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Topic: How Do YOU Remember Music?

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  1. #1

    How Do YOU Remember Music?

    While answering another post, I got to thinking about this... how we remember music.

    A world-class concert pianist will commonly be able to sit down and play, completely from memory, hundreds of pieces, including major works.

    An instructor (Dr. David Barnett) of mine, many years back, had the astounding ability to sit down and instantly play, from memory, a piano transcription of practically any piece he'd ever heard [that would be thousands].

    Some of the best symphonic conductors frequently work without a score in front of them -- and may well know hundreds of symphonic scores by rote.

    If you think about this rationally, these are *astonishing* feats of memory!

    How do YOU remember music?

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  2. #2

    Re: How Do YOU Remember Music?

    Hmmm, Good question, David.
    Depends on my interest in the work. If i like it, then easily. If it is uninteresting, then it takes a little more time. (I've always been terrible at remembering vocals)
    A few years ago i had the privilege of meeting and working with a man called David Helfgott, an outstanding pianist who, after a breakdown, spent several years in an institution, before a doctor named Frank Reynolds heard him play piano, and got him out. During David's recovery, i was astonished to hear him play not only the solo parts from famous piano works, but include the orchestral parts to a large degree as well. He could look at a new piece, turning the pages slowly, then sit down and play it as if he'd known it all his life.
    From an allegedly broken mind, such genius left me in awe.

    Regards,

    Alex.

  3. #3

    Re: How Do YOU Remember Music?

    Another fascinating area is savantism -- unlike your friend Mr. Helfgott's difficulties, "musical savants" are often individuals with truly profound retardation and other deficits.

    Yet, they are capable of remarkable feats of musical memory and performance.

    One of the foremost experts on this is Darold Treffert. I've had the frequent pleasure of corresponding with Dr. Treffert's daughter, who is also his archivist -- and his insights and research into this area are, to say the least, fascinating!

    David.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hermitage59
    Hmmm, Good question, David.
    Depends on my interest in the work. If i like it, then easily. If it is uninteresting, then it takes a little more time. (I've always been terrible at remembering vocals)
    A few years ago i had the privilege of meeting and working with a man called David Helfgott, an outstanding pianist who, after a breakdown, spent several years in an institution, before a doctor named Frank Reynolds heard him play piano, and got him out. During David's recovery, i was astonished to hear him play not only the solo parts from famous piano works, but include the orchestral parts to a large degree as well. He could look at a new piece, turning the pages slowly, then sit down and play it as if he'd known it all his life.
    From an allegedly broken mind, such genius left me in awe.

    Regards,

    Alex.

  4. #4

    Re: How Do YOU Remember Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    Another fascinating area is savantism -- unlike your friend Mr. Helfgott's difficulties, "musical savants" are often individuals with truly profound retardation and other deficits.

    Yet, they are capable of remarkable feats of musical memory and performance.

    One of the foremost experts on this is Darold Treffert. I've had the frequent pleasure of corresponding with Dr. Treffert's daughter, who is also his archivist -- and his insights and research into this area are, to say the least, fascinating!

    David.
    Very interesting subject.
    I admit to being curious as to the mental process that allows savants the freedom of direct expression. i experimented with this some years ago, trying to achieve a mental state through intense concentration that removed the conditioning and barriers to a true flow of information from mind to fruition. I fell asleep more than once, as i seemed to achieve a feeling of deep relaxation, rather than energetic flow, but once or twice i was partially successful, writing almost purely by instinct, without thinking.
    It was an experiment that i've been meaning to take up again, and explore more of my own mental processes. I met a psychologist some years ago who played a rather ordinary bass guitar. He mentioned at the time that he believed it was possible to 'imitate' the savant mental condition to some degree, so as to reflect for some time the lack of primal instinctive conditioning, and so write, in my case, purely from the orchestra in my head that seems to play on forever. I had a big vehicle accident after that, and suffered some amnesia for a time so i stopped the experiment. Now all the lights are back on, so to speak, I'm tempted to try and achieve the same mental state again, and see how far i can go towards a 'purer' mental state. i will definitely have to study more about this.

