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Help: tonic solfa notation

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MMario 14 Jan 02 - 08:58 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 14 Jan 02 - 10:45 AM
MMario 14 Jan 02 - 10:50 AM
Sorcha 14 Jan 02 - 11:13 AM
Sorcha 14 Jan 02 - 11:23 AM
MMario 14 Jan 02 - 12:15 PM
Sorcha 14 Jan 02 - 12:18 PM
Burke 14 Jan 02 - 12:32 PM
Burke 14 Jan 02 - 05:51 PM
MMario 14 Jan 02 - 08:03 PM
Burke 14 Jan 02 - 09:20 PM
wysiwyg 14 Jan 02 - 09:32 PM
GUEST,Aubrey Khosa 12 Dec 11 - 05:15 AM
Artful Codger 12 Dec 11 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,999 12 Dec 11 - 01:20 PM
GUEST 15 Dec 11 - 08:37 PM
GUEST 26 May 12 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 May 12 - 09:16 AM
Murray MacLeod 27 May 12 - 11:39 AM
Artful Codger 27 May 12 - 02:01 PM
Jack Campin 27 May 12 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Travis McGuire 13 Jul 12 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,israel madu 27 Apr 14 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Apr 14 - 10:37 AM
GUEST 28 Apr 14 - 11:15 AM
Murray MacLeod 28 Apr 14 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Ripov (not at home) 28 Apr 14 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Apr 14 - 09:03 AM
Jack Campin 29 Apr 14 - 11:08 AM
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Subject: tonic solfa notation
From: MMario
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 08:58 AM

Is there anyone out there that reads tonic solfa? or can find directions, etc?

Figuring out the pitch values is not difficult - but the time notation is very confusing - at least to me. right now I am using "best guess" and comparing to two tunes I found on the net that have both standard notation and tonic solfa - but a more concise description of how it is suppossed to work would be much nicer! Or someone who might be willing to transcribe the occasional solf notation we find


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 10:45 AM

I've had the same problem for years, Mmario. I still haven't found out what the , or ; or : or - or :- or any of those things mean. As you say, figuring out the duration is the key to it. I've found nothing on the internet, and so far none of my British friends have been able to help. They seem to use it extensively over there.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: MMario
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 10:50 AM

South Africa as well from what I could find.

I did find SOME things out, regarding duration. (As I said - I found two tunes on the net with both standard notation and solfa) but...


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 11:13 AM

Where on the net, Mario? Dots or sound files? If dots, maybe I could figure it out. Not good with sound files, though.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 11:23 AM

Looks to me like it has something to do with how far apart the notes are, but I'm not sure of that.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: MMario
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 12:15 PM

can only find the one at the moment - but here is the one

as I said, pitch is reasonably easy. d = do d,= an octave lower d' an octave higher

duration is where it gets hairy.

as far as I can see

d. would always be an eighth note. but d: could be a quarter note OR and eight note depending on position in the bar. likewise d| is either or.

d:-: is a half note if it starts on a beat, but a dotted quarter if it is preceded by an eighth note.

or so I suspect.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 12:18 PM

Sheesh, that is confusing. Each of the eighth notes has a different symbol! So do the quarter notes! One is m: the other just m.....beyond me. I have a couple friends I can ask when I see them though.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Burke
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 12:32 PM

Here's a background article. I will try to look later today at the John Curwen book we have & see if it gives details on the notation.

Try using sol-fa as your search term instead of solfa & see if anything turns up.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Burke
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 05:51 PM

Mario, I've been looking at John Curwen's Music Theory. Unfortunately it does not give a concise description of what's going on. I've figured out a lot of what I know by looking at examples like the one you found.

The upper & lower octaves are shown by respectively as superscript or subscript 1 after the note. 2 octaves out is super or subscript 2.

If you see any notes as 2 letters, that means either a sharp or flat. It appears that a means flat e means sharp. I can't find a clear statement, but ta is definately a flatted 7th t(i) flat.

You are on track on the values. It will make more sense if you think in terms of accents & subdividing measures than time value of the syllables. The placement of the punctuation marks shows where in the measure the note falls.

Subdivisions are from longest to shortest: |:.,
The | and : seem to be present regardless, but . or , are only included if needed. To indicate that a note is held across the time divisions -- is used. Slurs are underlined. A rest is empty after the punctuation. So in your example |d : is a quarter, but |d,d: is 2 8th notes. The important thing it that between | and : is one beat.

