
thumb Wouldn't it have been nice if two systems had not developed with different meanings for the same terminology! But as they have, and the different meanings are somewhat entrenched where they are used, the best thing is to use one OR the other. I've found it almost impossible to communicate the uses of moveable solfa to anyone who uses fixed do, try as I might, and I'm coming to the conclusion that it's not worth trying. As you say, it's just names. If you use fixed do, then use something else for scale degrees. If you use ABC for note names, then you can use movable do. But don't try to mix fixed and moveable forms with the same terminology.


Du holde Kunst...
#1755556 - 09/19/11 06:32 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Overexposed]  
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Originally Posted by Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook


That IS interesting. Thanks for the link.

Ann, I only posted this because some people think do-re-mi is sacred. [Linked Image]


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#1755618 - 09/19/11 08:13 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook


Thanks, John.... Now I've got that hymn running through my head, and will be forced to sing it out loud. We had to sing it every morning (well, Tuesdays and Thursdays) in ear-training class in college, haha! smile I will probably always remember the origin of Do (Ut) Re Mi...



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#1755678 - 09/19/11 10:45 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: MsAdrienne]  
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Originally Posted by MsAdrienne
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook


Thanks, John.... Now I've got that hymn running through my head, and will be forced to sing it out loud. We had to sing it every morning (well, Tuesdays and Thursdays) in ear-training class in college, haha! smile I will probably always remember the origin of Do (Ut) Re Mi...

Well, here's the actual music:


[Linked Image]


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#1755692 - 09/19/11 11:00 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Noooo!!! (just kidding) wink

I already sang it and got my "fix." My kids, of course, think I am completely nuts, which, of course, is probably true. smile


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#1755983 - 09/20/11 01:07 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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ummmm... if you all don't mind me asking... what exactly is fixed and movable do? :S

#1756003 - 09/20/11 01:35 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Fixed Do is just like using letter names, just the name is different:

Do = C
Rei = D
Mi = E
Fa = F
So = G
La = A
Ti = B

Movable Do is like using the names of the scale degrees. This makes it easier to transpose into other keys. (Major):

Do = Tonic (I)
Rei = Supertonic (II)
Mi =Mediant (III)
Fa = Subdominant (IV)
So = Dominant (V)
La = Submediant (VI)
Ti = Leading Tone (VII)

If using a 'la' based system for minor, then the Tonic would start on 'la' in minor keys. (Some 'do-rei-mi' systems start minor keys on 'la', some start on 'do').

There are also additional solfege names for sharp/flat scale degrees/notes.

Last edited by lechuan; 09/20/11 01:36 PM.
#1756027 - 09/20/11 02:05 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Regarding movable vs fixed, there are essentially two theories:

1. The movable-do system is over-simplified and forces students into a narrow understanding of music (a very conventional sense of tonality with no room to grow); it also makes them learn two systems instead of one, hence is a waste of time.

2. The movable-do system is a very valuable introduction to standard tonality, and aids in learning transposition, sight-reading, intervals, tuning, etc.


Both theories are correct. I subscribe to the first one, and avoid teaching my students any movable system, but I respect those who think otherwise and am happy to work with them.



Regarding fixed-do vs ABC: These are just two different ways of accomplishing exactly the same thing. Between fixed-do and ABC, the correct answer is "It doesn't matter, do what you like, it's OK to learn both and/or to be flexible". Knowing both ABC and fixed-do note names is easy with a little practice.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
#1756309 - 09/21/11 01:48 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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so basically fixed do is ok but movable isnt? but when i teach my students theory from trinity-guildhall they show movable :S

#1756331 - 09/21/11 02:44 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Originally Posted by Liezl Tajanlangit
so basically fixed do is ok but movable isnt?


That's one opinion. I like moveable do, dislike fixed do because I've seen what confusion it causes.

#1756350 - 09/21/11 03:42 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
Originally Posted by Liezl Tajanlangit
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
There are good educational reasons for sticking to ABC.


And what might these reasons be?


That when the absolute pitches are ABC you can then teach moveable solfa, where Do is the key note. Useful for aural work and theory. If you start with fixed Do, then moveable Do becomes very confusing for the student.

Of course, these are just words, one can use any system. It is easier if people around you use the same system, though.
Hem... sorry mate but *I think* I know both systems. I studied music until I was 24-25 in Greece, where the notes are named as Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Si (ti)... And then I moved to the UK where they used letters... C-D-E-F-G-A-B...

Both represent notes and pitches. The 'middle A' is the 'Middle La' and in most cases A4 (in MIDI) and 440 Hz in most cases...

So I don't see what the confusion is, unless I'm unaware of something.

EDIT: Ok, there MUST be some confusion here. What is 'a moveable do'? Is it some kind of Kodaly system? Cause otherwise I was raised to know that there is 1 middle Do (middle C) and what it sounds like (incidently the Pathetique is in Do minor)...

