Two systems for naming notes

FRIDAY, August 7, 2020

There are two ways of naming notes…

There are two competing naming systems for naming our keys and notes on the page.


In countries with”fixed-do”, syllables (do re me fa sol la si do) are used to name the notes of the C-major scale (C D E F G A B C).  Many countries use fixed do: Spain, Portugal, Italy and France are just a few.

Letter names…

Germanic countries use letters, and that is also the system usually used in English speaking countries.

Does the system matter?

It really does not. I know both. If someone plays: C C G G AA G, I know that it is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. That is also: do do sol sol la la sol. I would use that system talking to someone from France who does not know letters. (Note: “sol” is pronounced “so”, like “sew”.)

What is the advantage of letters?

In pop and jazz only letters are used to mark chords. There is no “do major” when chords are marked. You will only see “C”, which stands for C major. So the letter system for modern music is universal.





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