Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeetta

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


How not to forget words?

Andy7 21 Apr 17 - 05:12 AM
Mo the caller 21 Apr 17 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,DTM 21 Apr 17 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,Jon 21 Apr 17 - 07:37 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 17 - 08:24 AM
Thompson 21 Apr 17 - 09:18 AM
leeneia 21 Apr 17 - 09:50 AM
Thompson 21 Apr 17 - 10:16 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 17 - 10:55 AM
Joe Nicholson 21 Apr 17 - 11:11 AM
FreddyHeadey 21 Apr 17 - 11:53 AM
Nigel Parsons 21 Apr 17 - 11:57 AM
JHW 21 Apr 17 - 12:10 PM
gillymor 21 Apr 17 - 12:18 PM
Thompson 21 Apr 17 - 01:59 PM
leeneia 21 Apr 17 - 02:38 PM
Andy7 21 Apr 17 - 02:43 PM
Thompson 21 Apr 17 - 04:53 PM
Marje 22 Apr 17 - 07:30 AM
FreddyHeadey 22 Apr 17 - 08:04 AM
Will Fly 22 Apr 17 - 08:14 AM
MoorleyMan 22 Apr 17 - 08:18 AM
FreddyHeadey 22 Apr 17 - 08:42 AM
GUEST,Gerry 22 Apr 17 - 09:03 AM
jojofolkagogo 22 Apr 17 - 12:18 PM
Marje 22 Apr 17 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,Desi C 22 Apr 17 - 02:49 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 17 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,Joe Nicholson 22 Apr 17 - 06:33 PM
Gurney 23 Apr 17 - 01:19 AM
Mr Red 23 Apr 17 - 02:43 AM
Thompson 23 Apr 17 - 02:54 AM
GUEST,Jon 23 Apr 17 - 03:40 AM
Gallus Moll 23 Apr 17 - 11:22 AM
Crowhugger 23 Apr 17 - 01:17 PM
Bill D 23 Apr 17 - 03:08 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:




Subject: How not to forget words?
From: Andy7
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 05:12 AM

Like many people, I'm sometimes hit with a sudden loss of memory when performing, at a singaround, a song I've sung countless times at home without trouble.

The technique I've found helps most, is to try not to listen very much to the singer immediately before me, but instead to go over my own song in my head during their turn. Not always easy, though, if that singer is particularly good, or if they're leading a rousing chorus song!

What other suggestions do Mudcatters have for not forgetting words?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 06:05 AM

Then there's Spoonerisms creeping in "three hanks of fine yarn" - no Yanks please.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 06:31 AM

Do what Wilson Pickett did when recording "Land of 1000 Dances"
He forgot the words and sang "La-la-la-la-la la-la-la-la la-la-la-la-la-la....." The rest is history.

The secret of not forgetting your words is to learn the song in your teens. I can remember the words of all the songs from that era but now, in my late 60's, I can't remember what I did yesterday.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 07:37 AM

For me, I think if that sort of blanking mentioned by the OP is going to happen, it's going to happen and there's nothing you can do about it. If one is singing regularly, one might become more adept at recovering from the situation but sometimes there is no way back.

I can try to run through words in my head before a song to see if I remember the words (if I ever knew them all the way through to start off with) but I don't do it as often as I perhaps should and it's not always that easy to do.

The place I'm most likely to sing in is a mixed session. I'm joining in a lot of the time, whether I start a tune or song may depend on what instrument I have in my hand after the person before me (usually goes in a circle), the way I feel the "mood" of the room is going... it's pretty spontaneous. It's not long back that for some reason I decided "The Last Farewell" (made popular by Roger Whittaker) would fit as something a bit different and I've only ever known the 1st verse of that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 08:24 AM

I listened to MacColl up to shortly before his death, when his memory began to fail
I never saw him stumble over lost words - he had absorbed his songs so well that he could improvise them
Unless you had heard them enough times before his improvisations were unnoticeable
On several occasions, when one of us caught his eye after an improvisations, he would shrug slightly and grin - warm memories.
He said the secret was to tell the story, not just sing the words
Makes sense to me
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Thompson
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 09:18 AM

One trick used by behavioural scientists is to backchain the words - learn the last line first, then last two lines, last three lines, and so on back to the beginning, so you're always working towards strength.