I'm obviously missing something here...

Last edited by Nikolas; 09/21/11 03:43 AM.
#1756354 - 09/21/11 03:47 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Originally Posted by Liezl Tajanlangit

Teaching bot to your students is best but what if the student wants only one and claims that they have come from Europe and they all follow Do-Re-Mi


Liezl, is the parent asking you to give solfège lessons ? As you have written it it appears that the parent is asking that you to give piano lessons using Do-ré-mi nomenclature but that he is not asking you to do solfège.

#1756389 - 09/21/11 05:17 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Originally Posted by Liezl Tajanlangit
...but when i teach my students theory from trinity-guildhall they show movable :S

If you teach movable Do, that would be an additional good reason for you not to accept the parents' request for you to teach fixed Do syllables. In movable Do, "So" means the dominant note of any key. So in G major, D would be called So. In A major, E is called So. But for the child who learned fixed Do, the syllable So represents one definite piano key: the one you call G. You end up having the same set of names representing two different things.

If the ABC system is used in your country and this student will be studying in that country, then it would be handier for this student to learn to use those names. After all, when you move to a new country you have to learn a new language and that is thousands of new names for things, instead of only seven.

The "weakness" somebody mentioned about movable Do is simply that it represents one kind of music. There is music that is based on different kinds of scales such as blues scales, or uses whole tone and octatonic scales when it is atonal which are outside of the Do Re Mi kind of scale system. If you teach music that doesn't fit major and minor scales, that's the weakness. People are divided about this.

#1756394 - 09/21/11 05:32 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Ok, I will repeat my post. I've NEVER EVER heard of the movable "So" (or "Do"). I now understand what you people mean but I've never ever encountered it here in Greece (or Italy in fact as far as I know).

For me Do is C... And there is a Do# as there is a C#...

#1756396 - 09/21/11 05:38 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Nikolas]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
EDIT: Ok, there MUST be some confusion here. What is 'a moveable do'? Is it some kind of Kodaly system?
Yes, the Kodaly system of instruction used in Hungary and elsewhere is based on a movable do, that is, the syllables refer not to the names of notes but to the names of scale degrees.


Du holde Kunst...
#1756406 - 09/21/11 06:24 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Nikolas]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Ok, I will repeat my post. I've NEVER EVER heard of the movable "So" (or "Do"). I now understand what you people mean but I've never ever encountered it here in Greece (or Italy in fact as far as I know).

For me Do is C... And there is a Do# as there is a C#...

Nikolas, when I grew up we weren't taught anything so I had to learn note names when close to fifty. But some primary teacher had a vertical wooden chart with the eight syllables written on it and she drilled us with a pointer: this was movable Do. It was not Kodaly, the way I've read about it. Not the hand signals and the rest. After all, Kodaly picked it up from England so it existed before him but he enhanced it.

What I got out of it was a strong sense in my ear of the major and natural minor scale. Any music I heard just fit into that ladder. There was also a sense of function. We sang "Ti" (= leading note) closer than a semitone to the tonic. I only learned decades later that I had a sense of I, IV, V through the names "Do, Fa, So" and the various patterns that we sang. It allowed me to play anything in any key using this ear. It also meant that I was not aware of what key I was playing in. It made it very easy to sing modulated music because I would automatically rename the new tonic "Do" and then I was good to go. As soon as I heard the shift, it would rename itself.

I recently read that somebody had written that m.d. makes learning faster initially but creates problems when you advance. I think that's true. What happens with atonal music, or where the key is continually shifting? What if there is a Blues scale or other exotic scale. The whole thing depends on function and the degrees of the major scale. If you can't find your place on that ladder, then you are lost. Or if the music is ambiguous.

My education started in the early 1960's. I think that's around the time that Kodaly started but I don't think what we had came from his system.

#1756413 - 09/21/11 07:07 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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use abc system

#1756438 - 09/21/11 08:05 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Hi Liezl,

In Estonia (eastern part EU) where I live, both ways are taught. I prefer ABC system because, in some way it is easier and it seems that the global movement is mostly going into this direction. I am also mostly using and teaching ABC.

I try to explain why to use ABC and so on. But if someone especially wants Do-Re-Mi I do not refuse.

GL
Jaak


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#1756459 - 09/21/11 09:06 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Nikolas]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Ok, I will repeat my post. I've NEVER EVER heard of the movable "So" (or "Do"). I now understand what you people mean but I've never ever encountered it here in Greece (or Italy in fact as far as I know).

It is interesting to learn about the differing approaches to music study. Growing up, our public schools were teaching moveable Do. The first encounter I had with fixed Do was in college. But privately, both my piano and violin teacher were using A-B-C; my violin teacher was an immigrant from Riga, Latvia.


