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Old 05-23-2014, 09:22 PM   #1
Unreal T
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Solfege, useful or not?

Have you ever taken Aural Skills classes and used the solfege system? Did you find it helpful, or able to do without?
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:31 PM   #2
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Extremely useful, and it is how ear training is done in every country but the US. **** la based minor and movable do. You should be learning fixed do solfege especially at the start. Fixed do is the best because it can be used in upper level ear training when you start singing atonal melodies. Movable do becomes almost unusable at that point, and la based minor is something only high school choir directors teach

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Old 05-23-2014, 09:57 PM   #3
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^I would really recommend movable Do over fixed Do. Moveable Do trains relative pitch which is substantially more useful than the absolute pitch training of fixed Do. And even if anyone cared about sight singing atonal melodies (which they don't), I don't see how fixed Do is any more useful than moveable. Neither variation of Solfege is really worth anything when it comes to atonal singing.

And plenty of university level musicianship courses teach moveable Do.


As for OP, I (and 99% of everyone that took a musicianship course) used solfege and it can be useful. The most important thing is to be able to sing and hear intervals and melodies. Solfege can really help with that, but if you can do it without solfege then whatever.
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Old 05-24-2014, 01:32 AM   #4
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It's excellent for ear training. And my university theory course used solfege.
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Old 05-24-2014, 02:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
And even if anyone cared about sight singing atonal melodies (which they don't)



Come on JRF, I know your not really that naive, especially after I read your fantastic thread on set theory. Modus Novus is part of many ear training curricula. Also, have you never had a teacher tell you, "If you can't sing it, you can't play it." Maybe this is something only wind players hear

Personally, I think fixed do applies very well to singing atonal music. Its similar to set theory in that do is always C. This is good for atonal and 12 tone music because you dont have to choose a key for music which decidedly has no key.

I agree with you 100% on your last paragraph. I just think that if solfege is what interests you, fixed do gives you the most options for development later on down the road.

Inb4 danhauser

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Old 05-24-2014, 03:12 AM   #6
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The syllables are important too. Contrary to popular belief singing "la la la" for warm ups and training is not very effective.
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Old 05-24-2014, 06:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassalloverthe
Come on JRF, I know your not really that naive, especially after I read your fantastic thread on set theory. Modus Novus is part of many ear training curricula. Also, have you never had a teacher tell you, "If you can't sing it, you can't play it." Maybe this is something only wind players hear

Personally, I think fixed do applies very well to singing atonal music. Its similar to set theory in that do is always C. This is good for atonal and 12 tone music because you dont have to choose a key for music which decidedly has no key.

I agree with you 100% on your last paragraph. I just think that if solfege is what interests you, fixed do gives you the most options for development later on down the road.

Inb4 danhauser

I agree with jazz_rock_feel in the sense that only the most hardcore music nerds even care about atonality (and even then it sounds like shit 95% of the time). I personally think fixed Do is mostly a pretty useless concept.
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Elintasokas
I agree with jazz_rock_feel in the sense that only the most hardcore music nerds even care about atonality (and even then it sounds like shit 95% of the time).


Sorry, I just disagree with you wholeheartedly and I think thats a really ignorant thing to say, especially when youve probably barely heard any atonal music. Theres no law about fixed do, but you shouldnt trash talk a whole genre of music that you probably know little about

Not to bring it up twice in one thread, but JRF's set theory demo was very well received on this board. Obviously its not just "hardcore music nerds" that are interested in atonality and serialism.

Even if you prefer movable do, you cant pretend fixed do is useless. It can be used for everything you can use movable do for. This guy has a really good explanation on the pluses and minuses on both systems




Youll notice that one of the first problems he encounters is the key change while using movable do. Fixed do doesnt have these problems

Also, my argument is not that fixed do is the best system for sight singing atonal music, just that fixed is better than movable for this use. And Im also 100% sure that someone who finished Dandelot and Danhauser will be much better at sight singing atonal melodies than someone who learned movable do in H.S.


