A compilation of information about Solresol, the universal musical language

Video on Solresol

Projects using Solresol. Issues in translation may be discussed, but issues inherent to the language should be taken to one of the Linguistic Discussion forums.

My name's Cory, and I run a music theory education channel called 12tone. I'm working on a video about Solresol with another channel and I was wondering if I could get some help from the experts. I have couple questions:

1) Broadly speaking, what's one thing you wish people knew about Solresol? What is it that makes the language so interesting to you?

2) This is a bit more specific: I want to include an example of Solresol at the beginning but I'm having trouble finding resources on grammatical structure. I want to reproduce the sentence "Hey, thanks for having me!" and if I go word for word that appears to be "Simi Solsi Mido Lala Doladore Dore" (I used the word for "invite" instead of "have" because that seemed more accurate to the meaning of the sentence.) but I don't know if those are in the grammatically correct order or if I'm using the tense marking correctly. Most of the resources I've found are just word lists.

3) On that note, how does Solresol handle names? I'd like to include the person's name but I can't find any information on how to do that. I can just leave it out, but it'd be nice to know.

4) Are there any specific resources you'd recommend looking into? I'm reading this English translation of Gajewski's Grammar of Solresol but it seems short and I could definitely use more materials. I'd be especially interested in English translations of Langue Musicale Universelle, all I've been able to find are original French versions. Also any official resources on its history (Especially how it was affected by the banning of sign languages in France) would be great, I don't really want to rely

Thanks for reading, and thanks for any help you can provide!
Hello, and welcome to Sidosi! Sorry for your post getting stuck in the approval queue, but I learned I wasn't getting notified about new posts, and I just fixed that issue.
  1. I think probably the biggest thing is that Solresol isn't just a musical language, and so, as François Sudre himself said, it does not require knowledge in music to learn. Solresol has many common forms, and those can be infinitely expanded on by any system that could represent seven syllables. Representation of accents is nice, and I would certainly consider them required in formal writing, but they're largely unnecessary for basic comprehension.
  2. That sentence seems correct, except perhaps a comma to separate the interjection. Solresol uses SVO word order, and modifiers come after the word they modify. Gajewski's Grammar of Solresol is pretty close to Sudre's original grammar specifications, but there are some differences. Unfortunately, there are no English translations of Sudre's work, and most of my research in that regard has been from roughly translating bits of Sudre's work to English. Sudre's work does go into a lot more detail regarding grammatical considerations.
  3. "Officially", Solresol has a phonetic alphabet to represent proper nouns and names. In practice, the phonetic alphabet is very verbose, and is probably best left to a similar role as Japanese katakana, for representing names and concepts from other languages. What several people have done instead is choose one or two pre-existing Solresol words that describe them, and make that their Solresol name.
  4. I'll start off my saying that all "official" resources are in French. The best resource in English on the history of Solresol is Dr. David Whitwell's La Téléphonie and the Universal Musical Language (the first edition of this book was available as a series of essays, which I have archived on Sidosi, but I can't speak of the differences between the two, because I've only read the book). The book provides English translations of many of the firsthand accounts of Solresol in newspapers and government publishings, as well as Dr. Whitwell's commentary on the events that took place.

    I don't recall reading in Whitwell's book about the impact of the sign language ban, but then again, the only classroom teaching of Solresol that Sudre did was in the early 1800s to a few music students; the rest of his life, he was mostly demonstrating Solresol at exhibitions and presentations to royalty and military leaders, trying to obtain funding for a school.

    For more general, typically "unofficial" resources, I can always recommend the Resources page here on Sidosi. Please follow the instructions in red near the top of the page, as that page is about 5 years old, and I'm currently working on updating it to work better.
Hope this information helps with your video, and sorry again about the delay in approving your post.
Thanks, that's really helpful! In researching this, I came across one more question, if you don't mind: It's my impression that Sudre's original work only went up to four total syllables, and that the rest were left for future students of the language to fill in as needed. Is that correct? I can't find any direct confirmation, and the Prophet of Sound article linked from the Resources page says he went up to 5, but the dictionary here has only spotty coverage of the fifth syllable, implying that it's the result of later work, and Gajewski's book claims it only goes up to 4.