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Remembering Tunes: How?

Mr Happy 17 Nov 10 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,LDT 17 Nov 10 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Nov 10 - 12:18 PM
Mr Happy 17 Nov 10 - 12:20 PM
Les in Chorlton 17 Nov 10 - 12:50 PM
SteveMansfield 17 Nov 10 - 01:04 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 17 Nov 10 - 01:45 PM
Stewart 17 Nov 10 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Nov 10 - 01:59 PM
Marje 17 Nov 10 - 03:55 PM
Bernard 17 Nov 10 - 04:38 PM
Tootler 17 Nov 10 - 08:04 PM
Mo the caller 18 Nov 10 - 03:56 AM
Marje 18 Nov 10 - 06:33 AM
Fidjit 18 Nov 10 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Geoff Wright 18 Nov 10 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 18 Nov 10 - 09:27 AM
Mr Happy 19 Nov 10 - 10:58 AM
Mr Happy 24 Nov 10 - 11:31 AM
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Subject: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 11:32 AM

A difficulty faced by those of us who don't read dots is remembering session tunes.

Npw I can rember song tunes fine, but oft have probs with stand alone tunes.

I use some dodges which work for some items but not all, such as if one may sound like the first notes of something else I know well.

For example, I can recall 'The Sloe' as the first couple of notes are similar to 'British Grenadiers'.

Anyone else these probs & tips?


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 11:35 AM

If I don't know it...I'll ask the person next to me. Apologies to the person I sit next to.
(I considered composing a tune called 'What?' or 'I don't know')


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 12:18 PM

Try making up some words to the first few measures. Include the name of the tune and use some rhyme. Once that triggers your memory, the rest of the tune may come.

You're not alone. I was at a concert once where a gifted fiddler introduced a tune and then stopped dead. "I can't remember how it goes!" Somebody else played a few notes, and they were off.

I got the feeling that was not an unusual occurance.


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 12:20 PM

Yes indeed, I need only hear 1st few notes then I've got![by George!]


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 12:50 PM

It's a good point Mr H. It occured to me that Morris Tunes have words because the musicians couldn't remember how the tunes started. So they would say to the dances : Lads a Bunchum, how does that go? And the dances would sing "oh Dear Mother what a fool I've been ......."

The obvious question being how come the dances could remember them when the musicians couldn't. Perhaps musicians were who ever could play and turn up whilst dances needed to practice together a lot more.

Which, if you like, takes us to leeneia's point?

I have a another problem - sometimes I can start to play a tune and not know what it is. Age I guess

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 01:04 PM

You're not alone. I was at a concert once where a gifted fiddler introduced a tune and then stopped dead. "I can't remember how it goes!" Somebody else played a few notes, and they were off.

I got the feeling that was not an unusual occurance.


I was in a band for over ten years with an excellent squeezebox player - but every single set in every single dance, I'd have to play the first couple of bars of the first tune into his ear just before we started to play. With that prompt he was away and rocking, but we tried all sorts and he never found a way of remembering tunes to start them off.

I've absolutely no idea how I remember tunes, although I do find I can sometimes play a tune better once I remember what it's called ...


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 01:45 PM

I do find I can sometimes play a tune better once I remember what it's called.

I heard that! There's something slightly disorienting about having a session go into a tune you know but don't recall the name of. For one thing, I think most of us carry around a mental catalog that sorts tunes by how well we know them. When playing a tune whose name I can't immediately recall, I'm not sure whether it's one I know well, one I learned last week, or maybe just something I've heard so many times I'm able to do a passable job of playing it on the fly. When I remember the name and go, "Hell, you idiot! It's ________! You've only been playing it for thirty years!" I seem to be able to play it with more confidence.


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Stewart
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 01:49 PM

I use my own type of numbered notation system
the numbers represent the notes of the scale - do re me ...
if a note is an octave below, I put a line under the number
or an octave above, I put a line above the number
a slash represents a bar line
I don't bother much with the length of the notes
usually just getting the notes is enough to remember the rhythm
Then I jot down the first 2 or 3 bars in a little note book or piece of paper.
For example, this is what I would put down for the Kesh Jig
and that's usually enough to get me started.

Kesh Jig 6/8 (G) /1--.123/2--.235/655.855/

Now, I know that's a type of musical notation,
but it's simple to read and jot down, and it's enough to get started.
Often just knowing the key and the first note or two or three is enough.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 01:59 PM

That sounds like a good system, Stewart. Thanks for telling about it.

