The Ward Hymnal of 1918
  • Here is a fascinating resource. It is the Ward Hymnal for first and second year, published in 1918. It has all the main Catholic chant hymns in English and Latin, but don't expect staff lines and notes. Everything in marked in terms of solfege but with numbers 1,2,3, etc. substituting for do, re, mi etc. It makes for excellent pedagogical material but of course it isn't particular useful for congregations. I suspect, however, that some teachers of music in Catholic parishes and schools can still use this resource. I can't really see a case for putting it in print unless there is obvious demand.

  • Stunning. I know this would improve my solfege fast!
  • It can't hurt, Jeffrey, as another resource. One has to remember that scale degrees are still the predominant nomenclature in secondary and collegiate music theory, and that solfege/Kodaly are "specialties" consigned to voice majors in college, or kids (and their teachers) in fortunate elementary music programs.
    I find the "i" interesting as Mrs. Ward's higher octave assignation, I've never seen that. But it was immediately obvious.
    In a way it's akin to shape note cognition. Whatever floats the boat.

    PS, re-read your concerns from the POV of printing. Nah, pdf's reproduced for specific use in any classroom work fine.
    I think that all four of those learning modalities I first mentioned-scale degrees, solfege, Kodaly signs, even shape-notes (which I don't use) should be integrated in good measure into early theory education.
  • I didn't know that. Interesting.
  • Thank you.
  • An "Ah hah" moment, while preparing for faculty meeting-
    This year I have two first grades. First grade is a tough nut because the kids' language skills are varied and, as a class, still not formed uniformly. Howevah, all of them know their numbers and digits, beyond a doubt. I can (and will) use this Ward resource to associate their easy recognition of numbers with pitch and scale degree. (I use computer-aided projection.) Some of them, while learning the melodic movements of scale degrees and intervals, will likely also be "distracted" to noticing the texts, which will not be the principled portion of the lesson objective. However, it can't hurt either, can it? And who knows what may gel by the end of the school year.
    But then imagine, by the 2nd grade, when they encounter Ward's "Story of Redemption" with standard notation as the primary melodic information and could even have the kids process, using scale degree numbers, pitch to number relationships! Whoa, thanks Jeffrey.
  • Because adults with limited musical background intuitively grasp the numerical scale, there is much to be said for using that approach. With a schola I coach made up of such individuals (none could read music when they joined), I always preface their introduction to a particular proper with the Ward excercise in the mode of that proper. (See Appendix III of Marier's 'Gregorian Chant Practicum' for those exercises.) After they have mastered the exercise, I then have the group sing the proper melody using numbers. They immediately see relationships with the modal exercise. Within a very short period of time they've got a command of the proper melody.

    As has been stated in this forum before, the Ward method is at the heart of the educational foundation at the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School. By their second year (sixth grade), these kids can sight read almost anything. Don't be afraid to try it with adults. It works.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Using numbers can be a way to work on sight-singing with solfege-allergic adults. It's also a way to help singers understand that the staff and its black dots, squares, squiggles, etc. are not the be-all and end-all of music.

    I've also found that most adults can count. However, don't go looking for higher arithmetic skills (e.g. splitting the tab in a bar).
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    As I understand the Ward method, though, when you see "1" you say "Do."
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,636
    When I was in college, all our sight singing materials had numbers rather than solfege syllables. We were told solfege was old-fashioned and no one used it any more. The supposed advantage was that the numbers were better for teaching the intervals.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Had a chance to download this, and I must say - it's totally rad not only as a tool for teaching solfege but as an excellent primer of core hymnody and ordinary chants. I will probably add one of these to my choral warm-ups each week. Although I favor using solfege syllables (from notation or Curwen hand signs), different people learn differently. The more we can say the same thing in different ways, the better to reinforce concepts we are trying to teach.

    So much can be done with these, apart from their obvious pedagogical applications for beginning readers. Try singing them forwards and then backwards. Try taking having choir members take dictation for a phrase or a whole hymn, using the score as an answer key. Try taking a melody like "Adoro te" and singing it as a mensuration canon (i.e. with one section singing quarter notes, and another singing the same melody in half notes, or dotted half notes!). Try singing in two different keys at once. A fourth apart will sound like medieval organum, but what about a minor third? a major second? What about inversion? 1 becomes i, 2 becomes 7, 3 becomes 6 and so on. Then sing both parts at once! All of these techniques would probably be less daunting reading from this notation, which is free from the association of absolute pitch (which might be a challenge using traditional five-line notation).
  • incantu:
    I was unclear in my above post. The Ward method indeed employs solfege syllables (1=D0; 6=LA, etc.). With adults with no musical background, however (and let's remember their brains are not as malleable as those of children), solfege simply doesn't come that easily. The association with numbers on the other hand they get at their first introduction to the system. It would be my hope though that in time even these adults would switch to solfege.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Of course, no reason one has to use the Ward "method" to use this Ward resource. I do tend to avoid numbers myself, since they are also used for counting beats and rhythmic groups. Some people get confused between pitch and rhythm.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I agree with Incantu and
    as Randolph says, Ward method transfer numbers to solfege. (don't sing numbers). If you work with a few solfege names at a time and build up step by step it's not so bad to learn 7 names. (I don't ask my beginning chanters sing the entire chant in solfege. You can always take some portion and work on it, as well as some drills from a few note scale chart. Also I have them sing solfege names at the end of warm-ups, started with first 5 names in a major mode, back and forth. I write them dowm d,r,m,f,s on the board for those who need them. I recently added rest of the sacle and also started to sing re to re and mi to mi just up and down a couple of times on different pitches, so they get used to saying those names and hear the sound of them. Then I can add skips to hear the different intervals.)

