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[sohl-fah, sohl-fah] /ˌsoʊlˈfɑ, ˈsoʊlˌfɑ/
Music. the set of syllables, do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and ti, sung to the respective tones of the scale. All but do and ti are attributed to Guido d'Arezzo.
the system of singing tones to these syllables.
verb (used without object), sol-faed, sol-faing.
to use the sol-fa syllables in singing, or to sing these syllables.
verb (used with object), sol-faed, sol-faing.
to sing to the sol-fa syllables, as a tune.
Origin of sol-fa
1560-70; sol1 + fa; see gamut
Related forms
sol-faist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sol-fa
Historical Examples
  • First of all, sol-fa the melody a few times in a full mezzo-voce.

    Advice to Singers

    Frederick James Crowest
  • In every difficulty as to key relationship the sol-fa makes matters clear.

    The Boy's Voice J. Spencer Curwen
  • The boys can all read from the sol-fa modulator, and Mr. Breden gives them ear-tests.

    The Boy's Voice J. Spencer Curwen
  • Here is a pun on 'wring' and 'ring'; and 'sol-fa' is used as an equivalent for 'sing.'

    Shakespeare and Music Edward W. Naylor
  • They sing to la and sol-fa syllables scales gradually rising.

    The Boy's Voice J. Spencer Curwen
  • Many teachers in the old days composed sol-fa exercises and vocalises for their own use.

    The Psychology of Singing

    David C. Taylor
  • These terms are also often applied to classes in sight-singing which use the sol-fa syllables.

  • Give the hand sign for this note, according to the sol-fa plan, and tell the children that the note is called doh.

    Music As A Language Ethel Home
  • The class sings it through twice, first using the sol-fa names for the notes, then singing to lah.

    Music As A Language Ethel Home
  • To those who are not accustomed to the sol-fa notation it appears at first sight a useless encumbrance.

    Music As A Language Ethel Home
British Dictionary definitions for sol-fa


short for tonic sol-fa
verb -fas, -faing, -faed
(US) to use tonic sol-fa syllables in singing (a tune)
Word Origin
C16: see gamut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sol-fa

"syllables used in solmization taken collectively," 1540s, from Italian, from Medieval Latin sol and fa, two notes of the musical scale (see gamut). As a verb from 1560s; cf. solfeggio "use the sol-fa system" (1774), from Italian solfeggiare.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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