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#1756523 - 09/21/11 11:05 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Jaak]  
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Originally Posted by Jaak
I prefer ABC system because, in some way it is easier


I am curious, in what way is it easier ?

#1756539 - 09/21/11 11:25 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Originally Posted by Liezl Tajanlangit
so basically fixed do is ok but movable isnt?
If you were to take one person's opinion (mine) as the absolute truth, then yes. But why would you take only my opinion?
Listen to everybody, consider, and then make up your own mind based on both what you need to do and on what you've heard.


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#1756562 - 09/21/11 12:02 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Fixed-do makes my head cramp. If you're raised with it, I imagine it's fine.

A student should be taught the system that is the most common in the circles they are most likely to move it.


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#1756572 - 09/21/11 12:19 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: J Cortese]  
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Originally Posted by J Cortese
Fixed-do makes my head cramp. If you're raised with it, I imagine it's fine.
There's nothing in it to cramp anybody's head; it's just other names for ABC. Between fixed-do and ABC, absolutely nothing changes about the way you think - you just have to talk funny. smile
It's only the difference between fixed systems and movable systems that can cause problems, if a person is going to have problems at all.

Switching from ABC to fixed-do is like learning to count to ten in two different languages - the meaning doesn't change, only the sounds. With movable systems, the meaning does change.


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#1756573 - 09/21/11 12:21 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: J Cortese]  
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Originally Posted by J Cortese
A student should be taught the system that is the most common in the circles they are most likely to move in.
I think you've hit the nail on the head. If you teach a student the best note-naming system but none of the people around him are going to be using it, what's the point?


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#1756599 - 09/21/11 01:00 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Nikolas]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas


I'm obviously missing something here...


The same confusion all over again....

sorry, mate, but at least you've learned something. smile

#1756603 - 09/21/11 01:04 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring

The "weakness" somebody mentioned about movable Do is simply that it represents one kind of music. There is music that is based on different kinds of scales such as blues scales, or uses whole tone and octatonic scales when it is atonal which are outside of the Do Re Mi kind of scale system. If you teach music that doesn't fit major and minor scales, that's the weakness. People are divided about this.


I found solfege really helpful for understanding the blues scales (which in my mind go: do ma fa fi so ta do - but to each their own). With music that shifts tonality quickly (e.g. jazz) it does get limiting. For some music moveable solfa just isn't going to work. Just like no one counting system will work for all rhythms.

#1756631 - 09/21/11 01:42 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
[quote=keystring]

I found solfege really helpful for understanding the blues scales (which in my mind go: do ma fa fi so ta do - but to each their own). With music that shifts tonality quickly (e.g. jazz) it does get limiting. For some music moveable solfa just isn't going to work. Just like no one counting system will work for all rhythms.

The solfege that I learned in the early 1960's is the one that predates Kodaly's adaptation. I can see (hear) that what you wrote would work, because I can instantly feel the tonic, the subdominant and the dominant in those syllables.

In the solfege that I learned, you become aware primarily to intervals which also give you a feeling of the degree place within the scale and also functional role. For example, the dominant note So has that steady secondary resting place feeling which also wants to fall to Do. Fa and Mi are closer than a semitone with Fa wanting to slip to Mi as it does when a Dom7 resolves. It's the same thing that we learn in voice leading for four part harmony. It is more than just intervals or even degree names in how it was used originally.

I see the modern system as a kind of hybrid. Modern musicians are used to pitch names and intervals without thinking of voice leading (fa to mi) and functionality. I can see how this would work for a scale type like the blues. The syllables no longer carry the nature of that particular scale except perhaps in Do and Sol (does it work for Fa?). But it does tell us where we are in space tonically. The blues scale is already a compromise, come to think of it, because instruments like the piano cannot do bent pitches, and our notation system has no room for them.

Thank you for that angle in regards to the blues scale.

#1756765 - 09/21/11 05:08 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring

The solfege that I learned in the early 1960's is the one that predates Kodaly's adaptation. I can see (hear) that what you wrote would work, because I can instantly feel the tonic, the subdominant and the dominant in those syllables.

In the solfege that I learned, you become aware primarily to intervals which also give you a feeling of the degree place within the scale and also functional role. For example, the dominant note So has that steady secondary resting place feeling which also wants to fall to Do. Fa and Mi are closer than a semitone with Fa wanting to slip to Mi as it does when a Dom7 resolves. It's the same thing that we learn in voice leading for four part harmony. It is more than just intervals or even degree names in how it was used originally.



Hi Keystring, You've got deeper into this than I ever did. I just looked up wikipedia on solfege and found I could use the syllables to help me internalise some scales that were new to me (pentatonic, blues). I found it incredibly helpful, perhaps because numbers feel impersonal to me and I confuse them easily.

