Solmization

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Solmization is a system of attributing a distinct syllable to each note in a musical scale. Various forms of solmization are in use and have been used throughout the world, but solfège is the most common convention in Europe and North America. The seven syllables normally used for this practice in English-speaking countries are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and ti (with a chromatic scale of ascending di, ri, fi, si, li and descending te, le, se, me, ra).

There are at least two theories about the origins of solfège. One is that the syllables are derived from The Hymn of St. John written by Paulus Diaconus in the 8th century. The other, first proposed by Franciszek Meninski in Thesaurus Linguarum Orientalum (1680) and later by J.-B. Laborde in Essai sur la Musique Ancienne et Moderne (1780), is that the syllables were derived from the Arabic solmization system درر مفصّلات Durar Mufaṣṣalāt ("Separated Pearls") (dāl, rā', mīm, fā', ṣād, lām, tā') during the Middle Ages.[1][2]

In India, the origin of solmization was to be found in Vedic texts like the Upanishads, which discuss a musical system of seven notes, realized ultimately in what is known as sargam. In Indian classical music, the notes in order are: sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, and ni.

Byzantine music uses syllables derived from the Greek alphabet to name notes: starting with C, the notes are ni (eta), pa (alpha), vu' (beta), ga (gamma), di (delta), ke (epsilon), zo (zeta).

In Han people's music in China, the words used to name notes are (from fa to mi): 上 (siong or shang4), 尺 (cei or chi3), 工 (gong), 凡 (huan or fan2), 六 (liuo or liu4), 五 (ngou or wu3), 乙 (yik or yi3). The system is used for teaching sight-singing.

In Japanese music, the first line of Iroha, an ancient poem used as an "ABC" of traditional kana, is used for solmization. The syllables representing the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G are i, ro, ha, ni, ho, he, to respectively. Shakuhachi musical notation uses another solmization system beginning "Fu Ho U".

In Indonesia, Javanese musicians derive syllables from numbers; ji-ro-lu-[pi]-ma-nem (siji, loro, telu, [papat, normally skipped in pentatonic scales], lima, enem).

In Scotland, Canntaireachd was used as a means of communicating bagpipe music verbally.

See also[edit]

Other systems invented for teaching sight-singing are:

See also Do Re Mi for songs named after those solmization syllables.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Farmer (1988), p.72–82.[full citation needed]
  2. ^ Miller, Samuel D. (Autumn 1973), Guido d'Arezzo: Medieval Musician and Educator, Journal of Research in Music Education (MENC_ The National Association for Music Education) 21 (3): 239–45, doi:10.2307/3345093, JSTOR 3345093