Remembering what you played...

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
OM15.2
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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by OM15.2 » Mon Oct 18, 2004 5:51 pm

I forget stuff ALL the time.

My solution is to record versions with an open room mic so I can give a running commentary as I play. I use a Porta 02 and do this solely as a backup to tell myself what I was playing and how to play it. Literally as the intro starts I'll say "ok drop D tuning, Capo on the 4th- Em B pattern then I'm going to... etc etc"

So yeah i's dumb & nerdy but I have tapes and tapes of riffs or songs that I have 'memorized' this way. Between hearing it played and the commentary I can always pick it back up again. Even stuff I haven't played in years.

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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by spectralgrey » Mon Oct 18, 2004 8:05 pm

I think the general consensus here is documentation and practice.

I just always try to keep a cheap tape recorder and pad of paper around. I should keep a pad of staff paper around, because I always end up drawing staffs (staves?) and writing out my parts once I have them figured out. I don't even read or write music all that well, but this helps as hard written documentation.

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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by Reuben » Tue Oct 19, 2004 5:56 am

If I'm really worried about it I just use notation. I hate TAB. Takes me longer to read it than it does to write it, while I can sight read my notated parts (at least on the second try).
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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by ubertar » Tue Oct 19, 2004 6:40 am

The melody I mentioned earlier came back to me, again early in the morning. This time I made sure to plug in the headphones so I could be sure it was really recording. And wrote it down (in tab-- it's in 5 tet so it would be really hard to write in standard notation).

Then I added a chord part. Any idea how to write down chords that don't fit in the standard 12 tet chromatic scale? I could write them in tab, but that would be really time consuming, and couldn't translate to other instruments.

The 2nd in the scale is in between a major 2nd and a minor 3rd, and the 3rd in the scale is between a major 3rd and perfect 4th. I don't really know what to call them-- they serve different functions at different times. The latter one sometimes functions as a 3rd, sometimes as a 4th. I'd really like to find a way to notate other than tab, so I can write parts for other instruments. Any ideas?
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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by Reuben » Tue Oct 19, 2004 6:59 am

Sure, learn music notation!
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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by ubertar » Tue Oct 19, 2004 7:06 am

Reuben wrote:Sure, learn music notation!
OK, smart guy. How do you notate B-40 cents on a staff? In a way that's easily understood? I can read/write standard notation (not fluently, but I can do it) and it's just not very useful for microtonal stuff.
Last edited by ubertar on Tue Oct 19, 2004 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by joeysimms » Tue Oct 19, 2004 7:27 am

I always make a quick cassette recording of something new once i've got it even slightly together. because another half hour of playing it and it will change again. i like to have the original idea around. even if I never go back to listen again. but i'm horrible at taking any sort of notes on anything. my reels are unlabled except for "TOM II" on the spine.. my 4 track tapes say stuff like "picking flowers in march" or "minding matters". my idea tapes are sometimes dated, most times not. they'll have half a sticker on my side with green marker dots or something.. Whenever i do hear something i've forgotten about, i can usually pick it up very quickly. most of the time, tho, I write something i think is new, then find some crusty cassette from 8 years ago with almost the exact same part.
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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by davidharrell » Thu Oct 21, 2004 10:38 am

Why the hostility from the "just practice" folks? I don't think it's an issue of anyone being lazy, just different creative approaches.

"Writing" each part and practicing it until you know it in your sleep is certainly one way to go. But for me, it's not an issue of remembering parts, it's coming up with interesting ones. That seems to happen more frequently when I'm in a relaxed state. For lead guitar or a keyboard melody, I often try to "forget" the chords in order to come up with something out of the ordinary. Doing so makes it easier to break out of a set scale or rhythm. I imagine lots of people who are overdubbing multiple parts themselves use the same approach to break out of a rut.

Of course, my own guitar and keyboard skills are basic enough that it's relatively easy to re-learn a part I recorded at three in the morning...

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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by jajjguy » Thu Oct 21, 2004 3:08 pm

I learned music notation at a young age, but never used it for non-classical music until recently. Boy am i glad i started. Since i've been actually writing things down in musical notation, i remember things much better, even when i don't write them down. I think it's taught me to know what i'm playing when i'm playing it rather than just feeling it as a magical stream. (it's still a magical stream, don't worry!)

So i highly recommend learning to write music down (whatever method works for you) and doing it a lot. It'll make everything clearer and easier to remember.

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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by greenmeansjoe » Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:48 pm

I record my ideas on a cheap-ass micro-cassette recorder, even if I've only got a little riff or a snippet of a verse melody. That thing is super helpful. And by listening I can almost always figure out what I was playing.

I'm not sure, by the way, if I totally agree with the idea that the really good stuff will stick with you. I've totally forgotten or dropped ideas that I wasn't initally all that excited about, and gone back six months or a year later and been like damn, that's nice. My mood can really affect how I feel about an idea. If I'm in a shitty mood, everything sounds like crap. If I'm in a really good mood, everything sounds great. If I'm somewhere inbetween, I can usually pick out the good from the bad. Regardless, it's a huge help having that stuff documented.

I like being able to distance myself from my ideas.

A couple of years ago, I was going through my old cassettes and checking to see what was on the unlabled ones. I popped one in the stereo and the first song had this cool little guitar riff and chord progression. I couldn't figure out who it was, but I had one of those jeez, I wish I'd written this moments. I really liked what I was hearing. Pretty lo-fi, very unusual. Then this voice comes in, humming a melody, and I realize it's a four-track recording of me ... from, like, 10 years ago.

That was awesome.

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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by syrupcore » Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:57 pm

when I'm not being an asshole, I do the voice documentation technique. say the guitar tuning into the mic. if the chords aren't obvious I usually say them in tab '7, 5, 7, X , O, 5' or whatever. pedal settings, mic position... all at the end of the recording. if you're using a looper, the talking might not sound so nice...

As far as the practicing, that's all well and good. I think the question here is more directed toward the scenario of coming up with something on the spot, hitting record, taking the tape off/saving the file. listening to it again in three weeks/three years and figuring out what the hell you were playing. I'm starting to play live again and am in a similar situation. depressing to hear that I was a better guitar player three years ago.

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dr.ona
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Re: Remembering what you played...

Post by dr.ona » Thu Oct 21, 2004 6:59 pm

thanks to digital editing i have this problem all the time!!!
yep...the ol' "cut and paste".

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