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extinguishing unwanted lyrics

leeneia2 23 Aug 10 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,mg 23 Aug 10 - 12:50 PM
Genie 23 Aug 10 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,jim dixon 23 Aug 10 - 01:30 PM
wysiwyg 23 Aug 10 - 01:32 PM
ClaireBear 23 Aug 10 - 01:36 PM
leeneia2 23 Aug 10 - 04:22 PM
Genie 23 Aug 10 - 05:10 PM
Bat Goddess 23 Aug 10 - 06:54 PM
Don Firth 23 Aug 10 - 07:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Aug 10 - 07:25 PM
Don Firth 23 Aug 10 - 07:27 PM
JohnInKansas 24 Aug 10 - 07:40 AM
leeneia2 24 Aug 10 - 10:47 AM
JohnInKansas 24 Aug 10 - 11:50 AM
leeneia2 24 Aug 10 - 01:19 PM
JohnInKansas 24 Aug 10 - 09:47 PM
leeneia2 25 Aug 10 - 09:27 AM
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Subject: extirpating unwanted lyrics
From: leeneia2
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 12:43 PM

I have a real facility for remembering lyrics, especially if they have good rhythm and rhyme. Usually this is good, but not always. For example, if I hear doggerel set to beautiful themes from classical music, I cannot get the doggerel out of my head. I resent that.

Recently I was very taken with a song I heard on YouTube, but I hated the lyrics. I tried to transcribe it, telling myself the entire time, "Don't memorize these lyrics. Do you hear me, brain cells? Don't memorize these lyrics!" It helped some.

However, when I played the song, those lyrics kept trying to sneak back. So I did the logical thing - took a nice, long warm bath. While there, I thought of words that have the rhythm of the song. (It was in 3/4 time.)

pineapple
tumbledown
extirpate
Rafferty
singalong
Williamson
much ado
etc

When I play the song, I try saying such words in my head with no logical order whatever. That helps extinguish the unwanted lyrics. However, it's an intellectual effort and it makes me play slower.

Then I had another idea. Sing the names of the chords! Surprisingly, this is something I had never done in all these years of playing music. It really helps when the chord names ( D minor, A minor) have the same number of syllables as the notes in a measure. When they don't, they're not so efficacious. Still this works best of anything I've tried.

Does anybody have any other ideas for getting rid of unwanted lyrics?


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 12:50 PM

oh dear.

Now I am thinking

Rafferty lived in a tumbledown shack
He raised lots of pineapple out in the back
He liked to have singalongs with much ado
Williamson came and etc. too


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: Genie
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 01:04 PM

Mary,
Your lyrics work beautifully(?) with the tune of "Sweet Betsy From Pike" (a nice waltz tune) -- as do these:

"These horrible lyrics are stuck in my head.
I'm trying to put better words in their stead:
Vegetables, fruit salad, proper names too:
They lyrics flow freely when I'm in the loo."


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: GUEST,jim dixon
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 01:30 PM

Are those lyrics really any better than the ones you are trying to avoid learning?


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: wysiwyg
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 01:32 PM

Do the unwanted lyrics backwards, of course, letter by letter for persistent parts.

(Old prufereeders' tricks)

~S~


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: ClaireBear
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 01:36 PM

mg, I am in stitches. Brilliant!

I like to make up silly lyrics for the first couple of lines of session tunes -- lines that include the tune name. That makes it easier to remember either the tune, if someone asks for it by name, or the name, if someone plays the tune and asks what it's called. I learned this from years of playing with a morris side: "Nebuchadnezzar he gave himself pleasure abusing himself on the BANKS OF THE DEE."

With songs, I have found that Dr Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham" fits an amazing number of straight-meter songs. I call it the universal lyric, and often add it as an extra verse when a really good song is too short. (It's amazing, for example, as a new verse to the shape-note hymn "Northfield." You have to fudge with some of the line endings, but it's so worth it!)

"Green Eggs and Ham" doesn't work so well for songs in jig time, but there's probably another equally silly, equally familiar lyric that would. Like this poem, if you happen to know it as well as I do:

I Woke Up This Morning
– Karla Kuskin

I woke up this morning
at quarter past seven.
I kicked up the covers
and stuck out my toe.
And ever since then
(that's quarter past seven)
I haven't heard anything
other than "no."

They haven't said anything
other than "Please, dear,
Don't do what you're doing"
or "Lower your voice."
Whatever I've done
and however I've chosen,
I've done the wrong thing
and I've made the wrong choice.

