@DaMagicalFridge (ik this is your new account but idk if you still want to be tagged)
^^ lowkey a fan of that name. opinions?
this week I figured I’d re-introduce another semi-basic concept known as solfege (or solfeggio). while this system is more often used with vocalists (aka choir kids who never learned to read music) as opposed to the more Intellectual Minds of instrumental music, it is actually a useful tool for beginners and scholars alike.
seriously, if I ever get a custom title, it’s going to be “without further ado”
Solfege, Scale Degrees and Tendency Tones!
solfege is a system of syllables that musicians use as a tool. by naming pitches in relation to each other, it helps establish what a key might sound like and makes it easier to work with different kinds of sound. and as I’ve mentioned before, it’s easier for musicians like me to refer to the syllables instead of the scale degree names, especially when we start naming chords (which also use numbers).
so, if you are unfamiliar with the solfege system, I’ll direct you to the song Do-Re-Mi from The Sound Of Music. just like Maria says, once you know your solfege, you can learn, compose, or transcribe almost any song!
I’ll trust that you all know how to sing or play a major scale. That’s do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do, and back down again. the point of all this is that once you know what do to mi sounds like, what re to la sounds like, et cetera, you can start to hear these intervals in any piece of music. this can help you with sightreading, transposing, or just transcribing your favorite song (or coding it into Hopscotch!).
(I hope to have a lesson on intervals ready for next week!
but solfege has one other really cool purpose.
you might be wondering why you can’t just substitute any solfege syllable or scale degree anywhere. this is because in the context of a major key, certain pitches like to lead to other pitches. for example, if I were to sing just “do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti,” you might feel slightly uncomfortable, because “ti” is such an unstable place to stop. you want me to sing “do” again so your ears hear the pitch resolve.
there are stable pitches, places that feel like “home,” and unstable pitches, places that lead to “home.” do is the most stable pitch, and ti is the most unstable pitch.
in order from most to least stable, we have do, mi, sol, re, la, fa, ti.
generally, do, mi, and sol are super stable, re, la, and fa are sort of unstable, and ti is crazy unstable. you can check this by singing or playing melodies that end on any of these syllables - if you feel like your ending place doesn’t make sense, you’ve probably landed on an unstable pitch. and when you see an unstable pitch, like ti, you should resolve it!
especially for pitches like ti and fa. these tendency tones have very specific resolutions because they’re so unstable.
ti likes to go to do, and fa likes to go to mi.
try it out! you should feel a lot of tension when you hear the unstable tone, and feel super satisfied when you hear it resolve.
yeehaw! that’s all for this week. next week, I’ll be trying to teach intervals, which should be a fun amalgamation of mnemonics and songs! I’m looking forward to it