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Child Composers in the Old ConservatoriesHow Orphans Became Elite Musicians$
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Robert O. Gjerdingen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190653590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190653590.001.0001

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Solfeggi and the Acquisition of Style

Solfeggi and the Acquisition of Style

(p.99) 8 Solfeggi and the Acquisition of Style
Child Composers in the Old Conservatories

Robert O. Gjerdingen

Oxford University Press

In the old conservatories the equivalent of “music 101” was the class in solfeggio. This was where beginning students learned to read music, to distinguish the sizes of intervals, and to learn scales and arpeggios. Today syllables like “Do, Re, Mi” are connected with scale degrees (steps 1, 2, 3 respectively). This was not the case originally. “Mi,” for example, meant a tone with a whole step below it in the scale and a half step above it. Thus both “E,” “B,” and “F♯” were all “Mi.” Similarly, “F,” “C,” and “B♭” were all “Fa.” The chapter details how this worked and gives examples of lessons in the old style of solfeggio.

Keywords:   Guido of Arezzo, Maria von Trapp, Nicholas Baragwanath, Solfeggi, Solfège

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