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Don W 01-02-2021 02:35 PM

Memorizing
 
How often do you need to play a memorized piece (fingerstyle/classical) that you have learned and recorded in the past in order to keep it up to a performance proficiency. I will play my repertoire about every two weeks and find myself trying to remember certain parts of it. Do you think this is just normal or am I finally loosing it.

Scotso 01-02-2021 02:46 PM

same prob here....always figured it was plain ole lack of musical talent

geelinus 01-02-2021 02:50 PM

If you're practicing those songs regularly during the in-between time, you may be in trouble. Otherwise, I suspect it's pretty normal. The more you learn, the more you have to forget. . .

buddyhu 01-02-2021 02:57 PM

My first guitar teacher said you need to play through songs every two or three days to avoid “drop out” (losing important information about either left or right hand “flow”). This is true for me. I am not trying to keep them performance ready.... just trying to keep them available enough that resurrecting hem isn’t like learning the song all over again. i have noticed that some of the finger picked songs that i learned a few years ago but have neglected for many months are now “in the graveyard”.

Knives&Guitars 01-02-2021 03:49 PM

Super Big Problem for myself.
I have been writing fingerstyle themes over the last several years to compliment some of my melodic strumming songs. Sometimes they are complicated long intros, and other times an entire fingerstyle piece.
I am working very hard to perfect each piece. Constantly updating or changing a few notes here and there.
I will work very hard on one piece for several weeks. Then I might come back to another piece previous to that and forget all of the little nuances, inflections, and note changes that I had worked so hard on.
Unfortunately I never learned to write music. Very frustrating when you forget your own material and all the little things that made that piece come alive.
The Solution is of course to record the compositions with an attached video focusing on just my hands and fingering. That is my next step. Never seem to get around to it though....cause I am still working, changing little things here and there.
Oh Well, there are some advantages though. If it is not good enough to remember, then composition wise, it was not quite there anyway.

min7b5 01-02-2021 04:19 PM

As far as concert-ready arrangements, I have to at least play through everything once a month for them not to start going away. And they do go away! I recently saw the list of tunes on my first album, almost twenty years ago, and more than half them are just completely gone from me. And maybe a quarter of them I didn't remember that I even recorded them at all!

When I am more active I play through them once or a twice a week to stay in shape. If I was maybe three weeks out from a series of sit-down shows I'd ramp up to playing the whole set twice a day. And recording some it on my phone to listen back to and decide what things I need to really zero in on..

As far as non-arrangementy tunes that I know, like the heads to jazz tunes and fiddle tunes, I don't need to play them as much. And when I do I try to sing them to file them away more as audio files in my brain. If anything, for those tunes, I'll make a bigger deal out remembering the chord changes, because if I had a jazz gig pop up tomorrow (pre-pandemic thinking of course) I know even if I didn't exactly remember the head to All Things You Are, it would fine -dare I say, possibly even better.. But if I don't have those changes down, it's gonna suck for real.

UncleJesse 01-02-2021 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars (Post 6593535)
Super Big Problem for myself.
I have been writing fingerstyle themes over the last several years to compliment some of my melodic strumming songs. Sometimes they are complicated long intros, and other times an entire fingerstyle piece.
I am working very hard to perfect each piece. Constantly updating or changing a few notes here and there.
I will work very hard on one piece for several weeks. Then I might come back to another piece previous to that and forget all of the little nuances, inflections, and note changes that I had worked so hard on.
Unfortunately I never learned to write music. Very frustrating when you forget your own material and all the little things that made that piece come alive.
The Solution is of course to record the compositions with an attached video focusing on just my hands and fingering. That is my next step. Never seem to get around to it though....cause I am still working, changing little things here and there.
Oh Well, there are some advantages though. If it is not good enough to remember, then composition wise, it was not quite there anyway.

I always just do a music memo on my phone of me playing and singing a song. That can capture the essence and feel of a tune and if I forget I can go back to that demo and pick up what I'm playing by ear. Then again, I'm not writing complex fingerstyle suites or anything.

TBman 01-02-2021 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars (Post 6593535)
Super Big Problem for myself.
I have been writing fingerstyle themes over the last several years to compliment some of my melodic strumming songs. Sometimes they are complicated long intros, and other times an entire fingerstyle piece.
I am working very hard to perfect each piece. Constantly updating or changing a few notes here and there.
I will work very hard on one piece for several weeks. Then I might come back to another piece previous to that and forget all of the little nuances, inflections, and note changes that I had worked so hard on.
Unfortunately I never learned to write music. Very frustrating when you forget your own material and all the little things that made that piece come alive.
The Solution is of course to record the compositions with an attached video focusing on just my hands and fingering. That is my next step. Never seem to get around to it though....cause I am still working, changing little things here and there.
Oh Well, there are some advantages though. If it is not good enough to remember, then composition wise, it was not quite there anyway.

