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'Knowing' the song.

Abdul The Bul Bul 12 Mar 09 - 05:27 AM
The Doctor 12 Mar 09 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Will Fly at a strange computer 12 Mar 09 - 05:42 AM
Sandra in Sydney 12 Mar 09 - 05:42 AM
MaW 12 Mar 09 - 05:44 AM
ossonflags 12 Mar 09 - 06:02 AM
treewind 12 Mar 09 - 06:03 AM
Abdul The Bul Bul 12 Mar 09 - 06:21 AM
BobKnight 12 Mar 09 - 06:52 AM
JennieG 12 Mar 09 - 07:02 AM
Hamish 12 Mar 09 - 07:09 AM
GUEST,Barnacle (at work) 12 Mar 09 - 07:43 AM
BobKnight 12 Mar 09 - 07:50 AM
Micca 12 Mar 09 - 07:54 AM
Leadfingers 12 Mar 09 - 07:55 AM
Leadfingers 12 Mar 09 - 07:56 AM
Nick 12 Mar 09 - 08:38 AM
Acorn4 12 Mar 09 - 08:47 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 12 Mar 09 - 08:52 AM
Jim Dixon 12 Mar 09 - 08:56 AM
Tattie Bogle 12 Mar 09 - 08:58 AM
Nick 12 Mar 09 - 02:09 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 09 - 03:40 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 12 Mar 09 - 03:53 PM
MartinRyan 12 Mar 09 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 12 Mar 09 - 04:46 PM
Anne Lister 12 Mar 09 - 06:44 PM
Phil Edwards 12 Mar 09 - 07:16 PM
GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz 12 Mar 09 - 07:20 PM
Bill D 12 Mar 09 - 07:31 PM
Don Firth 12 Mar 09 - 07:37 PM
Bobert 12 Mar 09 - 07:38 PM
JeffB 12 Mar 09 - 08:03 PM
Amos 12 Mar 09 - 08:38 PM
Bonecruncher 12 Mar 09 - 10:46 PM
Amos 12 Mar 09 - 10:57 PM
Seamus Kennedy 13 Mar 09 - 12:29 AM
azfiddle 13 Mar 09 - 12:38 AM
GUEST,Drumshanty 13 Mar 09 - 12:22 PM
Valmai Goodyear 14 Mar 09 - 09:01 AM
Nick 14 Mar 09 - 01:13 PM
VirginiaTam 14 Mar 09 - 01:26 PM
The Sandman 14 Mar 09 - 01:55 PM
VirginiaTam 16 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM
Diva 16 Mar 09 - 01:25 PM
Diva 16 Mar 09 - 01:31 PM
The Sandman 16 Mar 09 - 01:55 PM
Snuffy 16 Mar 09 - 08:34 PM
Stringsinger 17 Mar 09 - 01:38 PM
Rog Peek 17 Mar 09 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 18 Mar 09 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band 18 Mar 09 - 11:49 AM
Diva 18 Mar 09 - 12:31 PM
Herga Kitty 18 Mar 09 - 06:05 PM
Tattie Bogle 19 Mar 09 - 12:51 PM
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Subject: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Abdul The Bul Bul
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:27 AM

Still find it fascinating, the difference between 'knowing' the new song at home and forgetting completely the words for last half of the fourth verse when standing up out in front of the club. When do you know that you 'know ' it without getting up and getting it wrong the fist time out

Al


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: The Doctor
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:32 AM

When you have got right through it without forgetting anything. Even then that guarantees nothing about next time. I have sung songs that I've been singing for years and suddenly found I had no idea what came next, and it's a long-standing problem, hence all those floating verses, used as fillers by other singers who'd forgotten the next verse.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: GUEST,Will Fly at a strange computer
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:42 AM

There's a temptation, when learning a new song, to think that you know it when, actually, it's not yet fully embedded in your brain! I always write the song out by hand, in my song notebook, and I find that the act of writing it helps me to remember it later. I visualise the words on the page as I wrote them - not quite a photographic memory, I hasten to add, but a big help.

