Thread: Memorizing
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Old 01-02-2021, 06:26 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 6,167

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.

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