Jump to content


Photo

Sight singing


  • Please log in to reply
33 replies to this topic

#16 musicalmalc

musicalmalc

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 362 posts
  • Member: 516127
    Joined: 06-September 12

Posted 15 February 2019 - 13:15

with apoiogies to Cyrilla, I'm feeling very dim about this

Perhaps I have just been sight-singing for too long using relations between notes that I see on the page plus some basic harmony knowledge.

Once you know where Do is - how do you know it is Do if you can't read the dots? Besides, most music modulates a fair bit, often only for a few bars at a time so if you don't read dots how do you know where Do is when it changes?

 

Maybe I'm overthinking it or have been doing it so long having never been specifically taught sight-singing (I just sort of worked it out somehow and I reckon my sight-singing is well above average) that I don't actually realise exactly what method I'm using


  • 1

#17 Splog

Splog

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3333 posts
  • Member: 460379
    Joined: 20-May 12

Posted 15 February 2019 - 14:42

Musicalmalc, no-one said that people who use solfa can't read dots.

 

The key signature tells you where do is. The last sharp is ti and the last flat is fa. Modulations don't always need a change of do. Solfa can work with accidentals too.

 

A lot of music for singers moves stepwise, or within a chord for much of the time, so you are probably moving within the scale without realising it.

 

In an ABRSM sightsinging test you would be given the key chord and start note. You then know the solfa name of the first note, (it is always a note from the tonic chord).


  • 2

#18 Cyrilla

Cyrilla

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14572 posts
  • Member: 99
    Joined: 09-November 03
  • Croydon, South London/Surrey

Posted 16 February 2019 - 00:23

Kodály students learn to read from both stick notation (rhythm sticks with solfa letters underneath) and from the stave.

 

If a piece really does modulate then you just change the do :).

 

A lot of people, of course, do learn to sight-sing without it.   I just wasn't one of them.

 

:) 


  • 0

#19 Misterioso

Misterioso

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5785 posts
  • Member: 13351
    Joined: 18-July 07
  • Outer Hebrides

Posted 16 February 2019 - 09:59

Solfa really IS the way forward...

 

 

But is it really, ALWAYS? unsure.png I - like some other musicians I am sure - just don't "get" it. I understand the theory behind it, but for me it is much easier to see, for instance, a third or fourth, than to think "that's mi or sol" (I had to think really hard what they both were!)

I had a session on Kodaly once during my Instrumental Teaching course some years back, and even then, with a trained teacher, I didn't change my ways. I know it works for some - possibly even for many, and perhaps definitely if you are starting from scratch, but not ALL, and definitely not for me.

 

hides.gif


  • 0

#20 Splog

Splog

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3333 posts
  • Member: 460379
    Joined: 20-May 12

Posted 16 February 2019 - 10:12

It worked for me because I don't look at the intervals between the notes, I look at the notes with regard to their position in the scale. Before I learned solfa I used scale numbers. I switched to solfa because it was easier to use for minor keys. Then I discovered that there is so much more to it. I can now write down melodies I hear and sing intervals and chord progressions.


  • 2

#21 Cyrilla

Cyrilla

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14572 posts
  • Member: 99
    Joined: 09-November 03
  • Croydon, South London/Surrey

Posted 16 February 2019 - 23:33

Misterioso, I think trying to 'attach' solfa to what you already know is difficult.   If you don't mind me saying so, one session isn't really enough to enable you to 'get' it.

 

Fine if you don't need it.   It is a tool and a technique that aids sight-singing, dictation, understanding of intervals, chords, harmony, scales.  It develops inner hearing and harmonic hearing, and actually helps you to perceive music in quite a different way.   Difficult to describe in words.

 

It is just my humble opinion that we would all be a lot better off if we learned it from a young age.

 

I was such a clod at music that I learned just like children do - purely by the sound initially - then that led to being able to read stick notation and then staff notation.   It's actually much easier to be a clod than to be someone who has already learned all there is to know about music, because I was never 'attaching' solfa to something I could already do.  It ENABLED me to do things that had hitherto been beyond me. 

 

And even if it's something that WE don't need for ourselves, because we can do things through other means, we need to also consider the needs of our students.

 

smile.png


  • 3

#22 Bagpuss

Bagpuss

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3154 posts
  • Member: 371
    Joined: 07-January 04

Posted 17 February 2019 - 08:29

Absolutely one session is not enough! Splog puts it very well. I am lucky in that I've always been able to 'just do' dictation etc. but with Kod training it's akin to learning a foreign language. When I learned French at school, for example, I'd painstakingly try to convert English into French. Hopeless! Once I started THINKING in French I was up and running! It's the same with Kod.

Much as it isn't the only way I do believe that if young kids all learned like it the job of the instrumental teacher would be a whole lot easier!

I only use solfa to teach sight-singing for ABRSM aural requirements - I've adapted my own sneaky way filtering it in to lessons well in advance. Ok, it's a tiny part of an exam but my job is to prepare any candidate to the best of my ability. I'd hate for any pupil going into the exam room feeling they couldn't do any element no matter how small.

Bag x
  • 4

#23 elemimele

elemimele

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 951 posts
  • Member: 895612
    Joined: 17-July 16

Posted 17 February 2019 - 17:22

at risk of sounding as though I'm merely trolling, I can imagine a different world, where different conventions prevailed, where vocalists would be considered as infinitely-transposing instruments. For anyone without perfect pitch, there's really no point in writing a tune in the correct key. Rather than writing the song at the correct pitch, and obliging the vocalist to work out what written note is Do, why not transpose everything into one basic key? In other words, rather than having a fixed-note stave where the 2nd line up with a treble clef is always G, why not use a clef where the 2nd line up is always Soh?