However, I rarely perform a new song in public until I've sung it out loud in practice for several weeks, sometimes months. I sing it in the car while driving, mentally run through it in my head whenever I can and then, and only then, will I perform it in public. Touch wood, I haven't stumbled over a new song yet by preparing in this way.

But, yes, we've all experienced sudden memory loss over things we've known for ages! I was introducing some colleagues to a visitor the other day - and couldn't recall the name of someone I'd known for 20+ years!


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:42 AM

I've seen songwriters forget their own words!

The black cloud swallows words. Which is why singers look up when trying to find them.

sandra


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: MaW
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:44 AM

I have to sing it over and over and over again before I'm confident of being able to do it in a performance from memory. Writing it out from time to time definitely helps with getting it into the brain. However, for the purposes of actually performing I find that the safest path is to think ahead whenever I have a break - between lines, I'm considering what the next line's going to be; between verses I'm trying to recall the structure of the following verse or chorus or bridge or whatever it is that comes next. If I just open my mouth and expect it to come out, I tend to be doomed to disappointment.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: ossonflags
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:02 AM

It is so refreshing to read threads about how to sing a song and not read the song as seems to be the fashion these days.

I always equate learning a song as learning to drive;

pass the driving test - you are starting to learn to drive;
learn the words - learning to sing/know the song.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: treewind
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:03 AM

Will has a good point - practice singing it in many different places and times of the day, so different environments, distractions and states of mind don't put you off.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Abdul The Bul Bul
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:21 AM

I do try and do all that, I recall Nic Jones proposing it as a way to get the guitar 'separate' from the song delivery but even so.... first time out can be so unpredictable.

I feel maybe theres a mind set you need to be in to get all the 'bits' together when you actually stand up. I know I can still be intimidated by the presence of certain people at a singaround or the 'new bloke' that may be brilliant when he gets up. Strangely it all works fine when trying out a new session where I am the 'new bloke'.

All adds to this wonderful experience of making a song 'yours' and doing it justice. Taken two years to get from a blushing beginnning to my first compliment. Bless the long suffering club members and audiences during this period.

Al


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: BobKnight
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:52 AM

The dreaded "mental block," can strike at any time, even with songs you know well, and just because you've written the song yourself doesn't make it easier to remember the words. Learning other people's songs is a doddle by comparison. You usually learn other people's songs by listening over and over again, and as someone else said, writing the words down helps assimiliate it too, but with your own songs you don't have that luxury of being able to listen again and again.

For a wee while, one particular song I've written, "The Faery Glen," really bugged me. I'd sing it at home and it was fine, I'd sing it at the local folk club and always stumbled at the last two or three verses. I sang it at another folk club, and at quite a big venue locally and it was no bother. Mind you, it is twelve verses long.

The best advice is sing it again and again and again ....


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: JennieG
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:02 AM

No Sandra, not the black cloud - on the inside of one's eyelids. That's why some singers close their eyes when they sing. They are really reading the words.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Hamish
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:09 AM

No matter how well I know a song, I find that the first time in public forms a big leap in really cementing it in place.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: GUEST,Barnacle (at work)
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:43 AM

Someone once told me that you don't really "know" something by just getting it right, it's practising until you never get it wrong. Having said that, it doesn't always work. I have forgotten the "falling of a log" stuff I have been singing for years from time to time and, as someone said above, singing it out the first couple of times is a total different experience. Write it out if you have a visual memory, sing it, keep singing it - it gets there eventually.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: BobKnight
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:50 AM

Barnacle: Your thinking about the old adage, "an amateur practices until he/she gets it right, a professional practices it until they can't get it wrong." However, even the best get it wrong from time to time, just less often than those who don't practice


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Micca
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:54 AM

The problem I have found with songs I have written sometimes is that I remember the (often several) revisions that a song has been through, and all it needs is a small slip into one of those revisions and all is lost, one is up a blind creek without a paddle. That is why I often have a set of printed words to hand because I would rather be embarrassed by having the words in front of me than by screwing up a song I love or worse one I wrote


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:55 AM

I have 'lost' bits of songs that I have been performing fairly regularly for thirty years ! You NEVER know when you will have a CRAFT moment !


