solmization

/sol'meuh zay"sheuhn, sohl'-/, n. Music.
the act, process, or system of using certain syllables, esp. the sol-fa syllables, to represent the tones of the scale.
[1720-30; < F solmisation, equiv. to solmis(er) (sol SOL1 + mi MI + -iser -IZE) + -ation -ATION]

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System of designating musical notes by syllable names.

It may have been invented by the 11th-century Italian monk Guido d'Arezzo when training his cathedral singers. The syllables
ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la
were derived from the first syllables of the lines of a hymn, each phrase of which began one note higher than the previous phrase. This six-note series, or hexachord, facilitated the sight-reading of music by allowing the singer always to associate a given musical interval with any two syllables. The syllables are still in use, though ut is usually replaced by the more singable do, and ti or si has been added for the seventh scale degree. Compare shape-note singing.

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music
      system of designating musical (musical notation) notes by syllable names. A well-developed solmization system exists in the music of India, using the syllables ṣa, ṛi, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni; and similar systems occur in, for example, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and ancient Greek music.

      The system that predominates in European music was introduced by an 11th-century Italian monk, Guido of Arezzo (Guido d'Arezzo), who derived it from a Latin hymn, “Ut queant laxis,” the first six lines of which begin on successively higher notes of the scale. Taking the syllables sung on the first note of each line, he arrived at the series ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la. This six-note series, or hexachord (q.v.), facilitated the sight-reading of music by allowing the singer always to associate a given musical interval with any two syllables. For example, mi-fa was always a semitone, no matter how high or low the two pitches were sung. By mutating, or switching from one hexachord (say, beginning on C) to an overlapping one (say, beginning on F), the singer could always place the syllables mi-fa on any half step in the music.

      Changing musical styles at the end of the 16th century made mutation necessary too often to be practical. During the 17th century, an adaptation of the system to the seven-note major and minor scales was introduced in France, the syllable si (later ti in some countries) being added for the seventh note. During that century also, the syllable ut was replaced by do, considered more singable.

      Two modern uses of the solmization syllables subsequently developed. In France, Italy, and Spain the syllables became attached to fixed pitches (fixed-do system): do meaning C; re, D; mi, E; fa, F; sol, G; la, A; and si, B. Elsewhere a movable-do system prevailed, in which do always represented the first pitch of the major scale (thus allowing the singer to associate syllable names with given intervals, as in the old hexachord system).

      Various systems of teaching singing and sight reading based on the movable-do system were devised, the most prominent being tonic sol-fa, developed about 1850 in England by John Curwen. Tonic sol-fa emphasizes the relation of the notes to one another and to the tonic, or key note (do in major scales, la in minor scales). If the key changes, do (or la) shifts to a new pitch (similar to the old practice of mutation). A special notation using the initial letters of each syllable is utilized.

      In England and America in the 18th century, a four-syllable system was common, in which the major scale was sung fa-sol-la-fa-sol-la-mi-(fa). Often called fasola, it survives in some areas of the United States. See shape-note hymnal.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Solmization — is a system of attributing a distinct syllable to each note in a musical scale. Various forms of solmization are in use and have been used throughout the world.In Europe and North America, solfège is the convention used most often. The seven… …   Wikipedia

  • Solmization — Sol mi*za tion, n. [F. solmisation, fr. solmiser to sol fa; called from the musical notes sol, mi. See {Sol fa}.] (Mus.) The act of sol faing. [Written also {solmisation}.] [1913 Webster] Note: This art was practiced by the Greeks; but six of the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • solmization — (also solmisation) ► NOUN Music ▪ a system of associating each note of a scale with a particular syllable (typically the sequence doh, ray, me, fah, so, la, te), especially to teach singing. ORIGIN French, from sol «soh» + mi (see ME(Cf. ↑me)) …   English terms dictionary

  • solmization — [säl΄mi zā′shən] n. [Fr solmisation < solmiser, to sol fa < sol + mi: see GAMUT] the system or practice of identifying musical tones by syllables: often used as an aid in teaching music …   English World dictionary

  • solmization — solmisatio лат. [сольмиза/цио] solmisation фр. [сольмизасьо/н] Solmisation нем. [сольмизацио/н] solmisazione ит. [сольмизацио/нэ] solmization англ. [солмизэ/йшн] сольмизация …   Словарь иностранных музыкальных терминов

  • solmization — noun Etymology: French solmisation, from solmiser to sol fa, from sol (from Medieval Latin) + miles (from Medieval Latin) + iser ize Date: 1730 the act, practice, or system of using syllables to denote the tones of a musical scale …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • solmization — or solmisation ˌsɒlmɪ zeɪʃ(ə)n noun Music a system of associating each note of a scale with a particular syllable (typically the sequence doh, ray, me, fah, so, la, te), especially to teach singing. Derivatives solmizate verb Origin C18: from Fr …   English new terms dictionary

  • solmization — sol·mi·za·tion …   English syllables

  • solmization — sol•mi•za•tion [[t]ˌsɒl məˈzeɪ ʃən, ˌsoʊl [/t]] n. mad the act, process, or system of using syllables to represent the tones of a musical scale • Etymology: 1720–30; < F solmisation=solmis(er) < sol sol I+mi mi+ iser ize …   From formal English to slang

  • solmization — n. Mus. a system of associating each note of a scale with a particular syllable, now usu. doh ray me fah soh lah te, with doh as C in the fixed doh system and as the keynote in the movable doh or tonic sol fa system. Derivatives: solmizate v.intr …   Useful english dictionary

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