Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

I know this is more a performance question than a session one but I hope someone will indulge me. I have recently been given some new material to learn, which I have almost done. My problem with some of them is hitting the first three or four notes; when I do find them I’m away with the rest of the tune.
I’m the same in a session, if someone asks for a tune (even one I know very well) I sometimes go completely blank until someone dumdy dums the beginning.
With all the wealth of experience out there, any hints please?
And yes, I already know that if I can’t play it, I haven’t learnt it and also that I’m at that age that when I’m stood in a doorway, I sometimes wonder if I’m coming in or going out.

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Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

Sing the beginning of the tunes you can’t remember to yourself, wherever you go, in the car, on your way to work ect.., concentrating hard if you can’t remeber the start, after a couple of times you forget and reremember, it should be easier to start tunes.
WF

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

Relate the tunes to other pieces of information. This approach reflects the mind mapping techniques so perhaps look into them.
I remember tunes by visualising my CD collection or particular sessions where I might have learned the tune and then it’s just like flipping through a catalogue.

Failing that, just write the start tags on your hand or an old shirt sleeve! Could start a trend…. 🙂

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Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

I have the same problem, At least one tune I learnt 25 yrs ago I cant for the life of me start off.
Often someone hums the first phrase… Im off.
My solution is to try and get the names, this means I have a quite individual reference for location in the depths of my mind.
Also funnily I can be listening to a tune, knowing that I know it, but cant figure out what it is until someone tells me the name.
Im sure there is a mnemonic technique for helping solve this and I await with interest …..
But for those tunes no one else seems to know, and I dont have the names for , sadly it looks like they are gone… sigh.
Its funny len, that one tune I cant remember that bugs me was a Cornish tune …..

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

Sorry. There’s really no cure. Eventually you get to the point where you have a whole sub-list of tunes that fall into the ‘I can’t start it, but I can play the whole durn thing if you start it" category. 😉

These are new tunes for you, as you’ve said. Give them some time. I hope whoever you’re playing with isn’t relying on you to start the tunes at your gig!

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"? non - answer

There are some tunes which I only play in session. When someone starts off I usually wait for the 1st repeat of the A part to join in. I look forward to hearing these tunes in session.
Keeps my ears open.

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Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

I once met aguy who had a small book with the first two bars of every tune he played written in it.

The first two bars is usually all you need.

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

I read an interview with Matt Molloy where he said that he did that same exact thing, kept a little book with the first few notes.

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

Thanks for the ideas. I already have a list of first notes but I’m trying to move away from that, Yes, I am expected to start these tunes which is why I’m looking for a fix. In twenty years,if I’m still here, I expect to be playing a different set of tunes. The mind mapping idea seems good, I use something like that in another area but never thought of trying it with my music.

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Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

i think we all get this, and you do have to bring in other bits of memory to help.

never mind music, i once was staying in a hotel, and couldnt for the life of me remember what it was called; until i associated it with am image of a friend called sophie picking up a telephone.
the name of the hotel?
sofitel…

re the music, i dont always have this problem, but when i do i create a lyric relating to the title which i sing in my head using
the melody.
this works.

i find i only have this issue with stuff ive only recently learnt.

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

The tradition in Newfoundland was to have a lyric that establishes the first line. Thus "Off she goes" is better known as "Doggy Doggy Bark at the Cat."

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

I used a list of first two measures in ABCs when I was playing Christmas carols a few years ago, and it worked quite well, but that was for a performance. For sessions, I just let things find their own way, and over time, find that remembering the tunes gets easier. Although for some reason, some tunes I remember by snippets at different points than the beginning, so I just play them out in my head until I come to the repeat, and then the beginning notes come back to me….

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

There’s a harmonica player in our area who at one time seemed to be able to play a song only if he could read the words of the song as he played, but lately, as I understand, he doesn’t need this visual aid.

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

Just picking up SWL Fiddler’s useful link and extracting the relevant bit;

Q: Do you note tunes?
A: I’m beginning to forget tunes, unfortunately. What I do is note down say the first few notes of a tune, of the different parts. I just file them away. In abcd notation. I never learned to read music properly. But I have my own way of strokes and dots and dashes. I can red it. Over the years I’ve developed this sort of thing, but it’s very basic, just reminders. We travel so much [with the Chieftains]. I listen to tapes, session tapes, and whatever else, when I’m on airplanes. A notepad and a tune I was interested in, I just take down a few notes off it: "I must take a note of that now. For again, you know."

Doesn’t this lead us back once again to the arguments regarding the value of conventional written notation?

As len is asking for a memory jogger what better way of jogging the memory than having the ‘dots’ of the tune itself either in full or in part? The ‘dots’ is a universal music notation method, tried and tested over centuries and across all musical genres so that all musicians can read them.

Like others I keep a note book of the the first couple of bars and the first two of the second/third/ fourth parts. This way tunes that for whatever reason don’t get played so often can be dredged up again and need not be lost for ever – a problem with which we are all too familiar.

Because such notation is regarded as alien to the ‘tradition’ and that it belongs to other musical forms, every time it is brought up it receives short shrift, usually from those who can’t read it.
I’m espousing its value here as an aid to memory which is what it is for other forms of music as well.

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

Jon, I’ve just checked out that ‘Linux cheat’ t-shirt link- brilliant!
Customised ‘abc cheat’ t-shirts could be the way forward. Reverend, are you hearing this?

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

I’ve created an Excel spreadsheet to compile the tunes a) I’ve read/heard recommended and are on my list to learn some day, b) am in the process of learning, c) have mastered.
For each tune I have the type of tune (jig, reel, hornpipe etc) and the first three notes in ABC format. I’ve found that’s enough to get me going.

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Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

Don’t know how T-shirts would work. The list needs to be on the back of the person sitting in front of you.

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

All- I think the idea is that the script is upside down on the shirt, seen from the front, but the right way up If you’re wearing it (you just look down!)

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

If you can remember the B part, it is sometimes nice to play the back end of the tune to go into the start

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

I’m prone to either forgetting B-parts, or playing an A-part then derailing into the B-part of a different bloomin’ tune!

There’s a group of jigs that I can be guaranteed to do this with -
Carraroe/Humours of Glendart/Kilfenora/Have a drink with me/Ingonish/Tenpenny bit

Yes, I know, …..if I KNEW them better, that wouldn’t happen 🙁

Re: Any hints on remembering "start tags"?

Strangely, the loss of the first few notes only happpens on a few tunes- usually the ones that somehow remind me of several other similar tunes- Honest, there are times that I have to really think how to get into the Kesh Jig (must’ve been the 3rd tune I ever learned), if I have been playing things like Jimmy Wards. Alot like what domnull describes.

I usually can remember the end of the B part, which gets me in. But herself will wonder when I am sitting staring because I keep humming the wrong frist few notes of what I am trying to play.