I play guitar and piano, and have been writing more complex vocal melodies than I can perform.

I can work out ahead of time what I want to sing in relation to, say, a guitar line, but I'm having trouble actually playing both.

Should I be studying solfege to improve my ideation of pitch, helping to maintain some independence from the tonic? Noodling one thing while singing a fixed pitch, then prancing with my voice around a drone? Shaking my fist at the heavens from on top of a mountain, cursing fate?


I agree that solfege is good to practice. It sounds like maybe you are having a difficult time playing and singing at the same time? Or are you also having trouble just singing the vocal line that you composed?

For the first issue you might try practicing both parts separately until you really have them down and them try them together slowly, bit by bit. You could also try recording one part and then playing or singing along to that. Another exercise might be to play block chords on every beat while singing the melody to get used to playing and singing at he same time.

If your melody is hard in general, maybe try and analyze it to make sure you know where the notes fit in the scale or chord. As for solfege, try practicing running up and down the scale on each scale degree and then up and down using different intervals. For example: do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, ti, la, so, fa, mi, re, do... Re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, re, do, ti, la, so, fa, mi, re... Mi, fa, etc... Then... Do, mi, so, mi, do... Re, fa, la, fa, re.... Etc...

Also, be careful about using the word counterpoint, since in classical music that refers to a specific set of rules usually associated with Baroque music.


I'd suggest using solfeggio for practice. Start with both instruments on the do, and then move one up to the re (5 of the so), and the other down to the ti (3 of the so) - then move them back to tonic. Then, go from do, to re and ti, to mi and la, and back to do.

Keep it going until you can make it to back to the do above and below the octave on which you started... Then switch the directions of the instruments and go again. (This time with feeling ;)

It can be hard to play and write counterpoint - especially when implementing the rules in classical theory. But, since the movement of the melody is what's creating the harmony, the relationships between the tones eventually becomes self-evident, and second nature... Practice, practice. Hope that helps.

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