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ISME Website ISME History Standing Committee IHME Homepage JOHN HULLAH (1812-1884) - WILHEM’S [FIXED DO] METHOD OF TEACHING SINGING ADAPTED FOR ENGLISH USE Compiled by Robin Stevens  John Pyke Hullah, English composer and teacher of music, was born at Worcester. He was a pupil of William Horsley from 1829, and entered the Royal Academy of Music in 1833. For bilgraphical details, go to the following Wikipedia entry:                                                                                                                                                     John Hullah (1812-1884)          Hullah’s method  Hullah’s fixed do solmisation method was promoted in English choral singing and elementary schools and was then introduced to government-supported schools in New South Wales and Victoria during the early 1850s. John Hullah’s method was based on a system adapted from that promoted by the French music teacher Guillaume Louis Boquillan Wilhem. This method employed the fixed do solmisation principle—namely, the syllables do, re, mi, fa, so,l la and si were applied to the C major scale (with C always being do) as a mnemonic system for reading staff notation.  Hullah published his method in a manual entitled Wilhem’s Method of Teaching Singing Adapted for English Use in 1841 and produced a series of teaching aids, all of which were officially sanctioned by the British Committee of Council on Education and adopted by the Irish National Schools Board. Hullah also employed a mnemonic system of time names to facilitate rhythm reading. However, as explained in Figure 1, the comparatively complex system of fixed solmisation in which the vowel of the respective sol-fa names changed to accommodate chromatic alterations to the syllable names in keys other than C major. Unlike many of the other teaching methods based on the solmisation principle, Hullah’s approach did not include the placement of sol-fa syllables under staff notation as a mnemonic aid. Students of this method were expected to apply the system to keys outside that of C major as well as to any accidentals encountered.        Page xv from Hullah’s Wilhem's Method of Teaching Singing, adapted to English Use under Supervision of Committee of Council on Education (J.W. Parker, London 1841) outlining his application of sol-fa to sight singing.   Hullah’s Method in New South Wales and Victoria  Hullah’s method was first introduced to New South Wales National Schools in 1848 as part of the Board of National Education’s use of Irish National System’s teaching materials. Although the New South Wales Denominational School Board did not prescribe the use of Hullah’s method, it was being used in several Church of England schools by the 1860s.  In the Victoria, Hullah’s method was utilised by singing masters appointed by the Denominational School Board from 1852 and by singing masters in National Board of Education schools by the 1855.  However, school inspectors employed by the dual education boards operating in both colonies reported that there were difficulties with Hullah’s method.  For example, Inspector James Bonwick in Victoria reported that Hullah’s method was ‘unsuitable for the schools of this colony: the course is too long, the exercises too tedious and the music generally not sufficiently pleasing and attractive to children’. Hullah’s approach was replaced in NSW with Curwen’s Tonic Sol-fa method and in Victoria by Waite’s Tonic Numeral method. ISME Website ISME History Standing Committee IHME Homepage Copyright © 2014 History Standing Committee, International Society for Music Education (ISME)