Returning to the original question, I have found moveable solfege very helpful, and for this reason (if there was a choice) I would prefer to call the absolute pitches A, B, C, etc, and leave do re me for relative pitch. But that is just one opinion. As has already been stated, it is probably more important to follow local conventions, whatever they are.

#1756792 - 09/21/11 05:38 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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I am awestruck that using the first syllable of each line of a hymn tune to John the Baptist could be imbued with such lofty attributes as solfege seems to have. Amazing! Guido was some genius.


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#1756797 - 09/21/11 05:47 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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Quote
I would prefer to call the absolute pitches A, B, C, etc, and leave do re me for relative pitch.



Me too!
I like the absolute pitches ABC and the move-able-do for relative pitch. I do not really understand the educational need of fix-do system.

Last edited by ezpiano.org; 09/21/11 05:48 PM.

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#1756803 - 09/21/11 05:53 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org

Quote
I would prefer to call the absolute pitches A, B, C, etc, and leave do re me for relative pitch.



Me too!
I like the absolute pitches ABC and the move-able-do for relative pitch. I do not really understand the educational need of fix-do system.
It's just an issue of naming the notes. You call it A, I call it La... Big deal... wink

#1756817 - 09/21/11 06:11 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
I am awestruck that using the first syllable of each line of a hymn tune to John the Baptist could be imbued with such lofty attributes as solfege seems to have. Amazing! Guido was some genius.

Well, of course Guido didn't do it alone. wink The system that he built on had been developing for some 600 years or more and had some of its roots in Ancient Greece. It continued developing after him. It's kind of cool how politics plays into everything. If they had not been trying to unify Europe into the newly created Holy Roman Empire and searching for a way to freeze music on paper so everyone would be chanting the same thing, his invention might have been ignored. As usual it was the right thing at the right time noticed by the right powerful people.

#1756825 - 09/21/11 06:26 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
I am awestruck that using the first syllable of each line of a hymn tune to John the Baptist could be imbued with such lofty attributes as solfege seems to have. Amazing! Guido was some genius.


Yes, Guido was a genius. What he did was not the ruse of a choirmaster just trying to get his monks to sing in tune. Just have a look at the words: REsonare, SOLve ... we're not talking O bla di, O bla dah ! These syllables were undoubtedly embued with profound meaning in the middle ages. No accident that Sol, coming from the idea of resolution, of cleansing, or purifying, and itself meaning the sun, is the dominant. The creation of this nomenclature is associated with a theorhetical mastery of scales, of modulations, of a relationship between major and minor, and the development of notation.

Last edited by landorrano; 09/21/11 06:28 PM.
#1756827 - 09/21/11 06:29 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
It's just an issue of naming the notes. You call it A, I call it La... Big deal... wink
The "big deal" is that when I use La it means the 6th degree of the scale, NOT A. (unless I'm in C major)
In an ideal world we would have one system of naming notes, with singable syllables. We would have another system of naming scale degrees, also with singable syllables (different ones!). Those, like landorrano, who can't see the point in singing generalised scale degrees in another context, in addition to absolute pitch, could ignore them. And we wouldn't be having these circular discussions. smile
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
I am awestruck that using the first syllable of each line of a hymn tune to John the Baptist could be imbued with such lofty attributes as solfege seems to have. Amazing! Guido was some genius.
Well, you have to admit it was a good idea. As to the "lofty attributes" of solfege or solfa, fixed or movable - well, it all depends what you do with it, doesn't it.


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#1756832 - 09/21/11 06:36 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: landorrano]  
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Originally Posted by landorrano

Yes, Guido was a genius. What he did was not the ruse of a choirmaster just trying to get his monks to sing in tune. Just have a look at the words: REsonare, SOLve ... we're not talking O bla di, O bla dah ! These syllables were undoubtedly embued with profound meaning in the middle ages.

No, they were not, and Guido did not do this alone. The fact that "sol" means sun in some language is a coincidence. There were additional meanings, but this was not one. In the preceding time there was a belief in the sacredness of three-ness, there were beliefs in pure harmonies which is why fifths (including parallel fifths) were used, etc. Guido also did not have a choice for the wording of his chants. Liturgy was set in stone. In fact, the chants were set in stone - able to be embellished but not altered.

#1756834 - 09/21/11 06:42 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: landorrano]  
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Originally Posted by landorrano
The creation of this nomenclature is associated with a theorhetical mastery of scales, of modulations, of a relationship between major and minor, and the development of notation.
None (or very little) of that existed when the system was invented. There was no major, no minor, scales as we know them did not exist, modulation certainly did not exist since harmony itself (in the sense we use the word) hardly even existed. The fact that a set of syllables has turned out to be convenient for those uses is pure luck. (And there's nothing wrong with that.)


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#1756836 - 09/21/11 06:47 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
The fact that "sol" means sun in some language is a coincidence. There were additional meanings, but this was not one.


