Everyone can enjoy and benefit from singing. This form of music-making is the most basic instrument we can “play.” You can improve your singing experience with a powerful tool: Solfa. Familiarizing yourself with this system will provide the opportunity for musical understanding at the deepest level.

What is Solfa?

Tonic – or relative – Solfa is a method of learning and reading music. It’s attributed to the 11th century Italian monk, Guido D’Arezzo, who used the initial tones of “ Hymn to St. John” as a device to train singers. This technique uses seven note names for a scale (“DO,” “RE,” “MI,” “FA,” “SO,” “LA” and “TI”), with a hand signal for each syllable. “DO” is considered to be the “key note” (also known as “tonal center” or “base”) in all major keys. “LA” is considered to be the key note in all minor keys. Because Solfa focuses the attention on pitch relationships and functions within a tonal system, it is an excellent way to train the musical ear for real musical tasks like playing by ear and improvising.

Why do you need Solfa?

1. Simplicity

The Solfa method is simple and provides a basic scale that uses just seven “notes.” These “notes” can be set to any major or minor key. Solfa also creates an easier way to learn scales. Historically, Solfa made the experience of music available to rich and poor alike. In the UK, it allowed factory workers and miners to quickly learn a strong basis for choral works. It has also been a great tool for young children and other musicians that don’t fully understand how to read sheet music.

2. Improve the quality of vocal pitching

Solfa enables singers to better learn pitch relationships, or the spaces between the notes of a scale. The consistent use of Solfa syllables facilitates memorization and helps the mind to recall the exact distance between intervals with greater ease. By practicing with Solfa patterns, singers improve their ability to pitch every note accurately.

3. Greater understanding of music

For younger students, Solfa is a good introduction to stave notation (or staff music). They can make more rapid progress than if they start with the musical staff alone.

Pairing hand signals and singing helps you to physically understand the differences of high and low pitch. You start to see that every song follows the same patterns. As you become aware of those patterns, you can perfect them. Although it’s particularly effective for children, the greater understanding which Solfa brings is a major asset for adult musicians too.


Everyone can sing and achieve good results with regular practice. Auditory and visual learners, in particular, can benefit from Solfa. Solfa is great for learning and is readily accessible to everyone. It’s an excellent way to help you develop harmonic hearing and gain a better sense of the note relationships in a song.

What do you think of Solfa? Would you give it a try? Do you want to improve your sense of relative pitch? Share your ideas in the comments below!

If you’d like to learn more about Solfa check out this free solfa course from Easy Ear Training, creators of Musical U.

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