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phonetic music system

30 Aug 07 - 03:38 AM (#2136655)
Subject: phonetic music system
From: stevethesqueeze

I have memories of learning music at school using the "ta te tefe" model where every note was givena phonetic value. I wondered if anyone knew what that system or method was called and how I could find out more about it. I've tried the internet but as I dont know the name of the system I havent come up with anything.


30 Aug 07 - 03:49 AM (#2136661)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: Shuffer

The only phonetic system I know of is Tonic SolFa that used to be used by many Welsh Male Voice choirs where the majority of members could not read music. It is the old fashoined Doh Ray Me Fah So La Te Doh. Hope this helps

30 Aug 07 - 04:04 AM (#2136668)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

Steve the things you remember were used for rhythm rather than melody - different note lengths had special syllables according to the length and were used to aid memorisation and recognition of common rhythm patters. There have been several different systems in use - you can do a web search and you'll find more information (here's a page on the Kodaly Rhythms)


30 Aug 07 - 06:40 AM (#2136743)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: s&r

This site then click resources, scroll down to 'National Curriculum resources' ' Understanding simple rhythmic natation


30 Aug 07 - 07:53 AM (#2136777)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: stevethesqueeze

this why I love mudcat.

thanks you friends


30 Aug 07 - 09:28 AM (#2136833)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: s&r

But can you remember Curwen's Modulator? It was a roll of oilcloth that hung on the wall and unrolled and it said doh re mi fa so la te doh. And it had other names for the minor intervals but I can't remember them


30 Aug 07 - 11:13 AM (#2136905)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: Bernard

The Kodaly method took all the best bits of Tonic Solfa and phonetic rhythm (sounds like a form of contraception!) and added in some hand signals. Okay, there's more to it than that...!

This was recommended for use with children as young as two years, as it seems 'perfect pitch' can be taught to children at that age, but not so easily later.

Apparently it is in line with children learning to speak - some African languages use complicated clicking sounds, which small children pick up easily, but the facility to learn diminishes rapidly with age.

30 Aug 07 - 11:39 AM (#2136926)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine

Off on a bit of a tangent, "Solresol" is an artifical universal musical language invented in France in the 1820s. It uses musical notes (or syllables representing them- or for that matter colours) to represent words. It never really caught on.
Wikipedia article on Solresol

30 Aug 07 - 04:37 PM (#2137075)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: North/South Annie

stevethesqueeze, Ihink what you describe is what we were taught when first in junior school here in South of England, many years ago. It was to do with the length of the notes ie 'ta' being a crotchet - 1 beat and the longer 'ta-ah' being a minim - 2 beats. I think it was just a good way of demonstrating the length of notes to young children.


31 Aug 07 - 03:14 AM (#2137458)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: GUEST,shashi

Annie (or was it Fanny) Warburton - writer of many school music books popular in the seventies, used this system in her books

31 Aug 07 - 07:07 AM (#2137540)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie

This is nothing to do with the Sacred Harp notation they use in the States is it? I seem to remember that is based on shapes rather than phonetics.

Off at a tangent - if you want to see the Kodaly system in operation, watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind! Francois Truffaut communicates with the aliens using the hand signals.

Can't help thinking this is as improbable as Will Smith using an Apple laptop to patch in to the nasty aliens' ship in Independence Day. Good job they run Mac OS eh?

31 Aug 07 - 07:18 AM (#2137547)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: GUEST,AlanG at work

I only read Mudcat because I like the music, and it's been a tonic so far!

And yes, the American shape note tradition is based on the tonic solfa system with each shape representing one of the notes doh, ra, me etc.

31 Aug 07 - 07:27 AM (#2137552)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: Rumncoke

Shape notes have helped me to learn to, just about, read music after failing to make the dots into a tune for 50 years.

I suspect that my dyslexia played some part in it - when the round notes dance up and down on the stave there is no chance of sight reading.

The shapes pin the notes to their places for me, and then I have only to work out the rhythm (does that work really have no vowels?)

I vaguely remember chanting ta ah ta in music lessons, but also recall that I had no idea of why - perhaps I should now find out what it was all about.

31 Aug 07 - 05:18 PM (#2137933)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: folk1e

There was a drumming act on at Bridgenorth 4? years ago where one of the drummers was telling a tale about "takling" the drum sequence over the phone. He was using the Indian 3 drum system and when he "talked" the patern it sounded musical in its own right.
Unfortunately that is all I have herd about it.
Awsome drumming though!

31 Aug 07 - 05:29 PM (#2137949)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

Trilok Gurtu used to do that (talking drum sequences) as part of some tunes when he was playing with John McLaughlin (who also joined in).


01 Sep 07 - 01:40 PM (#2138437)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: OldPossum

There is also this link: Dolmetsch Online - the page may take some time to load. Scroll to the end of the page to find the chapter on "Rhythm Syllables". In Dolmetsch Chapter 1 there is also a lot of stuff about note names, with many links for further reading.

01 Sep 07 - 03:35 PM (#2138505)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: Stringsinger

Some use a arabic numerical system to identify the placement of notes. You can learn to sing numbers. I think this is helpful when constructing chords as well as remembering melodies. A basic form of this is how they show children to tap out numbered bells which can be applied to keyboard identification.

In place of writing notes on a staff to learn a new tune, I use arabic numbers attached to rhythmic symbols if I don't have time to scribble out five lines of a musical staff.

I assume that the question is about learning to internalize music by hearing it and identifying what is heard.

Frank Hamilton

02 Sep 07 - 11:33 AM (#2138882)
Subject: RE: phonetic music system
From: Marje

Wow, yes, s&r, I remember the "Modulator" - our teacher (when we were about 8) used to point to different notes with a stick and we had to sing them in sequence. We also learned the "ta, ta-teh" system of voicing the rhythms.
By the time we were 10 our teacher had us sight-reading simple tunes like hymns from staff notation. I still find tonic sol-fa a useful short cut for learning or memorising tunes, notes or intervals. Pity they don't teach it now.