Another is to use unusual images to fix the words in your head:

"Of all the comrades that e'er I had" (your best buddy with a Che beret with Communist star)
"They are sorry for my going away" (your buddy waving his beret as you sail off from the quay)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: leeneia
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 09:50 AM

If you haven't been doing this, try it. Sing the song beforehand - while driving the car, while doing the dishes, while in the shower. That will show you where the tricky bits are.

Take the words along to the session with the tricky bits marked. Then if they fail you, a mere glance should be able to set you right.

I think.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Thompson
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 10:16 AM

There's a great scene in one of Hilary Mantel's books about memory methods… let's see if I can find it, ah yes, from Wolf Hall:

""Once, in Thessaly, there was a poet called Simonides. He was commissioned to appear at a banquet, given by a man called Scopas, and recite a lyric in praise of his host. Poets have strange vagaries, and in his lyric Simonides incorporated verses in praise of Castor and Pollux, the Heavenly Twins. Scopas was sulky, and said he would pay only half the fee: 'As for the rest, get it from the Twins.' A little later, a servant came into the hall. He whispered to Simonides; there were two young men outside, asking for him by name. He rose and left the banqueting hall. He looked around for the two young men, but he could see no one. As he turned back, to go and finish his dinner, he heard a terrible noise, of stone splitting and crumbling. He heard the cries of the dying, as the roof of the hall collapsed. Of all the diners, he was the only one left alive. The bodies were so broken and disfigured that the relatives of the dead could not identify them. But Simonides was a remarkable man. Whatever he saw was imprinted on his mind. He led each of the relatives through the ruins; and pointing to the crushed remains, he said, there is your man. In linking the dead to their names, he worked from the seating plan in his head.
It is Cicero who tells us this story. He tells us how, on that day, Simonides invented the art of memory. He remembered the names, the faces, some sour and bloated, some blithe, some bored. He remembered exactly where everyone was sitting, at the moment the roof fell in.""

Thomas Cromwell, in Mantel's books (and perhaps in reality) uses Simonides' famous memory system. A little later he is asked some obscure fact and an imaginary spider scuttles out from under a nearby piece of furniture and offers it to him.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 10:55 AM

I tend to recite lyrics as if they were poetry..when I'm washing up or hovering, even if I'm out for a walk..seems to help.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Joe Nicholson
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 11:11 AM

I also think up a couple of songs as I am driving to the venue and sing them trouble is when there you find they are not appropriate to the time or place so you fall back on some you have sung so many times you can't possibly forget. But it's back to the old saying practice. practice 7 practice some more.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 11:53 AM

tip, if closing your eyes helps you to remember the words, don't practise when driving.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 11:57 AM

As Guest:DTM says above.
Anything learned while young seems to stick.

Most of the Hackney Scout Song Book,
Monologues from Julius Caesar
W S Gilbert's 'Etiquette'
and so forth

Lewis Carroll's "You are old father William", which I found myself singing after singing 'Rolling down to old Maui". It fits quite well!

More recent stuff is more troublesome.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: JHW
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 12:10 PM

'If you haven't been doing this, try it. Sing the song beforehand - while driving the car, while doing the dishes, while in the shower. That will show you where the tricky bits are.'
Trouble with this is I can convince myself I've forgotten it as I can come to completely no idea what's next, same with trying (against another song being sung) to scroll through the words just before my turn. This is just like seeing say a hydrangea yet being completely beat for knowing what its called.
I have announced once 'look I've no idea what the second verse is but this is what I want to sing because...'. Result; not a hiccup when actually singing the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: gillymor
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 12:18 PM

I also don't have any problems with lyrics I learned long ago but at 64 it's hard to absorb new ones. The only thing that works for me is to practice new songs over and over until I have the words as good as I'm going to get them and then while performing one verse think ahead to the next verse and if I get the opening line of it I'm fine, most of the time. It doesn't seem to take me out of the moment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Thompson
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 01:59 PM

It's practice, gillymor, when we were young most of our time was spent learning new things, and we practised, practised, practised all the time.
Get yourself over to Duolingo and decide on a language to learn - better still, pick two. Duolingo is basically a simple computer game that drills you while teaching you new words and phrases. Very addictive - you see people with 10 or 20 languages! And you find the language slipping seamlessly into your mind, and with it your ability to learn reappearing.

