solmization

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n solmization singing using solfa syllables to denote the notes of the scale of C major
    • n solmization a system of naming the notes of a musical scale by syllables instead of letters
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Solmization (Mus) The act of sol-faing.☞ This art was practiced by the Greeks; but six of the seven syllables now in use are generally attributed to Guido d' Arezzo, an Italian monk of the eleventh century, who is said to have taken them from the first syllables of the first six lines of the following stanza of a monkish hymn to St. John the Baptist. Ut queant laxisResonare fibrisMira gestorumFamuli tuorumSolve pollutiLabii reatum, Sancte Joannes. Professor Skeat says the name of the seventh note, si, was also formed by him [Guido] from the initials of the two words of the last line; but this is disputed, Littré attributing the first use of it to Anselm of Flanders long afterwards. The syllable do is often substituted for ut.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n solmization 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.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. solmisation, fr. solmiser, to sol-fa; -- called from the musical notes sol, mi,. See Sol-fa