Journal article

O’Malley’s ‘Sight Singing and Harmony’ Method: A Nineteenth-century Pedagogical Oddity

Robin Stevens, Stephen C James

Context: Journal of Music Research | Melbourne Conservatorium of Music | Published : 2019


This article documents the development and promotion of a choral music pedagogy devised and employed by a Jesuit priest, Joseph O’Malley, during the latter part of the nineteenth century in Australia. Several similar methods employing the principle of solmisation—the use of sol-fa syllables as a mnemonic aid to sight singing—were developed in Britain as part of what Percy Scholes has described as ‘a most extraordinary mania’ for choral singing during the nineteenth century. All of these methods were essentially Protestant in origin and most had a dual purpose in both promoting congregational hymn singing and fulfilling a philanthropic role through the social reform of the working class popul..

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