It is not easy to write a prologue to a work without first building a disciplinary context that situates it. I will try to do it in a concise way before describing the contents that compose it. Solfeggio methods arose in the eighteenth century, at the height of the Enlightenment, at the hands of people associated with the encyclopedic movement. In this period, numerical representations are used as a facilitation system for musical learning, instead of Western notation. However, these are only useful when the material to be studied is simple. In the 20th century, publications for learning solfeggio used Western notation profusely, as the trend was towards a more professional and less dilettante teaching.
In Chile, musical learning texts come mainly from the European tradition, debiting especially from the Paris Conservatory. In this model, the literacy of Western musical notation is established as the axis that articulates the entire musical learning process. The didactic repertoire in the classes that use this model is rigid and self-contained, a training with sound units that acquire significance only within the practice space of the contents practiced, being difficult to extrapolate to other musical contexts (Ibáñez, 2015). Reading and writing music is taught, but this does not necessarily imply an understanding of how musical representations work.
This publication goes beyond the aforementioned definition by Tania Ibáñez, since the material to be learned is not only focused on the difficulties of the content, but also materializes the musical concepts in miniatures of great expressive and didactic capacity. The studies presented exemplify in an artistic and self-contained way the musical concepts of Musical Language, but addressing sounds that are not frequent in music pedagogical publications.
The studies, beyond constituting practice exercises, articulate different contents in various combinations. In the matter of learning, intervals, scales and tonalities are addressed, as well as the main modalities of current music (Ionian and Aeolian). Also the medieval or ecclesiastical modes, arising from the idea that medieval writers had of the sonority of the ancient Greek modes, without written or oral evidence. Likewise, the publication includes exercises on specific scales: major, minor, modal, anhemitonic pentatonic, hexaphone, chromatic and oriental.
In relation to rhythm, the exercises dedicate part of their content to rhythmic phenomena, such as syncopation, offbeat and polyrhythmia. It also includes studies to practice the medieval rhythmic modes that the authors of the 13th century attributed to the metrical feet of Greek lyric (Apel, 1974). 1 This, together with the medieval modes, offers beautiful sounds that are very rare in the manuals of the discipline, so focused on the stability-instability of bimodality.
Perhaps the greatest novelty that this book brings is the online publication of the exercises in their original format (MuseScore format) using a QR code. This allows students who have this free program to edit the exercises: change the accompaniment, the melody, the rhythmic values, the dynamics and the agogic. Students can then adapt the materials to their own learning process, for example, by singing the exercise against an accompaniment (karaoke), slowing down the tempo of the study, or marking and studying difficult passages in a given study. This didactic characteristic makes this publication unique in the market for publications on learning Musical Language. It allows students to engage with the author and evokes Benjamin Franklin's adage: “Tell me and I'll forget.
Show me and maybe I'll remember. Involve me and I'll learn it." I recommend working with this book, as it will allow people who are new to the study of music a quick contact with codes and sounds, thus initiating a process of mental mapping between sounds and representations that will allow a rapid construction of mental images. , essential to carry out cognitive operations for musical ideation and performance.
Jesus Tejada Gimenez
Apel, W. (1974). Harvard Dictionary of Music. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Ibanez, T. (2015). The musical dictation in exercise format or the story of a practice that splits the body. In Isabel Cecilia Martínez, Alejandro Pereira Ghiena, Mónica Valles, Matías Tanco and María Inés Burcet (eds) Book of Abstracts of the 12th Meeting of Cognitive Sciences of Music, 12 (p. 131-137). SACCoM. http://www.saccom.org.ar/actaseccom/2015libroresumenes12ECCOM.pdf Michels, U. (1985). Music Atlas I. Alliance.
1 The names of these modes were known by numerals in their time (from the first to the sixth). Greek names (trochaic, iambic, dactylic, anapestic, spondaic, tribachian) were not used until much later. This does not imply that these rhythmic modes actually corresponded to the feet of Greek lyric (Apel, 1974).