SOLRESOL: Design Philosophy

The words in Solresol consist of sequences of notes. Sudre planned to use seven words of one note, 49 words of two notes, 336 words of three notes, 2268 words of four notes, and 9072 words of five notes.

Words need to be separated in some way if they are to be decoded uniquely; for this reason Sudre decided that word boundaries would be denoted with brief pauses. This requirement tends to break up the "melody" in an unpleasant way.

It is also interesting to note that Sudre didn't use all combinations of three and four notes. It has been suggested that this was intentional, in order to avoid repititious sequences of notes. In fact, in the information I have, only 42 two-note words are defined---the seven repititious ones are omitted.

Combinations of one or two notes form the participles and pronouns, while three-note words are used for the most frequent words. There are seven classes of four note words, called keys, according to the initial note. For example, the key of do contains words which represent the physical and moral aspects of man. Finally, combinations of five notes furnish the names of the three categories: animal, vegetable and mineral.

To allow future expansion, Sudre included an encoding of the letters of the alphabet.

Grammatical categories may be distinguished by the position of an accent over the notes, which means the note should be lengthened to indicate stress. The verb is unstressed throughout, the noun is stressed on the first note, the adjective on the next-to-last, and the adverb on the last. The feminine is also marked by final stress.

The opposite of an idea is often expressed by reversing the order of the notes in a word.

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Last modified on: Monday, 06-Jul-98 12:49:41 WST.
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