I'm just wondering how one would use solfège for chords/harmony. For example, to sing C major, does one say "do mi so"? If so, wouldn't that in practice mean that one would have to say a lot of words when harmonizing with another person? It's like arpeggiating the chord.

Instead of arpeggiating, is there a block chord version where the entire chord is contained in one syllable? Or when we harmonize with solfège, do all notes of the chord need to be individually pronounced?

  • 1
    Solfege was designed for individual notes. Therefore it doesn't encompass multiple notes with other names. Simply say each name. When you get good at it, it's just like ordinary speech - and just as quick. Bear in mind movable do, but also fixed do - where someting like Bflat; is called 'si bemole - 3 syllables, making the make-up of chords quite a mouthful!
    – Tim
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 14:44
  • @Tim ok I didn't know it was only for individual notes, if you put your comment below it may be the answer.
    – user34288
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 15:22
  • 1
    It was designed to be sung. Chances are you can only sing one note at a time. Arpeggiating the chord you are singing is really the only choice.
    – b3ko
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 17:12

3 Answers 3


Keep in mind that, in several languages, solfège syllables are just the names of the notes themselves. In other words, "do mi sol" literally translates to "C E G." As such, solfège syllables only map to individual pitches.

The only system that I can think of where "the entire chord is contained" is with a system that we already know well: by saying something like a major triad built on "mi." But even then, it's not always clear if "mi" means E or E♭. (I certainly hope it isn't E♯...)

But as for monosyllabic solutions, there aren't any that I'm familiar with.

  • There is the (I think) German or Dutch method of suffixes "es" or "s" for flat and "is" for sharp, so you get C, Cis=Des, D, Dis=Es, E=Fes, Eis=F, Fis=Ges, G, Gis=As, A, Ais=Bes, B=Ces, Bis=C. So you can sing all the notes in one syllable, but they're still notes, not chords. Commented May 25, 2019 at 21:49
  • @YourUncleBob - English B flat is German B, and English B is German H, so it's Ais=B and H=Ces.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 6:52
  • @Dekkadeci The way I wrote it is apparently Dutch only: nl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bes_(muziek) Commented May 26, 2019 at 9:00

That's the right way and probably the best way to learn chords. But you need to use movable-do solfege. There's this big reason behind it. Most of the songs aren't written with absolute scales in mind due to which we always use terms like 1,4,5 chords. These are nothing but do fa sol chords. These don't change with pitch as you're using movable-do. If you learn chords as solfege based chords, you'll know how the chord relates to the actual song again converted into solfege. You could have converted them into absolute notes but then again you would go about doing calculations of 1,4,5,6 etc. I use it and it's very powerful. I just sit and listen to the whole song. I don't even touch my instrument. I would have decoded all the chords in terms of do Major or re minor etc. And the song will be decoded in terms of do re mi.. The moment I take the instrument I know the chords to play given the pitch as i know what the solfege corresponds to in each pitch.


The purpose of solfege is that you practice to sing and mind the chords as long until you can imagine - or hear with your “inner ear” the entire chord by singing only the root tone or the bass note in case of inversions. This needs a lot of practice, but it is a big help in combination with the RNA.

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