American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Music The act or a system of using syllables, especially sol-fa syllables, to represent the tones of the scale.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In music, the act, process, or result of using certain syllables to name or represent the tones of the scale, or of a particular series, as the scale of C. The oldest and most important system of solmization is that attributed to Guido d'Arezzo, early in the eleventh century; though this in turn appears to have been suggested by a similar usage among the ancient Greeks. (See
gamut.) The series ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la (derived from the initial syllables of the lines of a hymn to St. John, beginning “Ut queant laxis”) was applied to the tones of each of the hexachords then recognized. (See hexachord.) When a melody exceeded the limits of a single hexachord, a change from one series of syllables to another was made, which was called a mutation or modulation. Early in the sixteenth century, when the modern octave scale became established, the syllable si (probably taken from the initials of the last line of the above hymn) was added for the seventh or leading tone. Somewhat later do was substituted in Italy and Germany for ut, on account of its greater sonority. The series thus formed is still in use, though other systems have been proposed. Such other systems are bocedization (bo, ce, di, ga, lo, ma, ni), also called bobization; bebization (la, be, ce, de, me, fe, ge); and damenization (da, me, ni, po, tu, la, be). In England and America, from before the middle of the seventeenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth, an abbreviated system was used, including only mi, fa, sol, la. The ideal application of solmization involves calling whatever tone is taken as the key-note do, irrespective of its pitch, and adjusting the other syllables accordingly, so that the scale-tones shall always be named by the same syllables respectively, and the various intervals by the same combination of syllables. This system is often called that of the movable do, since the pitch of do is variable. What is called the fixed-do system has also had considerable currency in Italy, France, and England, according to which the tone C is always culled do, D re, E mi, etc., and this too when the pitch of these tones is chromatically altered, the system therefore following the arbitrary features of the keyboard and the staff-notation. This system is regarded by many musicians as contrary to the historic and logical idea of solmization, and its use in England and America is decreasing. The most important special application of solmization in musical study is that of the tonic sol-fa system (which see, under tonic), the syllables of which are doh, ray, me, fah, soh, lah, te. In the movable-do system the sharp of any tone is indicated by a syllable beginning with the same consonant as that of the tone, and using the vowel i: as, di for do♮, fi for fa♮, etc.; and similarly the flat of any tone is indicated by a syllable using the vowel e: as, me for mi , le for la , etc. The minor scale is solmizated in two ways: either beginning with la, and using the same syllables as in the major scale; or beginning with do, and using such modified syllables as may be needed (do, re, me, etc.). The great utility of solmization lies in its offering an abstract vocal notation of musical facts, whereby they may be named, remembered, and studied. Also solmisation, solfamization, solfeggio, and sol-faing.
- n. alternative spelling of solmisation.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Mus.) The act of sol-faing.
- n. a system of naming the notes of a musical scale by syllables instead of letters
- n. singing using solfa syllables to denote the notes of the scale of C major
- French solmisation, from solmiser, to sol-fa : sol, note of the scale (from Medieval Latin; see gamut) + mi, note of the scale (from Medieval Latin; see gamut). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Boethius's gesture might be interpreted as arithmetic counting; however, since his presence points also to the discipline of music, the gesture might allude to the mnemonic finger notation devised by Guido d'Arezzo (ca. 990 – 1050) for solmization. back”
“Gombert was not above occasional solmization puns as on the words ‘ut’ and ‘sol’ in O gloriosa Dei genitrix.”
“From about 1800, singing-school tunebooks bagan to be published in a four-shape system of shaped noteheads corresponding to the then current Elizabethan solfa solmization.”
“He is generally credited with having invented the art of solmization, the introduction of the staff, the use of the hand for teaching intervals, and the introduction of notes.”
“Josquin also paid homage to Duke Ercole in one of his Mass settings; it is built round an eight-note melody derived from the syllables ‘Her-cu-les Dux Fer-ra-ri-e’ ‘Ercole, Duke of Ferrara’, which are translated by assonance of vowels into the solmization syllables re–ut–re–ut–re–la–mi–re.”
“(which were simply a series of notes forming a little melody sung to two or three words), the voice was rarely called upon to progress more than the interval of a sixth, and so this solmization, as the new system was called, was very valuable; for one had only to give the pitch, and _ut_ always meant the keynote, _re_ the second, _mi_ the third, etc., etc. In time”
“Ratisbon, 1725); "De musica tractatus", a very interesting treatise on music, illustrating the great difficulties with which teachers of music were beset in consequence of the complicated system of the hexachord with its solmization and mutation.”
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