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Thread: Memorizing music?

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    Member DTut's Avatar
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    Default Memorizing music?

    I understand all the advantages of memorizing pieces but I find it difficult. Does anyone have suggestions on how to memorize efficiently. There are a few pieces I memorized in my youth by just playing them hundreds of times. There must be a better way. Thanks.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    I was lucky that I didn’t have a problem with memorization. It was there because I felt the emotional of it as well as the notes. If it’s just an attempt at rote memory, I don’t think it works as well or as easily. It also helps to hear the parts that are surrounding yours, a way of hearing it in context. It also helped that memorization happened because I wasn’t trying too hard. The memory is there because I wanted it there naturally.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Feb-14-2019 at 06:37.
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    Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    there is no real advantage, memorization is overrated. If you want to be a concert performer it is necessary, but for amateurs there is no need.

    That said, don't rely on muscle memory - learn the theory of the piece - the chord progression, form etc, try to visualize the score and hear the music in your head.

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    Senior Member senza sordino's Avatar
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    I find memorizing music very difficult. But I can memorize longer passages if I do it in chunks, and then add the chunks together. Practice, practice, practice. This is probably a good idea for challenging sections, even if you don't intend on memorizing the entire piece.

    There are no short cuts, sorry. But you can also memorize on the bus, train or walking. Just by reciting the music in your head and thinking of the fingering to make each note helps lay down memories. Just don't do this while driving, you should be concentrating on that task!

    I've also heard of people writing down the music from memory. This is hardly efficient. It's time consuming to be sure. But there are not short cuts.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Playing from memory has its decided advantages and not just for soloists. But unfortunately, it may only be the exceptional musicians who can do it for an entire lengthy work and one shouldn’t feel bad if it’s not one of your strengths. Here is the Aurora Orchestra that plays entirely from memory, and I find their performances extraordinarily expressive, lively, and dynamic:

    Last edited by Larkenfield; Feb-21-2019 at 05:26.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Here is the Aurora Orchestra that plays entirely from memory,
    Many of the Czech String and Woodwind groups played all their music from memory - quartets, WW 5tets, etc....

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    Listen carefully, over and over. Try to play music into different parts and practice on it, then put it together again. Then have a look at the score & see how it all adds up. You will memorize music very easily this way.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I have problems memorising 6 chord sequences on my acoustic, never mind hour long symphonies. It's easier with rock music as you can use lyrics as cues. I admire any musician who can memorise whole pieces of a substantial length. That's some achievement.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    To memorize any piece of music, you have to be able to hear it in your head and then be able to recall it from there. Try singing or whistling the notes without your instrument as a way of developing this ability. In other words, instead of relying on the notes on the page, you’re relying on tonal memory. Tonal memory can be improved or developed with practice.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Mar-15-2019 at 22:03.
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