Try Guitar Pro or something similar. Get a book like "Music for Dummies" or something to understand the basics of notation. In GuitarPro I punch in the fret number on the string in the tab and the notation appears automatically. To increase or decrease the notes duration you just use the plus or minus keys. You use the "bar arranger" to fit the notes in the measure correctly if you go back and make a change. I'm not a rocket scientist and I manage. I forget a lot I suppose due to my mini stroke I had back in '17, but I also don't play the same things over and over again so I don't give myself the chance to memorize something.

jklotz 01-02-2021 05:24 PM

OP, I feel your pain. I'm trying to keep two sets of fingerstyle songs worked up, as I'd like to gig them as soon as we can. I try to run through them daily, but that doesn't always happen. Most days it does. I do make sure to go through the really tough ones daily. Bohemian Rapsody, for instance. Problem with that stuff is you forget one turnaround and it's really difficult to get the rest of the song back on track.

My normal practice routine is a short warm up, run the sets then on to learning new material. I can do that in about 1.5 hours. If I have time during the rest of the day, I'll do short stints with the new stuff I'm trying to learn, but I find that after a while, it's not very helpful because there is only so much I'm able to retain in a day.

I feel a little envious of those guys who have a big, thick song book with lyrics and cowboy chords and can go months without having to play stuff and can do a 4 hour gig without repeating anything. I don't see that happening with my fingerstyle arrangements any time soon.

smic28 01-02-2021 05:26 PM

I play fingerstyle almost exclusively, no singing. My repertoire is committed to muscle memory (I also have recordings). If I go too long without playing a song, parts of it will fade. When that happens, I can usually "regenerate" it by repeatedly starting over at the beginning. Each replay gets me further through the song, until I am able to play the whole thing. This was not a problem when I was younger ;-)

rstaight 01-02-2021 05:45 PM

Aa long as I have the music to fall back on I can relearn. It is funny though and never really thought about it till now. The songs I learned as a youth I can pick up a guitar and play. Even if it's been some time since I played it.

But songs I learned six months ago and haven't played in the last month. As someone so eloquently put it earlier, are in the graveyard.

Glennwillow 01-02-2021 06:02 PM

I think a memorized instrumental piece of any complexity needs to be played at least once per week, maybe twice per week, to keep from forgetting it over time.

It's not a question of "losing it," it's about having immediate access to the information you need in your brain. If you let too much time go by without playing the piece, you just lose quick access to it.

At least that's what I have found with my particular brain. :)

- Glenn

zmf 01-02-2021 06:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Glennwillow (Post 6593696)

It's not a question of "losing it," it's about having immediate access to the information you need in your brain.
At least that's what I have found with my particular brain. :)

That's an interesting distinction, Glenn. And most likely accurate.

tbeltrans 01-02-2021 06:26 PM

Some types of music seem to require more effort to retain in memory.

As an example, a fingerstyle piece has a lot of relatively complex stuff going on and it quickly falls apart if you don't remember all those notes.

Chord melody, on the other hand, can take advantage of chunking larger pieces of information and will therefore be easier to maintain in memory. You need to know the melody and the chords, but you put it together differently each time using the vocabulary you have learned to express in this style.

For me, memorizing a fingerstyle arrangement would be comparable to memorizing a speech or poem that I would recite verbatim every time I performed it. For me, this is very frustrating and I have pretty much given up trying to maintain even the smallest repertoire.

Playing a chord melody version of a tune is closer to having a conversation or writing a post in a forum, in which you know what you want to say, but how you say it at any given point in time is just whatever you feel at that time.

For me, it is much more fun to have a stack of fakebooks, open up to some tune and whip out my own chord melody arrangement of it, instead of spending weeks learning a complex fingerstyle arrangement, only to forget much of it if I am not playing it most every day. My focus is, instead, on building the vocabulary that I use in tune after tune, much as learning to speak English allows me to converse rather than having to memorize and recite.

Since I don't sing, I can't comment on how learning tunes to sing and strum along to might fit (if at all) in this comparison. It would seem to me that memorizing the lyrics of a tune would be essentially like memorizing a poem, but memorizing the chords might be easier than memorizing all those notes in a fingerstyle arrangement.

Tony

Knives&Guitars 01-02-2021 08:52 PM

To add, a big part of the memory for fingerstyle is not just the note sequence, but where and how you hit each note.
For some notes I hit directly over the soundhole. Other notes I hit midway between the bridge and soundhole. And sometimes I even pluck into the fingerboard. That can chew up a lot of our brains memory. I will often get really into the piece and pluck the note on the wrong place. All of this is important if you want to project a certain tone and mood.
I am also using a custom thumbpick that requires exacting pressure. Too much of a stroke and it comes off sounding brash. Too little and the intent of that note could be lost.
I find that while strumming, I can get away with a little bit more. The other strings covers minor mistakes. On Fingerstyle all the mistakes show up quickly.
Yep, lots to remember.


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