Notation systems


is there anybody following this course that use the “do re mi fa sol…” notation system instead of the C D E F G… one?
Could give me some feedback about it - how it managed the learning notes parts etc. ?
Thanks so much


Yes! Being an “older” student in the course this was “drilled” into my head in grammar school and just hearing it as I play it brings it back, it’s difficult to shake.


I know the solfeggio system pretty well - it was introduced to me at college for our musicanship/ear-training courses. I’m still sad that it didn’t get introduced much much earlier.

I’m not sure what your questions are, but if you can make them a bit more specific, I can try and answer.

Also - are you using fixed do, or moveable do? Fixed do is when Do = C.
Moveable do is when Do = whatever note is the tonic of the key you’re in.


Thanks Gio & domscottolcsw,
the fact is that there is no problem as long as you work on the tabs.
But they arise when we move on to the notation. The musical language that I have learned since I was a child is the one that has as notes do re mi fa sol … (with the do = C, what you call fixed do). The course instead uses the Anglo-Saxon notation (C D E F G …), with exercises aimed at learning the position of the notes on the keyboard. I wondered if it made sense for me to learn by following this notation or stay with my notation system. It is like, having to study, for example, physics, I had to decide whether to study it in Italian (which is my mother tongue) or in English. The problem is not serious, it is only a matter of understanding which language to apply for practical convenience: for the purposes of the course and later of my practice (in this case, musical). After reflection, I think the best thing is for me to continue with my notation system, “translating” the exercises as I go.


Ciao fratello italiano!
Mi chiamo Giovanni Benedetti.
Parlo un po, posso scrivere un po, ma ho dimenticato quasi tutto che ho imparato cuando stavo in Firenze 18 anni fa!!

I think you’ve made the right move.
I would say to make a big effort to learn the notes the American way if you live here and plan on exploring any more lessons / books / videos by American teachers… otherwise, your system is wonderful, and the sight-singing and ear training that accompany that system make so much more sense than our more symbolic and analytical system!!

On another note - I love teaching, and I am curious -
What age did you start learning solfeggio?
When did you start reading music?
Did you always sing it and then play it?
Did they have music in schools?
What is Italian music education like?


Ciao Giovanni, caro fratello ammericano!
Scrivi ancora abbastanza bene in italiano, sebbene gli anni ormai lontani di Firenze… (una città dove ho pure abitato io, negli anni '80).
Ma passiamo all’inglese, per correttezza verso gli altri del forum…
To answer at your questions, I began learning music when I was a child. My mother was a piano player and teacher, and so she taught me and my brother the basic principles (notation, rythm etc.) pretty soon. Began playing with the wood flute (in school, aged 10) and then the transverse flute (three years with a teacher). I learned solfeggio (just a bit) at that moment. Few years after I began playing bass in a rock band, for few years. We played some Talking Heads, Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys… No technique and notation learning, just lot of fun. Left the bass I went back to the flute, playing sometimes in duo with my mother or a friend pianist. A couple of years ago I felt missing bass and so I bought a cheap one to try it again and got great pleasure. I began following tabs notation and some youtube lesson, but in a pretty messy way. Finally I felt the need to learn in a more structured manner and found Josh courses, that seems being what I need to put a bit in order and improve my technique. What is a pretty annoying problem for me is to read notes in Fa key, I just used to read easily in Sol key and this made me mad - I’m 55 and my brain connections are no more so fast… What I would really like is to play reading scores, as I usually used, instead of tabs. It will take some time and lot of practice but it’s definitively much much better.
Last question: I’m not living in Italy but in the italian part of Switzerland. Here the music education is not very developped, we do some in school, really basic. I can imagine (and hope) that in Italy is more developped, thinking to the big tradition that there is there… Isn’t it, Mr Benedetti?
What about you, are you teaching music? Bass? Other instruments?
Playing since long time? Playing music is such a beautiful thing to do, if it was more common, I’m sure world would be much more in peace…
Ciao Giovanni, un caro saluto


Caro Stefano -

Che piacere 'e a leggere in italiano!

