200 tune starts?

200 tune starts?

Last Saturday, playing as a volunteer at a market, I ran into a problem. My two partners were held up in traffic, so I was unexpectedly solo for half an hour.

Now I know and play a fair number of tunes, probably over 200. But sitting there low on caffeine at the crack of dawn (um, in musician time, so to speak) I kept on getting stuck, thinking “What can I play? What can I play?”

A closely related problem is that often, when someone calls out the name of a familiar tune, I can’t seem to remember how it starts. Give me the first measure and I’m good to go, but I frequently can’t think of that first measure.

What I need is a concise list of tune titles and “starts” - just the first measure, in standard notation. Does anyone have such a list, or a suggestion of how to produce one, short of writing it all out laboriously by hand?

Re: 200 tune starts?

Well, you could get a free ABC editor (e.g. Five Line Skink, and I make the usual “I’ve got no interest in this” disclaimer), snag a few ABC downloads off of the mustard board, and produce a single page with yer favorite top ten first measures.

Re: 200 tune starts?

EasyABC does that. Ditto on the disclaimer here. Possibly other programs do as well, I’m just fancying EasyABC these days. I mean to put together a similar cheat sheet for polkas and slides, the bulk of which I just can’t remember anything about until someone else starts playing them.

Re: 200 tune starts?

Yes, EasyABC will print the first however many bars you want neatly on a page. If you take the ABC from the database here and are only interested in the first two or three bars it doesn’t take long to change them to what you play, if different. For a more compact list in ABC just cut and past it into spreadsheet.

I started doing this when I was approaching 100 tunes and realized that if I didn’t start then the backlog would be too big. I am preparing for failing memory. If Matt Molloy now keeps the start of tunes in a notebook I guess it comes to most of us in the end.

Re: 200 tune starts?

I started my book of tunes and starts about 5 years ago, I get some pleasure from it, I am lazy about this sort of thing but I don’t find it too laborious, I wish I had started long ago, there are so many tunes I’ve learned and then forgotten.

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Re: 200 tune starts?

I took a sheet of music manuscript with the first couple of bars of my favourites to a session (Dots at a session!!!) in case I needed to contribute some tunes. It was great, I could diddle the tune from memory easily with that little run up…
and then found that I’d forget how the B part started!

Re: 200 tune starts?

Maybe do what a lot of people seem to do, learn your tunes in sets. That way, you’ll only need to recall how the first tune starts 🙂 Yes, some might say it’s stilted and boring to play the same tunes in the same order. But it sure helps the ordinary player.

Oftimes I’d be thinking of a tune and trying to recall how it goes and the solution usually is to think of the preceding one, if there is one. Otherwise, just wait a while and it usually emerges from the depths.

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Re: 200 tune starts?

If you have a smart phone you could use tunepal or tunebook. That seems to upset some people though from a previous thread on here about using mobile phones at gigs.

Re: 200 tune starts?

Oh Lord that ‘dried up’ moment!! Happened to me last week with the old “sing us a song” line… I couldn’t think of a single good song that I wanted to play. It happens!

Re: 200 tune starts?

If I’m listening to my music, I can remember all the tunes I know and most of their names. When I would go out busking, it wasn’t a matter of how the tunes started, it was a matter of remembering my repertoire lol. So I made a list of tune names.

Also, most of the tunes I played were in sets, most of them from recordings I knew. So if I remembered the tunes in a set, I could always remember 2-4 other tunes. That keeps my repertoire fresh in my memory.

Re: 200 tune starts?

Na éisc, thanks. Those are almost exactly what I needed, the only difference being that I’d prefer standard notation.

But good enough! I’ll try to get better at reading ABC on the fly, and I’ll delete the thousand or so tunes in the list that I _don’t_ know.

Thanks again!

Re: 200 tune starts?

"I took a sheet of music manuscript with the first couple of bars of my favourites to a session (Dots at a session!!!) in case I needed to contribute some tunes. It was great, I could diddle the tune from memory easily with that little run up…
and then found that I’d forget how the B part started!"

With EasyABC you can make a list with the starts of each section…. If the OP has his tunes in ABC and doesn’t want to bother he can send them to mo off list and I’ll make the file for him.