Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Learning Solresol, Lesson 1: An introduction

So, you're interested in learning Solresol? Start here.

Solresol has a fascinating history, and I would definitely recommend you research it individually at your leisure to get a fuller understanding (for advice on where to look, see the bottom of this post), but here's a brief introduction:

Solresol is a constructed language, created by François Sudre in 1827. His goal was to create an international language - everyone would learn Solresol as a second language, and the language barrier would effectively be broken, because everyone would share a common tongue. This idea, of an international auxiliary language, is no longer unheard of, but Solresol was the first such language to become fully developed and gain widespread attention. While other languages (Such as Esperanto in theory, or English in practice) seem to be more viable alternatives for this purpose now, Solresol remains a remarkably unique language, deserving of attention - and maybe even a revival. With a dictionary available in English, a  (sidosi.org), and the passion of individuals able to connect via the internet, a revival is indeed in the making - but for that to happen, learning the language must be feasible. I'm not an expert by any means - but nobody is. My hope is that I can share my journey of learning Solresol by teaching you, and we can discover the language together.

Solresol's alphabet is based on the solfège syllables of the Western musical scale: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si. This sets it apart in two fundamental ways: first, it probably has the smallest alphabet in existence; and second, communication can (and should) occur in an incredibly diverse range of mediums. One can communicate in Solresol by singing, playing a musical instrument, speaking the syllables, writing musical notation, painting colors (namely, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet), naming the notes of a scale (e.g. C, D, E, F, G, A, B), writing numbers, tapping numbers morse code style, using the official shorthand (Figure 1), using hand signals (Figure 2), using alternate sign language (Figure 3), or virtually any system that makes use of seven elements.

(Don't be overwhelmed by that list! You don't need to be have perfect pitch, or even be familiar with music at all to learn Solresol. The seven spoken or written syllables are always the most basic form used for learning and almost all communication. Once you understand the language, the variety of possible expression can add versatility and creativity for those who are so inclined.)

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3
Solresol can embed meaning into almost anything, making it a fascinatingly versatile language. If you're intrigued and want to learn more, go on to lesson two.

If you want to read more about Solresol's history, I would recommend this PDF:

If you want to read even more, you should browse Dan Parson's compilation of pretty much every useful piece of information on Solresol on the internet - he's done a great job with it:


  1. Hi!

    I am so glad I found your web log. I've been interested in Solresol ever since I discovered it on Wikipedia.

    If you use Reddit.com , I'd like you to contact me. I moderate a constructed language subreddit. I'd love to do an interview with you and/or other Solresol users.

    Thanks for your time.

    1. Hey, thanks for coming by! I'm always glad for someone to be glad they found my blog :)
      I don't use reddit - though I could certainly start. Would it be impractical for you to interview me without a reddit account? I'd be happy to answer your questions.
      If you want to contact other Solresol users, you can find most of them on the forum at sidosi.org.

    2. Scratch that - I went ahead and created an account :)
      I'll message you.

  2. Hi I would really like to know more about learning this ...I would love to share this with my daughter and also challenge myself to something different..as a life long musician and a true believer in the ability of music to unite people the world across I am eager to study this more..please if you could put more infor about where to learn..also I am an avid redditor to the comment or about what is the sub for this

  3. is there a pdf dictionary or curriculum i can download?

  4. Fellow SolReSol speakers, I have some news for you - we are currently working on powerful and versatile software called SolReSol: The Project. Its aim is to make the world aware of SolReSol, help memorise the vocabulary, and, most importantly, provide visual and audio representation of the language! We are a small team of developers, so please take a look at our Indiegogo campaign to find out more: http://igg.me/at/solresol

    1. ...or use this link for your convenience: