by Annette Dieudonnée (c. 1963)

Begin studies as early as possible (4 or 5 years old)


1st Level (Preliminary Studies)


I.                   EAR TRAINING

A.       Instill in the child at an early age the precise notion of the height of the sound by making him recognize isolated sounds (natural notes within the octave), then extend little by little the upper and lower ends of the scale by octaves. Then, begin in the same fashion the study of the altered notes.

B.       At the same time, develop the auditory memory by having the child hear fragments at first very simple, conjunct and short, which should be sung afterwards by memory by the child who will then name the notes.

C.       Have the child also write the sounds he has heard and identified. Having him write on the staff notes of varying pitches render more concrete the notion of the height of the sound.


II.                 RHYTHM

Begin with the note values which are easiest to understand.


Be careful right away that the child recognizes rhythmic groups as living entities by the musical shape and not as the result of calculations. It is more valuable that he learn to execute a rhythm by imitating his teacher then in calculating. The arithmetic explanation of rhythmic values must be only a check of a rhythmic group which has already been learned.


Here, in my opinion, is the best manner in which to proceed:


1.         The teacher plays the rhythm while the student reads it.

2.         The student repeats the rhythm from memory, by simple imitation.

3.         He repeats it again reading it.

4.         He learns to write it.


Books which can help in these studies:

Dandelot - Etude de Rythme Vol. 1 (Leduc)

Lavignac - Cours de Dictée musicale Vol. 2


III.              READING, WRITING

The book by G. Dandelot, Manuel pratique de l'étude des clés (Eschig), is based, in my opinion, on the best system: learn by heart several notes (reference points), and fix little by little the other notes by relation to these reference points always insisting on the notion of the melodic interval which will be the same for all the clefs, being always a second, always a fifth, etc.


Once the treble clef has been somewhat learned, begin the study of the bass clef following the same principles; then, gradually, all the other clefs. Avoid that the child should get used to thinking that this note is Sol; rather he should think that that could be any note depending on the sign placed at the beginning of the staff, that, in any case, this will be an ascending second, etc... Naturally, the study of notation should continue in parallel with the study of sight-reading.


IV.              SIGHT-SINGING

This study must continue along with the ear training. The child must be able to find without using the piano the intonation of all the notes that he can recognize.


Once he can read a bit, make him solfege while singing, saying the names of the notes and beating the time.


Recommended books:

Panseron, A.B.C. musical (good book for young children, because it does not exceed the range of their voices)


2nd Level (Elementary Studies)


I.                   EAR-TRAINING

Easy dictations in 1 part:

A. Gedalge - Ier volume

Noël-Gallon - Cours complet de Dictée Musicale (Jobert) , Ier volume

L. Grandzany - Dictées à 1 voix


Train the melodic memory by writing fragments after one hearing.


Begin to play 2 sounds simultaneously.

Noël-Gallon - Dictées harmoniques (1ères Ex)


Dictation of perfect major and minor chords in four parts; the student must simply say the key and the mode of the chord.


II.                 RHYTHM

F. Dandelot - Etude du Rythme Vol 1 et 2 (Leduc)

Begin the study of  Vol 3 (simultaneous rhythms). Play the rhythms, repeat them from memory, and write them. One can also begin the study of the first two chapters of the admirable book by Paul Hindemith, Elementary Training for Musicians (Schott).


The teacher should use the recommended exercises as a model for composing a large number of similar exercises, to permit the student to familiarize himself sufficiently with the successive difficulties.


III.              CLEF READING

Continue the study of the Manuel Pratique de G. Dandelot by taking more difficult exercises in each clef and by increasing the tempo little by little.


IV.              SIGHT-READING

Solfege in each of the clefs separately and begin the study of changing clefs.

Lavignac - Solfège des solfèges Vol 3a-e, 4c-d (Lemoine)

Panseron - Solfège d'artiste

Pozzoli-Desportes - Solfège

J. Déré - Le Gradus des 7 clés (Jobert)

Noël-Gallon - Solfège progressif

Noël-Gallon - 25 leçons de Solfège

G. Becker - Cours Complet de Solfège (Leduc) Vol 1 et 2


V.                THEORY

Begin the study of music theory.

Danhauser - Abrégé de la théorie musicale (Lemoine)


3rd Level (Middle studies)


I.                   EAR-TRAINING

Difficult dictations in 1 part

Noël-Gallon - Dictées musicales à I voix (Jobert) 2d vol

G. Dandelot - Vol 1 et 2

S. Petit

G. Becker - 20 leçons mélodiques (Leduc) first part of Vol 1

A. Gédalge - Vol. II


Begin dictations in 2  parts

First, do dictations where the student will notate successively the bass, then the upper part, and then easier dictations where he will notate the two parts after one hearing.


Noël-Gallon, G. Dandelot, Lautier et Maurice, G. Becker, Roger Ducasse (for advanced students).


Dictations of perfect chords and dominant 7th chords root position and inverted, dominant major and minor ninth chords in root position (4-part chords). These chords can be connected or, on the contrary, heard separately.

Dictations of such chords can be found at the end of the volume for 2 voices in G. Becker (Cours complet de dictées musicales, Leduc)


Study also the harmonic dictations by Noël-Gallon (150 dictés harmoniques graduées à 2, 3, 4 parties (Jobert))


Do dictations of perfect, imperfect, broken, plagal, and dominant cadences, and simple modulations. The teacher will improvise while modulating frequently; and the student must recognize the key change and name the tonalities.