    Regards,

    Alex.

  5. #5

    Re: How Do YOU Remember Music?

    Dave,

    I am able to recall everything that I have written note for note. It's like a recording playing in my mind. I consider this a curse and definitely not a blessing.

    I don't know how I've been able to retain my sanity all of these yea)(*)^&$@( (*&%$#_) &&)_$#)( )()&% &^9 gahhh (@&__%__)$@&! ack *&^! +)$*)((^$+@&%
    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

  6. #6

    Re: How Do YOU Remember Music?

    Repetition is what gets the stuff embedded in our heads.

    And it could be some special conditions that people may have as well. I'm not sure, but I think there are many famous, well accomplished musicians and composers who are synesthetes (Messiean was one, and I think Ligeti as well), and synesthetes very very rare. I was once a synesthete, and with that ablility, that's how I became very passionate towards music. In my case, I could produce colors according to the different pitches I heard until I lost the condition (sadly) when I was 12 I believe. And it certainly was a advantage for my memorization, remembering different keys and pitches with different colors.
    ♪♪♪♪ CâTå ♪♪♪♪

  7. #7

    Re: How Do YOU Remember Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cataclysm
    Repetition is what gets the stuff embedded in our heads.

    And it could be some special conditions that people may have as well. I'm not sure, but I think there are many famous, well accomplished musicians and composers who are synesthetes (Messiean was one, and I think Ligeti as well), and synesthetes very very rare. I was once a synesthete, and with that ablility, that's how I became very passionate towards music. In my case, I could produce colors according to the different pitches I heard until I lost the condition (sadly) when I was 12 I believe. And it certainly was a advantage for my memorization, remembering different keys and pitches with different colors.
    Interesting. The association of colour and pitch. It's often been the case with me that certain mental keys (figurative, not always musical), associated with a memory or 'patch' of knowledge aids recall of information.

    Alex

  8. #8

    Re: How Do YOU Remember Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry G. Alexander
    Dave,

    I am able to recall everything that I have written note for note. It's like a recording playing in my mind. I consider this a curse and definitely not a blessing.

    I don't know how I've been able to retain my sanity all of these yea)(*)^&$@( (*&%$#_) &&)_$#)( )()&% &^9 gahhh (@&__%__)$@&! ack *&^! +)$*)((^$+@&%
    Larry, does this work with things you've already written, or is there a constant stream of new information as well?

    Alex.

  9. #9

    Lightbulb Re: How Do YOU Remember Music?

    Re pe ti tion.

    Yes I agree.
    But not only: if your brain has been formatted, like the HD drive of a computer, you should be able of more immediately store the content.
    The "format" function is the musical education. The quality and density of the support, is your talent.

    Pianists, after years of study, are able of learning quickly, because they memorize patterns and muscle-reactions, visual positioning and so on.
    It is really a synaesthetic experience (space, touch, vision, positions, and of course...music)

    I think it's totally different from the "piano reduction" of pieces "by ear", that is more related to musical education: being a good pianist and a composer, you "re-build" the harmony, the bass line, the main voicing, just starting from the melody you can remember even if heard only one time or long time ago. It is more similar to improvisation.

    Anyway it's really an amazing human power. Wonderful, because anyway nearly unknown: you may only touch the surface of the deep complexity of our brain functions!

  10. #10

    Re: How Do YOU Remember Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry G. Alexander
    )(*)^&$@( (*&%$#_) &&)_$#)( )()&% &^9 gahhh (@&__%__)$@&! ack *&^! +)$*)((^$+@&%
    By Golly, Larry, I believe you've succeeded in presenting a cogent symbolic representation of the organizational condition of my amygdala...

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