I can't agree, it isn't in just any old language that "sol" means sun, it is latin.

#1756839 - 09/21/11 06:49 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: david_a]  
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Originally Posted by david_a
None (or very little) of that existed when the system was invented. There was no major, no minor, scales as we know them did not exist, modulation certainly did not exist since harmony itself (in the sense we use the word) hardly even existed. The fact that a set of syllables has turned out to be convenient for those uses is pure luck. (And there's nothing wrong with that.)


But it didn't simply "turn out" that way, it seems that Guido himself did important work on these questions.

#1756844 - 09/21/11 07:04 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: currawong]  
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Originally Posted by currawong
Those, like landorrano, who can't see the point in singing generalised scale degrees in another context, in addition to absolute pitch, could ignore them.


Present !

I'd like to say though, in my defense, that I have never said anything of the sort. I have never expressed the idea that moveable-do solfège is useless. But I insist that fixed-do solfège does indeed treat the problem of scale degrees.

Originally Posted by currawong

In an ideal world we would have one system of naming notes, with singable syllables. We would have another system of naming scale degrees, also with singable syllables (different ones!).


SO you'd like a musical esperanto, would you!

Seriously, I admit that I don't consider it ideal, having a unique system for the entire world. I don't see any problem with there being different systems used in different countries. It is a cultural wealth, not a handicap. But I am sure that you agree.




Last edited by landorrano; 09/21/11 07:07 PM.
#1756867 - 09/21/11 07:43 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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To get back to Liezl's quandary. It appears to me that this child's parents are asking her to teach piano using the do-ré-mi names for notes. I gather that they are not asking her to give them a solfège class, so the question of which solfège is moot.

So should Liezl give these European parents what they want ? My view is: yes or no or maybe. If she "speaks do-ré-mi" fluently enough, she might. If she isn't fluent in do-ré-mi, she might anyway, in the spirit of adventure, and she might end up becoming fond of this language even if it rests for her a second language.

Or she can say no and assure the parents that which is indeed true, that the kids will have no problem picking up do-ré-mi the day that the family moves back to Do-ré-mi-land.

Will teaching these kids in do-ré-mi in a country where A-B-C is used provoke a problem for the kids ? I hardly think so. Any problems that surface later on will be due to the quality of the work done by the teacher on one hand and by the students on the other, not because of the terminology.

She also mentoned a concern about method books. There is a the Fritz Emonts series called, I think, the European Method, which has all of the text in German, English and French on every page. "My First year of Piano", "My Second Year of Piano" and so on is a French series that I believe is also published in English (as well as Spanish, Italian, Japanese). These method books are written in such a way as to permit their use in both do-ré-mi and A-B-C.

Last edited by landorrano; 09/21/11 07:59 PM.
#1756886 - 09/21/11 08:05 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: david_a]  
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Originally Posted by david_a
Originally Posted by J Cortese
Fixed-do makes my head cramp. If you're raised with it, I imagine it's fine.
There's nothing in it to cramp anybody's head; it's just other names for ABC. Between fixed-do and ABC, absolutely nothing changes about the way you think - you just have to talk funny. smile


I find it useful to have a system for absolute pitch, and another system for relative pitch. It's very useful to think in terms of "do" being simply the tonic for any given key.

Again, if you are raised with another way of doing it, that's just how you do it. And as long as you "speak the same language" as most of the people you are likely to interact with, then no prob. If your interaction circles widen, then it's in your best interest to learn both systems.

ETA: However, learning both systems becomes more complex, and liable to cause brain cramposity, if the same words mean two different things. It's not like learning a language where the word for "Friday" is "Gwener." It's more like learning a language where the word for "Friday" is "Wednesday."

Last edited by J Cortese; 09/21/11 08:12 PM.

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#1756892 - 09/21/11 08:12 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Liezl, you might want to know that those members who are piano teachers identify themselves as such on the bottom of their post. I am not a piano teacher but I am a former teacher who has taught publicly and privately. I have not experienced the ins and outs of teaching piano.

#1756893 - 09/21/11 08:13 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: landorrano]  
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Originally Posted by landorrano
Originally Posted by david_a
None (or very little) of that existed when the system was invented. There was no major, no minor, scales as we know them did not exist, modulation certainly did not exist since harmony itself (in the sense we use the word) hardly even existed. The fact that a set of syllables has turned out to be convenient for those uses is pure luck. (And there's nothing wrong with that.)


But it didn't simply "turn out" that way, it seems that Guido himself did important work on these questions.

What work, precisely, did he do?

#1756898 - 09/21/11 08:19 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Keystring, I don't want to go on about this, at least not in this thread.

#1756900 - 09/21/11 08:21 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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This is veering slightly off topic but I thought I should mention it. One of the harmony theory books (Sarnecki) recommended for the Canadian RCM has recently been revised. Added to Roman Numerals for analysis, they have added figured bass *and* the movable do solfege symbols. There is a very specific role, and it is the one that I learned as a child - voice leading.

