Solresol, or the Universal Musical Language, never quite caught on, but it still left its mark.
All musicians and music-lovers are familiar with the transcendent communication of music — it’s one that needs no words or explanation to speak. Well, Jean Francois-Sudre took that to a literal level when he invented La Telephonie, a sort of code based on the French alphabet that allowed French to be translated into musical notes.
But, after attempting to sell his code to the military, he set his sights even higher by creating Solresol, a new language expressed exclusively in music that would transcend all nations and foreign languages, thereby creating open access between cultures. He employed solfege (e.g. Do, Re, Mi …), and, though the final product wasn’t as nuanced as spoken languages, it was still an impressive feat.
In fact, a foundation dedicated to the preservation of Solresol made attempts to develop it from a music-language into a sign language, but European culture during this time was still too dedicated to “oralism” (the philosophy that deaf people must learn to speak) to be open to this new idea.
So, maybe Solresol never saw its day, but we can still learn from what its left behind. To hear more about the grammar of Solresol and how it works, check out the video above.