Jump to content

Recommended Posts

It's been a few years since my band Semillon folded and I haven't played the repertoire since. It was a nice mix of hard rock and old rock covers. It occurred to me recently that if I were to find myself in a jam (online or otherwise) where one of the tunes I used to know were being played, I probably wouldn't be able to join in because I've forgotten them! So I ran through some of our old numbers and I have remembered them only in part. Sometimes I'll get to a section and go blank. It shows me how much I need to keep things fresh. I bet some of you have perfect memories for things you once learned. That's never been me on any of my instruments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a play list for songs on my PC with a play count against them, stuff I used to gig regularly I have probably practised 200+ times so they become completely ingrained, I could join in a jam with them tomorrow despite not having played them for a good 4 or 5 years, but some of the newer stuff I only gigged once or twice (One Republic's  Counting Stars) have only 30 or 40 play counts against them, now a few years down the line I wouldn't have the faintest idea how they go.

Practice, practice and some more practice!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@julietgreen I am totally with you on that one.

My brain only has so much space and it seems to push stuff out. 

Infact my band are in process of recording our debut album, and we have tracked 6 songs already, and due to not seeing each other and jamming for months I have forgotten a lot of the parts I have written. I'm going to have to go back and learn the songs I wrote... 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At uni we used to have to learn the bass part to a song each week, then perform it with as part of a randomly selected ensemble, usually two guitarists, a drummer, vocals and backing vocals. We’d be marked on various aspects of our individual performance. I’d spend hours and hours learning them, I actually really hated that particular module. I’d forget it totally after a week or so. Funny thing is I can remember chord sequences to dozens of jazz tunes no problem at all, but individual bass lines no.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Roger2611 said:

Practice, practice and some more practice!

Exactly so. It's very bad of me to not keep the stuff I used to know, fresh in my head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try sax, where you can't even consign most things to a moveable pattern as you can on bass.  On sax, unless you can recall letter sequences, and lots of them, you're sunk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You get better at this the more you do it. I periodically run over sets of bands I play with, just to keep up to speed. Also many of the songs are interesting to play.

I got a call once at 10 am on a Saturday asking if I could be in Devon by 4! It was a wedding and I'd never played with the band before. They got a lot of busking, but the audience wouldn't have spotted the cracks. 

My memory is pretty good. If I can hear a melody line then I can get by. I've done gigs with little notice and you just do the best you can. If you are really stuck, just turn the volume down and the bass up so no one can hear the notes!

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find if someone were to ask me how so and so song went that we played years ago I might struggle, but if I were to play along with it muscle memory would come to my aid.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, lownote12 said:

Try sax, where you can't even consign most things to a moveable pattern as you can on bass.  On sax, unless you can recall letter sequences, and lots of them, you're sunk.

Funnily enough, that's my other instrument! I can remember stuff on sax if I never saw it as dots. I struggle much more if I ever played it  from the music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

I find if someone were to ask me how so and so song went that we played years ago I might struggle, but if I were to play along with it muscle memory would come to my aid.

I found that when I tried to play them yesterday, if I didn't think about it, muscle memory did pretty well. But then there were complete blanks. I probably remembered about 80%

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really depends on the song. I can play songs that I learned 40 years ago without a hickup, and then there are some songs from my current gig list that I have to remind myself of what it even sounds like before I play it.

In my last group we played Teenage Kicks and Ever fallen in love. I used to have the start notes of everything on the list as I really couldn't remember which of those were which, so the start note told me.

Some things are more memorable than others. I had been practicing my new group songs regularly in lockdown as some of those we have never done, and I had sort of ignored my normal group. I went through the set list the other day adn there were a couple where I got to a complete blank of how it went, but most were fine.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have more trouble learning and remembering the song structure than anything else, although having said that I'm perfectly capable of drawing a complete temporary blank on songs I've played hundreds of times.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

I find if someone were to ask me how so and so song went that we played years ago I might struggle, but if I were to play along with it muscle memory would come to my aid.

This is my experience. A bass tutor asked me to run through so. e songs I knew so he could assess where I was at. I couldn't play a damn thing. Not on my own just into the open air. I needed the other parts of the song. 

As far as memory goes, I stop playing a tune and it's gone in a few weeks. 

The bonus is that it's not gone like it was never learned, it comes back noticeably faster than learning a brand new song. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to forget songs while we were actually playing them live.  Little panic.  It's an age thing.  Amazingly I can remember every note of the old songs I played 30+ years ago.

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

I used to forget songs while we were actually playing them live.  Little panic.  It's an age thing.  Amazingly I can remember every note of the old songs I played 30+ years ago.

