Learning solfeggio is not enough to simply pick up a classical guitar and start imitating the sounds that the professionals make. Solfege is a practice that takes time and effort but, with good information and different forms of study, it can take less time to understand and apply.
Anyone just starting out in music and seeing the complex notes on the staff might freak out. The combination of symbols, lines and sometimes letters can seem like a complicated language almost impossible to understand for many; however, it really isn’t that hard to understand when you slowly but steadily try to understand.
Music theory may seem impossible at first, but don’t stop pursuing your artistic dreams. You will see how musical reading will become easier as you practice solfeggio.
What is the solfeggio method?
This is a training method that allows students to understand the musical score using the voice and other rhythmic elements. This, in addition to helping to identify the music to read, will make the process faster, allowing the musician to follow a composition without knowing it just by reading the staff.
In the basic music theory, the musical notes will be sung respecting the scale used in the instrument to be learned, assimilating the durations of the notes, the tempo and other things considered based on musical theory.
What types of solfeggio exist?
There are two types of solfege and two keys in which the solfeggio is read. Its name tells us something about the latter, since “Sol” refers to the treble clef and “Ugly” refers to the bass clef, these are considered the main keys in music.
The reason behind this is because the treble clef is best suited to instruments with a higher range, while the bass clef, on the other hand, is suited to instruments with a lower or lower range.
On the other hand, regardless of the key you are using, there are two branches of solfeggio that you need to study if you want to understand even a simple score. These types are: spoken and sung.
1) Spoken Solfeggio:
The objective of this solfeggio is to train people to identify the rhythmic values of a composition. That is, black, white, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, regular and irregular groupings, musical alterations, among other things.
In addition, it will allow people to locate the musical notes on the staff. That way you won’t have to stop and think a lot when reading the scores. In the same way, you will be ready to understand the symbols that give information about the nuances of speed and volume, the accents, the dynamics of prolongation, among other things.
2) Solfeggio sung:
When talking about music theory for children, they usually refer to this type, because before teaching the theory to the little ones, they begin to train their ears and musical intonations. However, this solfeggio is necessary for adults as well.
Someone trained in singing solfeggio can recognize a score and listen to it in his mind, without instruments. This is especially important for musicians who dream of being songwriters.
Something that differentiates this solfeggio from the spoken one is that, although you mentally identify the musical alterations as sharps and flats, they should not be sung. That is why it is so important to complement both solfèges, since the two types train the mind in different ways.
Movable C vs Fixed C
When solfeggio in the treble clef there are two ways in which you can find the C on the staff. Fixed, always below the last line of the staff, or movable, which means that the C moves to the height of the treble clef.
Depending on the country, different methods are used, however, it is always recommended to solfege with fixed C, as this will make reading guitar scores or any other instrument easier due to the quick location on the staff.
I already know how to solfeg, now can I play any instrument?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Having a solid foundation of music theory knowledge can help you quickly learn any instrument. However, it does not mean that now you can read all the scores that exist in the world.
If you think you know how to read drum sheet music because you can recognize easy piano sheet music, you’re in for a nasty surprise when you start to see the symbols that identify the different hi-hats and how height represents the drum you’ll be using.
For that reason, if you want to learn a specific instrument in its entirety, you must dedicate yourself completely to understanding that instrument. Afterwards, you will be able to take care of the others by following the specific organizational systems for each one of them.
Can I learn music theory by myself?
Yes you could do it, but in addition to being very difficult, it is not recommended. The reason behind this is because it is easier to learn wrong information and you will not have an expert who can correct you.
It is always a better option to attend a solfeggio course to be able to correctly learn everything you need. However, this can be supplemented with sheet music reading exercises, such as using different colors to identify musical notes to make future identification easier.
Likewise, there are also solfeggio exercises for spoken and sung beginners. For example, in conservatories, children often learn the diatonic musical scale by singing the popular “Smiles and Tears” song, called “Do-Re-Mi”. Associating musical notes with words and simultaneously identifying them in the sheet music is a great way to become familiar with sounds in written form.
To finish and continue practicing at home, it is not a bad idea to have a book on solfeggio theory or self-study methods to be able to reinforce what you learn in class. In online bookstores it is possible to find several quality alternatives.
How to teach solfeggio to children?
The little ones tend to approach learning in a different way from adults, therefore, knowledge must always come in a dynamic way and with games.
On the other hand, remember that, like languages, children first acquire the ability to listen and imitate, while their last skills are those of reading and writing. Solfeggio sung will always be the best option for them and, as they get older, then simple scores can be introduced to begin with.
The key is to get kids to love music, so don’t push them. Join them in singing the musical notes, let them rest for a certain period to play with their Playmobil castles or dolls, and let them come back to clap their hands to the rhythm of the music. You will see that, in a short time, they will develop their musical sense.