Thanks for the details and the response.
To learn to read from sheet music on the bass, this is the best book series I have found. They are wonderful. Josh’s lessons will get you to where you need to be to start them, and with your knowledge of flute and music notation, you should be ready:
I hope that helps!
It is so nice to get away from tabs - then you can read anything! Some of my favorite practice material is Bach - the cello suites, and then the left hand parts of the Inventions or some of the Preludes and Fugues.

As for me - I teach bass in a one-on-one setting, and then I direct ensembles in a larger classroom setting. I love it.

Take care over there!! Enjoy the food and coffee!!
I spent some time in Lucern (my only experience in Switzerland) and it was breath-takingly beautiful.



Grazie Giovanni!
I will certainly try the method you indicate to me. It seems just what it does to my case. For the meantime I exercise my reading with the site “Note Identification”, very useful and well thought out for those like me who are still at the very first arms.
Fantastic Bach suites, one of my favorite composers! But do you play him with electric bass (??) or do you also play cello or contrabass? I imagine that as a music teacher you have a conservatory preparation that also includes classical instruments, right?
About Lucerne, I’m sure you will have gone to KKL for some concert or at least to visit it for its particular architecture. It seems that it has a very good acoustics.
The great Abbado had been the director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra for several years, and the best artists have played there …

Caro Giovanni, grazie ancora per i tuoi utili consigli, ti auguro tante tante belle cose e soddisfazioni.
E intanto,
have an excellent weekend!
Un caro saluto


Do you mean this Stefano?
If so, I love that website! Such a great free resource, and their app is great too. Great ear training resource.

I love reading Bach on electric bass! And I know Gio does too, since we did some of the piano inventions together on a bass duo gig way way back in 2009. :slight_smile:

The cello suites tend to fit on the instrument fairly well if you play them “up an octave” (which is really in the same octave as the cello, since bass is an octave transposing instrument). Or you can read them in bass register on a 5 string since you have access to a low C that way.


Yes, Josh, exactly that site. I think you mentioned it in one of your replies under the courses.
It is really helpful, I love how much is adaptable to your needs. Really not easy to pass from G key to F key… I always wonder how piano players can do both together!!
About Bach’s suites, do you have any video on which you play them with Gio? I`m sure it’s something special! For me I think it’s a bit early to begin, but who knows, soon or later…
Thanks Josh for your courses and answers.


I don’t think we do. Our friend took some very selective video of that show, but I’m not sure our Bach got in there… particularly our rhythmically-improvised-funk-Bach.
(His original intention, I’m sure.)


WAIT!! I found it!!! Pay no attention to the constant mistakes from that guy on the right.


Great Gio! You both have such a good technique and pleasure in playing… Just wondering how many decades it will take me to get to a tenth part of this. Have you got a conservatory degree?
Nice&funny to listen to Bach played w/ electric bass.
Thank you so much


No conservatory training here. I have a Jazz Studies degree, and then lots and lots of hours playing.
Degrees are, in my experience, not at all important. People that want to play and dedicate themselves to playing can get a lot further a lot faster than an academic path.
I needed it, personally. But all my heroes just played.
Just play!!
Have fun, amico Stafano!


Josh & Gio,

Until now I never saw the bass in this light! That is very cool!


Yes, I’ll try! That’s the most important!
Viva la musica!!
Grazie Gio, sereno fine settimana


Haha, oh goodness. We should really record us playing better so that’s not the only video of us playing together.

I don’t, I went to a community college for a couple years but then just dropped out to keep gigging. :slight_smile:



Now… if only I knew a bassist with a sweet video set up… dang.


Great, it’s like you’ve born with a bass between your arms…


Haha not quite, but my dad did play bass for me while I was in my crib. Of course I still had to/have to practice just like every other human who doesn’t have access to Matrix-style skill-downloading.