Post-Tonal Solmization for Post-Tonal Aural Skills: Implementing Ordered Pitch-Class Intervals

David Geary and Robert Komaniecki

Scholarship regarding solmization systems is largely limited to tonal methods. The
present article extends the discussion to post-tonal aural skills, citing the need for a
separate, interval-based methodology that fulfills the same functional role for atonal
repertoire as scale-degree numbers and moveable-do syllables achieve for tonal music.
In Part I, we examine a tonal and atonal aural skills example as a means of justification
for separate solmization methodologies. In Part II, we present an effective way to
introduce our preferred system, ordered pitch-class intervals, in the classroom, as
well as cite additional repertoire and teaching strategies that demonstrate the utility
of adopting the new musical orientation. Finally, in Part III, we outline a sample
curriculum for a 15-week undergraduate class and describe how to smoothly transition
from tonal to atonal studies. The result is a repertoire- and skills-focused post-tonal
aural skills course that equips undergraduates to more successfully understand and
perform post-tonal compositions.