C major solfege is a skill that all vocalists need to know. Mastering C major solfege will help you learn the major scales but also get to grips with what notes you are really singing.
In this article, we will explore what C major solfege is, how to apply it to your daily routine and how to apply solfege to other scales.
Table of Contents
- What is Solfege?
- C Major Scale Solfege
- Ways to Remember Solfege
- What Note Is Do in C Major
- Scale Degree Names
- The C Major Scale Is Easy to Learn When Using Solfege
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is Solfege?
If you are new to music theory then you most likely won’t know what solfege is or why you need to know it. Solfege is a teaching technique/musical system where every note in the scale is matched with a memorable syllable. Every time you need to sing a specific note of the scale you can sing the syllable to find your place.
Most major and minor western musical scales have 7 notes and therefore fit the number of syllables in solfege perfectly. The syllable when sung matches the raised pitches that are in both harmonic and natural minor scales.
The syllables that are used in solfege are do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and ti. The most common scale that is paired with these syllables is the C major scale.
Here is how to pronounce and sing each of the syllables:
- Do: Do can be sung as doh
- Re: Re can be sung as ray
- Mi: Mi can be sung as me
- Fa: Fa can be sung as far
- So: So can be sung as so
- La: la can be sung as la
- Ti: Ti can be sung as tay
The solfege system was originally invented by theorist Guido D’Arezzo back in the 11th century as a way to teach singers melodies. The solfege system was very helpful for singers who did not have access to notation or were not able to read music. The solfege system remains one of the most useful tools used by vocal coaches to teach beginner vocalists how to sight-read and learn melodies.
C Major Scale Solfege
The C major scale is the scale that is most associated with solfege, especially when teaching solfege to others. There are two types of solfege which involve a movable ‘do’ and a fixed ‘do’. In order to understand these concepts, you will need to know how the C major scales work with solfege. The solfege for C major represents these notes:
- Do: Do is the note C in the C major scale
- Re: Re is the note D in the C major scale
- Mi: Mi is the note E in the C major scale
- Fa: Fa is the note F in the C major scale
- So: So is the note G in the C major scale
- La: La is the note A in the C major scale
- Ti: Ti is the note B in the C major scale
- Do: Do is the note C in the C major scale
Why Is C Major the Chosen Scale?
The C major scale is a scale that contains no sharps, is flat, and is based on the middle C of the keyboard. The middle C on the keyboard is the home note and therefore, the note that is best suited as the tonic for solfege.
Ways to Remember Solfege
If solfege is a new thing to you and you are just getting started with musical theory then you will need some different techniques to practice in order to memorize and understand solfege. Here is a list of ways you can remember solfege:
The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is a musical film that was released in 1965 and originally based on a musical theater production. The film features the famous Julie Andrews who plays the leading role. The Sound of Music has produced many famous and memorable songs, including ‘Do Re Mi’.
In the film, Maria, who is played by Julie Andrews teaches the children that she is helping to nanny what solfege is and how they can remember it by song. This song is known across the world and is one of the best ways to learn what solfege is and remember it.
Here is the lyrics to the famous Sound of music ‘Do re mi’ song to help you remember your solfege:
When you read, you begin with A-B-C
When you sing, you begin with Do-Re-MiDo-Re-MiDo-Re-Mi
The first three notes just happen to be
Do, a deer, a female deer
Re, a drop of golden sun
Mi, a name, I call myself
Fa, a long, long way to run
So, a needle pulling thread
La, a note to follow So
Ti, a drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to Do
Practice Solfege Regularly
If you are a beginner at solfege, it is best to make solfege exercises a part of your daily routine. This can help you learn solfege and remember solfege in different keys. The exercises associated with solfege do not need to be difficult to be effective. To start practicing solfege as part of your daily routine, start singing solfege in a few of your chosen keys such as C major and A major.
Split Your Time Between Exercises And Sight Reading
Solfege can not only help you with correct pitching but can also help you with sight-reading. Therefore, splitting your time between vocal exercises and sight-reading will be helpful. Practicing solfege exercises can help you memorize what notes the solfege stands for but practicing sight-singing with the material you are not used to will help you apply your solfege knowledge.
To begin with, you may not get it right but with every mistake, you will be able to memorize more.