What I am curious about since Canada is bilingual is whether there is a French version of Sarnecki, and what they do? Because in French Canada the solfege names (fixed) are used. Our pieces are named both as "Re majeur" and "D major". Theory exams are bilingual. So have they implemented this as well? And do they find a problem with this "Friday is Wednesday" phenomenon?

Last edited by keystring; 09/21/11 08:21 PM.
#1757045 - 09/22/11 01:04 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Jaak]  
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Originally Posted by Jaak

I try to explain why to use ABC and so on. But if someone especially wants Do-Re-Mi I do not refuse.

GL
Jaak


What are the explanations you would use?

#1757048 - 09/22/11 01:11 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: landorrano]  
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Originally Posted by Jaak

I try to explain why to use ABC and so on. But if someone especially wants Do-Re-Mi I do not refuse.

GL
Jaak


What are the explanations you would use?



Originally Posted by landorrano
Originally Posted by Liezl Tajanlangit

Teaching bot to your students is best but what if the student wants only one and claims that they have come from Europe and they all follow Do-Re-Mi


Liezl, is the parent asking you to give solfège lessons ? As you have written it it appears that the parent is asking that you to give piano lessons using Do-ré-mi nomenclature but that he is not asking you to do solfège.


No they aren't asking for solfege but they want do re mi.. apparently one of their son is taking guitar and will train for ABRSM. His mom says that the institute he will train in claims that ABRSM does do-re-mi but i clearly remember putting in one of my student in ABRSM with an ABC foundation :S
Must be the institute teacher...

I don't mind teaching do-re-mi or abc. i'm fine with both,, but to be honest i'm used to fixed do rather than moveable do.. I do understand it but i will have to work more on that smile

#1757077 - 09/22/11 02:58 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Originally Posted by Liezl Tajanlangit



No they aren't asking for solfege but they want do re mi.. apparently one of their son is taking guitar and will train for ABRSM. His mom says that the institute he will train in claims that ABRSM does do-re-mi but i clearly remember putting in one of my student in ABRSM with an ABC foundation :S
Must be the institute teacher...


Leizl, I'll repeat myself. If someone says something like "ABRSM will use do re me" it's important to pin them down and find out if they mean fixed doreme or moveable doreme. The difficulty is they will probably not understand your question. But you are going to have to pin them down and find out exactly what they mean.

For what it's worth, I don't remember any solfa from my ABRSM (UK) experience.

#1757078 - 09/22/11 03:02 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: J Cortese]  
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Originally Posted by J Cortese


It's more like learning a language where the word for "Friday" is "Wednesday."


lol! I've been trying to learn that finger 2 is finger 1 (as in guitar). It's doing my head in for years. smile

#1757083 - 09/22/11 03:30 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: currawong]  
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Originally Posted by currawong
Originally Posted by Nikolas
It's just an issue of naming the notes. You call it A, I call it La... Big deal... wink
The "big deal" is that when I use La it means the 6th degree of the scale, NOT A. (unless I'm in C major)
In an ideal world we would have one system of naming notes, with singable syllables. We would have another system of naming scale degrees, also with singable syllables (different ones!). Those, like landorrano, who can't see the point in singing generalised scale degrees in another context, in addition to absolute pitch, could ignore them. And we wouldn't be having these circular discussions. smile
Fair enough, but for the record the sixth note of a scale for me is... VI! grin

I don't think that this is far off inches vs cm. stones vs kilos and so on... wink

#1757123 - 09/22/11 07:05 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Nikolas]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
I don't think that this is far off inches vs cm. stones vs kilos and so on

Of course! But you have to realize that not everybody in the world has flexibility to do mathematical (or, in this case, musical) conversions in their brains. Some people are content doing the same thing the same way 1,000,000,000 times. The majority of the people on Earth can't even do simple algebra.


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#1757139 - 09/22/11 08:00 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Hi,

Sorry I did not answer before about the explanations. So some points that make the ABC system a bit easier than DO,RE,MI.

1) The ABC system is alpahbetical and usually students already know the alpahbet. And the keys are in row alphabetically. Also the normal piano with 88 keys starts with A and it is very easy to show it from the beginning of the keyboard, later descirbe the pattern and how it repeats. So the learning of this is usually very natural and easy. You have to learn to use and adapt one system less.

2) It is much easier to sing in ABC system than id DO,RE,MI.
It is better to sing Gis than Sol-dies.

What do you think?

Here I rely on my own subjective experiences that have come through teaching.

GL
Jaak




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#1757142 - 09/22/11 08:05 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Hi again,

About the moving Do-RE-MI.
When I was a student I hated this smile

When using this moving system we had Jo-Le-Mi-Na-So-Ra-Di.
It meant the steps in a scale and it was not bound to keys of the piano.

