Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Learning and Instruction


Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Xornam Apedoe

Second Advisor

Mathew Mitchell

Third Advisor

Sarah Capitelli


Sight-singing, recognized as an essential music skill, remains one of the weakest components in music education. Past studies investigating the most effective of the two most common sight-singing systems--the fixed-do and movable-do solfège systems--provide inconclusive results for music with medium to high levels of diatonic and chromatic complexity.

The purpose of this quantitative, ex post facto study was to investigate the influence of diatonic and chromatic complexity on sight-singing pitch accuracy for college music major students in a Northern California urban area who have trained in either the fixed-do or movable-do solfège systems, and who had piano experience before or beginning at age 12. There were three independent variables (solfège system, diatonic complexity, and chromatic complexity), one dependent variable (pitch accuracy), and one control variable (piano learning experience).

Participants included 85 volunteer qualified music major students, 45 trained in fixed-do and 40 trained in movable-do. Participants were recorded sight-singing nine test passages, each containing one of three levels of diatonic complexity and one of three levels of chromatic complexity. The recordings were analyzed by a computerized scoring system to determine pitch accuracy for each sung note. Results were analyzed using a one-way ANOVA and a three-way ANOVA 2x(3x3) with repeated measures.

Participants trained under the fixed-do solfège system had statistically higher sight-singing pitch accuracy overall and at all three levels of diatonic and chromatic complexity with very large effect sizes. There were no statistically significant two-way or three-way interactions among the three factors: solfège system, diatonic complexity, and chromatic complexity. These findings suggest that the fixed-do solfège system is more effective for music with diatonic and chromatic complexity.

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