Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Memorizing songs - melody

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    6,527

    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
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    3,542

    Default

    I've never been good at remembering anything, so if you do find a formula, let me know.
    Keith M --> likes a long neck - & being different.....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ames, Iowa/San Juan, Puerto Rico
    Posts
    2,506

    Default

    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.
    There's more than one road into Richmond. Lil' Rev
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LEY9E_W5sw

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    286

    Default

    I always get the melody right when I sing, and the rest of the world is wrong when they say I am out of tune.
    Look up a form of notation called ABC notation. It is a text based notation, so you can type it out without needing a special graphical format. For a GCEA ukulele, the ABC notes go G, A, B, C D E F G A B c d e f g a. Note how the comma is used to denote the octave and the case is used to denote the octave, and the octaves change at C. I am assuming that the melody persons know a little bit about keys and scales. For this exercise you wont be inputting the notes into an ABC App, you can do it all by typing, but you can if you want to progress and do other things.
    Note on middle C. Usually C = middle C on a piano which is around 261Hz. On a guitar middle C is down an octave by convention, at about 130hz, so those who deal a lot with guitars are used to seeing the ABC format down an octave. But the ukulele middle C as found on the open string = about 260hz, like a piano, and this is the easiest format for ABC notation, so I set the ukulele middle C at the same frequency as the piano.
    The lyric and the melody are closely related. Mostly, the notes fall on each syllable of the lyric. So for a melody person, you could start out by breaking the lyrics down to syllables. Then put in the bar lines under the syllables. Once you have the bar lines, write in the notes in between the bar lines. Lastly, add in how long each note lasts. So if you hold a D note for 2 beats you write "D2". Z = rest. You have to specify the key, so you don't have to worry about # and b. So for the key of D, you don't put the # on the F and C notes, you just identify that the tune is in D and use F and C.

    Tanny Boy (title is Danny Boy)
    C:Trad (composer is traditional)
    Z:Joe (This was transcribed into this format by Joe)
    M:4/4 (4/4 time)
    L:1/4 (each note is 1/4 beat)
    K:C (key=C)
    C C7 F Dm C
    Oh Dan-ny || boy the | pipes the pipes are | cal-ling| from glen to|glen and
    B, C D || E3 D | E3/2 A/2 G3/2 E/2 |D C A2 | Z C E F | G3 A |

    The UU editor won't keep the columns and chords in line, so I have put the bar lines in the text as well. I am not sure if this is harder or easier to read and sing. To see how it looks at its best, you need to re-type it with the barlines lined up. The chords change on "Boy" C, "pipes" C7, "call" F, "-ing" Dm, "glen" C.

    This is not exactly how ABC always looks, but it is a way of getting the melody notes into the popular ukulele formats. I think the spacing will get messed up with various displays, so you might need to use a table format to keep the letters in line. However, it has the notes and how long to hold each note and the phrasing to sing the notes. And if someone knows their fretboard or you have a piano player or guitar player to help, they can find the notes on the instrument as well to play the melody and keep everyone in tune. So for the work of setting out the tunes in this format you get a lot of benefits, and it is all text based, no need for the dots and arrows and staff.
    On a technical note. ABC is not usually written out like this, this would be a new type of format which some clever person would program into an ABC compiler as a ukulele format available as a output format. But for ukulele group leaders, they could (with some help from the group) set up all their work in this format without ever needing to use the word compiler or getting involved in computer programming. Then the geeks can do their stuff to make it fit the compilers and so on.
    Last edited by Bill1; 08-05-2017 at 12:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    6,527

    Default

    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    288

    Default

    In ABC format, if you include the chord name in double quotes before the note, that name will appear above the staff. It's not a perfect system: you have to code in a somewhat different way to put chord changes at points where there's no melody note. The MIDI generator understands the chord names and will generate a basic accompaniment.

    I sometimes use ABC snippets as reminders of how the melody for song parts go. Usually I only need these for the seldom-recorded verse parts of old standards. Otherwise, I tend to memorize melodies readily enough, so I may only need a reminder of the relative starting note and the first few words.

    My big weakness is remembering chord sequences. I find relative notation easier to remember than fixed chord names, and more flexible, particularly when trying different keys or tunings and when ranging the neck. My notation is a modification of the Nashville Number System. All the playing patterns that I need are movable, unifying how I approach the fretboard, and the relative stuff ties in much better with how I actually hear music intuitively. Also, what I learn in one key ports easily to other keys with a minimum of rote memorization.

    With either fixed names or relative numbers, it may help to focus initially on just how the roots move, on the skeletal path or framework, ignoring all the other details. Trying to absorb too much at one time when memorizing is a recipe for disappointment. A single path is easy to visualize and remember, a sequence of full chords right off the bat, not so much.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ames, Iowa/San Juan, Puerto Rico
    Posts
    2,506

    Default

    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.
    There's more than one road into Richmond. Lil' Rev
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LEY9E_W5sw

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    288

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    One aspect does not preclude the other.
    Right, one aspect doesn't preclude the other. After all theory just describes in a precise, more easily understood and articulated form what we mostly already understand on an intuitive level. The difference is this: knowing theory more formally unifies patterns in a way you can use more surely and predictively. That can greatly accelerate one's progress in the ear training and "just playing" realms, with a minimum of rote learning. It also simplifies communicating with other musicians so trained—a few words suffice instead of having to physically demonstrate, reel off chord names or decipher someone's home-grown musical lingo.

    Sadly, theory is badly taught to uke players (and people too often take an overly haphazard approach, jumping into the subject in the very middle). It doesn't surprise me that they throw up their hands and return to the long, hard slog.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •