Serenity's School of Music!

toaster strudels

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^^ 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” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Solfege, Scale Degrees and Tendency Tones!

solfege

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! :eyes:

but solfege has one other really cool purpose.

tendency tones

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 :nerd_face:

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My orchestra teacher said she and her roommates used to prank each other in college by playing exactly that on a piano

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This is cool!

You’ll be happy to know that I read “toaster strudels” as “tape staples”

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Nice name and great lesson as always

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I’m not going to join, but I did the quiz anyway.

I think I broke it.

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Same thing happened to me earlier (post 6)

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A pretty late response, but I´ve been away at day camp this week and you know that! Anyways, awesome guide, awesome writing, just plain awesomeness :slight_smile:

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toaster strudels

@SilverStar
@Eddie
@Awesome_E
@The_Vast_Void
@Sage
@tankt2016
@Intellection74
@Fizzy_27
@Nobody
@FearlessPhoenix
@GweTV
@TGIF
@Rodrik834
@TheOnionSWE
@William04GamerA
@UnicornRainbow
@yoshim7
@DaMagicalFridge

welcome back! school has officially started for me and I’m sure it has for some of you too. I hope today’s lesson is fairly easy and fun; it involves something called mnemonics, which are basically devices that help you remember information. just like how ‘leaves of three, let it be’ keeps you away from poison ivy, these devices can help you remember today’s content by ear!


Major Intervals!

an interval is the distance between two notes. intervals can either be played one note at a time (melodic) or both notes at once (harmonic). the mnemonics we will be using today are songs! these songs have the intervals in them, so if you’re ever trying to remember what one sounds like, just sing the song that goes with it and you’ll have it down!

the intervals!

Major 2nd: the distance between do and re solfege-wise, or a whole-step. in the song “happy birthday,” the words “happy birthday” are a major second going up and down.

Major 3rd: the distance between do and mi, or four half steps. the first two notes of “when the saints go marching in” are an ascending major third.

Perfect 4th: long story short, ancient people thought the numbers 4 and 5 were holy numbers, and science found out later that 4ths and 5ths have a specific pitch relationship that sounds cool! a perfect fourth is the distance between do and fa, or five half steps. you can remember it with “here comes the bride” or “o christmas tree.”

Perfect 5th: the distance between do and sol, or seven half steps. remember it with the first two notes of the star wars theme, or with “twinkle twinkle little star.”

Major 6th: the distance between do and la, or nine half steps. remember it with the first two notes of “my bonnie lies over the ocean.”

Major 7th: the distance between do and ti, or eleven half steps. it’s the least common of the major intervals, but the words “a world” in “pure imagination” from the willy wonka movie are an ascending major seventh.

Perfect Octave/Perfect Unison: the distance between do and do, or do and high do. these are also called perfect because they are the same scale degree. “somewhere over the rainbow” starts with a perfect octave.

are you a music student with favorite interval mnemonics of your own? feel free to share!


next week I’ll be going over minor intervals, and the following week we’ll get into augmentation and diminution. have a great day!

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All this is really cool! But it’s really confusing for me! It’s a lot to comprehend, is there a way for each lesson to simplify it a bit more?

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So like a perfect fifth would be the first and last note in a chord?

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In English usual have things weird names. We call major 3rd «большая терция», or big “tertsiya” (that’s how we pronounce it); perfect 4th = clean “kvarta”; etc.

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Nice! Very well written. :slight_smile:

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Googled and in Sweden we call it “Ters”. Never heard that before. I think we just add 1st or 2nd in front of it (första, andra) etc.

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if the chord you’re talking about is a major or minor triad, yes. not all chords are triads :wink:

that’s a great connection though! I plan on building some triads after we understand intervals.

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are the words you use words that mean numbers in russian? because in that case I think we’re talking about the same thing in two different languages :hushed:

I will never not be fascinated by seeing how people study music in other countries!

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Nope.
I guess those notions are taken from Italian…

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Yep, that’s what I was talking about

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List of Russian terms:
Major 2nd = big “sekunda”
Major 3rd = big “tertsiya”
Perfect 4th = clean “kvarta”
Perfect 5th = clean “kvinta”
Major 6th = big “seksta”
Major 7th = big “septima”
Perfect Unison/Octava = clean “oktava”

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I got 22/20 (strangely) :thinking: but it didn’t let me press 7 on harmonic minor question

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woah, haven’t seen you in a hot minute. welcome back!

yeah, that’s a coding whoops on my part. you seem like you know your stuff, though!

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