Best Solfege Books: Top 4

best solfege books

Do you want to improve your solfege skills? 

Are you looking for helpful resources to teach solfege in school?

Solfege has been around for hundreds of years because it’s an effective and powerful teaching tool. 

I’ll never forget how much quicker my students learned when I started using it in my classroom.

(It even helped me with my pitch understanding!) 

There are a lot of great books out there. 

And a lot of junky ones too. 

I’m here to help with my top 4 picks for the best solfege books. 

The best solfege books need to move sequentially from simple to challenging concepts. Great ones pull solfege patterns from real music. My picks include: 

Look ahead for more details.

Review Of The Best Solfege Books

In this section, I’ll go over my top 4 picks. 

These are great solfege books, but they each serve a different purpose. 

As you read, I’ll go over the strengths of each and why they earned a spot on this list. 

We won’t mention specific pricing due to sales and such, so make sure to click the button or image to check the most current information. 

Disclaimer: Links may be affiliate in nature, which means we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win, and thanks! 

Check out this post for an explanation of where solfege syllables came from. 

333 Reading Exercises by Kodaly

As a Kodaly trained teacher, this book of solfege exercises holds a special place in my heart. 

This book is a collection of 333 exercises moving from simple rhythms to complex melodies. 

In the hands of a dedicated musician, it’s a tool you’ll use for your whole life. 

There isn’t much instruction in these exercises; it requires some prior knowledge and ideas on how to use the exercises. 

But, these solfege exercises are useful for all musicians of any level.

I used these as a student in my Kodaly levels and as a teacher in my elementary choir. 

I get lost in these in a good way, and it’s affordable for all the practice you’ll get. 

Pros For This Book

  • Well-sequenced exercises
  • Affordable pricing
  • Many options for extensions and practice

Cons For This Book

  • Little instruction from the book itself

Solfège des Solfèges

Any list of solfege books must include this one. 

A collection of sequenced exercises and instruction, this book is one that’s been around for over 100 years, and with good reason. 

The patterns and exercises are not only well-written, but they almost feel like real songs (and many of them are). 

Performing these feel so musically satisfying. 

I didn’t even notice I was learning at first. 

These aren’t for younger students or people new to solfege and ear training. 

For people who are serious about improving their solfege skills, this is the book for you. 

This book is a combination of there I, II, and III volumes. 

It has 337 exercises ranging from easy to difficult. 

Even as a musician for over 20 years, I find many of the end exercises challenging. 

Pros For This Book

  • Musically satisfying exercises
  • Improves skills greatly
  • Easy to follow along

Cons For This Book

  • Not for young or new musicians 

Solfege, Ear Training…A Comprehensive Course

This was the first experience I had with solfege. 

At the time, I didn’t understand why we needed to learn it in the first place. 

After going through the book, I began to hear music differently.

It was as if I could hear the intervals between the notes.

I was so excited. 

This book isn’t for younger students. 

High school and maybe Middle School do well with this book. 

It moves in a logical progression from simple to challenging material. 

As a text, it combines theory with ear training and solfege. 

This is great for a comprehensive ear training and music theory class. 

With thorough source material, the book is a little dry (read: boring), but the effectiveness of the method makes up for it. 

As a teacher, you’ll need to supplement with fun and engaging activities.

As a singer or musician, you’ll need to pace yourself to keep your motivation up. 

There’s a reason this book is the most popular option for higher-level classes and musicians. 

It’s tried and true. 

Pros For This Book

  • Pairs well with music theory
  • Comprehensive and develops well-rounded music understanding
  • Thorough material and teaching activities

Cons For This Book

  • Kind of boring
  • Not for younger learners

Sight Singing Superhero

When I stumbled on this book, I was instantly curious. 

The title itself, Sight Singing Superhero, caught my attention. 

It builds itself up as an engaging sight singing method for young singers. 

And it delivers. 

The activities and patterns pull from folk songs and other real music materials. 

Basically, the book recognizes that learning solfege and developing the ear is tough. 

It takes time and repetition. 

Neither of these is a thing young students have much affinity toward. 

But with colorful graphics and a variety of fun lessons, this book makes practice fun. 

I’ve been missing this in my music classroom for years, and now that I’ve found it, it’s a staple I won’t let go of. 

Pros For This Book

  • Designed for kids
  • Fun lessons
  • Draws from real music

Cons For This Book

  • Doesn’t go far conceptually
  • Older learners may find it “kid-ish”

Commonly Asked Questions

Here are a few common questions I hear all the time when talking about solfege with people. 

These are brief answers, so be sure to click the links to more detailed articles if you want more information. 

Why Learn Solfege?  

To many, especially instrumentalists, solfege may seem like an extra step in playing music. 

Why bother with it at all? 

Well, solfege and ear training is proven to raise your level of musicianship. 

You begin to hear pitch better, thereby playing better in tune. 

With solfege, you understand how melodies and intervals fit together. 

This helps those who want to write music or perform more intentionally. 

Ear training also helps you play back music you’ve only ever heard. 

And it increases the ability to improvise on the spot. 

All of these are ideal for higher-level musicians. 

Solfege is one of the tools to get you there. 

What Note Is Do? 

There are two different ways to use solfege: movable Do and fixed Do. 

In fixed Do, the note C is always Do. 

In movable Do, the starting pitch or tonic in any key is Do. 

Fixed Do isn’t as useful and largely discarded by many unless you’re doing atonal music. 

Dalcroze does traditionally use fixed Do. 

Movable Do reinforces the function of pitches in keys and melodies. 

Check out this guide on solfege to notes.

How Do I Sing Chromatic Solfege? 

Chromatic solfege notes change based on whether you’re raising or lowering the pitch. 

In general, if you raise the pitch, the end vowel sound turns to an “-ee” vowel at the end. 

For lowering pitches, the vowel either changes to “-ay” or “-ah,” depending on the specific solfege syllable and your preference. 

Learn more about chromatic scale singing with exercises

What Is The Purpose Of Hand Signs? 

One thing we didn’t talk about was the use of hand signs. 

Curwen hand signs show the different syllables with a set of hand motions. 

These indicate certain aspects of the notes (such as Fa being a thumbs down and Fa usually moving down to Mi in music). 

Solfege hand signs activate the kinesthetic and visual intelligences to more efficiently develop skill with ear training and sight singing. 

Learn more about the purpose of solfege hand signs

Final Thoughts

Now you know where to start when searching for the best solfege books.

Each of these options is great picks for different situations. 

Now it’s up to you to check them out and see what’s the best fit. 

Don’t forget to click the buttons or images above for the most current pricing. 

With practice and a great resource like these, your singing and playing will improve in a short time. 

You may also enjoy 10 solfege rounds for singing and playing. Check out my post with notation and activities. 

Zach VanderGraaff

Zach VanderGraaff is a K-5 music teacher with Bay City Public Schools in Michigan. He's a Past-President of the Michigan Kodaly Educators and Executive Secretary of the Midwest Kodaly Music Educators Association.

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