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:56 AM

'CRAFT' Moment ?? Cant Remember A Flaming Thing !!!


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Nick
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 08:38 AM

I think that I know Rosemary's Sister backwards and sideways but still managed to sing the second half of the second verse as -

When tyranny is biting you do your best to try
To stifle all your heartaches till it's safe again to cry
And when at last the darkness shits and the sun comes shining through
You dust it off and start it all anew

Perhaps I was nervous.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Acorn4
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 08:47 AM

The odd thing is when you get one of those songs that repeats the first verse at the end -you got it right the first time then it completely goes -must be something to do with switching off.

Apparently Bob Dylan once forget the words of "Blowing in the Wnd".


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 08:52 AM

I've heard extremely well known, long-time performers forget words to songs. I won't mention their names here but everyone would know them. It happens. I've heard a a friend of mine who has recorded countless albums and traveled all over the world singing forget the words to a song while doing a concert set at a large festival to the point where the person had to finally give up and move on to the next song.

Songwriters forgetting words to their own songs is not surprising to me. After all, they've probably changed the words many times during the process of writing it before finally settling on particular words. The old, discarded words are still in there.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 08:56 AM

And once when you have learned a song so well that you can sing it without hesitating or making obvious mistakes, you are also qualified to present your version as the only correct one. When someone at Mudcat asks for the lyrics, you can confidently type in your version from memory, and you don't need to cite any authorities, because you are one!


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 08:58 AM

And if it's one you wrote yourself, especially if it's a new one, there's nobody out there can help you!
I try to look beyond the front row, as in one club the folk who always sit there have particularly miserable and intimidating faces: they never crack a smile even in a funny song!


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Nick
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 02:09 PM

I saw Judy Collins at the Albert Hall back in the 60s and always remember her completely forgetting the words to one of the songs that she was touring with and presumably did every night.

So she stopped. Walked over to the drummer who prompted her with the words she had forgotten and she then did it again with no problem.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 03:40 PM

Towards the end of his life MacColl's memory began to fail him and he started to forget words; but he was so immersed in his songs that he would make up the gaps. He did this so well that only those of us who were totally familiar with his repertoire noticed. Whenever it happened he would look over at us, give a wry grin and shrug - magic moments.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 03:53 PM

"And if it's one you wrote yourself, especially if it's a new one, there's nobody out there can help you!"

and that's when you can really fake it, and no one's any the wiser


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 04:35 PM

I have recently been singing, in public, a song called "Father Murphy" (a favourite of the late Frank Harte, published in one of Colm O'Lochlainn's books). I first attempted to learn that song some thirty odd years ago. I loved the song from the beginning - but could never get it into my head properly. There's a handful of placenames and battle descriptions in it and I could never guarantee that they would come out in the right order. I used to claim that what I needed in front of me was not a set of the words but a map of Wexford! So I gave up and settled for listening to others sing it...

And then recently, as I said, I went back to it. Put some more effort into getting the pattern right and sang it at various sessions over a period of about a month. After two runs where I broke down at the same place - I finally got it right two or three times in a row! I can now "tell the story", which is what it's all about, and am confident that I won't forget it again.

So - never despair. But don't rush things either!

Regards


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 04:46 PM

"All adds to this wonderful experience of making a song 'yours' and doing it justice. Taken two years to get from a blushing beginnning to my first compliment. Bless the long suffering club members and audiences during this period."

In my opinion this is exactly the right attitude. A singer who is obviously working hard and has respect for his audience and, hopefully the material.

I'd listen to you, Abdul!


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Anne Lister
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:44 PM

There's also the phenomenon known to many of us that mysteriously once one performer has forgotten the words to a song, somehow other performers that night also forget words to songs. There's a theory that there's a floorboard responsible, and when you tread on it, that's it for the little grey memory cells - it's related to the Irish folklore item known as "the stray sod" (which I've often thought would be a great name for a ceilidh band), which is an enchanted piece of ground and if you should tread on it you'll be wandering lost for hours in familiar territory.