In 4 part music there's a line through all parts at the measures & a short bar | at the half measure in 4/4 time. In the example you found with just one part the measures & half measures look pretty much the same, but others might have longer & shorter bars.

Also note the key change in measure 24 to 25. At measure 24 the new key is noted, and the r above the s means that re is now sol. The dots make the key change by sharping the C in measure 24 & showing the new key in measure 25.

This is all really easier to figure out than write about. How many of these are you trying to translate? Maybe you could send them to me & I could see what I come up with.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: MMario
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 08:03 PM

just have the two at the moment - might take you up on that.

but also curious about it.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Burke
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 09:20 PM

Here's the way Grove's describes the rhythms in Tonic sol-fa:
Curwen's method of notating rhythm depends basically upon the bar-line and the colon. The bar-line performs the same function as in staff notation; the colon precedes every weak beat within a bar. Subsidiary accents within bars are indicated by shortened bar-lines. To help the eye, equal beats are represented on the page by equal lateral spacing no matter how many notes share a beat (time signatures are not used). A beat is divided into halves by placing a full stop in the middle of it; into quarters by placing a comma in the middle of each half. A note is continued through another beat or part of a beat by means of a dash. Slurs are represented by horizontal lines beneath the notes. To economize on horizontal space, the common figure consisting of a dotted quaver followed by a semiquaver does not employ the dash. Instead, full stop and comma are brought close together -- to show that the previous sound is continued. Rests are not used. Silence is indicated by vacant space. Triplets are shown by using two inverted commas.

I can't find a way to e-mail this article, or I would.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 09:32 PM

Snail mail it to me if you want me to scan it into text to post or forward to Mmario. Still have address?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST,Aubrey Khosa
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 05:15 AM

I am a South African who understands both tonic solfa and staff notation. I am hardly on this link so if you do not mind you can try to use my address which is aubrey.khosa@yahoo.com.

I will try my best to assist you.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 10:18 AM

At Google Books:
The Standard Course of Lessons and Exercises in the Tonic Sol-Fa Method of Teaching Music, by John Curwen, 1872. (read online or download)
They have some other old publications on sol-fa notation.

After digging into the system, though, I quickly came to some conclusions:

1) Many parts of the notation don't lend themselves to representation either via plain text files or even HTML (which most people don't know how to code anyway). So it's a very limited choice for exchanging tunes here. ABC is far easier to learn, understand and enter tunes with, since it's so analogous to standard music notation. (Yeah, I know there are lots of musicians who have never learned to read music, but get with the program!)

2) The frequency of temporary modulations by key changes rather than accidentals is far more confusing than the use of accidentals in standard notation, but the only accidentals I could find advocated were fe (IV#) and ta (VIIb). Extension of the "a/e" system seems to be a modern innovation, and from what I've seen, different folks use different syllables.

3) I couldn't figure out how they notate music in minor keys, let alone modes. Did the tonic remain a static "do", with the invervals between degrees changing accordingly, or did the scale shift down to start with "la", preserving the normal interval relationships between each syllable pair?

Bear in mind, this system was developed back in the days when people wrote things down with pen and paper, and music was far more diatonic and predictable. Some enterprising souls have surely revised the notation to be more computer friendly, but I don't know if a standardized version has won wide acceptance.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 01:20 PM

http://www.answers.com/topic/tonic-sol-fa-2


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Dec 11 - 08:37 PM

Devi-Kavacham

Cm            Am          A#m            G#    G#m    D#m               
Type in the lyrics here...

G#m                                                                   A                  


D#m                                           Fm      Cm   Fm       Am         


A#m      Fm         Fm          Am             Am                      D#m


D#m    D#m Fm                               A#m      G#m   Fm


F7      D#m      A#m            G#m                   F#m                  


A#m                  Fm             A#m       G#m   A#m       A#m


A#m    D#m   Bm             C7          Fm          G#m          G#


G#    C#               Dm          G#m    Cm


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST
Date: 26 May 12 - 05:48 PM

I am still lost


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 May 12 - 09:16 AM

I wouldn't worry about it. It's rare because it's not very useful. As Artful Codger points out, it can't handle minor tunes or modal. I bet that along with the modal, it can't handle tunes that have interesting accidental notes.

We already have standard notation (sticks and dots) and ABC. And there are plenty of people who play by ear. Who needs another system?

In Europe people sometimes use the syllables to name chords. That is a whole nother ball game, and is much simpler than using syllables to note an entire melody.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 27 May 12 - 11:39 AM

Tonic sol-fa certainly can handle minor tunes.

The tonic note just becomes la instead of do.

The Scottish Psalmody has dozens of minor and modal tunes written in tonic sol-fa.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Artful Codger
Date: 27 May 12 - 02:01 PM

Thanks for answering my question about how modal tunes were handled. Do you know how temporary key modulations are notated when modes are involved? (If I recall, when a modulation occurs, the pivot note is indicated with both old and new names, and this ought to work for the standard modes as well, since it can occur on any scale step).


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 May 12 - 04:00 PM

There is a graphical gizmo in the front of the book called The Modulator. It's a kind of slide rule. I have never felt the urge to understand it, but I bet Murray can slide it in his head as a way of getting to sleep.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST,Travis McGuire
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 07:35 AM

I think this may've helped me somewhat. I'm doing some research into traditional Gaelic music, and many of the resources I've found are a century or more old and written in sol-fa. I did find one volume with simultaneous sol-fa and standard notation which might bear scrutiny and help to clarify the rhythmic issues.
Songs and Hymns of the Gael by Lachlan MacBean
available here:
http://archive.org/details/songshymnsofgael00macb

I suggest downloading the pdf, as the file is rather large and rather faint.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST,israel madu
Date: 27 Apr 14 - 05:51 PM

help please i need to knw how to read tonic sol fa in a music sheet


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 10:37 AM

Hello, Israel.

Here's an article which explains what the system is about

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonic_sol-fa

However, I can't find anything that shows anybody actually using the system. You may need a music teacher for that.

For me personally, the system seems to be of no use at all.
I can hear tunes, remember them, sound them out and harmonize to them, but if you ask me if a tone is do or so or ti, I couldn't begin to tell you.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 11:15 AM

Israel, the problem is there are two answers (setting modes aside as the question is about tonic solfege). The complex one is the correct one: firstly you translate the key signature to solfege (C=Do, D=Re etc). Then you translate the note within that key to a relative from the tonic (the key signature), so a second is Re, a third Mi, etc. If you change the key signature, then you get an instant transposition as a result, in theory - of course in practice, because the sound of each key can be very different, you may well end up with a different emotional weight, however. But this is more a theoreticians game than what you'll come across out there.
The simpler solution is to presume a key of Cmaj, so all other keys are modal, and the notes are simply renamed, C:Do, D:Re, E:Mi, F:Fa, G:So, A:La, B:Ti, with the relevant sharps/flats. This is what you'll most commonly use, and - I think - what you're looking for, incomplete though it is.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 03:25 PM

The tonic sol-fa system is, for me, absolutely indispensable. I can hear any song, any melody, and instantly (like simultaneously) transfer it, in real time, in my head into tonic sol-fa... accidentals and all.

This is an immense help when it comes to working out accompaniment on the guitar ...you just know instinctively which chord goes where ...

It is even more useful when it comes to working out leads on the guitar ...if you know the different scale positions on the fretboard, then you know where doh, ray, mi, fah, so, lah, ti, doh lie for that particular key.

I will give credit here to my boyhood friend William Graham, who was taught the tonic sol-fa system in primary (grade) school as a child in Lochinver, a lovely village on the north west coast of Scotland.

William and I were room-mates in the boarding house where we both lived while we acquired our higher education, and I was amazed by his ability to instantly sing any song you threw at him in tonic sol-fa. His party piece was "The Irish Washerwoman" sung in rapid fire tonic sol-fa. I swore to myself that I would one day acquire this skill, and eventually I did.

FWIW, William became in later years the father of the Mod Gold medallist James Graham, a wonderful young Gaelic singer who has also appeared on Transatlantic Sessions (Series 4 IIRC). James, however, was never taught the tonic sol-fa system, so I suspect that William and I may well be the only two people on the planet in possession of this rather arcane skill.

I would absolutely love to hear from anybody else who is able to do this instantaneous tonic sol-fa conversion.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST,Ripov (not at home)
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 04:24 PM

http://www.australian-music-ed.info/Curwen/Not'alSystem.html gives a broad and apparently useful overview of the sol-fa system.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 09:03 AM

Thanks for the link, Ripov. That may be just what Israel needs.


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Subject: RE: Help: tonic solfa notation
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 11:08 AM

I was a workshop on Turkish classical music two weeks ago, led by a young Greek flute player. He was amazed that we couldn't all sing solfa the way Murray describes, as it was absolutely routine in his milieu.


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