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When I play piano on simple sheet, I can't help singing do re mi fa with the keys in my mind. But than I meet the barrier that I don't know how to sing higher keys

So should I even sing anything in mind, as do re mi? Or sing c d e f(which is a bit hard to sing those letters )

Or should I just not sing anything but memorize the fingers/keys?


Thanks and sorry for the confusion.

It is not about singing. I mean do you guys ever 'say' something in your mind when you press the keys? Do you say 'do re mi' or 'c d e'? Or do you just press the keys without think of whether it is 'c' or 'd' or 'e'?

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After fa comes sol, la, and ti or si. Then it starts over again with do and the cycle of the octave repeats in both directions. For a full chromatic scale, see this question.

For me I don't have a verbal utterance for playing a note, unless it's part of analyzing the rhythm. But I do think about the note's function in the chord or key. That is: Root Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth Seventh Octave Octave+Second, etc. But I don't sing these words either out loud or in my mind. The problem comes when you play two notes at once: which one do you sing?

  • But should I do this when playing the piano? What do you guys do? – garyx Feb 4 '16 at 5:16
  • I don't do it, but it doesn't sound like a problem. Unless, by asking here, you're really really worried about it. I'd recommend you try singing the note names instead, C D E F... and then try switching back and forth. If your brain is wanting to do more work, then give it more work to do. Next try singing the note's function in the scale: root two third fourth fifth .. (I say "two" instead of "second" so it's one syllable.) Make it work for you! – luser droog Feb 4 '16 at 5:22
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There are two different solfeges. Fixed do and movable do. It sounds like you use fixed do, which emanates from do always being C. Movable do supposes that do is the root of the key. Thus, if a song has do,re,mi, in fixed do, the notes are always CDE, whereas in movable do, say in Eb, the notes will be EbFG. This in itself can be confusing for a beginner.

Assuming fixed do, yes, sing the names, which are easy to do, with one syllable each. BUT - it'll become cumbersome later, when you meet sharps and flats. In Dmajor, there'll be an F#, with various names in solfege, but even singing 'F#' has two syllables. Of course, in movable do, that F# becomes mi. Using movable actually gives you a better feel of how each note relates to the others, and how it fits into the scheme of things.

Probably better in the long run to think/say/sing the note names. However, learning the piano usually has two stages when it comes to playing notes. Initially at least, one looks at the dots, thinks 'CDE', then finds C,D and E on the keys to play. This short-circuits after a while, to something like 'I just played C, next is a D that's just to the right' - obviously this goes on subconsciously, otherwise we'd never finish playing a tune!

So, if it helps for now, continue. But sooner or later, it will actually start to slow your playing down.

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I do "think" of the notes while playing piano. But I tend to use the scale degree names like tonic, supertonic, mediant, etc. rather than solfege. (Strangely I sometimes sing the solfege names out loud when doing some exercises.) I also think of the letter names like c#, Bb, etc.

But there is one other important note identity I think of while playing: the chord tones. Like, root, third, fifth or the chord.

So, that's three identities for a single note! I don't really think about switching between one or the other. It depends on context. I think the letter name is the least important, because it doesn't convey any relative meaning. Solfege and chord tone names have provide important information about harmony and tonality. I think it's good to be aware of these things while playing.

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