The other thing about learning by heart is to do it while you're active. At the moment I'm learning the Internationale in French, on my almost-daily cycles downriver to the sea and back. The fact that you're moving rhythmically, and the fact that you're in fresh air, and the sight of flowing water all contribute to learning by heart.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: leeneia
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 02:38 PM

Some songs are easier to remember than others.

The line that seems to come out of nowhere and is just in there to make a rhyme is often hard to remember. The line whose grammar is jerked out of the ordinary in order to force a rhyme is also hard to remember.

A song which tells a story in a logical order in natural language is the best bet.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Andy7
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 02:43 PM

"A song which tells a story in a logical order in natural language is the best bet."

Yes that's very true!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Thompson
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 04:53 PM

I tend to recite lyrics as if they were poetry..when I'm washing up or hovering

Your powers are great, O hovering one!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Marje
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 07:30 AM

I have probably shared this tip before - it's my own system but not patented so you are all welcome to try it!

When I am learning or have just learned a song, I take a little card, the size of a credit card. On one side I write the name of the song and the key that works best for me. On the other side I write the first few words of each line, as well as whatever other prompts may be needed: how the second half of the verse starts; any names of places/people that I may forget, any tricky phrases, etc. The act of doing this is part of the learning process.

This can be refined any way you like, e.g. different coloured cards, or symbols on the front, for songs with accompaniment, songs with choruses, etc.

You may think there isn't enough room to write much on a card, but if you go through any half-learned or half-forgotten song, you'll probably find there are only a few potential sticking or stumbling points. Once those are noted on the card, you're sorted.

Then before I go out to a club or session, I select a group of suitable songs that I feel like singing, and put the cards in a little cardholder in my bag (reading through them first). I hardly ever need them while singing, but do sometimes use them beforehand, to remind myself what songs I have, and check my notes if I'm unsure of any bits. I may just keep the card in my hand for security while I'm singing, and if I do need to glance down at it, it doesn't interfere with communication as a wordsheet can.

Works for me.


Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 08:04 AM

Marje, that sounds brilliant.
:-( I suspect I'd loose them or not file them away again.

I can picture though, if they were small enough, keeping them in a hat and having a sort of raffle. ;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 08:14 AM

I just sing 'em over and over until they're etched into the brain. But I will share one tip that helps me:

If the song is a bit more complex, I start by writing all the words out in longhand, with a pen, on paper. I do a preliminary learning session with the paper in front of me. Then, when I look away from the paper, I visualise it, with the words on it, the margins, the look of the handwriting - and it all appears in front of me.

So, if the memory starts to fray while singing - luckily, it rarely does - I call up the piece of paper and "see" it. Same goes for chord sequences. Recently I was asked to sing "The Song Of The Prune", by Frank Crumit, which I hadn't sung for years. I must have written it down about 20 years ago but - when I concentrated - the bit of paper I'd written it down on appeared in my mind's eye, and I was able to do it.

Of course I can trip up like everyone else, but - so far at my age - recall is good. (Whew!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 08:18 AM

Words of wisdom indeed.
Especially good to see you posting again Joe - you mirror my own experience there: >>trouble is when there you find they are not appropriate to the time or place so you fall back on some you have sung so many times you can't possibly forget<<. Practice is all very good, but of little use if the time or place don't allow singing-out of what you've practised!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 08:42 AM

Will "...call up the piece of paper and "see" it. ..."

Wow, that's a gift I wish I had.
For me it has faded to a grey mush in just over a second :-(


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 09:03 AM

The only surefire way not to forget words is not to learn any in the first place.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: jojofolkagogo
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 12:18 PM

Well I sing Long Lankin which is quite long and what I do is visualize the story which is being told : 'so the lady came downstairs shes thinking no harm' I see a lady coming down with a fair face.
Seeing the words are what I call a ohotographic memory - I have this gift but now those photos are fading so out come the words again to take another photo !
You could all try ALL the above because they might work 4 u - good luck !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Marje
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 01:31 PM

Funny how differently we all learn. Seeing the text on a page doesn't help me learn it (except to see what the words are, of course). I need to hear the words aloud, in the right rhythm and preferably with the tune. Even if I learn a song from a book, I will do this by singing or reciting the words so that I get the sound and the cadences of them in my head.

