The Three Systems of Solfege

Fixed Do

One system is called “Fixed Do” (meaning that the note “C” is always Do) is based on the syllables: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, and Ti. These seven syllables represent both natural and chromatic notes. Thus each syllable represents five different notes: the natural, its sharp and double sharp, and its flat and double flat. Double sharps and double flats sometimes occur in the study of music theory but are rarely used in guitar music.

Movable Do

A second system is called “Movable Do.” In this system the tonic or key center is always Do. Thus, Do is relocated to conform to each key change throughout a piece.  Obviously this presents formidable problems in music that contains frequent key changes or has no key center. This system is used mainly in teaching sight-singing but serves no practical purpose in learning to play an instrument.

The Fixed-Do Chromatic Syllable System

The Fixed-Do Chromatic Syllable System has proven to be a highly effective system of vocalization for learning to play the guitar. In this system, the note C is always Do and each note (including each sharp and flat) has a distinct and permanent name.

The following table is intended to serve as references for names and pronunciation only. The names of the sharps and flats are best learned progressively through application as they appear in the pieces found in the text.

Ascending with sharps
Letter
Syllable
Pronounce
C
Do
doh
C#
Di
dee
D
Re
ray
D#
Ri
ree
E
Mi
mee
F
Fa
fah
F#
Fi
fee
G
So
soh
G#
Si
see
A
La
lah
A#
Li
lee
B
Ti
tee
Descending with flats
Letter
Syllable
Pronounce
C
Do
doh
B
Ti
tee
Bb
Te
tay
A
La
lah
Ab
Le
lay
G
So
soh
Gb
Se
say
F
Fa
fah
E
Mi
mee
Eb
Me
may
D
Re
ray
Db
Ra
rah

Cb  and  Fb  are pronounced with the usual “ay”: Day and Fay. Double flats are pronounced with an “awe”; Taw, Law, etc.

……..Aaron Shearer