The chromatic scale solfege can be sung in different ways and manners using the solfege syllables. The most important thing is for you to know the kind of pitch you want to achieve. But before learning the chromatic scale solfege or the solfege syllable, let’s voyage through what the chromatic scale is.
THE CHROMATIC SCALE
‘Chromatic’ was first used in 1630 and comes from the Greek word meaning ‘color’. The conventional purpose of the chromatic scale degree is to color or enrich the tones of the major scales and minor scales. The chromatic scale is also referred to as the twelve-tone scale. It is a tuneful scale with twelve pitches, with each pitch having a semitone that is also known as a half-step found on or under its adjacent pitches.
Hence, the 12-tones equates the temperament tuning and the chromatic scale covers all 12 available pitches that include the minor scale and the major scale. Thus, it is a number of half steps that consists of all the 12 pitches of the equal-tempered system. It is the library of all acquired pitches arranged upward or downward, an octave’s value after another.
Essentially, the twelve notes of the chromatic scale have enharmonic coordinates in solfege syllables, the upward scale degree, and the downward scale degree. The upward scale of the major scale consists Do, Di, Re, Ri, Mi, Fa, Fi, Sol, Si, La, Li, Ti, the downward scale consists Ti, Te/Ta, La, Le/Lo, Sol, Se, Fa, Mi, Me/Ma, Re,Ra, Do while the other combination is the actual solfege syllable. Here is an illustration:
- 1# (Di) = 2b (Ra)
- 2# (Ri) = 3b (Meh)
- 4# (Fi) = 5b (Seh)
- 5# (Si) = 6b (Leh)
- 6# (Li) = 7b (Teh)
The above is the enharmonic notes ( notes with the same pitch or sound but different nomenclature). The 1# (Di) note is also called the 2b (Ra) since they both refer to the same note.
Whenever a note is given to 0, the chromatic scale might be denoted precisely by the numbers 0-11 mod-twelve.
The 12 notes of the octave( black keys and white keys) comprise the chromatic scale and it has a meaningful space apart referred to as the one-half step.
ANALYSIS OF THE CHROMATIC SCALE
It is no news again that the chromatic scale consists of all twelve tones in chronological order. The chromatic scale can begin from any of the twelve tones as listed:
A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, and G#/Ab.
The fact that the chromatic scale does not take an interrupted pattern like the major or minor scale makes it devoid of the natural cadence points in the scales. However, the chromatic scale depends on the expressional gravity to fit the rhythm.
THE CHROMATIC SCALE SOLFEGE
The chromatic scale pitches are the pitches between the diatonic pitches denoted by bare letters A-G and the chromatic solfege syllables( di, ri, fi, si, li/ te, le, se, me, ra) fit in the diatonic syllable do, re, mi,fa, sol, la, and ti. Thus, it is the combination of the diatonic syllable and the solfege syllable. Below is an illustration of rehearsing the upward and downward chromatic scale solfege:
The upward chromatic solfege syllables
Tone: do di re ri mi fa fi sol si la li ti
Pron: doe dee ray ree mee fah fee soul see lah lee tee
When using a major key, ‘mi’ and ‘ti’ will form a semitone with the ones beside them in the scale and they are not always fully realized or raised like the other semitones. The other semitones that are pitched higher are meant to change the syllable of the original solfege. For example, Do changes or takes another form as di, fa changes to fi and the others take newer forms also.
When using a minor key, it is advisable to start with the natural minor syllables when presenting a diatonic pitch. The major scale key syllable should be matched with the scales degrees that go with it.
The downward chromatic solfege syllables
Tone: do ti te la le sol se fa mi me re ra
Pron: doe tee tay lah lay soul say fah mee may ray rah
The scales are lowered here chromatically by replacing the solfege syllable vowels with another syllable. For example, ‘la’ can be changed to ‘le’, ‘sol’ changes to ‘se’ to enhance the lowered pitch. The natural minor scale syllables for the scale degrees here will be 3, 6, and 7 for altering the chromatic tones. Since ‘fa’ is not usually lowered and that ‘ti’ and ‘la’ are of the minor scale, the downward chromatic syllables in the major scale can be said to be the same as the major.
The tone of the upward chromatic solfege is raised while that of the downward chromatic solfege is lowered. A lot of concentration and practice will be needed to get the tone right. While the upward chromatic solfege maintains and upholds the high pitch, the downward chromatic solfege reverses it. You may find these little tips useful for the chromatic solfege:
- Either start with a slow tempo before adding speed to it or begin with speed and maintain till the end.
- Choose a pitch you are comfortable with to start.
- Don’t depend solely on your voice, sing along with an instrument, especially a piano.
- Do not maintain a pitch whether you are scaling upward or downward.
- Develop your pitch and ensure it gets better at every practice.
- Do not stop practicing as this might take you back to the very beginning.
Moreover, you have to develop good hearing to get better at the chromatic scale solfege and even many other songs.
GETTING BETTER WITH THE CHROMATIC SCALE SOLFEGE
We have learned that practice brings perfection so, in order to get better, continuous practice would be the best option. However, you can confect your fluency in the following ways:
- Continuously make use of the upward scale of the major scale at intervals to accustom your voice to the tone. For example:
do ti do / re di re / mi ri mi / / ti li ti do
do ti do / ti li ti / la si la / /re di re do
do ti do / re di re / me re me / / te la te / do
do ti do/ te la te / le so le / / re di re / dogh
- Continuously practice the downward scale in the major scale at interval to accustom your voice to a lowered pitch. For example:
do ra do / re me re / mi fa mi/ / ti do ti / do
do ra do / ti do ti / la te la / / re me re / do
do ra do / re me re / me mi me / / te ti te / do
do ra do / te ti te / le la le / / re me re / do
- Endeavor to practice tonic then take the lower scale then follow it with a semitone with the major scale. You can decide not to start it with a ‘do’ though. Example:
do ti do / do di re / do ri mi / do mi fa / do fi sol / do si la / do li ti / do ti do
do ti do / do li ti / do si la / do fi sol / do mi fa / do ri mi / do di re / do ti do.
I hope you find this helpful and I wish you the best in your musical adventure.