I've been told solfege will help me play a melody by ear and have been learning about it.

One thing that really confuses me, is do I approach it by using intervals to remake the song? For example when hearing a melody, should I hear it go to a minor 3rd up, then a major 3rd up, and so on and so on? Or should I internalize scale degrees and what each one sounds like, for example when I hear notes, I'd know that's the 4th scale degree to 5th scale degree etc?

Also, would I use fixed, or movable do to achieve this?

  • The title mentions "moveable do", but the question regards "intervals". These are two different systems: moveable do is scale-based, but the syllables refer to scale degrees rather than specific pitches. Intervals are scale independent. As written, this question is a duplicate, but clarification might separate this from the proposed duplicate.
    – Aaron
    Nov 23, 2023 at 7:09

1 Answer 1


Using fixed do just won't help at all. However, using movable do will work admirably.

Way forward is to familiarise yourself with what the intervals actually sound like. Starting with each notes sonic relationship with Do. As in when you sing do>so, you'll recognise it in a song. Not particularly as P5 (that's academic), but as do>so, which now will work in any key - even if you haven't yet established a key. So, after do>re, do>mi, do>fa and so on, get used to what happens between other solfege letter notes. How does do>mi sound compared with mi>so, for example? (Former is M3, latter m3, but that's maybe academic and no real help to the ultimate goal.)

It'll also be of great advantage to know all scales on whatever instrument, otherwise you'll still be faffing round trying to find the appropriate notes!

  • 1
    This question seems like a clear dupe. Might be better to add this at the dupe, since I don't see fixed v moveable addressed there? Nov 21, 2023 at 13:42
  • @AndyBonner - how's the edit sound?
    – Tim
    Nov 21, 2023 at 14:17
  • 1
    Hm, feels a bit more “invasive” and I would go for. I’m not sure that the OP is aware of the distinction. but I didn’t even notice you already have an answer on the dupe; maybe just edit that? Nov 21, 2023 at 14:58
  • as far as I can tell the OP isn’t really thinking about fixed anyway, as long as they’re saying “scale degree.” Important to head off at the pass though. Nov 21, 2023 at 14:59

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