[sohl-fah, sohl-fah]
  1. 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.
  2. the system of singing tones to these syllables.
verb (used without object), sol-faed, sol-fa·ing.
  1. to use the sol-fa syllables in singing, or to sing these syllables.
verb (used with object), sol-faed, sol-fa·ing.
  1. to sing to the sol-fa syllables, as a tune.

Origin of sol-fa

1560–70; sol1 + fa; see gamut
Related formssol-fa·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sol-fa

Historical Examples of sol-fa

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for sol-fa


  1. short for tonic sol-fa
verb -fas, -faing or -faed
  1. US to use tonic sol-fa syllables in singing (a tune)

Word Origin for sol-fa

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

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