How in the heck do you remember.........?

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by sh4rkbyt3, May 13, 2019.

  1. sh4rkbyt3

    sh4rkbyt3 Gretschie

    Mar 8, 2019
    Elkton, MD
    I'm still in the learning stage and will likely always be. With that said though, how in the heck do people remember so many songs? Whether it's cover songs or your own?

    Does it just come to you at some point or is it simply repetition?

    I've seen some people that bring sheet music books with them but still seem to be able to remember most of their songs pretty much off the cuff.

    Sorry but what some may take for granted baffles me.
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  2. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    I have always learned my songs in sections (music and words). I've found that it sort of burns it into my memory that way. Don't try to learn it all at once.
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  3. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Lots of songs out there with only 3 chords too ........
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  4. sh4rkbyt3

    sh4rkbyt3 Gretschie

    Mar 8, 2019
    Elkton, MD
    Thank tim, figuring out how to learn some things isn't always the same for everything so I'll definitely try that.
    DannyB likes this.
  5. sh4rkbyt3

    sh4rkbyt3 Gretschie

    Mar 8, 2019
    Elkton, MD
    I don't need it to be ultra-complicated but I want something that is also challenging as well and versatile in sound. But not a bad idea either. Good stuff so far.
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  6. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Part of it is that there are common chord progressions to a lot of songs and many follow standard scales, especially pentatonic or blues. But I agree, unless I play them frequently I'm out of luck.
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  7. shrews824

    shrews824 Country Gent

    Feb 22, 2016
    Hardinsburg, Kentucky
    Yeah, a lot of songs are repetitive patterns or chord progressions. Eventually, you will begin to "see" where the chords are going and what voicing leads to the next. However, some songs can only be remembered by playing them 1000 times. At least that's been my experience.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
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  8. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    ..... try Hotel California
  9. dmunson

    dmunson Gretschie

    Dec 19, 2015
    Charlotte, NC
    Practice, practice, and more practice. Take one song at a time. I tend to retain things that I learn by ear most easily. But, that's been my go-to method for almost 60 years.
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  10. DannyB

    DannyB Gretschie

    Apr 26, 2019
    A lot of songs is memory and rote practice, the more complicated stuff you can always write down the chords or riffs and have them handy, or get a song book with popular songs. If you play songs long enough they become burned not only in your brains memory but even the "muscle memory" of your hands. It's also amazing how once you play a song enough it stays in your memory even if you don't play the song in years. I have actually started playing songs again that I haven't played in 40 years and was surprised at how quick the songs came back!
  11. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa Cruz
    For me sometimes it feels like my fingers take over if I can just give them that first note or riff.

    40 yrs ago performing I never had to think about remembering a song. Now, I keep a list of the ones I want to stay up on and I must take time to practice them each week. If I go to long without practicing a song it takes my fingers a bit of time to find it for me then it’s back.

    I know I’m really in trouble if I can’t hum the song or “sing” the lead. That means it has been way to long between times playing it.
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  12. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Friend of Fred

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Practice and repetition.
    I know lots of songs, but I KNEW lots more. If I keep up practice on a song, I’ll have it. If I leave it alone for too long, it’s gone until I learn it again.
    It’s the same thing with theater acting. I’ve been in quite a few plays, and I have my lines down if I keep rehearsing/performing.
    However, once a show closes after the last performance, I’ll forget the lines within a few weeks.
  13. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Most songs follow pretty normal structures.

    I recall someone using mnemonics, lets see...

    You might want to learn the method of loci.

    Have you ever listened to a podcast while drivng a car? Play back the podcast when you get home, you will recall much of your drive home, even days later.
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  14. Dostegrar

    Dostegrar Country Gent

    Nov 5, 2013
    When I played piano, I could play the songs while watching t.v. making my mom thinking I was practicing.
    Muscle memory mostly, I think.
    With piano and guitar, I find that I can only PLAY the songs after I've memorized them. In other words, I only really learn the play with emotion after I can close the book.
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  15. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Easy---no sports trivia, and I ignore lyrics.
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  16. sh4rkbyt3

    sh4rkbyt3 Gretschie

    Mar 8, 2019
    Elkton, MD
    A huge huge thank you for everyone :).
    DannyB likes this.
  17. PDogga

    PDogga Gretschie

    Jul 3, 2011
    This is a great question. I have a notoriously bad memory for names, faces & just what the hell I did yesterday. As soon as the music starts though, I can remember four hours worth of lyrics, chord progressions and lead parts. If someone asks me during conversation something like, "what is the chord progression for the chorus of ……" or "what do you sing in the second verse of ….." I have absolutely no chance. But as soon as the music starts and I mentally get in the zone suddenly my brain and fingers just go with it and I'm amazed by it every time. Sometimes, during a gig, if I start to think about it too much that is when I might forget what comes next - I need to be "in the zone" mentally speaking. I have some spiritual beliefs about this that I better not go into here but basically it is the magic of music and what it does to us as human beings. The universe is a beautiful thing and we are all made of stardust baby.
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  18. ramjac

    ramjac Synchromatic

    Aug 14, 2011
    Agree with learning common chord progressions once you’re comfortable with a fairly good library of chord shapes. Learn the progressions as I, IV, V (instead of, for example, E A B, and once your ear gets good, you should be able to rock any campfire and impress your friends by playing along with whatever is on the radio. If a song comes on or you get a request for a song that you can’t identify the progression for, a good strategy is to pretend you need another beer or have to go to the bathroom. And it’s totally OK to slide into a chord or come in a bit late. It worked out for Al Kooper on Like A Rolling Stone, and if it’s good enough for Dylan, it’s good enough for a bunch of people eating free hot dogs and marshmallows.

    For favorite artists, I find that it helps my failing memory to develop something similar to a football offensive system that I can fall back on. I don’t know if you played sports, but I hated learning plays until the light bulb came on and I started paying more attention to personnel and formations instead of a collective set of individual plays. For example, for Keith Richards and The Rolling Stones, I started out with a few Chuck Berry and Jimmy Reed licks, and sliding up and down on the D, G and B strings, adding hammer-ons to replicate the open G sound and built from there until I could more closely replicate individual songs. Works for a lot of other artists, too. The die-hards will still throw tomatoes at you, but building memory takes time.
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  19. JHowdy

    JHowdy Country Gent

    Nov 16, 2013
    Loose the sheets, no matter if it's chords or lyrics. Memorize them and then stick to that decision. I used to be uncertain of the lyrics and used sheets for several years. When I finally got rid of them I started learning and remembering new songs and lyrics automatically and ten zillion times faster than before. Amazing!
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  20. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    I find it easier to remember songs than to remember the names of songs. Chords in songs are all related to degrees of the scale. In the key of C, f’rinstance, a C Maj is I, a D min is II, an F Maj is IV, a G7 is V, an A min is VI, in simple terms. Sometimes songs will go into another key for a few measures and learning to recognize these tone center changes makes sense of otherwise unpredictable chord progressions. From that point on, it becomes as simple as recognizing the degrees of a scale and chord progressions become easy to hear and comprehend. Once that happens, songs become simple patterns and there’s really not much to remember, beyond the name of the song and the key.
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