The Madness of Our Methods: Part Four: The Tools of the Trade

Methodologies have tools that they use. These tools fit with their philosophy and, more importantly, they work. The basic tools of Kodaly Method are:

  1. Solfege (do-re-mi, etc.)
  2. Rhythm Syllables (ta, ti-ti, etc.)
  3. Absolute Note Names (A, B, C, etc.)

Kodaly method uses these three things to to train the ear and teach elements of elements of theory.

Training the Ear

It is important to train the ear. All musicians need to be able to recognize what they hear. The use of solfege helps them to hear differences in pitch (highness or lowness of sound). The use of rhythm syllables allows them to hear duration (shortness or longness of sound). I know “longness” is not a real word, but it just seems to fit so well in this context.

Training the ear is absolutely crucial to good musicianship. How can the musician tell if they are playing correctly or incorrectly if their ear is not trained?

Teaching Elements of Theory

The basics to reading music on a page start with being able to identify a note, knowing that it needs to be held for a certain amount of time, and played on a certain frequency. Is that note an “A”, a “B,” a “C,” etc.? An “A” on the treble staff is played at 440 hz.

Solfege is used to help musicians know scales. We will get into these later. Music written on a page will almost always be written using scales.

Rhythm syllables will help the musicians read notes and know how long the notes are supposed to be played.

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