Any Tips on memorizing songs?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Wannabe Prodigy, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. Wannabe Prodigy

    Wannabe Prodigy SS.org Regular

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    Especially for solos, it takes me an extremely long time to memorize all the notes. I feel like it shouldn't be THIS tedious.

    Rereading this it seems like a silly question, but I'm not sure what else to elaborate on.
     
  2. High Plains Drifter

    High Plains Drifter ... drifting...

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    This prob won't help since it's so obvious but for me one of the most important things is 100% tuning out any other noise, activity, voices, etc that may be close by. I just cannot memorize anything when other distractions are present... like people talking, the television, or whatever. And my mind has to be focused in as well. If my mind is preoccupied with anything else, it becomes really difficult for me to concentrate on the task at hand. Best of luck overcoming the frustration.
     
  3. nickgray

    nickgray SS.org Regular

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    You should learn music theory. If you don't know any, you'll simply see music as some kind of combination of random fret numbers. On the other hand, when you know even beginner music theory, you'll be able to assign meaning to those numbers.

    Take a look at this arpeggio (Dream Theater - The Glass Prison, it's in the intro section of the song)

    arp.png

    Seems like a nightmare, but if you know a little bit of music theory it's actually very simple to make sense of it. The 4/4 bars just arpeggiate triads, and the pattern is minor -> diminished -> diminished -> minor for the first 3 bars, and then minor -> diminished -> diminished -> major for the next chunk. Vastly easier to remember and make sense of rather than staring at all those numbers.
     
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  4. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    I need to do a video on this someday. For memorising you need to have a grasp of theory knowledge so you know all the boxes, shapes, patterns, sequences and often you will know what comes next because most guitar music sticks to them. The same goes for other instruments but its very simple to break down guitar into CAGED, major, minor, diminished. 3 notes per string etc

    I much prefer tabbing something myself so I can get really in-depth with all the decoration and timing while also figuring out what key and chord progressions are used . Then what I do is take a mental snapshot of the notes and turn them into shapes, a bit liked the CAGED system but with way more shapes resembling something more like Tetris. I also take a note of the rhythm notation so I know how many notes I'm playing a beat or how long something rings out.

    Finger memory also comes into it where you don't have to think about that you're doing, like the way if you played something and someone asked did you down or upstroke the 7th note. You might not have any idea but your hands knew exactly what they were doing.

    Another thing is knowing a guitarists style. So for Gilbert you know he's using string skipping while someone like Becker or Yngwie is using arpeggios then each of those plays the same arpeggio in a different position on the fretboard.

    Years ago I couldn't get a solo memorised so the last thing I did before going to bed was look really hard at the tab so I was thinking about it all night. The next day I was able to play it and thats how I discovered the snapshot method.

    The most important thing is to practice and take a break. Sometimes the biggest developments you will make playing is on your off days where your brain has time to process all the information.
     
  5. BenjaminW

    BenjaminW SS.org Regular

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    I remember being in the same/a similar position to you. I'd always been intimidated by solos because I thought I wouldn't be able to remember all the notes or thought the solo was too hard when it really wasn't.

    The only thing I do remember is just practicing it over and over until I got confident with it. Good luck with whatever solo you're working on and I'm curious to know what it is you're working on!
     
  6. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Look for patterns.
     
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  7. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Stage IV GAS

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    for rote memorization, I tend to break long solos or parts into small chunks and practice them until I have it down. Once I can do that chunk l, I move on to another chunk.
     
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  8. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I've always been sort of "naturally" good at memorizing bits of songs, but it's not because I literally "memorize the notes", so much as I just have a good sense for how intervals work, so I remember the patterns. I don't think you need to be a theory expert in order to be able to remember how to play songs, but if you want memorization to come naturally you need to get to a point where you have a sort of intuitive sense of the theory behind it, even if you don't have the terminology to put that theory into words.

    The first example that comes to mind is one of the little bridge run bits in Master of Puppets -> You could try to literally memorize the notes (e, f#, g, a, b, c, d, e, #f, g, c - I think?) or you could intuit that this is just some kind of e-minor scale (I don't know enough theory to know its name) and a really common pattern, that ends by adding that last C to form a sort of bar chord with the higher G you ended at. So just start at your low E and work your way up the scale until you hit that G, then you're naturally lined up to just hammer the C in there to make a chord. Done. No real "memorization", you just followed a pattern.
     
  9. mmr007

    mmr007 SS.org Regular

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    Just play Rammstein songs. Problem solved.

    In all seriousness though I believe some people are just plain better at this than others. I have had numerous friends who knew nothing about any music theory but could remember long solos (like Yngwie whole songs) note for note after minimum work throughs. I am definitely not one of those lucky people.

    For me my only option is learning a 1/4 of the solo and that is it until it is muscle memory. Then later adding the next 1/4 until eventually I get the whole solo ...a tedious process guaranteeing I will never be a session musician.
     
  10. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    This. Another thing is a lot of solos may be some kind of pattern I already know, or a small variation of it. Then I’m just remembering these patterns, “licks”, or other structures from something else I can relate it to.
     
  11. GÜMERSINDO

    GÜMERSINDO SS.org Regular

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    I had the same problem and solved it playing along backing tracks. Improvising through aeolian, phrygian modes made me understand music better at the point I can learn anything nowadays.
     
  12. CerealKiller

    CerealKiller SS.org Regular

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    For me the single most effective thing is to learn the solos by ear. Granted, this is much easier if you know music theory, recognize shapes etc. - but putting in the time to listen and figure out yourself where each note is really works. It forces you to do the solo note by note, start over, make sure the positioning makes sense, etc.
    It's hard work and it sucks in the beginning, but it becomes easier and is great ear training.
     
  13. Gtan7

    Gtan7 SS.org Regular

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