That's my defence, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

Anne


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:16 PM

Then there's the mystery prompter. I'm still looking for the guy who "lined" me when I dried halfway through I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby, at Chorlton one night - I tried to thank two or three people, but they all denied all knowledge. If you're reading this, whoever you are, thanks for that.

Tunes, in my experience, are even worse - there's being able to play a tune, then there's being able to play it without thinking, and then there's being able to let your fingers play it while you think about something else. Playing in public, I find, draws a very definite line between tunes in the third category and everything else - if I can play it blindfold while planning meals for the next week in your head, then I can play it in public, but if not I'm left scrambling after the dots.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:20 PM

Free Advice! Free Advice!

I started off "pretending' to play guitar at age 12. No guitar. That would come later at the age of 21. I did listen to the radio a lot and memorized a number of songs.

Fear came upon me at my first performance at the women's College(RIC) Dorm. I got through it with my knees literally shaking.

When I turned Pro I went back to my "pretend" stage and realized that I would forget some words from time to time. WHAT TO DO?

The answer was to think of myself as a "Performer" rather than a Folk Singer. What does that mean? I PREPARED myself for the time I would forget the words...I created an arsenal of quips, jokes, stories that entertained people. So if I slipped up, I had rehearsed backup already prepared.

Some free ones for ya...
1/For hecklers, male or female, "We're we ever married?
2/For noisy crowds and/or talking during your performance, "You can talk if you want to, I already got your money..."
3/ Breaking a string: "And here you go, a FREE lesson in how to change a string on the guitar! That's right! When you come to see ME, you get MORE for your money!" Then, change the string...
4/So I forgot the words...Just testing you to see if you were paying attention...Or, play with it, "anybody got some words?" Make a game of it...ask the audience to create new words for the song but keep going...this can get a lot of laughs and give everybody aggood time...End by saying, " Ah couldn't do it!

And you thought this was easy...
All the best...:>) bob


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:31 PM

Merle Travis once forgot part of "Dark as a Dungeon"...

I have several songs that are supposed to be engraved on my brain cells, and which I can do anytime, but just one distraction or missed word and the process is ruined.


(reposted from an old thread) to illustrate how *I* feel when it happens...

I learned years ago of a type of wasp:

"Tarantula hawks" are among the most spectacular wasps, with shiny blue-black bodies, orange wings, and large size (up to 2 inches or 50 mm long). In a life-and- death struggle with a tarantula, the slender wasp usually wins by paralyzing the huge spider with its sting. The wasp transports the spider to its previously dug burrow and lays its eggs on the prey.

The only thing is, if the the wasp is interrupted and confused (like having her burrow covered while she is out chasing the spider) she cannot just re-dig it. Her programming is broken, and she must start over and go sting another spider!

So, when Rita or I walk into a room, look blank and wonder why we are there, the line is: "Damn!...I gotta go sting another spider"


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:37 PM

Walt Robertson described how he was once singing "The Fox," a song he could get through in his sleep. And that was the problem. His mind wandered. When he got to the line, "He ran 'til he came to—"   he suddenly realized that he didn't know where he was in the song. Were the next words "a great big pen" or "his cozy den?" He was flummoxed.

So he said, "Well . . . here I am with the words all dangling down-o!"

Got a big laugh.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:38 PM

I have less of a problem knowing the song but have a heck of a time sometimes just gettin' that first line... Once that happens all generally goes well but that first verse is a toughie...

The exception is when I do my own songs... They are harder to rememeber start to finish...

Thankfully, I've been playin' geetar long enough that the music is always there... Makes up for a little half-hiemerz...