I get it. In my current covers band - nothing at all challenging - there are certain songs that I'm not 100% on. Enough to get by without anybody noticing, but there are always a few points where I have to concentrate to get through it.

The other day, for a laugh, I listened to some of my first band's recordings and decided to play along. It was note-perfect, and I haven't heard them in over 25 years.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I asked this question years ago to be told that everyone remembered everything they had ever played. At least the first few responses did. I was just starting out then and didn't know enough songs to start forgetting them. It's nice to see some more thoughtful replies this time though.

Since then I've played something like 500 songs according to my playlists I use for practicing. I have played in several bands at once and with no overlaps I find I can cope without too much trouble with the sets from three bands simultaneously, that's about 100-120 songs. Beyond that it takes a lot of effort for me to keep the plates all spinning and some get very wobbly. I've played through old set lists and they start to fade about 6 months after I've left the band. Songs I've gigged a lot just stick though if I've learned them and they don't get out of the rehearsal room they'll fade really quickly. The funny thing is that sometimes it's in my head and sometimes not but my fingers still find the notes long after I've forgotten the chord sequences and the lyrics.

At one point I was running a band night/open mic type thing. I had to learn a lot of songs and that was one of my three concurrent band times. Really good fun to be so busy but I found out the hard way that to keep the standard up you need to keep practising the bread and butter stuff for your bands. For me pushing the envelope up to over 120 songs needed a lot of extra work.

I suppose the last point is what do we really mean by 'remember' a song. I can pick up a song I regularly played a while ago much more quickly than something I've played only once or never played at all. there must be something left there still I guess. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Phil Starr said:

I asked this question years ago to be told that everyone remembered everything they had ever played.

 

Let me tell you a story.  There's a Star Trek analogy, but don't let that deter you from reading. 

The scene below is from the first Generations film.  Data has had the emotion chip installed and is laughing at a joke that someone said seven years previously:

Why, pray are you asking, are you showing me this clip? 

A few years ago, I was playing with an incredible guitarist called Pete.  His wife told me he was wired slightly different to anyone else I would meet, so shouldn't feel bad if I were to say anything to upset him if he ever weirded me out.  He had a memory like nobody else I'd ever met, but it was just the way he applied those memories that made me recall the above clip when it happened the first time.

We'd been playing two or three years by this stage and he started recalling little guitar parts from rehearsals years previously and expected me to know what he was going on about.  Our singer pulled up recordings and boom, there they were.  And again.  And again.  He had an incredible memory; he works in some sort of paint place, I called in on him one lunchtime and he was literally having a conversation with some bloke that had been in to buy paint months beforehand and it kind of went: 'So you're asking me for ts five litres of blah blah blah in satin, but you actuallu ordered the vinyl silk and the reference code was 12Y55-GGa.'  I saw him do this sort of thing regularly.  It was jaw-droppingly astonishing.  He could navigate anywhere from memory...just glance at a map, photographic recall, venues we'd never been to that me and the drummer couldn't find even when we were going off a sat-nav.

I suppose my point here is that yes, he did remember everything. 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

. . . . . . . . . .  he did remember everything. 

I worked with someone who had a photographic memory. He had memorised every relevant IBM manual and had instant recall, but somehow couldn't remember to wash!

  • Haha 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in the 90's and early 2000's when we were playing so often, I never rehearsed as we could play the songs back to front. Later, we had to rehearse regularly or the songs would leave you and you would end up making a hash of it, I definitely have to play things regularly to keep it in my head.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@NancyJohnson My experience is more like that from your previous post. One of blanking out inexplicably, embarrassingly on one occasion 'losing ' Seven Nation Army' and having the drummer have to hum it to me. Three weeks later he blanked out on the drum intro of a song we'd played a hundred times. 

Human memory is a truly strange thing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgetting stuff. . . . . . . . I've left a wardrobe's worth of clothes behind on so many gigs, starting when I was in my first band!

Anyone had to stop by the side of the road to work out how to get to the gig and if they were going in the right direction?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, chris_b said:

Anyone had to stop by the side of the road to work out how to get to the gig and if they were going in the right direction?

Not exactly but on a tour I did in ‘91, on the first gig of the tour we pulled up in Barnsley and the driver asked for directions to the venue.

And was told “I’m not sure where that is, I’ve never been to Bradford”. 

Well they are both in the North, and both start with B so he was on the right track...

Edited by Lozz196
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, chris_b said:

Anyone had to stop by the side of the road to work out how to get to the gig and if they were going in the right direction?

No but found myself going the wrong way up the motorway when my phone satnav died. No junctions for long enough for me to start panicking. I was glad I'd left early.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...