Arthur Somervell's uses the following notation on his One Thousand Exercises

enter image description here

Is it a standard notation? What's the meaning?

  • 1
    Just a guess: all the letters are the first letters of the solfege syllables, do re mi fa sol la ti, so perhaps that’s what the letters refer to at least. Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 19:39
  • I was thinking about it. Maybe it's 2/4 time signature and d' is do sharp
    – xvan
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 19:43
  • d’ = upper do, sharps ans flats are shown in the notes and. It’s a movemable do re mi. Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 20:08

2 Answers 2


This is called the "tonic sol–fa" system. Created by a guy named John Curwen, it's not exactly a singing system like solfège, but rather a notation system.

At the risk of publicizing myself, I asked (and subsequently answered) a question on this exact distinction at What exactly is the "tonic sol–fa" system, and how is it different from solfège?


enter image description hereThis standard solfege notation in certain English songbook editions: the letters are abbreviations of the doremi syllables.

There are also symbols for the note length.

I have to assume:

: = next beat. - = tied quarter

d’ = do hihgher octave

t, = lower ti

  • 1
    The sheet music explains itself the meaning of the signs. Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 20:05

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