B~


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: JeffB
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 08:03 PM

Sandra's comment about about looking up to find the words might actually have something to it. There's a neurofizz theory that concentrating on the upper left visual field stimulates new memory, which is why we tend to do that naturally. The recommendation, and this might seem strange but I'm told there's experimental support, is that we should swivel our eyes up in that direction when learning new words. This is supposed to work for instance in teaching children or dyslexics to spell with flash cards, or when learning foreign vocab. Worth a try I suppose.

In addition, you could always try writng out the words of your song in big letters on a sheet and getting some friends to hold it up behind the audience in the upper left corner of the room. I expect this will work even better ...


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Amos
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 08:38 PM

I too fall into the hole of lost verses with some songs.

For me, a song is a hologram, in three dimensions, with visuals, eents, images, and sounds blending in a gossamer bubble the singer spins.

It amazes m e to discover that songs I haven;t played for years are prety much there, intact. Others I did more recently will have gaps in them. And sometimes it is the other way 'round.

What messes up holograms is interference (well, they are ALL interference, but there's GOOD interference and disruptive interference.) And I find that is the case with songs--some piece of something else on my mind can knock a whole chunk of a song into a cocked hat, but it will reappear a day later when the disruption has faded out, whatever it may have been.


A


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:46 PM

Reduce the alcohol consumption - it dissolves the words.
Colyn.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Amos
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:57 PM

Yeah, but what fun would that be?


A


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 12:29 AM

As I get older and forget words, it's like the old bit "For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, For want of a shoe...etc."

In my case, it's "For want of a word, the line was lost; for want of the line the verse was lost; for want of the verse the song was lost."

One stinkin'word! That's all it takes to hang me up these days.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: azfiddle
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 12:38 AM

I don't sing... but I have had a similar experience on the fiddle. I can play a tune perfectly at home and I lose one note and then the whole "B" part is gone... sometimes the next time through it too. Then I worry about it happening again the next time.
And sometimes it does, just because I knew that was the spot I messed up the last time.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: GUEST,Drumshanty
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 12:22 PM

Aye me... This is a good thread for me at the moment. It's the fear of forgetting the words that has driven me to stop singing for the moment. It's got to the point where I'm afraid to go to a singaround, session or anywhere where I might be asked to sing because I might forget the words. I am hoping that a period of respite, and then starting again, will help.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 09:01 AM

Will Fly is absolutely right about writing out words by hand. It does help to fix them in the brain.

Songs that tell a story are easy to memorise; once you've settled on how the story goes and which bits are important, you can learn a ten-minute ballad in a day or so. Songs in which the verses could be sung in any order without impairing the sense - those which simply convey a mood without a narrative, and are properly called lyric, or occasionally self-indulgent tosh - are a bugger. The tradition doesn't contain many of those, possibly because they aren't so readily remembered.

Why should people be able to remember songs they've written themselves? Could you remember the precise words of a letter or a shopping list that you've just written yourself? Making the song up and learning it to sing are completely different activities.

How do actors and barristers commit huge chunks of words and facts to memory for a particular play or case, only to ditch them and learn a fresh set the following week?

Where did my snowman go? What is the sound of one hand clapping? When was the first semi-detached house built? (All credit to The Snail for that one.)

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Nick
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 01:13 PM

.. what if there were no hypothetical situations?

Contemplating the void. (I remembered all the words last night. Tmorrow - who knows? I might pick the wrong song)


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 01:26 PM

God this thread is terrifying. I hate "forgot the words syndrome." So annoying to have song down pat guitar and singing an hour before actually performing it, only to find yourself mixing up chords and verses.
Then the shaking starts and fingers keep missing the proper strings and voice weakens and starts to tremble.
Well, one thing about aging, though it may affect the memory and the skill, the experience that comes with age teaches you how to forgive yourself.

What can one do? Just keep getting back on that stallion song. Maybe you will never break it, but hell ain't it a great ride?


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 01:55 PM

start singing shanties.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM

I love shanties.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Diva
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 01:25 PM

Good thread!! My memory varies but I find ballads easier because you are following a story. I've been learning some new Burns..well new to me and I still can't get past the first verse of Ode to Spring despite having written it down and sung it a fair few times.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Diva
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 01:31 PM

But what really bugs me it folk singing songs and not understanding what they are about. I've seen Mickey's Warning performed by a floor singer as a jaunty jolly wee number all smiles and lets join in the chorus...........take the time to understand the song..its about wife beating.

