Solfège Bootcamp I: Music before 1600
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Solfège Bootcamp I: Music before 1600



Sven Edward Olbash (c) 2013

Sven Edward Olbash (c) 2013



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Solfège Bootcamp I: Music before 1600 Solfège Bootcamp I: Music before 1600 Presentation Transcript

  • Solfège Bootcamp Music before 1600 © 2013 by Sven Edward Olbash
  • Pitch is vibration. Pitch is measured by frequency and expressed in terms of cps (cycles per second) or Herz. The human ear can differentiate between frequencies ranging from about 20 to 20,000 Hz. What is pitch?
  • Intervals are proportions. Pythagoras and the blacksmith "A famous discovery is attributed to Pythagoras... that the central musical concords (the octave, fifth and fourth) correspond to the whole number ratios 2:1, 3:2 and 4:3 respectively. [...] One story has it that Pythagoras passed by a blacksmith's shop and heard the concords in the sounds of the hammers striking the anvil and then discovered that the sounds made by hammers whose weights are in the ratio 2:1 will be an octave apart, etc." (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
  • Just intonation requires deviation from "absolute" pitch. Equally tempered Third (5:4) Fourth (4:3) Fifth (3:2) G 392.0 B 490.0 C 522.7 D 588.0 A 440.0 D 586.7 E 660.0 B 493.9 E 658.5 C 523.3 E 654.1 F 697.7 G 784.9 D 587.3 G 783.1 A 881.0 E 659.3 A 879.0 B 988.9 Frequency (in Herz)
  • Early notation is used only as a memory aid. The earliest musical notation indicates rhythm and melodic contour, but not exact pitch. It is impossible to learn a song from this notation alone without having someone who knows it teach it to you. Bibliothèque municipale de Laon, Manuscript 239 (9th or 10th century).
  • Guido names the notes of the major hexachord. UT queant laxis REsonare fibris MIra gestorum FAmuli tuorum SOLve polluti LAbii reatum Sancte Ioannes Hymn to St. John the Baptist. Melody attributed to Guido of Arezzo (11th c).
  • Solmization of the Guidonian hand (gamut)
  • Mutation between natural and soft hexachords using a common tone Communion Comedite, 9th or 10th c.
  • The hard and soft hexachords Communion Tollite hostias, 9th or 10th c.
  • Renaissance singers were trained using medieval hexachord solmization. L'homme armé, anonymous 14th or 15th c.
  • The modern convention adds the syllable Ti and changes Ut to Do
  • In the Ward Method, the syllables Do Re Mi are written 1 2 3, etc. with a dot above or below for upper and lower octaves. Sequence Stabat mater dolorosa, 13th c. (Ward notation)
  • Melody is made of pitch and rhythm. In order to arrive at the right note, you have to count. Per illud ave, attr. Josquin Desprez (ed. Laura Conrad © 2000)
  • Two-part exercises or bicinia were an important part of Renaissance vocal training. Oculus non vidit, Orlande de Lassus
  • Singing from partbook format, singers are forced to use their ears to stay together and in tune with other parts.
  • Sing flats as Fa and naturals or sharps as Mi. This sometimes involves imagining a Fa or Mi where there isn't one, resulting in musica ficta.
  • Even in vertical harmonies, chromaticism is still heard in relation to a tenor, real or imagined, throughout the Renaissance period. Carmina Chromatico, Orlande de Lassus
  • As we move toward the Baroque, extended vocal ranges render the hexachord method of solmization less useful. La vita fugge, late Renaissance chanson by André Pevernage
  • The use of modern clefs in recent editions does not necessarily suggest absolute pitch. Transposition is often necessary for a satisfactory performance.