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What is memorization to you?

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  • #89052
    unknown-user
    Participant

    I am exploring the nature of memory and recall in my work. What does

    the word memorized mean to you? How do you get there, stay there and

    get back there?

    #89053
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    It’s funny Saul.

    #89054
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Thank you very much. Who’d you hear it from? I have tried your approach, but find the only way I can sustain it is if I literally cover up all the other music so all I can see is the one or two measures I am working on. I haven’t been able to sustain it. My mind is too restless. I would think that with your approach it would be difficult to rethink fingering and interpretation, or is it easier? I can’t commit to something till I have worked out every detail of fingering and my overall interpretive approach. Then it is hard to change once it’s cemented. After some months or years pass I can relearn it another way, and after many years I can play a piece like the Prokofiev Prelude with three different sets of fingerings. But only that piece.

    Miss Lawrence talked about the role of experience and personal history in the act of remembering a piece. I have been exploring that avenue with some interesting results, which bore fruit in my recital. I am experiencing repertoire differently now. I don’t want to reveal more until it is completely worked out, and then I will probably put it in my forthcoming book, Harpnotes. So far, the first article, How to Play the Harp Expressively, has grown to at least 20 pages.

    #89055
    Jeralee
    Participant

    really good response Carl. I memorize some by solfege, but mostly I analyze the whole piece first, using chord/lead sheet symbols and memorize it harmonically that way.

    #89056
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Jeralee- I agree with everything you said, and I do the same things too.

    #89057
    unknown-user
    Participant

    One thing that helps me is to think about how the patterns in the music

    #89058
    alexander-rider
    Participant

    I’m afraid I have no idea what solfege/ solfeggio is! Ignorance!

    #89059
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    PHILISTINE!!!

    #89060
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Quel scandale! Actually, solfege is a great big hoax in America. They are not doing “solfege,” they are naming the notes. Those are the names of the notes for them. The equivalent for us is not learning “solfege” but to merely say out loud the notes we are reading. The opening of the Debussy Danses is DCACDFG etc. But you should know what mode it is, and what the rhythm is just as clearly. What is the rhythm of a Zortzico? It’s in 5/8 and it’s well, I guess I don’t have a vocabulary other than the note values. Hip-pot-a-mus-es. Let’s come up with vocabulary. Ta=quarter note, da=eighth note, ti=sixteenth note/ti-di=two sixteenths, tih=32nd-note/tiddleliddle=4 sixteenths, tay=dotted eighth, etc. Then the zortzico would go da-tay-ti-tay-ti.

    The other system I learned is to number notes according to their tonal value, 1 being the tonic, 5 the dominant, like using figured bass. I think the reason why solfege works for Americans is the extra effort required to translate the note names helps burn them in with pain.

    #89061
    Jeralee
    Participant

    I knew that 3 years of sight singing and dictation in college would somehow come in handy! 😉

    #89062
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Saul- What exactly do you mean by a great hoax?

    #89063
    unknown-user
    Participant

    How are those syllables easier to say than abcdefg? As I said the hoax perpetrated by theory teachers is that they are saying the names of the notes, not doing solfege as we think of it. It’s already in their native tongue. If it were the same as what we go through they would be learning the note names in English. Or were you born speaking French? And what about the whole controversy over si/ti? And sol ends with a consonant. And do you say do or ut?

    #89064
    Tacye
    Participant

    If you use si for the 7th note, what do you use for sol sharp?

    One of my less rigorous tools for memorising is to just rely on the fact that my brain is lazy- if I put my music half way across the room or on the floor so I can read it, but it is a nuisance, I will look at it less and less until I can dispense with it entirely.

    #89065
    Anton Sie
    Participant

    “I should also add that, when I walk out on stage to play a recital(always from memory) 100% of my concern is that I will have a memory slip that I can’t get out of. I don’t worry about difficult passages or missed notes. Of course I’m going to miss some notes. That’s live performance and it’s not worth worrying about. But I do worry about memory problems. But the reality is that, with the system I use for memorizing, I almost never have memory problems at all, and the few times I do, I can get out of them easily.”

    This is very funny, I have exactly the same experience! A couple of years ago, I had the following system to memorize: when I knew the piece well, I started to play the piece (or first parts of the piece) with left hand only and right hand only by heart. I played the left hand and thought of what the right hand should play and vice versa. I also played one hand and thought of what the playing hand is playing. I also practiced without any hands, just the pedals, playing both hands in my head. Since I’m doing this, I’ve never had big trouble in pieces in recitals, and if I lost it somewhere, I always could recover quite easily. By doing this, it’s also a lot easier to play a piece again after having not played it for a long time.

    Also in the train or bicycling I’m playing pieces in my head.

    Then the solfege: I believe there’s a “French” system and another system. The French system is naming the notes singing, not considering the distances. As we in The Netherlands have quite the same system as in Germany (g sharp is called gis, b flat is called bes), it’s quite easy here to sing on note names.

    Furthermore, I have heard of a combination of this: as “fa diese” takes a lot of time, one can sing “feu” (I don’t know how to bring this into American syllables, this should be pronounced in the French way), I can’t remember the vowel for “bemol”, maybe a b-flat is called “sais”? (again, French pronunciation). And one can indeed sing on base of the tonal system: the tonic is called “one” or “do”, the dominant “five” or “sol”, but one has to analyse the harmony a bit first, because of modulations.

    By the way, I’m always impressed by how fast the French can say those note names so quickly! Perhaps they are used to speaking with many syllables per second? 😉

    #89066
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Anton- Those were some great ideas for memorizing music.

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