Mind you the funniest thing I ever saw was a lass singing John Anderson My Jo (no it wasn't me) and a bloke walking in in the middle of it roaring to the company Oh They are singing my song!!!!!!!   I thought he was incredibly brave to own up to having an erectile dysfunction


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 01:55 PM

OR ,his name was John Anderson.
with Shanties,youdont have to have the verses in any order and youcan make them up,if youcant remember the next one,spontaneous combustion


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 08:34 PM

I know exactly what you mean, Kathy. When I sing Raglan Road it almost hurts, because there is so much in that song. But to hear someone do it as an upbeat, feelgood number with loads of showy fingerpicking just defies comprehension: listen to what you're singing, fer chrissake!


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 01:38 PM

As we age it seems the songs we learned when we were younger stay with us better.
Now, I need prompt sheets regardless of how much practice time I employ.

Another problem for the musician is that the music can distract you from the lyrics especially if you are playing with good accompanists. or sometimes bad accompanists.

here's how I have to do it. Repeat each line of a stanza at least twenty times in a row.
(This is how some foreign language schools teach vocabulary)   The piece together the lines of the stanzas and recite the stanzas at least twenty times in a row.

I find writing out the lyrics doesn't do me much good because I tend to be an aural not a visual person.

Frank


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Rog Peek
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 06:30 PM

You can't imagine how comforting it is to know that forgetting the words occasionally happens to everyone else.

I doubt though it will be much cosolation the next time it happens to me.

Rog


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 11:26 AM

In L.A., many years ago, I watched as an experienced pro lost the lyrics about halfway through a "The Water is Wide." Instead of looking lost or embarrassed, he suddenly and very deliberately put down his guitar, scratched his chin and began, "Did I ever tell you about the time...?" I forget the story, but it worked in the moment.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 11:49 AM

All those who are fortunate enough to have the "Tony Rose Exe" cd will recall his story of his first appearance at the Albert Hall. Two verses into "April Morning", a song that was nigh on his signature tune, the black curtain dropped. He continued with a few verses of rhyming gibberish and got away with it.


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Diva
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 12:31 PM

I've had the "black curtain" stuff I've been singing for years and it just goes walk about...very strange.

Still as someone said earlier its nice to know its not just me


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 06:05 PM

On a par with forgetting the first verse when you repeat it as the last verse is:
repeating the chorus at the end and getting it wrong the second time; and
carefully reminding yourself of all the verses before you start but falling into a black hole when you reach the first chorus....

and I have frequently improvised - if you just keep going, people don't always notice that you've changed the words, especially if you can still find a rhyming one at the end of the line!

Kitty


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Subject: RE: 'Knowing' the song.
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 12:51 PM

I'm currently doing two different stage shows in one week, so it's not just having to remember all the words and notes, but to enter stage at the right time, collect the right props on the way in, do the right moves in the right places, keep on singing while you're manipulating a maypole, dancing, sing lying flat on your stomach, get up, sit down, kneel, climb steep stairs, run down ramps, or whatever else the director wants.(And keep on singing and smiling!)
Learning it all is repetition, repetition, repetition: the music and words by having the CDs going in the car, and singing along. My poor brain is addled, but it is amazing that the brain can deal with so many things at once!
Don't stop singing Drumshanty: you have a lovely voice: use the words if you need to, especially if it's "just" a session or singaround.
Having said that there are plenty of performers out there who do have the words in front of them as a sort of comfort zone (as opposed to those who have their noses right into the book or file and are reading them as for the first time): they may not need to use them, so can still deliver the song well, and still make contact with their audience. But this takes off the pressure and worry of possibly forgetting (which in itself makes forgetting more likely!), when a quick glance at the words will get them back on track. I personally don't find this done subtly a sign of inferior performance.


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