The language of music and the magic of Solfège
Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Music is a language. The first time I heard this I didn't really truly understand how true this sentiment was. Now years later after having studied further and practiced more, I begin to see that this statement is not only true but essential to understand.
The definition for Solfège is that it's a system where notes are given their own unique syllable, which is used to sing that note every time it appears. It appears in two different formats: 1. called Fixed Solfège - whereby every C is referred to as Do and 2. called Moveable Solfège, whereby the first note of the scale is referred to as Do - thereby meaning any note could be do but the next note, 're' has to be equidistant every time (by two semitones).
The benefits of practicing Solfège are numerous and are probably the most essential to learning to truly listen and master the language of music.
I will not delve into the art of fixed Solfège as it is not something I have learnt apart from in theory. It is commonly referred to as being trickier to learn, in general, unless you have perfect pitch, which only about 1 to 5 people per 10,000 actually have.
Moveable Solfège however, is something I have been practicing and can understand. By learning moveable Solfège I've started to see the links between music and how it all relates and links up. You start to become used to different note orders, like words and sentences. And just like different words can hold different emotions, so too can different intervals in music. And just like 'Hello' can be said in millions of different ways, so too can a musical phrase be sung or played. The more we learn Solfège the more you can start to see the links and have a stronger connection and understanding of this beautiful ancient language.
Once you have trained to hear better amazingly this affects how you can sing and you can sing better because you can discern if you are off key more. Both a blessing and a curse as you can hear more when other people are off too.
This unique skill with practice can help you to play better with other people because you can learn to hear what is going on in the music. It can help you learn to play back a melody on your instrument faster and eventually immediately, compose and write out the music in your head, without performing it on your instrument first. It can also help you to learn instruments faster. And once you have trained to hear better by practicing it, amazingly this affects how you can sing, making you sing better because you can discern if you are off more. Ultimately it can help you become a better musician who can in fact not just play music but understand the language.
It to me has been one of the biggest game changing skills I have learnt in music and I hope that one-day I may become fluent in this fantastic language. I hope that you too may become intrigued by it and learn more about it. And I hope that as you discover, learn and practice more of this, it becomes beneficial to you too.
Lots of Love and Luck to you with all your endeavours
Naomi Leila Xx
p.s. Please let me know of any benefits you have found with Solfège and any tips or tricks you may have.