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A case for a revival of tonic sol-fa in the twenty-first century

Stevens, Robin 2001, A case for a revival of tonic sol-fa in the twenty-first century, in Australian Association for Research in Music Education : proceedings of the XXIII annual conference, September 21-24, 2001, Boulevarde on Beaumont, Newcastle, AARME, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 159-167.

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Title A case for a revival of tonic sol-fa in the twenty-first century
Author(s) Stevens, Robin
Conference name Australian Association for Research in Music Education. Conference (23rd : 2001 : Newcastle, N.S.W.)
Conference location Newcastle, N.S.W.
Conference dates 21 - 24 September 2001
Title of proceedings Australian Association for Research in Music Education : proceedings of the XXIII annual conference, September 21-24, 2001, Boulevarde on Beaumont, Newcastle
Editor(s) Jeanneret, Neryl
Publication date 2001
Start page 159
End page 167
Publisher AARME
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Summary The Tonic Sol-fa method of teaching singing was developed in England by John Curwen over a period of forty years from the 1840s until the 1870s. Although originally an aid to reading staff notation, the J 872 Standard Course saw staff notation dispensed with altogether in favour of its own notational system. By the end of the century it had spread from Britain to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, the United States, India, China, Japan and the Pacific Islands. However, largely due to its notational isolation, Tonic Sol-fa declined markedly during the early twentieth century. Except for the incorporation of certain aspects into the Kodaly method, it has largely disappeared from contemporary music teaching practice. Surprisingly, however, Tonic Sol-fa in its nineteenth century form is presently "alive and well" in certain developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. This paper will present an analysis of Tonic Sol-fa and evaluate its characteristics in terms of contemporary pedagogical and notational theory. The paper will then report on the current use of Tonic Sol-fa in developing countries and it will be argued that, in certain of these countries, this nineteenth century teaching method and notational system has not only survived but has indeed flourished. It will be argued that, in at least one case, Tonic Sol-fa has been "indiginised" so that it has not only become an integral part of the musical culture but also has become part of the social fabric of the country. The case will be put for a revival of Tonic Sol-fa in developing countries where, for social, economic and educational reasons, an alternative model to that utilised in more highly developed countries may be more successful/ in promoting school and community choral music.
ISBN 0958608636
9780958608633
Language eng
Field of Research 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
HERDC collection year 2003
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30004928

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Social and Cultural Studies in Education
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