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Thread: How to remember tunes?

  1. #51

    Default Re: How to remember tunes?

    I'm not saying it's easy, but if you can play what you hum, you don't really have to remember much, depending upon one's repertiore. I mostly play old Country and some Bluegrass. I don't know what the next tune will be, let alone the key. I sorta quickly relearn it, whatever the tune. I listen to/for melodic commonality, rather than differences. This is your own private Magic trick. Do not reveal or discuss this. I found it irritates other players, to reveal certain beloved tunes sound like another. Like you've announced the Emperror is naked. Oh, BTW, to practice this, i used to try to play along with the radio: Find the key, try to play along. Repeat. Repeat. Etc.

  2. #52
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Nov 2015
    Kent, Washington

    Default Re: How to remember tunes?

    You know what my Dad always told me; Repetition is the Mother of all learning.

  3. #53
    Stop the chop!
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    Oct 2008
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    Default Re: How to remember tunes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I donít think you need ďextreme agilityĒ to hum a melody. It just helps connect what you hear in your head with what you want to play. Also, nothing wrong with listening and analysis. It is all helpful in the process. Are you able to learn a melody by ear? Or play a call and response with someone else on the fly without notation? I would think so. The proof is in your experience but you also have to try it.

    A tune I want to learn I listen to it, sing in the shower or while driving. Then try to play it. If I canít remember I go back to recording or sheet music, maybe analyze parts I have trouble with and continue to have that tune playing in my brainís playlist. It is all part of the process.

    Consider the following six examples

    Fig. F is Monroeís Lonesome Moonlight Waltz. Itís very songlike, and I could sing it (an octave lower, of course) when I learned it about 40 years ago. But I havenít practised singing for many years, for lack of interest. I needed to hear it once through to get it. Working up a presentable and personal version was a different matter, of course. And it keeps changing.

    Fig. E is Zambesi. A while back,as an experiment, I tried to work out as much of it as I could, from memory. It has four sections, and I easily recalled two of them. Listening to a recording I found that the missing two were really easy; the ones I knew were simply the giveaway sections, so when I play that song today I improvise variations on the ďmissingĒ sections . I canít sing that melody at all.

    Fig. D is High Level Hornpipe. In the beginning it rises an octave and a sixth within one and a half bars. How does one hum that one?

    Fig. C is Rutlandís Reel. The main difficulty to a singer (or me) is rising a minor sixth after the beginning smaller intervals.

    Fig. B is from Benny Martinís Fiddlerís Waltz, a showpiece in many sections. It was fairly easy to transcribe except for the next-to-last section, a long stream of eighth notes with almost no recurring figures. This phrase covers two octaves and a third within three bars. I will be thankful for tips on how to sing it.

    Fig. A is my all time favorite fiddle tune Brillancy as I learned it from Howdy Forresterís recording in 1965.
    It has a large range, two octaves and a fourth. Although Iíve played it for 55 years, and taught it to a banjo player friend and recorded with him and two other players in 1969, I cannot sing it, hence I donít know it. A bit paradoxical, donít you think?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #54
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    0.8 mpc from NGC224, upstairs

    Default Re: How to remember tunes?

    It is sufficient for me to hum key parts of a tune, abridging difficult jumps is allowed. Nothing for Carnegie Hall, but it's memorization magic.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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