I didn't wash well
and I didn't say thank you.
I didn't shake hands
and I didn't say please.
I didn't say sorry
when passing the candy.
I banged the box into
Miss Witelson's knees.

I didn't say sorry.
I didn't stand straighter.
I didn't speak louder
when asked what I'd said.
Well, I said that tomorrow
at quarter past seven
They can come in and get me
I'm staying in bed!


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: leeneia2
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 04:22 PM

"Are those lyrics really any better than the ones you are trying to avoid learning?"

Yes. The nonsense lyrics are never the same from one playing to another. They serve more to block memory than to convey meaning.


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: Genie
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 05:10 PM

You got it, Leeneia!


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 06:54 PM

So I did the logical thing - took a nice, long warm bath.

I LIKE the way your mind works!

Linn


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 07:21 PM

Not necessarily on the subject of this thread, but perhaps closely related.

Arturo Toscanini was a virtuoso among conductors, but even he had a weak spot or two. He was more at home with classical and earlier music than he was with the more modern "serious" composers, and he was happier with the more-or-less standard time signatures. Odd-ball time-signatures he could get, but sometimes they gave him a bit of trouble at first.

I can't recall who is was who told the story, but he said he was sitting in on an orchestra rehearsal of an fairly modern piece of music. Much of it was in 5/4—five notes to the measure with a quarter-note taking a full beat. Toscanini just didn't seem to be getting it and with his very tentative conducting, the orchestra wasn't either. They took a lunch break.

When they came back from lunch, suddenly everything went swimmingly. No problems, at least from the rhythm. The person who told the story noticed that the Maestro was mumbling something to himself as he waved the baton. So he sneaked up behind Toscanini to see if he could hear what he was muttering.

It was "Rim-sky-Kor-sa-kov. Rim-sky-Kor-sa-kov. Rim-sky-Kor-sa-kov. . . ."

Yup. 5/4.

If you should happen to have any trouble with 6/8, classic guitarist "Chris-to-pher Par-ken-ing" works quite well. And there are lots of other mnemonics like those, but contrarily enough, right now, I can't remember them!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 07:25 PM

Make up a set of words you like.


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 07:27 PM

Note for pedants, lest hordes of them come after me with torches and pitchforks:

That should read, ". . . five beats (not notes) to the measure with a quarter-note taking a full beat."

(Whew! That was a near thing!!)

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 07:40 AM

leenia's suggestion of inserting nonesense words to aid memory is suggestive of the "trick" used by a singer in one of our groups a while back who recommended that when you forget the words to the song "watermelon" will fit almost anywhere. As normally pronounced it has no particularly accented syllables, and it keeps your lips moving just enough to make it look like you're still singing.

She even had a couple of the guys pretty well trained to insert a "power chord" or two to make it appear that we just "overpowered" the missing few word(s), so the listeners thought they just didn't hear them.

John


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: leeneia2
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 10:47 AM

The question is not how to aid memory, but how to extinguish it. I want to enjoy the music for its own sake, to hear the music as pure sound without ideas from human social life grafted onto it.


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 11:50 AM

leenia

The extension of the "watermelon theory" is that perhaps using the same nonsense substitution for words that are "stuck," rather than making up new ones for each case, would give an additional reduction in "significance" to the objectionable ones, thereby eroding their hold on memory more rapidly.

If you try to match meter and accent with your substituted nonsense, or with the tune - your substitutes at least vaguely suggest the words you're trying to replace, since the music itself suggests the noxious words; but the unaccented (and perhaps out of rythm) bladada leaves only the melody with "musical" content. You'd be a bit like the a*h* talking during a performance, who thinks (s)he is still hearing the song (even though everyone else is hearing only his blather).

Repeating a very-bland-something engages your own participation/performance (in mouthing the nonsense) to reinforce the overriding of the annoyance by something completely removed from the music you're trying to set free - while the music goes on. Having a single particular mumble that you use consistently could help when the problem appears with a different piece.

Some theoretical analysis would likely be required to make a real case for a best approach to what you're trying to do. I'll wait for your thesis to read the results, now that you've stated the problem so eloquently.

John


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: leeneia2
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 01:19 PM

I see what you mean. Don't try to use so many different words. I'll try that.

I meant a minister once who said that he had learned in college that you could sing "Here she comes and there she goes" to almost any piece of music. That might work too.


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 09:47 PM

But if you sing "Here she comes and there she goes" you're gonna have Mairzy Doats in your head for at least a week.

John


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Subject: RE: extinguishing unwanted lyrics
From: leeneia2
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 09:27 AM

a horrible fate indeed


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