Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 67

Thread: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

  1. #26
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    305

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Good question, Randi. I'll attempt country, old time, hymns, classical, Italian, movie themes, etc. Not sure if I'm overlapping here and if they're all genres, per se.

    I envy your playing music with your husband. Mine wishes I didn't play, but I put in a lesson or hour a day practice anyway.

  2. #27
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,437

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    I think the simplest way to memorize a tune, not a song, is in a jam. We used to have weekly jams and at first you don't know the tune, next week you have a few more notes. Next year you know several more tunes. 5 years later you know a lot of new tunes and all by memory as you play them with other people week after week who are reinforcing the tune in your head until you know it and you are helping new folks learn them.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to pops1 For This Useful Post:


  4. #28
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Tangent OR
    Posts
    702

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    For tunes, I only use sheet music as a way to learn a tune I don't have a recording of - and even then I memorize the tune; I wish I could sight read faster. In my band, we don't do a lot of instrumental tunes, but rather songs that have breaks; I don't have sheet music for these breaks, so I have to make something up based on a combination of what I can hear in my head and what my actual skill level is. Sometimes I use the same exact break over and over, but If I am feeling confident that day I'll make up something new on the fly.

    We had a fiddle player in our band for a while who was mostly a reader. She was very talented - she could play some smoking fiddle tunes from sheet music. But, for song breaks she would work something out at a practice, and then by the next practice she had forgotten her part and we'd have to work something out again. It ended up not working out and she left the band.

    One time when I was on a business trip on San Diego, I went to a contra dance where the band that night was a pick-up band of locals. I brought my mandolin and joined the band - it was super fun. Many people had sheet music and a music stand. I knew some of the tunes they used (a lot were from Portland Collection), but for the unfamiliar ones I had to sit out because I couldn't sight read fast enough to keep up.

    I think it depends on your environment and what you are trying to do. Just enjoy what you do! And, there is room for sharpening new skills for all of us (sight reading vs ear training).

    Cheers,

    Rob
    -2012 Collings MT, Honey Amber Gloss with Tone Gard
    -Big Muddy MW-0 is here!
    -Proplec Picks


    Follow the Flatt Stanley Incident on Facebook

    Song Samples from CD from my old band The Kindreds

  5. #29

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Depends what we're playing. All my trad stuff is ear - from jelly roll Morton to Chinese han. But I grew up also in the classical idiom, and I still read when I'm playing horns with my kids. And I occasionally read learning accordian..

  6. #30
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    3,239

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    I go to 2 or 3 jams per week and they all are pretty much based on Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Old Country.

    Now that I've learned all 5 songs and all 4 tunes, I'm all set. Sometimes folks DO sing different words though.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Philphool For This Useful Post:


  8. #31
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,990

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    After talking to myself (a lot!) after the camp, I decided to start in again, working on those earlier tunes and trying to add new ones here and there. I now do a fair job of Old Joe Clark, but probably not up to speed and would probably crash and burn if playing in a group.

    I think, for me, I need to just stick to written music. I practice an hour a day and have played solos in church over the past year.
    If you care about being able to memorize tunes and join in jams with other amateurs where that's the norm, then don't give up too quickly! Like any musical skill, it takes time to develop, and usually more time for people learning later in life. If you put in the work, you'll get there.

    Don't try to swallow too much of a tune at once. Take a fiddle tune like the ones you're working on, and break it down into phrases -- groups of three or four measures that seem to fit together, like the "call and response" format in many fiddle tunes. Repeat that phrase over and over while reading the sheet music until you have it "under your fingers," then take your eyes off the page and see if you can do it from memory.

    Build up the tune in your memory this way; a chunk at a time, patching it together as slowly as you need to. It's hard work, but it will open so many doors in playing with others. This "learning by phrase" is the way tunes are usually taught by ear in music camp workshops, so you'll be practicing a skill you can use in workshops as well.

    My teacher is encouraging me to join a community orchestra in the fall. Not sure a mandolin would even be welcome, but maybe I could at least participate in rehearsals.
    Does your teacher play by ear, and recommend that you learn to do that? Or is the teacher more Classical-oriented, always working from sheet music?

    I'm not suggesting you get a new teacher if that's the situation, but realize that different teachers will steer students in different directions. You may need to head out on your own into the world of ear learning while still working on techniques from your teacher, if that's not something stressed as part of the curriculum.

