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ISME Website ISME History Standing Committee IHME Homepage JOHN WAITE (1807-1868) - THE TONIC NUMERAL METHOD Compiled by Robin Stevens  Waite’s method  The Reverend John James Waite , a minister of the Congregational Church, was born at Gloucester in England. His so-called ‘tonic numeral’ method involved the application of the numerals 1 to 7 on a moveable tonic basis to staff notation as a mnemonic aid for reading pitch. Numerals were ‘figured’ beneath each stave and any chromatic notes were indicated by adding the ‘s’ and ‘f’ respectively for sharp and flat accidentals.  Waite’s publication of a hymn book, The Hallelujah or Devotional Psalmody, published in 1841 in which all hymns had ‘figuring’ under the staff notation (see the example in the figure below), was widely used for congregational singing in England.     An example of Waite’s notation from The Hallelujah (London: John Snow, 1852). Reproduced from B. Rainbow, The Land without Music (London: Novello & Co. Ltd., 1967), 182.   Waite’s Method in Victoria  Although not utilised in New South Wales, Waite’s tonic numeral method was adopted by the senior singing masters appointed by Denominational Schools in Victoria, chief among whom was George Leavis Allen.  This method became fairly standard under successive education bodies, the Council of Education which took over from the dual board systems in Victoria from 1862 and then the Victorian Department of Education from 1873. An alternative Tonic Sol-fa singing curriculum was introduced to Victoria in 1896. ISME Website ISME History Standing Committee IHME Homepage Copyright © 2014 History Standing Committee, International Society for Music Education (ISME)