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Solfège: What Is It, And How Is It Used?

Solfège is an exercise used for sight-reading vocal music in which each scale degree is assigned a coordinating syllable. After some practice and familiarization, the solfège allows a musician to audiate, or mentally hear, the pitches of a piece of music which he or she is seeing for the first time, then sing them aloud.

Solfège Syllables

  • do, re, mi, fa, sol, la ti, and do.

Many teachers use hand symbols in order to better illustrate each symbol.

Standard Forms of Solfège

  • Moveable-Do System. This is the most common form of Solfège, and it means that the syllable “do” is always coordinated with the first scale degree of whichever key you’re in.

  • Fixed-Do System. In this case, the syllables are always assigned to the notes in a C Major Scale (where “C” would be “do”), regardless of the key.

In the case of raised or lowered scale degrees, the solfège syllable vowel changes to an “i” for sharping, and an“e” for flatting. The exception is when flatting “re,” in which case you go to “ra.”

For many, solfège has proved to be very successful when it comes to sight-reading new pieces. For others, not so much. Whatever method for sight-reading you decide to use, remember that practice is key! Give solfège a try and let us know how it works for you!

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