Switch from moveable do Solfège to fixed do solfège
I’ve been using Solfège for as long as I remember, mostly moveable do because I first learnt it as a singer. While moveable do does give me some benefit, such as the ease of improvisation (I can play a tune in any key right away as soon as I hear the melodic line), I find moveable do confuses me/difficult for me to make sense of it when the melodic lines are obscure. It also slows down my sight-reading. I would like to switch from moveable do to fixed do. I wonder if any of you have tried such switch yourself or have taught student to do so.
Having taught moveable do for many years at the college level (I was taught fixed do myself at conservatory), I consider moveable do the most useful option. I think fixed do is kind of a crutch that's easy but of little value.
Scott, thanks for giving me the hope! I did notice that certain works such as Bach solos really make a lot of sense with moveable do because of the relationship within each key is always pretty clear to me.
Yixi, this is what we used in school for atonal music:
Jeewon, I feel it's annoying to juggle all three because most of the musicians I know (including my teacher) use letter names, and some composers I know use scale degrees, but I am stuck with what I learned at an earlier age, very much like counting numbers. I still count in Chinese even though I speak English for more than 30 years. I noticed on YouTube that Christian Tetzlaff counted in German when he gave a masterclass in English. So this is probably a common phenomena.
Solfeggio is really nice for little children to learn the notes by singing them. This is how I learned note reading almost as a child's play. We learned to sing a lot of pieces, sight-reading, so definitely not a movable do. (Actually I could see someone sight-reading with movable do, that would be impressive?) Singing them in "C, D, E, ..." just is very artificial for children, I think. This is at an age where they do not know the letters yet.
I have no idea what the difference is
Ahmed, in fixed Do, Do is C. In movable Do, Do is the tonic. So in fixed do, Do is always C, no matter what key. But in moveable Do, it changes based on the key. So if you're in Gmajor Do is now G. Always scale degree I.
WHAT DO BECOMES G. WHAT.
While never crazy about solfege in general, I favor fixed Do. With fixed Do you know what notes you're singing. In a simple line, either system can work but what if it starts to modulate? The same note can be seen as this in one key and that in the key it's modulating to - so what do we call it it in movable Do?
I have been forced to use both systems, so it is certainly possible to switch. I find fixed do much easier than moveable do, but haven't really found that either has contributed at all to my ability to recognize and understand interval relationships. Fixed do really is just translating letter names one-to-one, so I don't see any use for it as a learning aid. If anything, solfege has gotten in the way for me, especially when it comes to moveable do. With moveable do, it's akin to suddenly having to call what you have always known as "green", "red". But maybe I am just some sort of mutant, because most of the musicians I have met swear by solfege.
I think solfege makes the most sense for tonal music because it makes the relationships clear ((dominant-tonic, etc). I studied fixed-do and I find it helps me transcribe, or just remember a new tune.
"I never understood why we continue to use solfeggio. Can't we just call a relative system by scale degrees and a fixed system by letter names?"
Again, I'm not a fan of solfege, period. I did it at Mannes for 4 years, ultimately in 7 clefs! And I still don't know what it did for me. We did fixed Do. I don't remember how we annunciated half-steps. But Scott, you haven't addressed the modulation issue.
BTW, there's a lot of discussion on the internet about this issue.
It seems to me that solfège is an "aural shadowing" (sorry, I can't think of a better expression), in that, when I sight-read a piece, I don't intentionally read with solfège but I hear "do, re, mi" when I play in tune. I suspect such "aural shadowing" would have some affect on my visual perception/memory. It's not so much as verbalization, not singing out loud, but it's probably related.
1ah 1 1ee
I must be an odd ball. I read fixed do when learning a new piece or sight-reading the first a few tries. I hear moveable do as soon as I start to get a little fluent with the piece and that'll stay. I'm pretty good at memorizing a piece, better than most adult violinists I know. I attribute this ability to moveable do solfège.
Or... your excellent musical memory makes it easy for you to think in solfege :)
I don't believe either is a must, if you can play any given passage's scale in tune. Every musician reads, learns, and memorizes differently, according to background and individual predisposition. It gets old when people argue about which is "best"-though thankfully, we are not doing it in this thread. Whichever you learned first will seem "best" and more natural to you, usually, unless you train yourself otherwise.
I had a firm training in intervals and pretty much thought in numbers/intervals. Always been happy to be able to switch between thinking one interval to the next or understanding what degree of the scale I was on. Then, I join music college and have to sing solfege and have to change those numbers into names and suddenly my skills are downgraded while I translate. I felt this was a complete waste of time and transferred to a class that worked differently! I dabbled in Indian violin and they have their own solfege (sa,ra, ga, ma, pa, da, ni, sa). I also studied Japanese Shakuhachi which again had its own names for the scale. In my jazz post-grad however, I found that jazz musicians always talk in numbers, whether that be chords, chord tones or scale degrees. Really, these things are all arbitrary names so it doesn't really matter but personally I think the numbering of notes gives you a better idea of degree of the scale and is not archaic or exotic. Being able to hear, pitch and name the interval from note to note is a must for any violinist also.
Adalberto, I've never heard of "movable C" (other than transposing instruments such as a Bb trumpet, but that's not quite "moving"). Is this common in your country?
Well, I'm no master theorist (I just play one on tv!) but re modulation, often as a modulation starts, there will be say, a certain pivotal note that can be simultaneously understood as this degree of one key and that degree of the one it's moving to. So what do you call it in movable Do? It just all seems so much more difficult and fussy to not name the notes but instantly interpret their place in the scale and tonality.
Here in France, solfège (fixed DO) usually starts a year or two before being allowed to touch an instrument. It consists of rapid
Raphael, pivotal note you mentionef can be subdivided into two to transit from one key to the other. I figured out this by myself as a kid but I don't know how others hear the pivotal note. I agree with you that movable do is fussy and I wish to switch to fixed do, which I used to use when I first started violin. It's just once I have learned to play with movable do, I always hear the notes this way without trying.
"They had no answer. And they never even tried to explain what I'd ever need with such clefs as soprano, baritone, etc."
The singers in one of the bands I work with use a version of the fixed Do system. The Spanish version is; do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-Si-do. I have always thought that the interval system is more important. Intervals, not the individual notes, are the true building blocks of music. For the violinist there is a clear connection between the pairs of two-finger combinations and the intervals. I also was assigned that "Modus Novus" book in college.
Scott, the institution should be obliged to provide an answer, because if they really can't, then that means that there is probably no good reason for you to be learning said skill. And as a customer, you shouldn't have to pay for stuff that isn't useful, and takes time away from that which is. Students should have some say in what they find useful, facilitated ( not dictated ) by faculty of course, because students have different interests, and should pursue them accordingly.
I'm finding this a fascinating thread to follow.
Honestly. Too complicated, too odd. Never heard of it. A pitch is to me hertz wise a fact. I can't think any other way
Andrew, you could use:
OK, now I'm finally inspired by solfege. Move over Mary Poppins!
It was the other way for me.
Y Cheng, thank you! I think such encouragement can really be life-changing. As a serous armature player, I always question my inadequacy and gaps in my learning. No one around me seems to know what I'm talking about when I name the notes I hear. Too confusing for other musicians around me so I feel I must switch. Now that I see that switching is not necessary even possible. My focus should be on knowing my fingerboard and let solfège do the singing and improvisation work.
Yixi, I must confess I wasn't sure what you were after. Can you clarify? (Better sight reading? Ability to playback complex tunes after brief hearing? Improvisation? Communicating what you hear with others?)
Jeewon, playing back after brief hearing and improvisation are easy for me. Communicating what I hear with others generally is not a problem, as long as I don't use Solfège (which often leads to chuckles from others anyway). However, I thought since no one I'm working with knows what I'm talking about when I hear Solfège, I thought I should switch to what people are used to such as number or fixed DO with letter form, just to make things less confusing for everyone. For instance, during a lesson, my teacher would say "Your Ab is too high" while I was thinking about Solfège note and it sometimes takes a second or two for me to translate. I also thought Solfège might have slowed down my sight-reading. When I'm busy with hearing the Solfège, my focus might be too much aurally and not enough visually. But who knows, it's all speculation on my part.
Ah, I get it. Just have to pile on even more work ;)
In my childhood we learned to use intervals to find the notes, not the opposite.
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