There are pitfalls in this method. Some times I find that the word that comes into my head, or even out of my mouth, is something with similar vowel sounds to the correct word but a totally different meaning; so "habits" could become "cabbage", or "shipmates" turn to "fishcakes". (Purely hypothetical examples, affected by the fact that I am just about to go and cook my dinner).

This only happens when I'm not concentrating, most likely singing in the car or something. Focusing on the meaning of the lyrics will prevent this type of blunder.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 02:49 PM

This may sound stupidly simple but I tried various methods and none really worked. Then I set aside my instrument and began singing the songs out loud just going about the house doing chores or whatever, until I knew them so well that I simply haven't had a memory lapse performing in ages, and I can just break into even very long songs any time of the day and get them right....touch wood


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 06:32 PM

I do not have a big problem forgetting the words of songs my problem is forgetting which songs I know so I have to keep a note book with just the titles written in


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: GUEST,Joe Nicholson
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 06:33 PM

Guest was me


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Gurney
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 01:19 AM

As guestDTM said right at the top, learn them while you're young.

Then don't ever change your style!

I have all these English trad songs that are easily called to mind, but I've become lily-livered in my old age, and the sight of the audience slitting their wrists.....

I CAN learn new songs, with serious effort, but they only stick for a day or so. Sometimes after a week I can't even remember WHICH song I last learned.....
Seriously, there seems to be a finite size for my lyrics memory, and I've reached it. It used to be so easy.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Mr Red
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 02:43 AM

Learning a song is different from blanking a song that you know well. Even Tom Jones had this problem a few times with songs that made him famous.
The problem, as I see it, has two vectors:
1) the song that came before
2) getting lost in the reverie of thining you are doing the song well, rather than following the script. Premature pride? Autopilot?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Thompson
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 02:54 AM

And again I say it - it's not that we're better at learning when we're young; it's that when we're young - "c'est son métier", as Heinrich Heine said of God (asked on his deathbed if God would forgive him all his great sins, he reputedly answered "Of course He will, it's his job!"

Children spend all their time learning - it's their job. They learn new words, new concepts, new behaviours, what's correct and what's not and what they can get away with, how to charm people when they need to get away with it, they learn songs and skipping rhymes and games and dances and ball-hopping routines and playing jacks and cards. Their whole life is learning. So they have lots of practice.

The reason adults can find it more difficult is not anything inherent - it's that we're out of practice. Once you get back in practice, you learn very, very fast, which is why I say to try Duolingo, which will give you daily practice in a new (or old) language, and seamlessly slide words and concepts into your mind. Once you get back in practice, you'll learn as fast as a child, or faster.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 03:40 AM

I had a play with duolingo (trying Welsh, one where I at least know a few words and expressions) after your previous post, Thompson. I've found the android app quite fun so far but for one thing. It soon started putting up a popup ad after each lesson (not sure if things get worse later or not) and when I click "go add free", they want nearly £10 a month for that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 11:22 AM

learn the songs by ear - not just consciously listening to them but by zoning out and absorbing them and their stories, images they conjure up, into the right side of your brain.
same with tunes- they seem to bed down better.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 01:17 PM

Tools I use to test memorization:
...practice the lyrics to different tunes, actual or made up.
...practice on a single note.
...practice breathing in the middle of every line instead of the end.
...if it's simple 2/4 or 4/4 rhythm, I sing it in waltz time.
And definitely I go back to the original a few times before I leave it after playing around with it like that. If I can do even half of those things with a song, I don't lose track of it when performing.

In support of some other comments made, I always run a mental video or mental tableaux of a story. Several per song usually, because I'm easily bored and need to rotate them to keep the performance fresh. And for initial learning I swear by that method of going back to front, so I always know where I'm going.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How not to forget words?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 03:08 PM

I agree with Will Fly about writing them out. Just the process can **help** you set them in memory. I do often 'see' them on my memory of the paper.... and the note card trick of just the first couple words of each line to glance at is also good.
   Some people's memory works better differently, so it's all just trying various things. Also some songs are easier because the ARE a story, while others have no orderly procession and are just rote repetition.... and that is best done when you are young... *wry grin*.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 28 June 6:45 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.