Solresol is an artificial language, devised by a Frenchman, Jean François Sudre, beginning in 1817. Solresol enjoyed a brief spell of popularity, reaching its pinnacle with Boleslas Gajewski's 1902 publication of Grammaire du Solresol. It is based on solfege (a way of identifying musical notes), and can thus be whistled or played on a musical instrument as well as spoken.
As in Ro, words are divided into categories of meaning, based on their first syllable, or note. Words beginning with 'sol' have meanings related to arts and sciences, or, if they begin with 'solsol', sickness and medicine (e.g., solresol, "language"; solsolredo, "migraine").
A unique feature of Solresol is that meanings are negated by reversing the syllables in words. For instance fala means good or tasty, and lafa means bad.
Solresol has more unique features:
- highly impartial
- integrated systems (signs, colors, etc.) for most different handicapped people, immediately operative without special learning
- gives fast learning success to illiterate people (only 7 syllables or signs or 10 letters to know and to recognise)
- it presents no pronunciation difficulties
- very simple but effective system to differentiate the function of the words in the sentences
Solresol did have to face the difficulty that in France, sign languages for deaf people were not allowed until over a century later (congress of Milan 1880 - law Fabius 1991). This is an important reason of the difficult expansion of solresol!
After its fifteen minutes of fame, it faded into obscurity in the face of more successful languages such as Esperanto. Despite this, there is still a small community of Solresol enthusiasts scattered across the world, better able to communicate with one another through the electronic medium of the Internet than they might have in days past.
A more recent constructed language based on musical tones is Eaiea, created by Bruce Koestner, which uses the entire 12-step western chromatic scale.