What is PaNiBe?

PaNiBe is Born

“The child must learn to love as well as to understand.”

Dalcroze (1921: 23)

In her research, Raquel López makes it clear that musical education should begin and end with the sound experience and not with theory. After all, music is an aural art. It is necessary to have musical experiences (auditive) for music notation to make sense.

Understanding what we hear is crucial to musical development. Methods and musical practices that begin with abstract theoretical explanations of the intervals, the staff and music keys do not help in the understanding and comprehension of the music we hear or what we see notated. It is through the process of assigning sense to what we hear that we can then represent it in a symbolic way.

Starting with notation is not a musical approach to music teaching and learning because music is an aural art. When notation is introduced from the first class, the eyes take over the ears. Another problem of starting with notation is that children have to learn too many things at the same time. This could delay the process of becoming ‘music literate’. This is why there is a need for a ‘Sound to Symbol’ approach to teaching and learning one’s musical absolute system: an approach that goes by the principle of sound-experience first. In such approach the ear is engaged and sound relations can be thought, sung, seen, written and practised in a meaningful way, providing enough time for internalising musical concepts in order to develop music understanding.

Music understanding of what is heard is key to musical development, yet, without a link between a sound and its symbol perception and notation remain separated events. This is where PaNiBe comes in. PaNiBe is a new movable system fruit of Raquel Lopez’s research ‘Do Re Mi for Little Kids or the Quest for an Aural Approach to Absolute-Do’. ‘PaNiBe I hear I see!’ is a relative system in which sounds of a given pattern can be associated with a given ‘musical syllable’ in accordance to how it sounds. In this way it does not matter in which key or mode one sings or plays the same piece: the musical pattern remains the same. Each scale degree can be associated with a PaNiBe ‘musical syllable’ without causing confusion with finger numbers, movable or fixed-do, or of of any kind.

The use of a relative system is the easiest way for teaching and learning music from ‘Sound to Symbol’ and for developing functional hearing. For absolute-do countries, the use of PaNiBe will open a new door for teaching and learning sound relations without confusion or limitations. Being able to think, hear, see and sing the same pattern by the same names facilitates music understanding. By using Panibe sound relations are recognisable by sound and by sight, starting from any pitch and without worrying about the ‘right’ notes. The end goal is to understand music and to become ‘music literate’ in the broad sense of the term.

Examples using PaNiBe

In the following example we see a visual representation of ‘Pa’ which is the is the tonic or first scale degree of the scale and a major third above: ‘Be’:


Same pattern in another position:


Another example:

Visual representation of a descending minor third that could be sung or played from any starting pitch.


By using PaNiBe one is able to think, sing and play the same musical pattern by the same names. This facilitates musical comprehension and musical understanding. musical patterns and intervals are easily recognised by sound and by sight without having to worry about the ‘right notes’.

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Contact Raquel at: panibemusic@gmail.com