TME Tuesday: Solfege Notation

I'm an old school composer. Most of my compositions are very simple and appear to me when I am not near any of my devices, so I continue to use my solfege for composition. (Interesting, with my spelling suggestions, Microsoft seems to think that "solfege" should really be "golfer." Added solfege to the dictionary to stop that particular recommendation...)

If you are in any place in your music therapy education or career and have no idea what I mean by solfege, I'm curious about how you all learned musical dictation and sight singing in music theory classes. My program used solfege pretty much exclusively for sight singing - we used the moveable "do" and it stuck with me as a convenient system for composition. So, I write all my songs in solfege.

Over the years, this has confused some of my interns. They would go into my card box and pull out a card scan and not see any type of fixed musical notation.
Here are some incomplete cards - no rhythm notation on this card. I do have this in more formal notation - I use my music writing program to put down accurate rhythms!

No fixed notation and just these little letters - some with lines below them. Other examples have lines below them. It makes perfect sense to me, but often requires additional explanation when others look at my cards.

I do this for a simple reason - to make transposition easier for me later on.

When I think in solfege, I can also think in chord figures. This allows me to play the song in any key that is appropriate for my singing voice and, more importantly, for the singing voices of my clients. This simple little song becomes something I can play in C# Major if that's my client's natural key preference. I can also play it in E or C or B-flat if that is needed. A moveable Do system allows me to transpose without thinking about it too much.

Once I put my melodies into a more professional looking format (like my current system, PrintMusic), they move into something that looks more fixed, but my compositions always start in this manner - solfege. 

I currently have about five new songs that need to be notated within the music notation program so I can formalize them and get away from the chicken scratch of my quick notation. They will require some work and time at the computer that I just don't really want to devote at this point.

For now, solfege notation is just fine for those songs. I'll eventually be inclined to sit at the computer and type songs in and then print them in fixed form forever, but it's not going to happen this morning...or tomorrow. 

Off to see if a song about pet habitats comes to me - I tried several things yesterday that just did not really feel right to me, including one batch of phrases that was based on the melody of "Hey There, Delilah." Maybe something will come - maybe not. I'll keep my pencil and my index cards nearby to capture the solfege, just in case!

Happy Tuesday!


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