What Note Is Do in C Major
In solfege, do is always the beginning note that is known as the tonic. Therefore, if you are looking at solfege in a particular scale, the ‘do’ will always be the note that makes the scale. For example in A major the ‘do’ will be A whereas in B major the ‘do’ will be B.
C major is the most common scale people use for solfege and the ‘do’ is the scale is C. ‘Do’ in C major will always be C and if you are working within the key of C, do can be middle C or an octave above or below.
What Is a Fixed Do?
In some countries, solfege is taught as ‘fixed do’. This means that fixed-do solfege works slightly differently than how I have explained above. In fixed-do solfege, the ‘do, re, me, fa, so la, ti’ will always be sung as the notes that are based on the C major scale. For example, in fixed-do, the ‘do’ will always be sung as a C but can also be sung as a C sharp, C flat, C double sharp, or C double flat.
As long as the ‘do’ is always a C. This method goes for the other sounds too. For example, the ‘re’ will always be sung as a D, D sharp, D flat, D double sharp, or D double flat. No matter what the key or scale, the sounds always stick to their lettered note.
What Is a Movable Do?
A movable do is the type of solfege that I spoke about at the beginning where the ‘do’ will always be the tonic note of the scale. This is slightly easier to remember and more commonly taught. For example, the ‘do’ in D major is always D. The ‘do’ in E minor is always E.
Scale Degree Names
The do re mi song is designed to teach solfege and make sure that it is easily remembered. The idea of solfege is to make sure that as musicians, we can easily identify notes, sequences, and chords. This knowledge of theory can help us when reading music and transcribing music and therefore it is an important skill to be able to have.
Solfege not only helps us sing the correct notes but educates us on scales and placement of notes. Once you have memorized the song, the next step is learning what the scale duress names are and how that can help you.
Knowing scale degree names can be very helpful when you want to either work out a chord or translate a chord to another key signature.
Here is a list of all the scale degree names and how you can remember them by using solfege:
- Do: This is the first note in the sequence, known as the tonic.
- Re: This is the second note in the sequence, known as the supertonic.
- Mi: This is the third note in the sequence, known as the mediant.
- Fa: This is the fourth note in the sequence, known as the subdominant.
- So: This is the fifth note in the sequence, known as the dominant.
- La: This is the sixth note in the sequence, known as the submediant.
- Ti: This is the seventh note in the sequence, known as the leading tone.
- Do: This is the eighth note in the sequence, known as the octave.
The C Major Scale Is Easy to Learn When Using Solfege
If you are a beginner vocalist then solfege may seem overwhelming but it will actually be one of your biggest tools to help you become a professional musician. Solfege can be used to help you learn how to read music and sight-sing as well as train your ear to identify what notes you are singing.
The C major scale is the main scale that is used when solfege is being taught and is a good scale to get to grips with before developing onto other more challenging scales.
Here are more posts on the blog to check out:
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
In solfege the ‘do’ is always the root note or sometimes referred to as the tonic. Therefore in a C major scale the ‘do’ is always C. This could be based on any octave but is normally sung from middle C. The solfege for C major goes like this: Do is the note C, Re is the note D, Mi is the note E, Fa is the note F, So is the note G, La is the note A, Ti is the note B, and Do is the note C.
The solfege for A major is actually very similar to the solfege for C major. The main difference between the two is that the ‘Do’ starts on the root note which is now A. In the A major scales, there are three sharp notes which are C sharp, F sharp, and G sharp guitar chord. The solfege for A major goes like this: Do is the note A, Re is the note B, Mi is the note C sharp, Fa is the note D, So is the note E, La is the note F sharp, Ti is the note G sharp, and Do is the note A.
When someone is referring to C major they could either be referring to the chord or the key/scale. A C major chord is composed of several notes that are played together to create the chord. A C major chord is made up of the note C which is the root note, E, and G. You can play these notes based on any octave on the guitar neck and they will still be referred to as the C major chord. The C major key/scale has no sharps or flats and has a relative minor which is A minor.
The C major scale starts on the home note which is a C. The scale is then followed by the notes D, E, F, G, A, B and then back to C. The C major scale is the easiest to remember as it does not have any sharps or flats.