I think that different kinds of music are stored in different parts of the brain. I have CD's of pleasant, but not too-distracting music which I play only while driving. Although I am quite familiar with all that music, I doubt very much if I could recall a single melody when not in the car. Those tunes are stored in my brain's Automotive Music Bank, and it takes a car key to unlock them.

Not that this has anything to do with Mr. Happy's request.


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Marje
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 03:55 PM

I, too, find it disconcerting to join in with a tune at a session when I can't remember what it's called. Ususally it's fine, but sometimes when I do remember the name I realise an instant later that it's one I can't really play, because something untoward happens in the B part, or the section of the tune we're just coming up to. The names of certain tricky tunes are filed in a section of my brain, labelled "DON' unaware of the pitfalls ahead.

But just occasionally it works out the other way - I get to the end, find out what it's called, and think, "Hey, I didn't think I could play that!"

Marje


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 04:38 PM

I can remember tunes without any difficulty... but the names? No chance!!

Songs are easy, because they have words... but tunes?!

One problem is mixing up the A and B (and C) of two different tunes! You end up in a moebius loop!


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 08:04 PM

I'm not sure how I remember tunes, but like others above I find that I am OK if I have the first few notes. Being able to hum or sing them does help though.

A problem sometimes comes when two tunes have very similar starts.

I was trying to play Winster Gallop the other day and ended up every time playing The Rakes of Mallow. Could I heck as like play Winster Gallop. Every time I started it was Rakes of Mallow.

One session I go to we never play off to California and Proudlock's Hornpipe in the same set because whichever we start with, we can never get into the second one, it always ends up as the first.


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 03:56 AM

Some people learn tunes 'by ear' others 'from the dots', I learn best 'by feet'. I find it's easier to remember tunes I've danced to.

Like Winster Galop/ Rakes of Mallow I sometimes try to play Rufty Tufty and find I'm playing Sellengers Round (in the wrong key!)


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Marje
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 06:33 AM

Woops, a gremlin has removed part of my post (3 or 4 up). It should have said, "...labelled DON'T PLAY, but if I don't know the name I may blunder into the tune, unaware of the pitfalls ahead."

Marje


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Fidjit
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 07:33 AM

I have taken to having a "Crib Sheet" of numbers with me for melodeon tunes in my gig bag.

Looks like this

i.e.

RUSTY GULLY                                
3 ´3` 4 ´4` 5 3 4 3 ´2` ´3` ´3` ´4` 4 ´3`:|                            
6 ´6` ´5` 6 ´6` 5 5 ´6` ´5` 5 ´4` ´5` 4 5 ´3` ´´4` 4 3 3 4 ´3`` 3

CURLY HEADED PLOUGH BOY
5 ´4` 4 5 3 4 ´3` 2 3 ´2` 3 ´3` 4 4` 4 4 ´3` 5 ´4`

Helps give me a starter for ten.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: GUEST,Geoff Wright
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 07:58 AM

I need to file tunes away by name - no name, no remember.
But I do have even more tunes that I have don't play, have never filed away, but as soon as someone starts it, I can remember it.

If you like sets where you accidently swap tunes, try
Proudlocks Hornipipe and
Off To California
I can guarantee you will end up swapping back.


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 09:27 AM

Ha ha, try it with bagpipe tunes!
Played in a pipe band for a decade or so.
You'd be amazed at how many tunes start off with exactly the same three notes, rhythm and all, as "Leaving of Liverpool."
Embarrassing, to say the least, to play the first three notes correctly along with the band, then sail off into some other tune... especially considering how un-subtle the Great Highland Bagpipe is.
How to fix the problem?
Sorry, beats me. But I feel yer pain.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 10:58 AM

'If you like sets where you accidently swap tunes, try'


Carolan tunes!!

Great tunes so they are, me & chums frequently find ourselves finishing lines of 'Hewlett' with bits from 'Concerto' or 'Draught'!!


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Subject: RE: Remembering Tunes: How?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 11:31 AM

Lately, I've been playing 'Le canal en Octobre'

I find I can remember it as the first coupla notes are very similar to the Bee Gees 'Words' song.

However, I'm now having probs recalling 'Adieu les filles de mon pays'.

Any suggestions?


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