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Thread: Memorizing songs - melody

  1. #1
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    Default Memorizing songs - melody

    I had a discussion with a band member this morning who is also my voice coach.
    She had been considering getting an iPad with which to carry songs around on OnSong, like Tammy and I do.
    She was concerned that the notes would be missing though, and that would make the melodies difficult to sing correctly.
    I suggested that we can learn to sing the songs from the Beloff books, and we'd be okay with just the lyrics and chords in front of us.
    I suggested that the musical mind remembers song melodies quicker and better than it remembers chords or lyrics (we hum melodies a lot, and that's the form of the Earworms we carry around)
    She said I was right, chords and lyrics are the harder parts to learn. Chords come to me last of all, even after lyrics, and I don't know why. Songs are difficult for me to sing without the chords, though.
    What are your thoughts on this?
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  2. #2
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    I've never been good at remembering anything, so if you do find a formula, let me know.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  3. #3
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    I'm with you on this Nickie. Almost all the songs that I sing are songs that I already know the tune to, but if I don't know the tune, I go to YouTube and listen to it. I mean, I can play melody if I have the notes there, but I seldom do that to learn how a song goes. What songs are you playing? Are they so obscure that people have never heard them before?
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    I'm with you on this Nickie. Almost all the songs that I sing are songs that I already know the tune to, but if I don't know the tune, I go to YouTube and listen to it. I mean, I can play melody if I have the notes there, but I seldom do that to learn how a song goes. What songs are you playing? Are they so obscure that people have never heard them before?
    No, we do a lot of popular songs, but my coach is Classical trained, so she didn't listen to popular music as a kid, so she doesn't know it. When I was a kid, I couldn't have cared less about lyrics of songs. I was too busy protecting myself from bullies.
    I don't memorize things well, but have always made it through things because I'm an excellent taker of tests, can pass almost any test whether I know the material of not.
    Music theory does throw me for a loop, though. I will be learning it for the rest of my life. Singing too....
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickie View Post
    No, we do a lot of popular songs, but my coach is Classical trained, so she didn't listen to popular music as a kid, so she doesn't know it. When I was a kid, I couldn't have cared less about lyrics of songs. I was too busy protecting myself from bullies.
    I don't memorize things well, but have always made it through things because I'm an excellent taker of tests, can pass almost any test whether I know the material of not.
    Music theory does throw me for a loop, though. I will be learning it for the rest of my life. Singing too....
    I need to be aware that not everybody watched American Bandstand, listened to the top 40 on the radio, and bought an 8 track when they first came out. I don't always know the lyrics of a song just off the top of my head, but i usually have heard the tune before.

    As far as memorizing songs, it isn't easy for me either, but I commit songs to memory all the time, and the more of them I memorize, the more I hear commonalities among the songs and recognize those commonalities. That is music theory. I think that is the case with a lot of us is that we are learning music theory all the time, but we don't realize it, because it isn't labeled. I see it with musicians all of the time. They say that they don't know music theory, but when you hear them they are sure putting a lot of music theory into their playing. Just because they don't verbalize what they are doing as eloquently as some, doesn't mean that they don't know what we are doing when they are doing it. There is an academic aspect of music theory, and a practical aspect. One aspect does not preclude the other. Learning how to play music is learning how to apply music theory, whether we know that is what we are doing or not.
    Last edited by Rllink; 08-07-2017 at 12:27 PM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  6. #6
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    The best way to overcome all the musical memory problems that we oldies are having is to sing melodies that we already know and make up words of our own. Then only the chord placement will have to be figgered out.

    OR . . . We could make up and sing our own darned songs.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBE

    Kala tenor eight string - gG cC EE AA
    Gold Tone tenor banjolele - Hi-F BbDG

    Luna "Peace" concert - Lo-G CEA
    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA

    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B

    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano (Dad's Day gift) - Wallhanger
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - Wallhanger
    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Down Up Dick View Post
    OR . . . We could make up and sing our own darned songs.
    Yep, I sometimes do that!

    No one can then say it's wrong.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  8. #8
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    I can play without a problem but remembering the melody in the different keys is torture. Even with a start note I'll go back to how I think it goes. And memorizing the lyrics, I often put my own words in. Does wonders for the folks playing along waiting for a special word that tells them chord change. I'd say it's an age thing but think I'd do it if I was still young. Till I started reading this link, I thought I was unique!

  9. #9
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    If i want to learn a new song (to me), I listen to it as much as possible to get a feel for the melody
    and the 'story' in the lyrics. If I can understand the 'story' it's easier for me to remember how
    it is told (the lyrics).

    meanwhile, the melody is washing my brain so that it becomes more and more familiar.

    when I feel comfortable with the melody I start working on the chording, even before I nail down
    the lyrics.

    then I sing and play the song, tweaking the chording and phrasing as I go along, until it becomes
    somewhat second nature to me - that is, I don't have to really think about either the melody,
    lyrics, or chords - i'm simply playing the song... from memory! funny how that works out.

    keep uke'in',

    PS the latest song I worked on was an oldie (they pretty much all are oldies ) by Vic Damone,
    among others, "You were only fooling... while I was falling in love!"
    Uncle Rod Higuchi
    ( rohiguchi@seattleschools.org )

    MP3s: http://www.mediafire.com/?50db7nls4o6m6
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Rod Higuchi View Post
    If i want to learn a new song (to me), I listen to it as much as possible to get a feel for the melody
    and the 'story' in the lyrics. If I can understand the 'story' it's easier for me to remember how
    it is told (the lyrics).

    meanwhile, the melody is washing my brain so that it becomes more and more familiar.

    when I feel comfortable with the melody I start working on the chording, even before I nail down
    the lyrics.

    then I sing and play the song, tweaking the chording and phrasing as I go along, until it becomes
    somewhat second nature to me - that is, I don't have to really think about either the melody,
    lyrics, or chords - i'm simply playing the song... from memory! funny how that works out.

    keep uke'in',

    PS the latest song I worked on was an oldie (they pretty much all are oldies ) by Vic Damone,
    among others, "You were only fooling... while I was falling in love!"
    That's a good way, but l mostly play folk music. Sometimes the lyrics are pretty stupid. I don't even bother with them.

    Strangely enough, I'm an English major, but, in high school or college, I never had to memorize any poems. And, most of my musical life, I played wind instruments, so, of course, I never bothered with the words. Sometimes I read them, and, if they were interesting, I'd remember snatches of them.

    Another strange thing about music lyrics and me . . . I really like Opera! And, of course, I can't understand much unless I have a libretto with translation. Ha! I like alotta foreign folk music like Klezmer too.

    I guess what I'm sayin' is that the words don't always mean a lot to me, and yet . . . they do. I dunno.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBE

    Kala tenor eight string - gG cC EE AA
    Gold Tone tenor banjolele - Hi-F BbDG

    Luna "Peace" concert - Lo-G CEA
    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA

    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B

    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano (Dad's Day gift) - Wallhanger
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - Wallhanger
    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

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