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Relative pitch and chromatic intervals

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Joined: August 14th, 2012, 10:10 am

Relative pitch and chromatic intervals

Post by shanoxilt » June 20th, 2017, 10:47 pm

Original post from Reddit.


I'm a composer who's intrigued by the brief overview description of Solresol, and have a few questions as to how its musical representation interacts with more general music theory.

1. The solfege notes "re", "mi", "fa", "so", "la", and "ti" are considered by musicians to be relative intervals from whatever arbitrary note you choose to be "do". If you choose "do" to be "C", then "fa" is "F", but if you choose "do" to be "F" then "fa" is "Bb". Is this true in Solresol as well, or is "do" a fixed absolute pitch? How do you establish where "do" is? If you just start speaking the word "so re so" without establishing the pitch of "do", how do you know it's not the word "la mi la" in another key?

2. The solfege notes used in Solresol do not include the chromatic intervals, only the diatonic ones. The chromatic musical scale goes "do", "di"/"ra", "re", "ri"/"me", "mi", "fa", "fi"/"se", "so", "si"/"le", "la", "li"/"te", "ti". There are two names for each of the ones missing from Solresol because of a musical principle called "enharmonics" -- they can be considered variations of the note on either side ("di" as a variation of "do" sounds the same as "ra" as a variation of "re"), but which one is appropriate depends on musical context. With that in mind, does Solresol allow the speaker to use these chromatic variations interchangeably with the diatonic notes? Can you sing the word "do me so" (which sounds minor) and be understood the same as "do mi so" (which sounds major)? While such a thing would make the language much more musically interesting, I'm not trying to suggest changes to something more than a century old, only to better understand what's already there.

Thank you!

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