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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Why, I've forgotten more tunes than......

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TuneWeaver - Posted - 10/26/2020:  12:23:12

you'll ever know... Today I remembered that I'd forgotten how to play "Wild John".. It came back to me pretty quickly (aren't our brains amazing?).... and now I'll put it 'again' on my short list.........Does this ever happen to you? You play a tune a thousand times in a year and then forget that it ever existed?? How can that happen~!!! Is it just me???wink

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 10/26/2020:  16:00:22

I've forgotten so many tunes. I used to know so many cool tunes on guitar and wouldn't know where to start to play a lot of them now. That, plus I just have forgotten about lots of tunes. Once in a while, something will happen that brings a tune back to my mind from the old days and I'll try to get to playing it again, but don't usually remember how I used to play it. Frustrating to constantly be learning, forgetting, remembering, re-learning, etc. etc. etc., but fun...

ChickenMan - Posted - 10/26/2020:  16:57:37

That is what a list is for.

I wasn't here.

buckhenry - Posted - 10/26/2020:  19:02:59


Originally posted by ChickenMan

That is what a list is for.


And musical notation....

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 10/26/2020:  21:20:24


Originally posted by ChickenMan

I wasn't here.

My lips are sealed.

(but just til I get this next batch 'run off')

RichJ - Posted - 10/27/2020:  01:46:24

When my tune list started getting up over 75 it started getting pretty tough to play some of those I didn't play as often cold. As the list got even longer many tunes got pushed further and further back onto the burners until I just couldn't start them at all. But I found listening to someone else play the tune I could get things going again. After a few, rough times though I can usually keep it going without anything but between the ears and muscle memory. I look at this as a fringe benefit of playing the fiddle since it's good exercised for those little gray cells.

Edited by - RichJ on 10/27/2020 01:47:16

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 10/27/2020:  04:56:35

Well .... I made daily sets to play of a dozen or so tunes so the top 90 +/- stay "around. But yeah Stuff just disappears ..... < sigh.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 10/27/2020:  06:01:48

That's the problem with lists...for one thing, who has time to keep up with everything on the list. For another thing, when does one start a list...I mean, you probably already forgot a bunch of stuff you had either sung, played or messed around with by the time you start your list would have started when i was 10 years 67...I mean...that would be a big mess...I'm just not that organized, I guess. If i had one, i'd have to have some rotation system going on to keep all the tunes from going stale.

I have made lists of things I wanted to re-work...mainly on guitar, just to keep from forgetting to do that when I'd get the time...or lists I wanted to play from when I had the opportunities to play somewhere for some event or occasion or whatever...but...lists just seem like something you'd have to hire some professional organizer to keep for

Once I got to fiddling age, when I got a fiddle of my own to play on, I pretty much had given up on keeping lists and just went by mood. Wake up in the mood to play this or this or I still make lists when I get that more and more rare opportunity to play somewhere...but that's as helpful as that idea goes for me.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 10/27/2020:  06:20:47

Lists..!!! I have the "short list" of tunes I'm working on now, the "jam List" of tunes that are not too weird for others to play along with, the "never want to play again" list..the "crossover list'' , the ''busking list'', and the "really hard but I'm workin' on it list".....oh, and the "can only play if someone else starts it list" ..

farmerjones - Posted - 10/27/2020:  06:31:10

I'm not the first one to say it: I keep my list in somebody else's head. So what if it takes a few rounds to get an old tune ironed out? That's fiddlin' That's how our gang jams: "What should i play?" "Play that one." "Huh, can't remember the key." (plays a bit) "Maybe this." Everyone takes off We play it until we get it all smooth then we stop, and the process repeats. Good gracious!?!! Is this what group memory therapy is like?

Fiddler - Posted - 10/27/2020:  06:41:55

This is why I store all of my tunes in other people's heads!

GeoB - Posted - 10/27/2020:  10:00:24

I don't have that problem with electric Bass, especially pop songs since they use the most overused chord progression on about 98% of all popular songs. But for those tunes I'm casually fiddling with in my living room yeah...those come and go, and come back and leave again.

"sigh" - Charlie Brown

doryman - Posted - 10/27/2020:  12:24:58

The "list" is most useful for jamming. I'm mostly a banjo player and, when it's not my turn to lead a song, I can play/fake my way through many songs because I'm familiar with the typical chord progressions used in bluegrass music and I know a lot of licks. However, my list of songs that I can lead and sing when my turn comes around in a jam is MUCH smaller. Even then, I can sit there when it's my turn and draw a complete blank while everyone is waiting for me to call a song!  Oh the pressure!!! Thus I keep a list of songs that I can lead and sing the words to. I used to tape the list to the back of my banjo, now I have it on my iphone.  

If I'm really on top of it, I'll review my "list of songs I can lead" the day before a jam and pick out a few I want to play at the jam and practice them  before the jam.  Usually I do this because I've forgotten the words to verses seven and eight of some particular song I haven't played in a while, not because I don't remember the notes.  


gapbob - Posted - 10/27/2020:  12:35:21

This reminds me of the phrase from college: "I have spilled more beer than you've drunk."