  9. #32

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg P. Stone View Post
    I used to use index cards as a cheat sheet which showed me the tempo, the first two measures and sometimes a few descriptive words. By the time I got through two measures I always knew what I was playing well enough to fake myself through.
    Here’s my favourite cheat sheet from Paul Hardy:
    http://pghardy.net/concertina/tunebo...ooks_cheat.pdf

    And even more of a change of subject, sorry, but this is kind of amusing.
    Check out this map, it’s a record of people who have visited Paul Hardy’s site to download his tune book in the last 7 days.
    Notice that big red dot that’s South of South Africa?
    Is that a happy mandolinist sailor or what?!
    Or maybe a whole boat full of musicians?
    Off to California, Out on the ocean...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1AC64B14-2271-424A-89E7-16BE4825DF04.png 
Views:	17 
Size:	1.04 MB 
ID:	178191

  10. The following members say thank you to Simon DS for this post:


  11. #33
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    4,006

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by T.D.Nydn View Post
    .if you just read sheet music,how can you ever improvise on a tune?..
    With all respect - did you ever play in a jazz big band? and read a new tune...and have a 16 to 32 measure solo over chord changes you've just seen? (and heard?)

    It happens.

    But yes, knowing the tune is better.

  12. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to DavidKOS For This Useful Post:


  13. #34
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    4,006

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Or is the teacher more Classical-oriented, always working from sheet music?
    Hmmm...

    Classical training should include serious ear training. like sight-singing from that same sheet music.

    I mean, the Italians invented solfeggio hundreds of years ago, and it was basic training..and still is in many places.

  14. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to DavidKOS For This Useful Post:


  15. #35

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    I do much better at memorizing music than lyrics . . . especially if I haven't played the songs for quite some time. Considering the fact that when I play live I do 99% original songs, (the only time I do covers is when I do an occasional Mike Nesmith song, at that is only because he personally gave me permission to do his songs) it sometimes strikes people as very odd that I can't remember my own songs!

  16. #36
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,990

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Hmmm...

    Classical training should include serious ear training. like sight-singing from that same sheet music.

    I mean, the Italians invented solfeggio hundreds of years ago, and it was basic training..and still is in many places.
    True, but I have noticed a phenomenon with people who pick up an instrument later in life as an "Adult learner" in any genre involving sheet music, where it becomes a security blanket and they don't want to get off the paper.

    A friend of mine is a very good Classically-trained violinist and local teacher of both Classical and "Folk" genres like OldTime and Irish trad. I was in a band with him for a while. He often complains about adult students picking up violin later in life, or recovering it as a child player, who can't get off the sheet music when playing fairly basic stuff like OldTime or Irish fiddle tunes. They complain about how it's too hard to memorize, or they just don't have the time to memorize at home.

    He has tried for years to wean one particular group class off sheet music, because they play mostly Irish trad in a small forest of music stands, and sometimes perform in public that way. But they resist, and this locks them out of attending any of the local OldTime jams or Irish/Scottish sessions that are great fun, but require people to know at least a few tunes from memory before they show up.

    Because they're so tied to the sheet music, this class hasn't improved at all over the years. They still sound the same as they did 15 years ago when I first met them. The music is dull and lifeless, because as amateur sheet music readers they haven't developed the skill a professional orchestra player has, for being able to listen to everyone around them as well as read the dots. I can't disparage it too much, because they're still having fun playing together. But they could be having so much more fun if they learned to memorize tunes, and could attend local sessions.

  17. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to foldedpath For This Useful Post:


  18. #37
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    4,006

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    because as amateur sheet music readers they haven't developed the skill a professional orchestra player has, for being able to listen to everyone around them as well as read the dots.
    Great point - listening skills, particularly while playing and more-so while reading music.

    Thanks.

  19. #38
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    16,008

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    I never learned sight reading, so I have to memorize tunes in my head..

    OP reads scores so does not have to memorize them just remember where they put the pages..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  20. #39
    MandolaViola bratsche's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    south florida
    Posts
    2,799

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    I can learn things by ear, but if I'm in a hurry to learn them, sheet music works so much faster. I sight read quite well. Memorization for me is just a natural by-product of repetition. If I play something enough times, I can't seem to fail to memorize it. It's not therefore something I've spent time trying to figure out how to do. Do I have the occasional memory lapse while playing or practicing? Of course! And if/when that happens, my most reliable way of getting back on track is to visualize the printed music in my mind.

    bratsche
    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

    GearGems - Gifts & apparel for musicians and more!
    MandolaViola's YouTube Channel

  21. The following members say thank you to bratsche for this post:


  22. #40
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    1,927

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    The music reminds me.
    Quoting f-d because this approach is also not memorization.

