Why we use Solfege and Du-da-di
Updated: Oct 4, 2022
Even a parent who is familiar with music language will find a new musical language spoken in our studio. A language filled with du’s, di’s, do’s, and so’s. Today I wanted to explain why we use this language instead of traditional numbers and letters!
First the do’s and so’s.
Anyone who has seen “The Sound of Music” is familiar with "do re mi fa so la ti do", also known as solfège, that part is not so unfamiliar. But why do we use it instead of note names? Here’s why. “Do” can begin on any pitch or note. By using the solfege language we allow the ear to hear and the eye to see the intervals without limiting it to a certain location on the keyboard. When a musician reads music, they don’t mentally think of note names for their fingers to play, they look at the intervals to easily read what the music will sound like, which is what we are teaching our students using solfege. Our keyboard students become very comfortable and familiar with being able to play anywhere on the keyboard and in any key right from the very beginning because “do” lets them start anywhere! There is a time and place for knowing that a specific note on a specific line or space plays a specific key on the keyboard and we teach that too, but in the beginning—we start with “do”.
Now, what about “du-da-di”?
This is a way of counting with syllables instead of with numbers. Besides the fact that in the beginning of learning, there are so many numbers (page number, finger number, line/space numbers, intervals…), most young children don’t yet understand the math behind subdividing the counts. Chanting with the syllables allows children to naturally use a musical and rhythmic tone in their voice and more importantly, they are able to securely internalize and feel the rhythms. Not only are students able to sing and play more complex rhythms early on in a musically rhythmic
way, which is more fun, they also develop a stronger sense of steady beat and rhythm, so that when we teach how to count with numbers all the student needs to do is put numbers to the rhythms they already know.
As you attend parent time with your child and participate in some of their assignments, this new
language won’t feel so foreign and it might even unlock some musical understanding for you as well!