TuneWeaver - Posted - 10/27/2020:  12:55:55

Here is how my brain works (or Doesn't work).. For the past week about the only tune I've played was John Sharp's.... Well, today I got sidetracked by Wild Shoat..played it all morning.. then COULDN"T REMEMBER what tune I'd been playing for the past several days.. I really had to stop and think.. I'll blame it on IPA and AGE...

Earworm - Posted - 10/28/2020:  10:24:25

I have one "main" list which is tunes I claim to know or be working on, and one "everything" list where I dump titles and a little reference to all the main tunes, but also tunes other people know that I've actually played with; some are tunes that I aspire to learn, but can't quite claim yet; some are tunes that everyone else seems to know but I don't care much about, etc. Occasionally tunes shift lists, or fall off altogether, but it helps to have both.

Of course my "main" list is much too long, but but that keeps me trying harder.  Some lists are recorded lists - playlists & albums on my iTunes, YouTube, or whatever. I guess I just keep stirring the pot to see what comes up to the top.

Edited by - Earworm on 10/28/2020 10:45:14

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 10/28/2020:  13:48:24

I now actually do keep a tune list on my computer. I regularly print it up and put it in my fiddle case. Whenever a random tune comes into my head, I'll give it a go. If it sounds promising under my fingers I'll add it. I also randomly turn the pages in my O'Neill's fiddle book and try stuff that looks interesting to me. I put an X or check mark beside those tunes that work well under my fingers, and add the tune's name to the various post-it notes that list the tunes I like on any particular page.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 10/28/2020:  14:00:24

Seems like the "list" can be paper, virtual, or a passing thought...interesting how we all function.

farmerjones - Posted - 10/28/2020:  17:30:42

It was almost like a jinx for me to make a list. Seemingly a sure way to not play said tune thereafter. One of the two instructors i actually paid years ago, advised, "Always have a handful of tunes in your back pocket." He was talking about contests, and just in case there was a tie, or fiddle-off. While i got snaggled into playing conests only a few times, i kept the idea of keeping a few tunes ready to go, just in case. It's rarely my turn to call the tune, and that's by design. It's not as much fun for me as fills and breaks.

bulltrout - Posted - 12/09/2020:  15:33:14

List often serve to frustrate me. I see it written there in my own hand that I know a tune, but danged if I remember how it goes until someone else plays a bit of it. Then It comes back like it never left. Or the other thing: I can remember some tunes some days and not others. Oh, the joys of aging.

bsed - Posted - 12/10/2020:  15:34:01

In the early 1990s, I started writing tunes in a notebook in a tablature I invented. Over the years I have filled up numerous notebooks with tunes (I think I'm starting my 6th one now). And my tab works pretty well, because I can look at the first, say, 4-6 notes in a notebook and I often remember the whole tune pretty much. I still go back through my earlier notebooks to see if I can play some of them.

Or I might hear somebody else play a tune and I'll ask "Didn't I used to play that?" Sure enough, I can find the tune tab and play it.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 12/12/2020:  15:13:57


Originally posted by bsed

In the early 1990s, I started writing tunes in a notebook in a tablature I invented. Over the years I have filled up numerous notebooks with tunes (I think I'm starting my 6th one now). And my tab works pretty well, because I can look at the first, say, 4-6 notes in a notebook and I often remember the whole tune pretty much. I still go back through my earlier notebooks to see if I can play some of them.

Or I might hear somebody else play a tune and I'll ask "Didn't I used to play that?" Sure enough, I can find the tune tab and play it.

Good story Bruce.. You know more tunes that about any other fiddler I can think of.. I may be a close second.. I also had ONE thick book of tunes in tab..My first time at Clifftop, I forgot to bring the book into the tent at night and it got soaking wet in a typical Clifftop downpour..!!!  It never was usable after that!! Fortunately, now I don't need tab much for basic tunes.. except new tunes.. I just put them in ABC on my phone!!!  I really miss hanging out with you and the other guys.. Can't wait till this virus is all in the past!!!

bsed - Posted - 12/12/2020:  17:27:51

Me too, Lee. We WILL play tunes together next year.

Dick Hauser - Posted - 12/19/2020:  07:31:30

I have books and 3 big 3" spiral binders full of fiddle tunes. I try to play the tunes in one of those books each day. Before I play those tunes, I play about 20 waltzes that help me improve my bowing technique. Lots of things you don't use in uptempo tunes. More longbows as well.
On top of that, I have an additional binder full of Irish tunes. I play the Irish tunes along with recorded bodhran tracks. I have a rhythm sound file for each type of Irish music. That Bodhran rhythm track helps a lot. I bought it on the CDBaby website. Mark Stone produced the CD.

Usually I can mentally recover a fiddle tune pretty quickly but don't ask me why.

GeoB - Posted - 01/18/2021:  09:47:01

TBH I've scaled way back on my regimen of learning Tunes. I hate to say this, but it is satisfying to me to just work along with instrumental recordings and make it kind of digital Jam. One of the things I really like to do from time to time is to get into a mix and play along with certain world styles that I find interesting to the ear. Here's an example of a Carnatic which has been discussed at various times at the FHO:

Edited by - GeoB on 01/18/2021 09:48:27

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