(trolling slightly further: given that all keys in equal temperament sound identical, what's the point anyway, at least for instruments like piano, where all notes of the scale have the same timbre?)

But the world is what it is, and a moveable-solfa provides the singer with a tool to cope when faced with a fixed-pitch stave. I think? Don't know enough really... I'll crawl off and stop pontificating.


  • 0

#24 Banjogirl

Banjogirl

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2538 posts
  • Member: 39509
    Joined: 12-September 08

Posted 17 February 2019 - 17:42

I don't have perfect pitch but in barbershop we regularly change the key of a song. Even if it's only a semitone I then find it much harder to sing from the copy than I would normally. I'm not sure if your idea would make that better or worse! Modulations might be tricky as you wouldn't have the constant presence of a key signature to remind you that it had changed. I think a lot of musicians are actually very aware of absolute pitch without realising it. I always know if the wrong pitch has been blown for a song. I don't necessarily know the key but I know exactly how the correct pitch should sound.

One of my boys has perfect pitch and it didn't half make aurals easier!
  • 1

#25 elemimele

elemimele

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 951 posts
  • Member: 895612
    Joined: 17-July 16

Posted 17 February 2019 - 19:17

yes, you're right of course, there are plenty of sorts of music that derive half their interest from modulations, and they wouldn't respond well to a moveable clef. Also those of us brought up in the era of Hymns Not-quite-so-Ancient and Nearly-Modern (the red covered edition) will have horrible memories of everything being moved into the keys of C, G, and F, with the result that church music became very dull. Even those of us without perfect pitch have pitch-memory (in fact I don't know if it's possible to tell the difference between perfect pitch and very good pitch-memory) - we can remember that our key now is different to what it was 10 minutes ago.

Singers also always know a very wrong pitch because the notes feel different to sing (I have no absolute pitch and a poor pitch memory, but I know if an organ is pitched high when I try to sing hymns). 

Incidentally, on musicians and absolute pitch: there is an interesting side-line on this. Someone, I wish I could remember who, did some tests using Shepard tones. These are notes made by blending a lot of octaves. As you climb the scale, you de-intensify the upper octaves and increase the intensity of the lower octaves, so that by the time you've climbed an octave, you've arrived back at precisely the same mix as you had at the start. It's a bit like a sound version of Escher's staircase. This allows people in YouTube to make cute videos where strange graphics are accompanied by a tone that is always going upwards but never gets anywhere. Shepard tones can also be used in more interesting ways. If you start with a note, and then play the note that is exactly half an octave away, the question is, did it go up, or down? Every note must be higher or lower than another, right? The trouble with this one is that the notes both ways are exactly the same and exactly the same distance.

When tested, it turns out that some people hear it higher, others lower, and it depends on the absolute pitches involved - and on the listener. Americans generally hear it one way, Europeans the other. It doesn't depend on musical experience - total non-musicians still show the effect. This suggests that absolute pitch is inbuilt to humans and not just a feature of a small subgroup of musicians - though quite what it does and how it works is a mystery (and why it's different in Americans and Brits, who have similar genetics and similar culture).

But I still maintain that for most people, singing notes within a relative scale based on a tonic feels a lot more natural than trying to sing notes based on their position on a fixed stave - and I also maintain that any composer who finds themselves in 4 sharps without having got their by valid and innocent means deserves not to be played. Certainly if they think E major has a special magic colour - because to me, it doesn't. I can't tell E major from D major, or C major for that matter.


  • 0

#26 Splog

Splog

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3333 posts
  • Member: 460379
    Joined: 20-May 12

Posted 17 February 2019 - 22:08

smh.... I'm beginning to regret encouraging you elemimele laugh.pnglaugh.png


  • 1

#27 Cyrilla

Cyrilla

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14572 posts
  • Member: 99
    Joined: 09-November 03
  • Croydon, South London/Surrey

Posted 18 February 2019 - 00:02

Elemimele, has Splog tried to persuade you on to a Kodály course yet?

 

Shall I join the queue???

 

I just have a gut feeling that you'd love it...

 

:) 


  • 2

#28 elemimele

elemimele

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 951 posts
  • Member: 895612
    Joined: 17-July 16

Posted 18 February 2019 - 07:52

I'd absolutely love to... I'd learn so much... it's on my as-soon-as-possible-but-realistically-probably-when-I-sort-of-retire list of things that I Absolutely Must Do. So many of us mill around with vague ideas; it'd be lovely to go and learn with people who've thought all this through and know what they're doing.


  • 1

#29 Banjogirl

Banjogirl

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2538 posts
  • Member: 39509
    Joined: 12-September 08

Posted 18 February 2019 - 08:29

When I've learnt a song I can still see the music in my head. If I'm not sure about a bit I can literally look at the music in my head and remind myself. For me this is a great help, and it's something the non-readers don't have, which makes it hard for them to correct their mistakes or remember when a mistake has been corrected. Nor can they remind themselves that a particular internal is, say, a fourth, and sing it that way until it's become automatic. We all drift off our parts sometimes, over time, and it's a lot easier to put it right if you can read music.
  • 0

#30 Splog

Splog

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3333 posts
  • Member: 460379
    Joined: 20-May 12

Posted 18 February 2019 - 11:07

I'd absolutely love to... I'd learn so much... it's on my as-soon-as-possible-but-realistically-probably-when-I-sort-of-retire list of things that I Absolutely Must Do. So many of us mill around with vague ideas; it'd be lovely to go and learn with people who've thought all this through and know what they're doing.

Don't wait till you retire. Do it now while you have the money laugh.png


  • 2