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No Great Music Without Great Tension

Anthony Tommassini, classical music critic for The New York Times, invites us all to a mini-lecture at the piano on dissonance. With a series of examples by well known composers, Tommassini elaborates on one of the most crucial components in Western music. Read more >>

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Author Topic: How can I get better at memorizing?  (Read 318 times)
rovis77
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« on: October 17, 2017, 11:05:33 PM »

Hi I just want to know tips of how can I memorize faster, for some insight I memorized the Beethoven Sonata "Waldstein" first movement which is 17 pages long in three days. How can I get better at memorizing?
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Bob
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2017, 11:23:24 PM »

By doing it more so it's not that big of a deal.  I wrote a post years ago but I can't find it.  Essentially you can use every different 'dimension' of experiencing the music to help you memorize it.  Or use your strengths in those a few areas.  Or strengthen your weaknesses.  What aspects are there for the music?  The visual look on the page.  The visual look of the keys and your hands.  The sound (perfect pitch, relative pitch/function).  I'm sure I'm leaving something out...  You can also analyze the music and go off that.  What key is it in?  Start and end in that key?  What's the form?  How many phrases?  What are the melodies?  Harmonies?  Chord progressions?   Patterns you can use?

In terms of memorizing I like the idea of starting at the end and working back so it's supposedly more solid as you play.  I start doing that but still end up playing some parts more than others.

There's the nervous system too.  After about 21 days if you're doing the exact patterns physically, your nervous system will ingrain that.  It's in your fingers.  You don't have to think any more.  That's nice but also scary.  You can try the opposite and try to control things more while playing, to change them.  Improvise on it.  That's doesn't deepen the physical patterns but it's control.  I've heard the physical side like this referred to as the glue that can hold a performance together.  If you zone out for a second your hands can keep playing without you there.  It's scary when you become aware of it happening though and aren't sure how to get control back.  You essentially have to do everything (analysis, know the piece, etc.) faster than the music is moving and be able to control that to really bring something alive.

Sing the melody or harmony.  Learn it without the keyboard.


Rereading... 17 pages in three days?  What's wrong with that?  Just keep doing that.

Exercise, nutrition, sleep.  Those basic things will help.
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tenk
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 02:45:00 AM »

Wut

Your post history is littered with somewhat basic questions like:

Quote
"Is it really necessary to practice scales?"

and

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"Hi, When practicing sight-reading should I practice at the tempo of the piece or slower?"

and then you say things like:

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I can play 5 Chopin etudes, the op 10 1, op 10 12, op 25 12, op 25 1 and op 25 2 with success.

and

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I memorized the Beethoven Sonata "Waldstein" first movement which is 17 pages long in three days

Surely someone who's reached a level of playing 5 Chopin etudes and memorizing the first movement of Waldstein already knows the answers to such things...
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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2017, 03:32:30 AM »

Hi I just want to know tips of how can I memorize faster, for some insight I memorized the Beethoven Sonata "Waldstein" first movement which is 17 pages long in three days. How can I get better at memorizing?
Why don't you fully describe your method of memorisation and discuss areas of it you think are falling behind? Simply asking boring questions like how to get better at memorisation with no elaboration of your own situation will not really cause intelligent responses because we have no idea how you are memorising in the first place.

17 pages seems a few extra than what most editions print the movement, what edition are you using? If you are memorising 17 pages in your head without the need of sheets in 3 days you are learning at quite a high rate of memorisation, it might seem peculiar to others why you would want to get faster but we all want to improve our rate no matter how good we are. However if you do not explain your own method of memorisation and do not highlight areas you think need improvement and ask for help in those areas your question is silly and belief in your memorisation rate is not established.

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pianoplunker
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2017, 05:19:15 AM »

Hi I just want to know tips of how can I memorize faster, for some insight I memorized the Beethoven Sonata "Waldstein" first movement which is 17 pages long in three days. How can I get better at memorizing?

Try forgetting something , see how long you can forget before you remember again.
If you cant forget, the best thing is to figure why you dont want to remember. Voila! Music!
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louispodesta
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2017, 11:04:52 PM »

Gosh, I guess I know how to memorize a piece of music, and so do the rest of you.

In my opinion. this another phony post by this website, would you not say?  Accordingly, 99% of the pianists who visit this website would kill to have the memorization skills of the OP.

In plain English, it is not a legitimate question because it is a scripted so-called inquiry by the OP.
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Bob
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 11:17:27 PM »

I was thinking it would be interesting, even if you know enough about how to memorize and how YOU memorize, to figure out ways to speed up the whole process.
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adodd81802
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 10:36:09 AM »

I find memory has 2 types with regards to learning music, and most likely already known being short term and long term.

And I couldn't put an exact time frame, but there is, I am sure a link with the length of time you regularly recall a piece of music from memory which then affects how long you will actually remember it, having not recalled it over a period of time.

For example I can memorize a couple pages, if not more over a couple days to a week (presuming it's a piece of music that is within my level of ability)

And I can then recall it on a daily basis from memory, with the occasional visit on a bar that I may not have fully understood, or may have misread.

However 1-2 weeks without recalling at all, and some if not all of this will be gone. Sometimes I can pick it up quickly, sometimes I'm literally learning it like i've never seen the notes before. It all depends on length of time.

I think it is a lot easier to 'memorize' music on a short term basis. I don't think it's a magical ability to memorize pages of music in a short space of time, but I think to be able to recall that weeks later is the real test.

If we are talking about how to honestly memorize, the fact is you have to remove the music score as quick as possible. almost after a 2nd or 3rd reading. When learning to memorize quickly I will spend maybe 10% looking at the music and 90% on everything else, looking at my hands, the notes, the sounds, building the muscle memory of the section prior to what I am currently memorizing.

I am also understanding where there is repeating combinations, where I am playing broken chords, prompting my left hand memory with what my right hand is playing and vice versa.

I think anybody can memorize this way pretty quickly, the question we should really be asking is, how learn to recall pieces of music without having played them for some time, to test how time reflected in the initial memorization stage affects how long the memories can actually sit in our brains.

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adodd81802
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 10:38:41 AM »

I should also probably add, as previously stated however, that I'm not fully convinced by the OP's statement, or what their real question is.

Memorization is not really the fact here, because often we are not completely relying on our memory, Piano is a physical task from that aspect and requires several factors to recall the music. This isn't word memory or recalling a combination of numbers, these being purely mental exercises.
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