PS

One more thing, just so we can all be in agreement that some people do sing atonal melodies


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Old 05-24-2014, 11:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassalloverthe
Even if you prefer movable do, you cant pretend fixed do is useless. It can be used for everything you can use movable do for. This guy has a really good explanation on the pluses and minuses on both systems

I don't think fixed Do is useless at all, I just think for general purpose ear training that moveable Do makes more sense. If you're talking about just sight singing then fixed Do might be better, I don't really have an opinion on that. I mean, fixed Do is essentially just saying note names as you sing them, which is fine, but moveable has the advantage that you're singing and internalizing scale degrees and their relationship to the tonic.
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Originally Posted by bassalloverthe
One more thing, just so we can all be in agreement that some people do sing atonal melodies

I know people sing atonal melodies, I write for singers all the time (whether they like it or not ). I just question whether sight singing atonal melodies is a useful exercise for most people.
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Old 05-24-2014, 11:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
I don't think fixed Do is useless at all, I just think for general purpose ear training that moveable Do makes more sense. If you're talking about just sight singing then fixed Do might be better, I don't really have an opinion on that. I mean, fixed Do is essentially just saying note names as you sing them, which is fine, but moveable has the advantage that you're singing and internalizing scale degrees and their relationship to the tonic.

I know people sing atonal melodies, I write for singers all the time (whether they like it or not ). I just question whether sight singing atonal melodies is a useful exercise for most people.



Ah I think you've uncovered the cause of our discrepency. I personally think excellent sight reading is the end goal of the solfege, and for intervalic relationships I prefer not to think in any solfege system at all. But I can do fixed or movable do if I want, so I guess the lesson is still learn everything and pick for yourself?

Btw, I've heard a few things from your sound cloud and I've no doubt that you've gotten the death glare from singers

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Old 05-24-2014, 11:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
but moveable has the advantage that you're singing and internalizing scale degrees and their relationship to the tonic.



It's the same with fixed doh. You're still assigning names to scale degrees, and through practice you do internalize them in the same way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Unreal T
Have you ever taken Aural Skills classes and used the solfege system? Did you find it helpful, or able to do without?



yeah, it's helpful.

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Old 05-24-2014, 12:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarMunky
It's the same with fixed doh. You're still assigning names to scale degrees, and through practice you do internalize them in the same way.

With fixed Do you're assigning names to notes, not scale degrees. In moveable Do is always the root and in fixed Do is always C. That's what makes one moveable and the other fixed.
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Originally Posted by GuitarMunky
I see this as one of those "the way I learned it is the best way" kind of arguments.

This I definitely agree with.

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Originally Posted by bassalloverthe
Btw, I've heard a few things from your sound cloud and I've no doubt that you've gotten the death glare from singers

Believe it or not singers tend to love my writing. #notsohumblebrag
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
With fixed Do you're assigning names to notes, not scale degrees.




well we may be talking about 2 different things.

What I experienced with "fixed" do, was that they are still assigned to scale degrees, the difference being that in movable do, do is always the tonic, (even in minor), where in fixed do La would be the tonic for minor (and do for Major). In other words in fixed do, the intervalic relationships between say Me and La would be the same in Major or minor, but they would have different functions. If you change keys, this would remain the same, so if your in Bm, B is La.

I haven't experience fixed do in they way WIKI explains it, where C is always Do. I can't say it's useless because I haven't tried it, but it does seem cumbersome.


EDIT: based on the Wiki article I guess I was describing the difference between "La based" minor and "Do based" minor, which both are part of movable do.

So I guess I don't disagree with you. DOH!

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Old 05-24-2014, 12:51 PM   #14
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Ohhh, I get it. I didn't even know there was such a thing as La based vs Do based minor. I can't even remember which I learned. Shows how much attention I paid in aural skills class.
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Old 05-24-2014, 02:10 PM   #15
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Just to clear it up:

Fixed do is when do is always C. In normal fixed do, you sing do for all C's (C, Cb, and C# are all do). All F# F and Fb are all fi. There's also something called adjusted fixed do which is when all PCs get their own syllable (C is do, C# is di or de, can't quite remember. I know E is mi and Eb is me in this system if that helps conceptualize)

Movable do is when the root note is do and that applies whether the key is major or minor. F Maj and Fmin will both have F as do in movable do

La based minor is when your in a minor key, but you use a movable do based on the relative major. If you are in C minor using la based minor solfege, Eb is do.

Personally I have no real problems with movable do, I just have a problem with la based minor and it's for the same reason I would have a problem with re based Dorian

A couple things I wish I practiced more in my ear training

Octave displacements: sing marry had a little lamb but change octaves every note
Interval cycles: sing a minor 6th. Now sing a minor sixth from that note. Now a minor sixth from that. Half steps make a chromatic scale, whole steps make a whole tone scale, minor thirds are diminished tetrachords, major thirds are augmented triads, fourths is the circle of fifths backwards, fifths are circle of 5ths, minor widths get you back to an augnented triad, major sixths are back to diminished tetrachords, minor 7ths are a whole tone scale, and major 7ths lead you back at the chromatic scale. Tritones don't make for great interval cycles

Interesting side note. At juliard, there is no "aural skills" curriculum. It's reffered to as the solfege department.

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Old 05-25-2014, 06:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassalloverthe
Extremely useful, and it is how ear training is done in every country but the US. **** la based minor and movable do. You should be learning fixed do solfege especially at the start. Fixed do is the best because it can be used in upper level ear training when you start singing atonal melodies. Movable do becomes almost unusable at that point, and la based minor is something only high school choir directors teach

Fixed do is exactly the same as singing with note names. I don't see what's the advantage of learning fixed do because you could do exactly the same thing with just note names. In Italy they use solfege names instead of note names all the time. But I don't think it matters what names you give to the notes. Of course solfege names are a bit easier to sing than basic note names.

The advantage of movable do is that it is the same in every key. Do is always your key center and it doesn't matter what key you are in. And that's what makes movable do solfege different from note names.

I see a point in both, la based minor and do based minor. Because many times a song in minor will have parts in the relative major. Then you don't need to worry about modulations and you can keep singing with the same names. But la based minor also has its disadvantages. It kind of teaches that minor is the same as major starting with the 6th note. And this confuses people. It also confused me and I didn't really understand the difference between minor and major before I started comparing parallel scales.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:25 AM   #17
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It also confused me and I didn't really understand the difference between minor and major before I started comparing parallel scales.


what are parallel scales ?
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:12 PM   #18
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what are parallel scales ?

Well, I don't know if it's a correct term but what I meant was C major and C minor. They are parallel keys and that's why I called the scales "parallel scales". But yeah, it may not be the correct term.
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:37 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine
Fixed do is exactly the same as singing with note names.


No, that's adjusted fixed do. Fixed do syllables refer to lines and spaces on the staff, not pitches (read PC, note name, etc)

The advantage of fixed do is that you can use to it sing atonal music and music with lots of key changes. In other words, it remains useful further into your ear training. That's personally why I like it. But, there is a difference between sight singing Schoenberg and trying to teach a young kid that C# to B is essentially the same as Eb to Db. Fixed to is good for one, and movable is good for the other

If C and C minor are parallel keys, I think it's fair to call C Maj and C min scales parallel scales

Edit: also fixed do is more useful when the octaves are not equal, or half step distribution is not equal. But OP probably won't be singing in quarter comma meantone, so there's no need to really explore that

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Old 05-29-2014, 06:39 PM   #20
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to someone reading this and has no idea what solfege is or how it works the comments above will be very confusing at best..

the basic TS question was..is it helpful...answer--yes

if you can "sing" the major scale and the arpeggios of each diatonic chord..triads and 7th chords..your ability to "hear" intervals opens up many fold.

to be able to "sing" a improvised solo along with the instrument [I]is an acquired skill..not an inherited trait. Think George Benson. Try playing and singing an "outside" riff and some melodic fragments with confidence.
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