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Type: Book

Subject: psalmody, solfa, solfege

Author: Sarah Ann Glover


The publication of Sarah Glover’s treatise marked the beginning of a new era in music teaching in English schools. Instead of following tradition by teaching musical facts, this Norwich schoolteacher introduced her pupils to direct experience of music through song, deducing theory from practice, and developing musical literacy through the use of indigenous sol-fa.

unknown artist; Sarah Anna Glover (1786-1867); Royal College of Music;

Sarah Ann Glover

Birth - November 13, 1786 | Norwich, England

Death - October 20, 1867 | Great Malvern, England

Nationality - English

Era - Romantic

Theorist Biography

Written by: Ben Parsell

Sarah Ann Glover was an English music educator who invented the Norwich sol-fa system.
Her Sol-fa system was a result of her efforts to develop a simplified system of musical notation. By 1827, she had developed a complete method of musical notation that she was using while teaching at a girls’ school she had founded. In her system, notes were represented by the initials of the seven tones of the diatonic scale. Next time you sing do re mi fa sol la ti do’ or sing along to Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music, you can thank Sarah Glover for the name “ti” for the sevelth sclae degree of the sclae built on do! John Curwen’s discovery of Sarah Glover’s work in Norwich and in Scheme for Rendering Psalmody Congregational was instrumental in his development of the Tonic Sol-fa system.

See Also

  • Bennett, Peggy D. “Sarah Glover: A Forgotten Pioneer in Music Education.” International Journal of Music Education os-4, no. 1 (November 1984): 27–35. doi:10.1177/025576148400400107.
  • Southcott, Jane. Sarah Anna Glover: Nineteenth Century Music Education Pioneer. Lexington Books, 2019.
  • Wisse, Patricia. From Glover to Curwen and on to Kodály.