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 alot of words when harmonizing with another person? It's like arpeggiating the chord.

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

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    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 May 25 '19 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. – foreyez May 25 '19 at 15:22
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    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 May 25 '19 at 17:12

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. – Your Uncle Bob May 25 '19 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 May 26 '19 at 6:52
  • @Dekkadeci The way I wrote it is apparently Dutch only: nl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bes_(muziek) – Your Uncle Bob May 26 '19 at 9:00

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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