II.                 RHYTHM

Continue l'Etude de Rythme de Dandelot vol 4 et 5 and Hindemith (chap 3 to 6)


III.              CLEF READING

Continue the study of the Manuel pratique.


IV.              SIGHT-SINGING

L. Niverd - Solfège en 3, 4 et 5 clés

Quinet - 3 clés

Dandelot - 5 clés

Dandelot - 20 leçons de solfège

No‘l-Gallon - 15 leçons de solfège

No‘l-Gallon - Leçons de Solfège données au Concours Bellan (Jobert)

Pozzoli-Desportes - Cours complet de solfège vol 5 et 6 (Ricordi)

P. Lavignac, Solfège des Solfèges - 3f 4e 4f 5a 5c

T. Dubois - Solfège à changement de clés

A. Thomas

H. Busser - 4 vol

M. Samuel-Rousseau

G. Becker - Solfèges en 5 cl?s

Y. Desportes - Solfèges très difficiles en 2 clès


V.                THEORY



4th Level (Superior Studies)


I.                   EAR-TRAINING

Dictations in 1 part:

No‘l-Gallon - Dictées mélodiques difficiles (4 vol Durand)

Roger Ducasse - Dictées musicales à 1 et 2 voix

A. Gedalge - Dictées musicales vol. IV, V

Schlosser - Dictées musicales


Begin dictations in 3 and even 4 parts:

Noël-Gallon - Dictées à 3 voix

Y. Desportes

G. Becker - Dictées à 4 voix


Proceed as with the dictations in 2 parts; besides the normal dictations where the student will note successively each voice, one should also do simple dictations where the student must notate the three voices after one hearing.


Have the students learn by heart 3-voice dictations (learning them melodically, without playing them on an instrument), then have them perform them by memory by playing the outer parts on the piano and singing, also by memory, the middle part.


Dictations of all the chords of 3, 4, and 5 notes, root position or inverted, with or without accidentals; and chords on a pedal tone. Dictations of this type can be found at the end of the collection of three-part dictations by Becker and at the end of the harmonic dictations by Noël-Gallon, Dictées de modulations éloignées, de toutes les cadences.


Dictation of melodic fragments in the Greek or transposed Ecclesiastical modes. The student must recognize the mode and say into which key it has been transposed.


Dictation and analysis of short fragments, the student being required, after hearing the fragment, to name the degrees and analyze the modulations.


II.                 RHYTHM

Finish the study of the Hindemith Elementary Training, including the dictations. (An excellent book, unfortunately out of print, I think, was Schwartz Exercices complémentaires de rythme)


III.              CLEF READING

Always improve the rapidity and spontaneity of the reading of the clefs. An excellent exercise is to work on the exercises in 2 parts from the Manuel pratique by Dandelot by reading them in all the possible combinations of clefs. Successively, put the top part in each clef and likewise the lower part. Since the exercises are intended to be read and not sung, one need not worry if the two parts are not in the same key.


IV.              SIGHT-SINGING

Lavignac - Solfège des Solfèges 5a, c

Conrardy - Solfège Vol 2

Granier - Solfège manuscrit (Jobert)

Pannequin - Solfège à changement de clés

Y. Desportes

G. Becker vols 3 - 8

Roger Ducasse - 10 Leçons de Solfège

Roger Ducasse - 8 Leçons de Solfège

G. Favre - Solfège à changement de clés

Quinet - Solfège à changement de clés



E. Barraine

J. Vieu


Pozzoli-Desportes - Vol. 1 à 10

L. Nivero - Solfège de concours

Noël-Gallon - Solfège vol. 4


Begin sung transposition at sight, at any interval, of the exercises written in two clefs. The following books will be useful for this exercise:


Noël-Gallon - Solfège progressif

M. Franck - Solfège en 2 cl?s

Bournonville - Solfège 2 vol

P. Vibert

Machabey-Gannaval - Solfège en deux clés

P. Vidal - Solfège en deux clés


The transposition must be accomplished by reading in the different clefs and by putting into practice the rules of music theory and not by ear or by intervals, which would not give good results if the piece to be transposed presents difficulties or unexpected modulations or intervals.


V                 THEORY               

Begin the study of transposing instruments and of all the problems which this presents.

For written exercises use the following:

G. Dandelot - Questionnaire supérieur


The student should know all the chords of 3, 4, and 5 notes, natural or altered, root position or inverted. He should know the names and the figures of all the chords and of their inversions; the keys and degrees to which they belong.


He should also know the mechanism of modulation, and the theory of ornamental notes: passing tones, ornaments, appoggiaturas, anticipations, delays, échappées, pedals; and to be able to analyze harmonically simple chorales by J.S. Bach, indicating figures, degrees, cadences, ornamental notes, modulations, etc.


Noël-Gallon - 22 leçons de solfège a changements de clés sur 7 clés (Lemoine)



Rueff (Leduc)

Bitsch - 12 leçons de solfège rythmique (Leduc)

Bitsch - 13 leçons de solfège en 5 clés melangées (Leduc)

Bitsch - 15 leçons de solfège en 7 clés melangées (Leduc)

Castérède - Solfège des intervales