    "When you read, you begin with A,B,C
    When you sing, you begin with DO,Re,Mi"-from The SOUND of MUSIC!
    (Isn't Do, re, mi also universal names? (without knowing that they are from latin) Even in Korea we sing do, re mi.)

    I don't SING numbers (too mechanical), neither my schola, whether adults of children.
    But whatever works for your choir.
  • I would like to reiterate-
    Age appropriate use of each of these "systems" all have their benefits, and as students' cognitive skills improve, the comprehension (which marks the value of the system's pedogogy) of each will coalesce. Basically, using any of them is far superior to what passes for normative classroom pedagogy, even in secondary choral classes: listening, repeating by rote.
    For illustration I'll take Mia's example above:
    Our PK,K and 1's are beginning to read, A-Z.
    What they already have in head is number/digit recognition. Guaranteed.
    At that level, not those of the graded Von Trapp brood, is it always and absolutely necessary to infuse another system with another vocabulary? Perhaps yes, perhaps no.
    If you take the example of "Adoro te," the teacher works simply to associate known numbers to assigned pitches. There is no concern with those numbers as "rhythm units" and it necessarily ignores letter/text recognition. If the system works on both ends successfully, students will be able to demonstrate recognition of intervallic relationships, such as scale wise movements versus interval leaps. They should be able to cognitively recognize and vocally demonstrate patterned phrasing and groupings as they encounter new song examples. These associations are the proof of the pudding. As they grade up, then successive systems can correlate and compliment what they've accomplished at the primary levels.
    But those kids who make it to their collegiate freshman theory classes (as music maj/min's) who will recognize G-F1 as a m7 will do better initially if they weren't restricted to a vocabulary diet of "do-te" (G=do.)

    Well, I've taken this too far....somewhat like "I can help, stewardess, I speak jive."
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    In general music classes, we don't usually teach any solfeges or numbers to K, and 1st graders. They sing lots of fun songs and games. Then later develope solfeges from those fun game songs, usually start with indentifying and singing sol ,mi, (and later la). And 'call' and 'response' singing on those notes too. Also this is the time you can build simple conepts such as fast/slow, loud/soft , high/ low (better with whole body movements).
    In Ward Method you can teach them just a bit of head singing in younger ages, (singing on 'Nu' works well) and sing only do, re first (and mi later) with numbers 1 and 2 (and 3) with game type excercises. They also have more fun if you add hand signs. I think they both work very well. (if you can be patient with their progress, be consistent and enjoy while you are working with them.)
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Solfege is not universal. The French still use "ut" and "si" ("ti" is unheard of), and whats more they represent absolute pitch (so-called "fixed" do). If we're talking about chant and polyphony, however, this is contrary to Guidonian theory that was the standard throughout the Medieval period and much of the Renaissance. Germans have their own system, and the American shape note tradition their own. Solesmes did much to standardize solfege, at least as it relates to chant. I'm still baffled when reading music history texts (an article by Mahrt in "Companion to Medieval and Renaissance Music" [I think], for instance) in which pitches of chants are referred to as d,e,f,g etc. Now, I understand the concept of an F-ut or a D-do (if we must, rather than just ut or do), but when you start talking about a g-F or a c-G I get totally lost!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    In Korea, we say 'si' too, but not 'ut.' I'm sure there are variances, and I learned fixed do system too. So sometimes I get confused with tranpositions. I was thinking of just general names who use solfege names.
    How do Germans say?
    Where do you see g-F and c-G? (do these mean sol for F and ut or do for G? I saw some chant books mix up fixed pitch names with movable solfege names.)
    Long time ago, I took some summer music courses in a small music school in Boston (near Harvard), and I was told that Nadia Boulanger taught there. And they followed French practice, using fixed do system. (but used 'do' not 'ut' though). I'm wandering those indications of fixed pitch names in chant books have to do with the French practice, and Solemes wanted to introduce movable system in singing chant?