  23. #41

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Learning square fiddle tunes can be broken into easy chunks. The phrases are each two bars. In the A part there is a call of two bars, a response of two bars then the original call is repeated then there is a finish. The B part is the same way. The finish phrase of the B part is often the same as the A part. So you end up with a total of eight two measure phrases but two or three are repeated. And of course the A and B parts are repeated. To play a 32 measure square fiddle tune you only have five or six phrases to learn. Everything else is repeated. That makes the learning a lot smaller task than if you try to put your head down and blast through the whole thing. Crooked tunes are a little harder but they will have some kind of phrase structure also.

    Serious professional can read well. Most amateurs cannot. They try to use the sheet music to make up for a lot of other shortcomings. It is not fun to play with. For most amateurs if they have the sheet music worked through well enough to really play with others then they have absorbed the tune and music.

    I have had a couple of bad, bad experiences trying to play with people who depended on the written music. These were not serious classical players or professionals though one autoharp player thought she was. Their timing was awful as they rushed through the parts they kind of knew then jerked and stopped and started again when they got to the parts they did not really know at all. They would add and subtract measures as they tried to figure out what they were reading. It was no fun. None of us are perfect but this was way outside that.

    There is one accordion player I work with that uses a book in performance. She knows almost all the hundreds of tunes and can play them without the book just using it as a reminder of what to play. That does not work bad.

    I try to get to a point where I can sing the tune. If I can do that then I have it solid. I will use ear and written music to get to that point. Mandolin though is much easier to pick tunes out on than guitar.

  24. #42

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Recently I’ve been just reading tunes from tab and playing quite slowly.
    Playing slowing, it takes a while to get through a tune, but with the metronome on and if I stick at with little to no stopping, relentless, then in a couple of hours I can get through a ton of tunes, almost no errors too.
    Does it improve my memory?
    -maybe not for my head, but for my fingers yes. They get an incredible workout for many different patterns.

  25. #43
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    7,327

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    I'll sort of agree, when the notes remind you of the melody and then you just play your memory is not quite memorization. There are tunes I just can't kick off (Nail the Catfish comes to mind). I know the tune, I just can't call it up. Now, if I saw even the tab (clearly if I saw the notes), I'd remember enough to play it.

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  26. #44
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,437

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    There are plenty of tunes that I can't start, sometimes can, but can play if someone starts or hums the tune. Tunes seem to change slightly from region to region, reading from music I have not see it match the actual tune around here. There are times a player will play a tune slightly different and I will try to incorporate their style into the tune. Knowing the tune and getting used to playing be ear is a useful tool for adapting to most situations. It is also beneficial for learning or being able to play a new tune in a jam. Knowing scales in most keys helps to learn a tune quickly on the fly. Some are more difficult and others you can simply hear and play.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  27. #45
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    460

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    Serious professional can read well. Most amateurs cannot. They try to use the sheet music to make up for a lot of other shortcomings. It is not fun to play with. For most amateurs if they have the sheet music worked through well enough to really play with others then they have absorbed the tune and music.

    I have had a couple of bad, bad experiences trying to play with people who depended on the written music. These were not serious classical players or professionals though one autoharp player thought she was. Their timing was awful as they rushed through the parts they kind of knew then jerked and stopped and started again when they got to the parts they did not really know at all. They would add and subtract measures as they tried to figure out what they were reading. It was no fun. None of us are perfect but this was way outside that.
    Have to say I take exception to this statement and some similar ones from folded path. You are blaming reading music for a whole host of other issues. A decent musician—and that's a lot of amateurs, not just professionals—is perfectly capable of reading music while playing in time, listening to others, and fitting their part into the greater whole.

  28. #46
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    0.8 mpc from NGC224, upstairs
    Posts
    9,884

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Do you feel deprived since you can't easily play with others without the music in front of you?
    It's the other way around for me - I would feel deprived if I didn't know a tune I play by heart, because it would not really be my tune, I'd not be inside the tune, I'd not be the tune.

    I start learning new tunes with sheet music, but I leave it behind after a day or two.

    This approach is for making tunes your lifelong friends, not for passing aquaintances, and it is for small digestable chunks of music. I'd call that the artisan approach.

