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View Poll Results: What do you mean by "learning a song"?
Note-for-note in the original key it was recorded in 7 13.46%
Musically note-for-note but no vocals because i dont sing or remember lyrics 7 13.46%
Faithful reproduction but different key or tuning to accommodate my vocal range 16 30.77%
Just the cool intro/solo/outro 1 1.92%
Recognizable but simplified so I can play it 17 32.69%
My unique take on a known song; intentionally different from the original 25 48.08%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 52. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 01-15-2022, 08:20 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Default What do we Mean by "Learning a Song"?

Interesting ongoing discussions about how many songs do we know, how good are we honestly and people that can nail the intro/solo but don't play the song all the way through....

Got me wondering if we have different meanings to "learning a song"? Some people take it to mean note-for-note, original key it was recorded in, as faithful a reproduction as possible. Some people mean close enough to be recognizable. Some intentionally take a song that was not originally done on acoustic guitar for the fun/novelty of it. Lots of other meanings I'm sure.

So I put together another highly imperfect poll...

Last edited by Mandobart; 01-15-2022 at 08:28 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2022, 09:45 AM
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Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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Language isn't always succinct. So, when a person doesn't fully explain what they are meaning, terms like learning a song can mean different things at different times.
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Old 01-15-2022, 09:53 AM
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Learning the song in the way you want to play it. So all of the choices are available.
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Old 01-15-2022, 10:31 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly View Post
Language isn't always succinct. So, when a person doesn't fully explain what they are meaning terms like learning a song can mean different things at different times.
That's why I asked the question......

What does it mean to you?
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Old 01-15-2022, 10:34 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Learning the song in the way you want to play it. So all of the choices are available.
Ok, that's why I posted this.

What does it mean (or does it mean anything) to you? When you "learn" a song is it a note-for-note transcription? Or do you mean you do all of the above on every song you learn?
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Old 01-15-2022, 10:54 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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I chose the "make it your own". When I played in a trio that worked in supper clubs, resorts, etc., if somebody wanted us to play a tune just like the record, the band leader would tell the person to put a quarter in the jukebox because we did our interpretations and a jukebox would give the exact original rendition. I still feel that way.

There are cover bands and those who play solo fingerstyle who try to capture all the nuances of the original tune (Steven King, Edgar Cruz for example). That is a real commendable skill for both the cover band and the individual, but it has never been my goal.

For me, learning a tune (or a part of a tune) note for note off the recording by ear is only so that I learn something the performer did that I like and would want to add the idea to my own musical vocabulary.

To me, this will be one of the more interesting polls, as it gets to the heart of what we are doing with our guitars.

Tony
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:18 AM
jacot23 jacot23 is offline
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I kinda have 2 definitions.

New to guitar but with clawhammer banjo,

Some songs I "learn" to the extent that I can play the chords and sing along, I print the lyrics and chords and put them in a binder.

A handful of songs I "learn" the chords, melody notes, embellish, make them mine. They live in my fingers and I can go play them fairly quickly any time I want. I still print the lyrics because can't remember everything.
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:23 AM
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For me it varies from song to song, but in general one of three buckets: note-for-note as close as possible; I may need to adjust key or tuning but try to keep it faithful; or totally re-do it as my own, sometimes radically different.

I sing, so vocals aren't a problem. If I have to simplify too much (not often) then I feel like I'm doing my own unique take, and I don't feel like learning just a piece of a song is "learning the song".
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:23 AM
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To me it means that I've learned a song if I can sing it and play it in front of people with a minimum amount of looking at my cheat sheet and don't make any mistakes I can't fake my way through.
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
That's why I asked the question......

What does it mean to you?
First or last selection. Could be of a guitar piece or of some music with no guitar part in it.
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:51 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Yes, agreed the term "learning (or learned) a song" means different things.

It may not be exactly what the OP is asking, but to my mind the deepest and more rewarding relationship with a song means getting a deeper understanding of what the song is about musically and lyrically, what it can express, what connects with you or any audiences you may perform it for. In that deeper sense, we can be "learning a song" for a lifetime.
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:55 AM
Joe Beamish Joe Beamish is offline
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That’s like asking what my “favorite” album is, or “favorite” food. It means different things according to the context.

Learning a song can mean getting the chords and hallmark licks down recognizably, plus the lyrics, since I think of the guitar as an accompaniment to voice most the time.

But if I’m going to perform this song, “learning” it has a much higher standard. I will develop my own arrangement to some degree over time, and I will know the song cold because I’ve played it many times.
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Old 01-15-2022, 12:01 PM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Learning the song in the way you want to play it. So all of the choices are available.
My thoughts too, Rick. Hopefully if you play it for someone they can recognize the tune... which is where vocals can help if you're a beginner playing basic chords rather than complicated rhythm.
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Old 01-15-2022, 12:29 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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I voted - My unique take on a known song; intentionally different from the original

I tend to take the lyrics and progression and then mold (or mould) it into my own "derangement" (I pinched that from someone else - it's mine now!)

I'm usually attracted by the lyrics and/or melody.

but ...

I have no concerns on changing the key, tempo, arrangement or even in some cases the lyrics.

I do not learn , nor teach with tablature. i see it as an instruction to blindly follow someone else's perception of a piece.
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Old 01-15-2022, 12:48 PM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Every song that I sing and play sounds like me singing and playing! Most of the songs that I learn were originally performed by a band, or a female singer, or with piano backing etc. etc. not a middle aged man with a guitar sitting around a campfire! So I have to make each song my own arrangement. The best I can hope for is for someone to say "I love the way you do...."
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