I think this is a very good way to strengthen and improve orientation in different scales.

And in Estonia (and probably in countries around) La means a fixed note on the keyboard. It is exactly the same as A. When Do-Re-Mi is used as moving system in your country and means a degree in a scale of course it has an important point.

Jaak

Last edited by Jaak; 09/22/11 08:09 AM.

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#1757307 - 09/22/11 11:55 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Jaak]  
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Originally Posted by Jaak
2) It is much easier to sing in ABC system than id DO,RE,MI.
It is better to sing Gis than Sol-dies.


My experience has been the complete opposite. When you have a song like 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' and you sing all the note names using the alphabet, you end up singing: E-D-C-D-E-E-E, D-D-D, E-G-G, etc... Your ear is hearing only a long E sound for each note, confusing your ear and therefore useless if you're trying to train the ear.


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#1757320 - 09/22/11 12:11 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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Not sure how relevant this is now, but I once taught a young-adult student from Brazil who had been (very informally) trained on the fixed Do Re Mi system. One of the things she requested I teach her at her first lesson was the ABC method so she could converse with musicians in the United States. I found it incredibly easy to teach, and within weeks, she knew just what I meant when I referred to a letter name. I don't think either system is really a handicap, with that in mind. If needed, any student could learn the other system without too much trouble.

She may have had a bit more trouble beginning to think of Do Re Mi as moveable, but I don't actually remember. It's been a few years since she quit because she had a baby and didn't have time or money for lessons anymore.


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#1757519 - 09/22/11 05:07 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs

I found solfege really helpful for understanding the blues scales (which in my mind go: do ma fa fi so ta do - but to each their own). With music that shifts tonality quickly (e.g. jazz) it does get limiting. For some music moveable solfa just isn't going to work. Just like no one counting system will work for all rhythms.

To clarify, for others, you are using a system that is a hybrid and goes about something like this:

1) Ascending:
do di re ri fa fi so si la li si do.
C C# D# E F F# G G# A A# B C, key of C

2) Descending: do si se la le so se fa mi me re ra do.
C B Bb A Ab G Gb F E Eb D Db.

THEORETICALLY this can work in any key.

The exact change in vowel sounds of lowered or raised degrees differs from system to system.

BUT: This becomes an absolute nightmare in a key like Gb. I hope most people will see why, immediately.

In addition, you don't have to get to jazz to get to nightmares. Think about the Chopin F# minor Prelude, Op. 28, no. 8, or even the F minor Etude from the "Trois Nouvelles Etudes". I keep reading about teachers who have their students sing "everything", but that would include melodic lines that are not only extremely complex but that are highly chromatic AND that go far outside the vocal range.


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#1757560 - 09/22/11 05:52 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Gary D.]  
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

To clarify, for others, you are using a system that is a hybrid and goes about something like this:

1) Ascending:
do di re ri fa fi so si la li si do.
C C# D# E F F# G G# A A# B C, key of C

2) Descending: do si se la le so se fa mi me re ra do.
C B Bb A Ab G Gb F E Eb D Db.

THEORETICALLY this can work in any key.

The exact change in vowel sounds of lowered or raised degrees differs from system to system.

BUT: This becomes an absolute nightmare in a key like Gb. I hope most people will see why, immediately.

In addition, you don't have to get to jazz to get to nightmares. Think about the Chopin F# minor Prelude, Op. 28, no. 8, or even the F minor Etude from the "Trois Nouvelles Etudes". I keep reading about teachers who have their students sing "everything", but that would include melodic lines that are not only extremely complex but that are highly chromatic AND that go far outside the vocal range.


Hi Gary, What i use is absolutely a hybrid, far simpler than what you propose. Perhaps I should explain? I start out with the major scale:
do re mi fa so la ti do

To this I add the minor 2nd (ra), minor 3rd (ma), augmented 4th (fi), minor 6th (lo), and minor 7th (ta). Anything more complex than this makes my head hurt. I have found this useful for visualising new things on guitar, and new theory on piano, but I've never been tempted to apply it to Chopin. smile

My point is merely that a moveable solfa (as a system discrete from the absolute pitches) can be useful.

I'm sure many here will tut at the inaccuracy of what I do. But here's how my mind works. I take a concept like 'augmented 4th' That's 4 syllables. I need to get to the 4th syllable before I know what it is. It's a 4th. A special kind of 4th. What do I do? Ah yes, augment it. Or maybe I should think about a 'diminished 5th.' Another 4 syllables....

But if I'm running through a scale and I come to fi then I immediately know him - I know his foibles, I know where he fits and where he likes to go. Just simple syllables that help me orient myself in the key, that's all.

#1757627 - 09/22/11 07:19 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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both

but I would never ever encourage movable Do unless you are dealing with toddlers.

Last edited by MadForBrad; 09/22/11 07:20 PM.
#1757647 - 09/22/11 07:59 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs

Hi Gary, What i use is absolutely a hybrid, far simpler than what you propose.

I'm really not proposing any system, and the one you are using is really a subset of what I showed.

Syllables change when notes in a major scale are raised or lowered.

For raising: do--di, re-ri, mi (usually not shown raised), fa-fi, la-li ti (usually not raised).

But ANY vowel change could be used...

For loweing: do (usually not lowered), ti-te, la-le, so-se, fa (usually not lowered), mi-me, re-ra.

You use "ma" for lowered "mi", which is understandable.

My point remains that this system falls apart sooner or later. But ALL systems fall apart on a very high level.

I never argue with what works. I think that ALL systems mentioned, letters, fixed do, moveable do, Roman numerals, have their place. It is only becoming inflexible and making any one of them the "Magic Cure for All Ear Problems" that becomes a problem. smile

Last edited by Gary D.; 09/23/11 12:49 AM.

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#1757649 - 09/22/11 08:05 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Gary D.]  
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
I think that ALL systems mentioned, letters, fixed do, moveable do, Roman numerals, have their place. It is only becoming inflexible and making any one of them the "Magic Cure for All Ear Problems". smile
thumb


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#1757789 - 09/23/11 12:50 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: currawong]  
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Oops. I left off the last words in the last sentence. I meant to say that it is the inflexibility that is the PROBLEM. smile

Currawong, I think you read my mind. wink


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#1757805 - 09/23/11 01:36 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Gary D.]  
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Currawong, I think you read my mind. wink
I think I did. (Not that I generally finish other people's sentences for them...) wink


Du holde Kunst...
#1757829 - 09/23/11 03:59 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Gary D.]  
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

I never argue with what works. I think that ALL systems mentioned, letters, fixed do, moveable do, Roman numerals, have their place. It is only becoming inflexible and making any one of them the "Magic Cure for All Ear Problems" that becomes a problem. smile


yes absolutely. smile

#1758707 - 09/24/11 11:58 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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Ok thanks smile

#2236321 - 02/23/14 12:07 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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A beginners question: Is a C D E F G A B the same on piano as on guitar?


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#2236356 - 02/23/14 01:24 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: johan d]  
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Yes, if both instruments are tuned correctly.


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#2236522 - 02/23/14 09:44 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Yes, if both instruments are tuned correctly.


You do need to watch the octave though, I think a guitar sounds an octave below what is written on the staff


gotta go practice
#2236543 - 02/23/14 10:32 PM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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That wouldn't change anything as far as do-re-mi is concerned.

This thread was deceased, and now let's please let it remain so.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2236600 - 02/24/14 12:37 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: TimR]  
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Yes, if both instruments are tuned correctly.


You do need to watch the octave though, I think a guitar sounds an octave below what is written on the staff

I remember that discussion a while back. That is correct. G is still G, but it's an octave lower.

#2236685 - 02/24/14 09:23 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Yes, if both instruments are tuned correctly.


You do need to watch the octave though, I think a guitar sounds an octave below what is written on the staff

I remember that discussion a while back. That is correct. G is still G, but it's an octave lower.


At the risk of veering off topic and again arousing the ire of polyphonist.....


as far as I know there is still no explanation why both notes, separated by that distance, sound like the same note. It is obvious why they would be consonant, and convenient to give them the same name, but not obvious at all why they should sound the same.


gotta go practice
#2236719 - 02/24/14 11:17 AM Re: Do-Re-Mi or ABC [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]  
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In regards to what you just wrote about octaves, Tim, I remember watching a video of a class under the Tobin system. The teacher used coloured tissue wrapping paper of the kind we use to wrap presents or line delicate objects. If you have a red sheet of this paper and it is folded many times, then it will appear a deep red. If it is unfolded, then the thinner the pile, the more washed out that red will appear. It's almost more like pink. I mean this kind of paper.

what that paper looks like

Each note in an octave was linked to a colour, so maybe C was red, D was blue, etc. A row of children were seated on a bench, and the teacher played two notes. They were to raise their hands if they were "the same". This went on for a while. Then the teacher played two notes that were an octave apart. Half the kids raised their hands, and half kept them down - a great deal of them looked puzzled. That's when the coloured tissue paper came out.


The teacher explained that these were octaves and they were both same and different. They were the same in the sense that red is red. They were different in the sense that the washed out red of the unfolded tissue paper did not look like the robust red of the folded tissue paper.

I think that there are reasons why octaves have this "sameness" to them, that has to do with harmonics and mathematics. But what is more important is THAT we hear them that way and music builds on it.

The guitar question was tricky, because a written G for piano is also a written G for guitar, but that G will sound an octave lower on the guitar. Depending on how sophisticated the asker's ear is, this may be important to know.

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