See also

Date: Thu, 9 Sep 93 15:08:55 MDT
From: "Martin R. Bartels" <martyb@vnet.IBM.COM>
Subject: Solresol

Does anyone know where a description of Solresol in either Esperanto or English (or both would be best - so I dream) of "Solresol" is available?

For anyone totally unfamiliar with this planned language, it's Jean-Franc,ois Sudre's "Langue Musicale Universelle" (Solresol) - a language based on music. It is briefly mentioned in David Richardson's "Esperanto: Learning and Using the International Language" (p.27), and Mario Pei's booklet "Wanted: A World Language" (p.11-12), as well as others, I'm sure.

Quoting from the latter source:

The early 19th century, for instance, saw Jean-Francois Sudre's "Langue Musicale Universelle", or Solresol, which was based on the international names of the musical notes, with all words formed out of combinations of the syllables "do, re, mi, fa, so, la, si [sic?]". Statistically, these combinations yield seven one-syllable words, 49 of two syllables, 336 of three, 2,268 of four, 9,072 of five, for a total of 11,732 primary words, a respectable vocabulary in any language. Shifts of stress from one syllable to another yielded additional words and separate grammatical forms. The language could be sung, played, or hummed, as well as spoken. It could be written as music. It could be expressed in taps, or even colors. Solresol gained wide acceptance, and was sponsored by such figures as Victor Hugo, Lamartine, von Humboldt, and Napoleon III. But it became, so to speak, extinct in the early years of our century.

This is as much as I know about Solresol, but I would like to know more - not really on any practical level (as with Esperanto, and possibly Lojban), but I really would like to know how this language was recorded in so many media, and perhaps someday I'd like to try to compose some music "which says something."

Any information would be appreciated, and can be sent to me directly at <> or posted if the interest seems general enough.

Thanks everyone!

---Marty <>

From: (Mark E. Shoulson)
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 93 15:05:47 -0400
Subject: Solresol

I, too, have been looking high and low for anything that would actually give me any insight into Solresol, but it doesn't seem all that easy. I've pretty much given up hope of finding anything in English; I'd probably settle for French and this point and do what I could to understand it (Rick H., you still out there? Any pointers? I'm positive I've asked this already, but I don't seem to have a good answer. hey, I just found something that Eric Floehr posted here back in October 1991, which he got out of The Artificial Language Movement by Andrew Large; I'll try to repost it. It's still not enough. Any language this unusual makes me itch to see it!


P.S. Wait! I found the pointers Rick H. sent me last August. Not that they'll be easy to track down...

Subject: stuff
From: jwt! (Rick Harrison)
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 92 13:50:15 EDT
Organization: The Matrix
Gajewski, Boleslas
Grammaire du Solresol, ou langue universelle de Fr. Sudre
Paris: 1902 (44 p.)
Sudre, Jean Francois (1798-1866)
Langue musicale universelle
Paris: 1866 (480+ p.)
PM 8008 .S94
also described in:
Couturat, Louis & Leau, Leopold
Histoire de la langue universelle
pp. 33-39

Good luck!

From: (Rick Harrison)
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 08:55:32 -0500
Subject: CONLANG: Solresol - any data?

From time to time over the years people have posted queries about Solresol, or promises to dig up the original documentation and post some data to this list. Does anyone have any data at all about Solresol, apart from the brief description in Couturat & Leau (which is repeated by Dulichenko and by Large) -- anything would be helpful, a paragraph of Solresol text with a translation, even the numbers 1 to 10.

-- Rick Harrison (

From: Paul Lucas
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 15:41:29 +0000
Subject: CONLANG: Re: Solresol - any data?

> Does anyone have any data at all about Solresol
> [...] anything would be helpful, a paragraph of Solresol
> text with a translation, even the numbers 1 to 10.

I haven't found enough information yet to provide a whole paragraph of Solresol, but I did recently find some information about numbers. As with the rest of Solresol, each word also serves as the word for any other similar concept, as shown in the following list.

redodo - one, unity, first, unique, etc
remimi - two, second, twice, etc
refafa - three, thrice, third, etc
resolsol - four, etc
relala - five, etc
resisi - six, etc
mimido - seven, etc
mimire - eight, etc
mimifa - nine, etc
mimisol - ten, etc
mimila - eleven, etc
midodo - thirteen, etc
fafare - twenty, etc
fafami - thirty, etc
fafasol - forty, etc
farere - one hundred, etc
famimi - one thousand, etc
fasolsol - one million, etc

The numbers are contained within a 'group' or 'section' of the vocabulary that contains consecutively repeating notes (i.e. redodo but not doredo). This group also contains words relating to the seasons, the months, and the climate.

Unfortunately I was unable to find an explanation as to the particular choice of sound/number associations. It appears that instead of identifying some list of minimum necessary numbers (zero to ten, twenty, thirty, etc) and joining them to make the others (e.g. ten and one to make eleven), Solresol appears to have unique combinations for each number. It is difficult to know, however, since this is such a small sample and there are only the two exceptions. Any comments?

Paul Lucas

Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 23:07:18 -0800
From: dasher@NETCOM.COM (Anton Sherwood)
Subject: CONLANG: Solresol

Here's the good parts of what Drezen (Historio de la Mondolingvo) says about Solresol.

La kombinajxoj el 1 kaj 2 muziknotoj faris partetojn kaj pronomojn:
si - jes
do - ne
re - kaj
mi - aw
sol - cia

La plej uzataj vortoj formigxis el kombino de tri notoj:

          doredo         tempo
          doremi         tago
          dorefa         semajno
          doresol        monato
          dorela         jaro
          doresi         jarcento

Kombinajxoj el 4 notoj estis dividitaj je klasoj, law la komencanta noto; tiel ekzemple la klaso `do' rilatis homon materian kaj moralan, klaso `re' - familion, mastrumon kaj tualeton, klaso `mi' - agojn de la homo kaj liajn mankojn, ktp.

Kiam iu vorto estis verbo, tiam la nomo de la objekto, persono, adjektivo kaj adverbo, devenanta de tiu verbo, formigxis per akcento sur la 1a, 2a, 3a kaj 4a silabo de la vorto. Ekzemple:

        sirelasi        establi, fondi
        SIrelasi        konstitucio
        siRElasi        konstituanta (konsistiga)
        sireLAsi        konstitucia
        sirelaSI        law la konstitucio

La ideo kontrawa esprimigxis per renversita ordo de la silaboj en la koncerna vorto, ekzemple

           misol  bono
           solmi  malbono
         sollasi        suprenigxi (ascendi)
         silasol        malsuprenigxi (malascendi)

From: (Rick Harrison)
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 02:40:07 -0500
Subject: CONLANG: re: Solresol

Paul Lucas writes:
> Solresol appears to have unique combinations for each
> number. It is difficult to know, however, since this is
> such a small sample and there are only the two exceptions.
> Any comments?

My main comment is "thank you." It is strange how difficult finding info about Solresol has become, considering how well-known it apparently was in its time. The Societie pour la Propagation de la Langue Universelle Solresol must have done a very poor job of distributing the literature.

-- Rick Harrison

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