Tonic Solfa for Brass?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Manx Music Girl, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. Manx Music Girl

    Manx Music Girl New Member


    I'm not a brass musician, but I am working on a large scale music databasing/archiving project on the Isle of Man. I recently found some rare MS bands parts from around 1900-1910, but they are all in tonic solfa - even the original scores.

    Can anyone tell me if it is usual to use solfa for brass music? I was kind of under the impression that it was mainly for singers.

    Any info would be greatly received.

  2. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    First I've ever heard of actual brass parts being written in solfa.

    We have some idiosyncracies in our notation (tubas in treble clef, things like that), but not anything like parts in solfa.

    A full score in solfa must be really hard for the conductor to follow!
  3. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    OK I'll be the one brave enough to say it,

    What the hell is Solfa? I've never heard of it, if someone can enlighten me then that would be great. (And I'm sure I'm not the only one ;) )
  4. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Solfa (or solfege) is a system of writing music using the "do, re, mi" indications instead of the normal staff. It was extensively used in vocal music. For example, the SA vocal publication printed both standard notation and solfa in its Musical Salvationist series up until (if I remember correctly) around 1980.
  5. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I've been going through Fulham's large library, and can say that a lot of sing a long numbers from pre war, and where lyircs are shown on the Solo Cornet Conductorthe tonic solfa notation is shown as well.

    I've not come across n arrangement only in tonic solfa - makes little sense to me.

    Can you post a word file with a scan of an example in?
  6. horn1

    horn1 Member

    Sounds interesting though! Would be good to have a look at!
  7. Manx Music Girl

    Manx Music Girl New Member

    The music we have is all manuscript and comes from one small village band on teh Isle of Man. It includes two exercise books of scores by the arranger and three incomplete sets of parts on little cards and scraps of paper. Solfa was quite prevalent here during the 19th c, and one individual version eveolved specific to the Isle of Man.

    The fact that Solfa is unusual implies that these musicians were not trained by other brass teachers, but probably involved a bit of self teaching, and so solfa was used. We know the arranger could read standard notation as we also have some other compositions by him. This has become quite an intriguing little band. 7 parts only, but were in demand enough to travel all over the Island to perform. We have one living witness to their performances, so I'll speak to her and find out if they were any help.

    Thanks for all you help guys. If you come across anything else you think may be of interest, please contact me.

    Thanks again!
  8. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    Thanks :tup

    Yet again my musical knowledge gets expanded on here!

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