A young piano student has been learning the letter-based note names: A B C, etc. He also has been exposed to fixed Do: Do Re Mi, etc.

Meanwhile, a family member taught him the sargam syllables for the A minor scale, which he has practiced diligently.

At this basic level, can sargam be used alongside the other systems, or are there irreconcilable conflicts between them?

  • Can't see why that would be a problem. As musicians, we get exposed to different notation and solfeggio standards anyway, and the younger one is when that happens, the better, in my opinion. I'd ask the student if it confuses them in any way, and if it doesn't, then no harm done.
    – Pyromonk
    Nov 28, 2020 at 22:47
  • A brief update some months later: my experience thus far — my limited experience thus far — is that for a beginning student, one not to deeply introduced to one system or the other, the interchange is just fine. The complications would arise more for a student more substantially educated in some of the concepts that don't translate between Western and Indian musical systems.
    – Aaron
    Apr 21, 2022 at 21:08

2 Answers 2



As a teacher, it is best to use one note system at first, especially at young ages (under 9 years). Once a student has shown mastery of a notation method, then would be the best time to introduce a new system. However, if a student is learning two different solfeggio standards at the same time, it shouldn't be a problem as long as the teacher makes it clear that these two systems are both correct and they are both used to identify notes. Recently, with a student of mine, I used the comparison between different languages: cake, pastel, and gâteau all mean the same thing, there are just different ways to say it based on the system you are using. Hope this helps!

Jackie L

  • 1
    Much appreciated. Could you clarify in your answer whether you are speaking specifically of sargam? As written, your familiarity or experience with it isn't clear.
    – Aaron
    Mar 22, 2022 at 17:14

My experience is that there is no conflict for a beginning level student. For the beginning student who has learned the sargam syllables but has not been introduced to the variations in pitch that occur within different applications of sargam, it's just fine — the syllables are just another set of syllables.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.