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  5. "מה הסולם?"

"מה הסולם?"

Translation:What is the key?

September 1, 2016



Leads to another question: what are the keys named in Hebrew? Because I'm guessing it's safe to assume that letter names won't be the same.


I'll be very curious to hear this answer, because, since Hebrew is a revived language, I would expect musical keys to use the Latin alphabet. Indeed, even if it weren't, since languages that use the Cyrillic alphabet, or those like Chinese and Japanese that do not use an alphabet, use the Latin letters to designate keys. If the Hebrew letters are used, I would wonder whether this was an effort at universal hebraization or whether they related to some older system of Jewish music theory. Great question.


We use the neo-latin naming convention - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_note#12-tone_chromatic_scale , so do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-si-do.


So that's what's used for key signature names? So, like, if I see music with three flats in it, unless there's something weird happening I'm going to either call that E flat major or C minor. And if I'm playing guitar with my buddies, we might say something like "can we try that again in G?"

In those situations, are you still using the chromatic solfege naming? Would those be me (or maybe mi flat) major, do minor, and sol (major), respectively?

**I edited this before I submitted it, on account of I typed it out before I followed the Wikipedia link.


I'm sorry, I don't really understand the specific question - I'm not a music expert, I just learned how to play a couple of instruments when I was a kid.. :-) but from what I know, the names of the keys are according to that convention, yes. The names of the accords on the other hand used some other convention, I'm not sure if it was English or German.


No worries! I confuse my wife with musician shop talk too, and she's decently educated musically :-P


And could סולם also be translated as "key"?


Yes, in the musical sense.


I think of the word סולם meaning key as though the piano (or xylophone) I'm playing on is pointed upwards rather than sideways, thus resembling a ladder. Not an exact analogy because of the "black" keys, but I hope the point is made.


In a way yes. Because notes are ordered in increasing pitch, this set is called scale in English and Tonleiter "note ladder" in German. Hebrew therefore uses סֻלָּם ladder as a loan translation.

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