Solfege Hand Signs

I’ve noticed a lot of hits on my blog coming from people searching the term “Solfege Hand Signs” or “Kodaly Hand Signs” so I thought ‘why not make a post specifically about it?’

Before I spent the last two summers in Kodaly training at the New England Conservatory I spent 2 years teaching myself movable solfege.  There were not any teachers at my school who specialized in this method and certainly none that advocated handsigns, so I was on my own.  I got every book I could and watched youtube videos and scoured the internet to find all the help I could get, and after two years of hard work, became rather proficient in both movable do solfege and handsigns.

Movable do solfege focuses on the tonal relationships between pitches, assigning a syllable (do re mi fa so la ti do) to each pitch based on its location within a particular key and relation to the tonal center.

In a similar fashion, the handsigns give a physical and spacial representation to the pitch based on its location and relation to the tonal center.  The syllables and handsigns do not correspond to absolute pitch names (C D E F G etc) but rather to scale degrees (the 1 2 3 etc of a key).  Each syllable has a specific handsign that relates to it and the height of each handsign helps to show the direction of movement.  Do is located at the belt-buckle, so is located around the chin/mouth, and high do is located around the forehead.  Below is a wonderful site where you can find a chart showing all of the handsigns

I hope this has been of some help to those of you who show up here, thanks for visiting!

~ by Christopher G Keene on August 6, 2009.

2 Responses to “Solfege Hand Signs”

  1. For more info please see

  2. […] need a systematic way to approach deciphering the language of music.  I’ve written on this before, and will again in the future, for now you must know that the scientific literature states that all […]

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