“How Do You Know What The Notes Are”?

From time to time as I am writing a melody on the board that I want my students to play or sing, they will notice that I am not looking at music, and that I am singing quietly to myself (though apparently loud enough for them to notice) as I write. They are fascinated by … Continue reading “How Do You Know What The Notes Are”?

What Solfege Is, And What It Is Not

The use of solfege syllables in teaching singing and music reading is one of those things that music educators cannot seem to come to a consensus on. some use solfege, some do not. some prefer to use letter names, some numbers, some no note names at all, just a neutral syllable. Some try using solfege, … Continue reading What Solfege Is, And What It Is Not

A Tale of Two Temperings

In our well-tempered musical culture, all musical keys tend to sound the same, except for being higher or lower. Yet throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, composers enjoyed the rich and expressive variety in the way different keys sounded. Rousseau described D major as being suited for “gaiety or brilliance,” Schumann spoke of C major … Continue reading A Tale of Two Temperings

Teaching Antecedent and Consequent Phrase Structure in Music

One of the musical structures we must teach our students is that of phrasing, or what Lerdahl & Jackendoff refer to as grouping. Basic to musical phrases is the concept of antecedent and consequent phrases. Antecedent phrases are complete phrases that end on a pitch of relative instability or tension, resulting in the listener expecting … Continue reading Teaching Antecedent and Consequent Phrase Structure in Music

Can Tone and Chord Functions Be Taught With Fixed Do?

When it comes to choosing a system of syllables to sing for teaching ear training and sight singing, there seems to be a consensus that moveable do, sometimes called functional solfege, is needed for teaching chord and tone functions. To be sure, moving do to wherever the tonic is does help a singer remember where … Continue reading Can Tone and Chord Functions Be Taught With Fixed Do?