Solfege and Kodaly hand gestures
  • music123
    Posts: 100
    Hello everyone,

    I was wondering if anyone ever uses the Kodaly hand gestures with their adult (yes, adult) choirs. I had an instructor once who did, and I think it may help us with intonation, since I find myself spending much time trying to perfect half steps versus whole steps. Any tips? Thank you!
  • JL
    Posts: 171
    The Kodaly signs were a huge part of my high school choral education (which is where I learned most of my basic music theory.) I highly recommend their use with an adult choir (assuming you've established a fixed-do regime, or are about to.) It's great for interval training, and also gives your voice a break when you can use the signs instead of yelling, "Tenors! Sing the fifth!" over everything.

    If you can, get a poster with the signs depicted and hang it in the choir room. It's good to have a reminder around, and removes the need to say, "THIS is fa," every week.
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 536
    Aren't they for moveable Do?

    That's the way I was taught to use them, anyhow.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    The Kodaly method is explicitly Moveable Do.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,946
    Back in my younger years, we referred to "moveable Do" (or "moveable Fa") as (sight) transposition. No big deal. I'd be interested to find out just exactly when the term "moveable" Do or Fa was coined.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    Yes. It is often the first time they've seen them, as well.
  • music123
    Posts: 100
    Thank you for the encouragement! One of my summer goals is to actually teach these syllables and gestures to myself. I started out as a pianist/violinist, and I have perfect pitch, so sight singing has never been an issue for me. Consequently, my main exposure to solfege has been The Sound of Music! I found a cute video on youtube going over the diatonic gestures, and I am practicing. (I can almost do "Twinkle Twinkle," but I have to think REALLY HARD!) After I feel comfortable with these I'll investigate the chromatic ones. I will look for a poster. Fortunately my choir has an excellent attitude and will try just about anything.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    You haven't mentioned this, but if you were to need solfeggio for fixed DO, here is the order (Chromatics in parenthesis)

    DO, (PA), RE, (BO), MI, FA, (TU), SOL, (DE), LA, (NO), SI, DO
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    Interesting. I learned: Do, Di, Re, Ri, Mi, Fa, Fi, Sol, Si, La, Li, Ti, Do.
    (Do, Ti, Te, La, Le, Sol, Se, Fa, Mi, Me, Re, Ra, Do)
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    Yes, that's what I learned in college, CCooze. The others that I posted can actually be found in Mancini's treatise "Practical Reflections on the Figurative Art of Singing," which can be downloaded for free on IMSLP.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    I learned CCooze's style as well.

    My son is a violinist with PP and he says that he would not be able to be a choir director b/c he can't figure out how anyone else can sing without knowing the pitch. He wonders how one teaches that.

    I think it is marvellous you are trying Mr. Music!
  • JL
    Posts: 171
    Ack! Of course I meant moveable do. This is what happens when I post stuff after a day at work. Thanks for the catch!
  • JesJes
    Posts: 570
    I use a little bit of hand of guido stuff with my adults.
    https://youtu.be/RlleweQuq14
    Thanked by 1JoeM
  • JoeM
    Posts: 28
    and I think it may help us with intonation, since I find myself spending much time trying to perfect half steps versus whole steps. Any tips?


    Intonation is an aural/listening problem and not visual. Try using an aural anchor or drone and have the choir listen to the resting tone while practicing solfege.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 593
    I don't know, our MD uses solfege but you have to have adults who pay attention. I think the effectiveness of solfege wares off after a certain age or time of night. Also, pronouncing do, re, me... to learn the pitches/intonation is very different than pronouncing for example, I am the bread of life, the consonants are not the same. If the MD is also the one playing the piano or organ it's kind of hard to be giving hand signals, a head nod is better...again if they're watching. Our particular choir - organ setting/arrangement is not conducive to seeing the MD at all times so my comments might be particular to us.
  • bonniebede
    Posts: 756
    I like Ward hand signs because the give a physical cue to pitch. I find for children whose these, they only need them for a short time, but they remain useful for working out a new melody, of learning a jump they have not used before,
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,063
    Intonation is an aural/listening problem and not visual.
    People have different ways of learning, thinking, and understanding. Musical notation is inherently visual. I have a kinaesthetic approach, even to mathematics (in which I have my MSc). So I find it much easier to pick out a tune on a keyboard (or even a recorder) than to pitch my voice correctly. I have never been taught the Kodaly hand gestures, so I can't comment. One of our choir directors used them, but never explained, and I think it was for her own benefit as much as ours!
    If they're watching
    Yes pity us, one eye on the tune (Bass line), one on the words (printed at the bottom of the page in the hymn book), one on the conductor, ...
    Thanked by 1Don9of11