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Muscle memory or memorization when playing live?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by TonePilot, Jul 20, 2020.

  1. 8nthatK

    8nthatK Supporting Member

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    My tip is this.
    It will take some initial commitment, but learn to sing and recognize intervals. It is a godsend when learning large amounts of material in a short time for pickup gigs etc.
    It will have you feeling way more comfortable and natural.

    You can learn the songs without an instrument in hand. Listen to the song enough times to ‘know it’ and you’ll find it all way easier.

    I only grab an instrument to work out details/leads. All the learning is done from listening to the music.

    It may seem like a monumental task at first, (learning to recognize intervals) but it will be well worth the effort. A lot of good apps out there now, which makes it even easier to achieve.
     
  2. TonePilot

    TonePilot Supporting Member

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    Man, I don’t have enough life left to go down that route. I do sing and play at the same time now. Just a few tunes. Comfortably Numb, Wicked Game, Turn the Page and a few Eagles tunes.
     
  3. TonePilot

    TonePilot Supporting Member

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    Interesting. I can often feel what the next chord or note will be. That helps with improvising lead over backing tracks I’m hearing for the first time. So yeah, I have some modest skill there.

    I’ve started to notice that I’m not thinking in terms of chords when getting ready for the change, I’m thinking in terms of what the shape is. I kinda go between thinking here comes a C to here comes that shape. About half and half I guess. The more familiar I am with a tune, the less I think in terms of names.

    I like #3.

    I do try to play without the music most of the time. I also play standing as much as possible.
     
  4. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Naw you don't have to spend hours on end drilling the intervals.

    Just break it down into simple exercises. For example, learn the intervals that Gilmour used in his "Comfortably Numb" solo (the first one). I'll give you the first 3 intervals for free:

    Minor 2nd up
    Minor 2nd down
    Major 2nd down
     
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  5. TonePilot

    TonePilot Supporting Member

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    Well, if you insist on making it fun.....
     
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  6. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    I've learned four of the tunes in Jon Herington's second chord-melody book. I'm going to try memorize the whole book. Working on memorizing some flat-picking arrangements, pushing the chops, trying to keep it loose but kicking up the speed. I'm working on Nefertiti and a couple of other Wayne tunes.
     
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  7. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Silver Supporting Member

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    I thought the idea of muscle memory is so when you do get distracted your muscles know where to go.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  8. 8nthatK

    8nthatK Supporting Member

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    It really doesn't take that much time. It just takes a real commitment to do it. The pay off is huge and will change your musical life for the better.

     
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  9. TonePilot

    TonePilot Supporting Member

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    You lost me. Jazz? Classical?
     
  10. TonePilot

    TonePilot Supporting Member

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    Yup but it's not reliable.
     
  11. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say muscle memory is a misnomer: it's really subconscious memory that you develop via conscious repetition (i.e. memorizing). It takes over when your conscious mind has a brain fart and your subconscious mind, i.e. muscle memory kicks in and takes over for that split second or so your conscious mind has wandered. You don't practice muscle memory, you develop it via repetition.
     
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  12. ToneDeVille

    ToneDeVille Supporting Member

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    chord progressions in most popular songs are pretty standard...
    it's a muscle memory process I suppose, mixed with a bit of memorization. Once you let the muscles take over it's a lot easier to sing while playing, even if you're playing bass.
     
  13. TonePilot

    TonePilot Supporting Member

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    Agreed. It’s a bit of a misnomer for sure.
     
  14. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Solo guitar. Not classical. Broadway tunes, pop, some by jazz composers.
    The flatpicking stuff is bluegrass.
     
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  15. Jeff Stocks

    Jeff Stocks Member

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  16. TonePilot

    TonePilot Supporting Member

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  17. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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  18. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Plus if you actually put in the time to see how lines function...all Western music aside from modal vamps and extreme free stuff are based in tension and resolution.
    You don't even need to hear chords, all you need is the bass note and it should evoke a feeling what is "home" and what "wants to go home".
    Now if you know how your lines function it matters little if you play over Still Got The Blues, Smoke On The Water, Donna Lee or whatever.
     
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  19. Jeff Stocks

    Jeff Stocks Member

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    I think it’s funny (and encouraging) that he has to shed these too.
     
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  20. Ry@n

    Ry@n Member

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    If I’m playing rhythm (and I mostly am, that’s where I like to live), there’s really nothing to memorize, the way I think of memorization. As long as I’m familiar with how the song goes, I know the chord progression, and I feel the rhythm. I suppose being familiar with how the song goes is a form of memorization, but it’s pretty rare that I’ve had to put a concerted effort into memorizing how a song goes. If I hear it enough, it’s in there.
     

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