There are Ukrainian refugees in my town and I may have the opportunity to give some guitar or ukulele lessons. Language is going to be a bit of a problem but I expect music to transcend that.

If I draw out the chords what lettering should I use for naming them? European A, B, C, ..., G or do they use their own alphabet?

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    That’s awesome! If you’re teaching complete beginners, of course, you can teach any system from scratch. I have no idea, but my guess is that most users of the Cyrillic alphabet also learn about the Latin alphabet and are more familiar with it than I am with theirs, but if not, teaching the letters along with the chords could also be a very useful lesson! Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 13:10
  • Absolutely a laudable idea! However, since there's a fair possibility those potential guitarists will be in your country for a good while, and have far more access to the more standard nomenclature, thus see it and use it more often, they'd benefit more from you using the standard A B C. Just a thought.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


It is really only in European countries where Germanic languages (German, Dutch, English, ...) are spoken, that the A-G or A-H letter system is common. Other countries, including Russia and I assume also Ukraine, use fixed-do solmization in formal music education.

I see a lot of sources online where Russian or Ukrainian is mixed with Latin-script note names, so it's possible that Ukrainians will recognize "do, re mi, ...". Sources that use Cyrillic script have these names, which seem to be phonetic versions of French solmization:

do      до
re      ре
mi      ми
fa      фа
sol     соль
la      ля
si      си

flat    бемоль     (bémol)
sharp   диез       (dièse)

minor   минор
major   мажор

So a key or chord would be named e.g. "фа-диез минор" (see Wikipedia). I don't know whether there is a standard way of simplifying or abbreviating these.

Younger people may of course have watched English or German-language music lessons on YouTube, or looked for sheet music or tabs online, and may be familiar with "Em" and "F#" and "Bsus4".

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    Your assumption about Ukraine using solmization is correct, according to Wikipedia at least: "In ... Ukrainian, ... the note names are do–re–mi–fa–sol–la–si rather than C–D–E–F–G–A–B. " en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_note Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 4:37
  • I always regarded do-re-me as being relative to the tonic or root note of the key being used. In English we wouldn't say "in the key of la". Do they, in fact, do that in Ukraine? How would you sing "Doe, a dear" (Sound of Music) in the key of D?
    – Transistor
    Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 6:26
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    @Transistor - you'd probably sing 'Doe, oh dear!' But, fixed do is always C in fixed do language. In one band, I'm asked to play 'si bemol' (Bb) to get the horns in tune.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 9:18

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