Ein Babel der Gehörbildung? Tonsilben um 1800

Bacciagaluppi, Claudio; Lehner, Michael; Meidhof, Nathalie; Ramos, Luis; Roberts, Claire; Zirwes, Stephan (2023). Ein Babel der Gehörbildung? Tonsilben um 1800 In: Kocher, Philippe (ed.) Notation: Schnittstelle zwischen Komposition, Interpretation und Analyse: 19. Jahreskongress der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie. GMTH Proceedings: Vol. 2019 (pp. 293-316). Berlin: Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 10.31751/p.268

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To this day, the discipline of ear training in general and the use of syllables in basic music education in particular have been informed by different country-specific characteristics and teaching traditions. This article provides an overview of different developments in the 18th and early 19th centuries, which alternate between the maintenance, reform and rejection of Guidonian solmisation practice. The variety of possible methods is demonstrated by four case studies from France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. In France, fixed-do solmisation was already established during the 18th century, although there were several attempts to maintain or reactivate the practice of relative solmisation, for example in the ‘Méthode Galin-Paris-Chevé’ of 1844. In Spain we find, in addition to a lively Gregorian practice with mutations (con mutanzas), a variety of different solmisation systems, an apparent peculiarity being the close connection with an education of clef-reading through the practice of clef simulation (fingimiento de clave). Solfeggi by Niccolò Zingarelli exemplify the coexistence of old and new teaching traditions in Naples, the old system of hexachord solmisation progressively being replaced by the octave-based variant of the scala composta. In German-speaking countries, the practice of singing and thinking in hexachords was already of marginal importance in the 18th century; instead of the Guidonian syllables, the Latin letters, new syllable names or numbers were used. The methods shown here became consolidated and unified during the 19th century, in particular due to the increasing institutionalisation of professional music education. During the emergence of modern nation states, the differences became all the more visible along national or language borders.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Interpretation > Music Theory


Bacciagaluppi, Claudio0000-0003-4376-2809;
Lehner, Michael;
Meidhof, Nathalie;
Ramos, Luis;
Roberts, Claire;
Zirwes, Stephan and
Kocher, Philippe


M Music and Books on Music > MT Musical instruction and study




GMTH Proceedings


Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie


[7] Swiss National Science Foundation


[UNSPECIFIED] Integrative Listening




Claudio Bacciagaluppi

Date Deposited:

09 Jan 2024 10:44

Last Modified:

09 Jan 2024 10:44

Publisher DOI:






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