    A classical musician, OTOH, in an orchestra, needs the sheet music because the pieces are too long and too transient (one opera today, another tomorrow) to memorize them. I'd call that the industrial approach.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  29. #47

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Have to say I take exception to this statement and some similar ones from folded path. You are blaming reading music for a whole host of other issues. A decent musician—and that's a lot of amateurs, not just professionals—is perfectly capable of reading music while playing in time, listening to others, and fitting their part into the greater whole.
    That is precisely the problem. Far and away the majority of people I have tried to play with who absolutely could not play without music in front of them had that whole host of other issues. It is not to say that there are no people who can play well from written music. But outside of the classical world, the people I have dealt with who absolutely depended on it and could not play without it, inevitably had lots of other weaknesses. The exceptions have been rare and few, in my experience at least. A few have been fun to play with, most lacked any flexibility and required the other players to adjust to them, several have been excruciatingly awful and no fun at all.

    Reading music is a great tool. But the fun part is when the music becomes more like a conversation and takes on a life of its own. You would not try to have a casual conversation or discussion with a written script. It would be weird. That is reserved for formal speeches or stage plays. Jam sessions are supposed to be more like a conversation between musicians.

  30. #48
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    3,233

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    I memorize all songs automatically by practicing/playing over and over ! Not intentionally but it just happens !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  31. #49
    Registered User Paul Brett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Kilkenny, Ireland.
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    I have very few issues memorising tunes. I sometimes have problems with tunes that have similar opening phrases and often strat the wrong one. Luckily it has only happened at sessions.

    I have huge problems remembering lyrics of songs, no idea why but often need lyric sheets.

    I found myself playing at a church service yesterday and was playing a harmony part over the refrain. I was very familiar with the melody but as soon as I had to follow a relatively easy harmony part I found myself following the sheet music. Like a previous poster said it's probably a crutch as I'm out of my comfort zone.

  32. #50
    MandolaViola bratsche's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    south florida
    Posts
    2,799

    Default Re: Who doesn't memorize tunes/songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise NM View Post
    Have to say I take exception to this statement and some similar ones from folded path. You are blaming reading music for a whole host of other issues. A decent musician—and that's a lot of amateurs, not just professionals—is perfectly capable of reading music while playing in time, listening to others, and fitting their part into the greater whole.
    I agree with you! And would wish to point out the "issues" that can be found amongst the non-reading musicians, as well. There is definitely another side of the story.

    The small ensemble that leads worship at my church has counted me as a member for several years. There are 3 of us regularly, and sometimes have a fourth, and even more rarely a fifth, and all of us are music readers. We have our "rehearsal" routine, which is basically to run through all the music for the service (1/2 hour at the most), receive any last-minute directions from the pastor, chat amongst ourselves over a leisurely coffee, and then converse with people from the congregation as they arrive for the service.

    Once in a while, we will combine our services with another local congregation that is a sister church to ours. We combine our music groups as well. Theirs is more than twice the size of ours, and nobody reads music, they all play by ear and use nothing but their lead sheets for a loose (and I mean it!) reference. Because they don't read, they can't do any of "our" music, so we are basically added to their group's music when they come, and their leader calls all the shots. He wants us to start rehearsal an hour earlier than we usually come. They do communicate with us, sometimes as late as Saturday, to tell us what the songs will be and in what key. Very often they are contemporary songs that I've never heard, let alone played. The leader of our group looks them up online, and downloads and prints them out.

    But what we get is only an approximation of what will actually happen. The rehearsal takes well over an hour, with much tedious repetition. When we ask them questions such as how many bars they're putting in between this verse and that refrain, for example, we don't get a straight answer, probably because there's little comprehension of the question. Instead, one will helpfully say "Here, I will go... (plays his riff) and then, she will go 'da da da da deeee daaaa!' and you guys come in right after my B flat chord, okay?" We three frantically scribble over our parts, putting in instructions and road maps, and crossing them out or scribbling over them again when they change their mind. Often, a tune will be kicked off by "One Two Three Four" from the bassist or drummer ... when the song is actually in three! One of us will explain to them that the "four" shouldn't be there, and why, but it doesn't sink in.

    Then, members of the congregation start arriving, so we have to stop rehearsing. There is now no time left for chit chat over coffee, which we have to gulp down in a hurry. Somehow, it all comes together in the service because God is good, but it is usually a nerve wracking experience, where we have to stay on our toes and to instantly adapt when anything strange happens, as it assuredly will.

    bratsche
    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

    GearGems - Gifts & apparel for musicians and more!
    MandolaViola's YouTube Channel

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •