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How well do you know your music library? (Read 992 times)

Offline klavieronin

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How well do you know your music library?
« on: January 05, 2018, 01:48:09 AM »
I decided to play a little game with myself to see how much of the music in my library I actually know. I set itunes on random and played the first 30 seconds or so of 100 random tracks. If I could name the composer/artist and the title of the work/song (or title of the film/game for soundtracks) I gave myself 1 point. If I knew something about the music, e.g. the composer but not the work, I gave myself 1/2 a point. My total score in the end was 43.5/100. Clearly I don't know my music library all that well. I'm curious to know how other people do with this little game.

FYI here are my itunes stats;

- 17,682 songs (itunes' terminology, not mine)
- 49:14:04:10 total time
- 192 artists
- 930 albums

Offline Bob

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #1 on: January 05, 2018, 08:23:55 AM »
Psh....  "In my day...."

Get a list of the standard pieces of music you "should know."

Then you need to know the composer's full name, correct spelling, birth and death dates.  Date of composition.  Full name of the composition, in the original language (I think, but that means Cyrillic for text, German, French, Spanish, whatever.  And then you'll want to be able to pronounce it correct so you don't look stupid, but that you'll want the in between pronunciation that's not purely that language because it's odd but not your language's accent because it still looks uneducated, so stick with something in between...)  But date of composition, title, and then movement. 

Be able to name the composer/dates, composition/dates/title/movement.  Being able to name the style/period is cake, so you'll need to be able to explain why elements you hear are representative of that style.  Still not too difficult since it's some general composer traits you can memorize and generally pick out from pieces.  The most important part is rote memorization of the pieces and info.

Here's a list of 30 pieces for next week.  You'll get another 30 pieces to be able to identify for the following week, except we can ask you any of the previous pieces still.  And if the professor gets bored they'll find a recording that's an arrangement (ex. piano arrangement of an orchestral piece) to really mess with your mind.

Theory or ear training 101.  I remember that....  You end up doing a lot of listening and absorb the style.  I figured out to memorize the info by rote, just flat out memorization with some mnemonics.  Chopping up the pieces into small audio clips helps hugely so you only have to listen through the whole piece once.  And then lots of practice on identifying those sound clips from a mixed up order.  Using a computer would probably between using cassette tapes like I did.

You can also get good at instantly recognizing a composer's style.  You might not know the piece but you'll know the composer.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline klavieronin

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #2 on: January 05, 2018, 09:50:41 AM »
Psh....  "In my day...."

Get a list of the standard pieces of music you "should know."

Then you need to know the composer's full name, correct spelling, birth and death dates.  Date of composition.  Full name of the composition, in the original language…

Right… or maybe I'll just shoot myself now and get it over with.

I remember some of the composition lecturers at the university I went to doing that sort of thing to their students. My question is; who decides what you "should know"?

Offline dogperson

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #3 on: January 05, 2018, 10:19:13 AM »
17,000 songs in your library? That is the problem. Delete all but 50 of three distinct composers, and then you will have no problems knowing your library. Otherwise, don’t sweat it; there will not be a quiz

Offline dogperson

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #4 on: January 05, 2018, 10:19:51 AM »
.

Offline klavieronin

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #5 on: January 05, 2018, 10:30:27 AM »
17,000 songs in your library? That is the problem. Delete all but 50 of three distinct composers, and then you will have no problems knowing your library. Otherwise, don’t sweat it; there will not be a quiz

It actually doesn't bother me that I don't know the all the music in my library that well. I was just curious. At least I'll always have something new to listen to. I'd did occur to me recently though that I spend way too much on CDs. Virtually everything in my library I imported from CDs.

Offline outin

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #6 on: January 05, 2018, 06:01:18 PM »
It actually doesn't bother me that I don't know the all the music in my library that well. I was just curious. At least I'll always have something new to listen to. I'd did occur to me recently though that I spend way too much on CDs. Virtually everything in my library I imported from CDs.

I haven a lot too...but that's mainly because some time ago I realized that the local libraries have a lot of piano music, older publications and historical recordings as well as new stuff. And I can order them all free to the one I live beside from the internet and then just pick them up :)

So if I bought a lot before, now I just borrow, import to iTunes and take them back. And no, I have not yet have time to listen to them all...

What someone not into classical may find strange is that I can have 10 recordings of the same short piece. Can I tell them apart? Some I can and some I cannot.

But at least I have enough music to last me a lifetime...and just got a few more today :)

Offline ted

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #7 on: January 05, 2018, 09:14:58 PM »
My collection of other people's music is so modest I doubt the test would be difficult. It would be a true memory test though because, with a handful of exceptions, I tired of most of it long ago and hardly ever hear it. I would certainly fail such a test with recordings of my own music. Many times I have hunted for a specific passage among hundreds of long improvisations and given up; many times I have completely lost track of which one of several hundred hour long pieces I am listening to. I bought a player which displayed USB track numbers; that helped, but it broke and I couldn't source another. Fortunately, I like vagueness, ambiguity and surprise in music so it doesn't bother me.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline Bob

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #8 on: January 06, 2018, 12:07:36 AM »
My question is; who decides what you "should know"?

The world of music.  It's the pieces that still survive over time.  The same ones still programmed at concerts.  The ones that will keep popping up in music history/appreciation texts.

And then you can go down another level to a specific instrument.  There are standard pieces for each instrument.  Or some people will think everyone on an instrument "must" know all the (sonatas, symphonies, etc.) by x composer. 
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline ted

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #9 on: January 06, 2018, 02:30:14 AM »
The world of music.  It's the pieces that still survive over time.  The same ones still programmed at concerts.  The ones that will keep popping up in music history/appreciation texts.

You surprise me Bob, "shoulds" and "ought tos" do not exist for me, and I assert they have no place in art of any sort. I know you have had a much more extensive musical education than I, but I find it hard to imagine your taking any notice of fame or academia in deciding what you like, turning your rightful personal taste over to somebody else to arbitrate. That would be altogether too hideous a prospect for me.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline outin

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #10 on: January 06, 2018, 07:14:44 AM »
My biggest problem is that I do not remember numbers and forget names too. So while I remember the music I cannot find it. It would help if I could recognize the key but I cannot, only if it's major/minor and often it's neither... The more music I add the more time it takes to find a piece I hear or suddenly playing in my head. I often only need to here the first bars (if it's solo piano music) but still it's a lot of mouse clicking. Major composers have a recognizable style, but there can be more than thousand tracks by one...
I guess the idea of knowing ones music library worked better in the times of LPs or even CDs.

Offline Bob

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #11 on: January 06, 2018, 03:16:21 PM »
You surprise me Bob, "shoulds" and "ought tos" do not exist for me, and I assert they have no place in art of any sort. I know you have had a much more extensive musical education than I, but I find it hard to imagine your taking any notice of fame or academia in deciding what you like, turning your rightful personal taste over to somebody else to arbitrate. That would be altogether too hideous a prospect for me.

I lean toward waiting and picking up what others filter out.  And also not overlooking anything that's survived.  There's a reason it's still around.  I don't really think it's personal taste so much.  Crap doesn't survive.  The elements of quality have been mapped out.  I still wonder what would be/will be new but we might not be that aware of it.  I'm still thinking technology.

I was thinking in terms of taking music classes above too.  Music theory and ear training, at least from what I saw, more so than music history, got listening repertoire lists tacked into them.  If you get the degree, it makes sense you know standard pieces, etc.  Also kind of scary how people will assume you "know music" if you can ID a piece or a composer's style.


What wasn't really covered for me was developing any kind of taste.  I don't remember anyone really asking.  It was all "you should know this,"  "you should think this," etc.  and jamming info in.  I do remember evaluating new pieces of music though so we did that.  I didn't matter if you liked it or not.  It was, "Is this a quality piece?"  And then it matters if it's "for teaching" vs. a piece of music in general.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline ted

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Re: How well do you know your music library?
«Reply #12 on: January 06, 2018, 08:10:01 PM »
You and I are really different, Bob, but I am sure music is big enough to take us both. I admire the discipline and knowledge you must have from that outlook. You are much more of a musician in the accepted sense of that word whereas I am nothing more than a highly creative, solipsistic dilettante. Nonetheless, my music gives me unconditional ecstasy and, looking at local musicians, that seems to be a pretty rare occurrence.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller