Alternative Systems and the End of the Great Tradition
The chapter provides a brief survey of alternative solmization systems, which arose largely as a result of Protestant attempts to break free from Roman oversight, followed by an account of the rise of French seven-note solfège and its role in the demise of the great tradition. Owing to its simplicity, this “natural way” to solfège turned out to be ideally suited to the needs of a rapidly expanding amateur market, which demanded readily performable sheet music and the ability to read it rather than onerous craft training. It also provided simplified teaching methods and classroom materials for the new public music schools that emerged from the upheavals of the Napoleonic era. The chapter ends with suggestions as to how the solfeggio tradition might once again find a place within a living culture of music making.
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