Thursday, 9 March 2017

The music of the calendar

I am trying to learn to play the guitar once again. I've never progressed very far with it. I've also tried keyboards, but again stalled.

I can follow music, but don't have an ear for music. My singing wanders around all over the place as I am not really aware when I'm in tune.

A singing teacher at a class for poor singers I attended one time asked if we had an experience when we were told we could not sing. Everyone had, usually around the age of ten, while the ear is still developing. Being shamed can put you off so you miss the next stages in development.

In my case, I used to love singing lessons at school and was very enthusiastic. When I returned after a week away ill, my friend told me the teacher had said how much better the last lesson had been because my awful singing was not present. Mrs Lees. That was you.

The singing class was a one off, but convinced me that I could still develop my ear.

The "sing true" app has shown me the same. The iphone version is here (this is an unpaid and unsolicited endorsement - see my advertising policy).

I am progressing through the exercises and developing my ear for relative pitch. The app also includes features for singing and hitting a note.

It struck me that my failing is I have no memory of pitch. When the app plays me a selection of notes, it is difficult for me to capture them in my mind. I have tried visualising them on a music staff as they are played, or picking them out on my guitar or keyboards.

Some people have chromesthesia where they associate colours with notes, which may help.

I don't and the visualisation process hasn't got me very far so far. In fact, I first tried visualising notes over two years ago, as described in this post.

It struck me this time around that what I really need to develop is a memory for sounds, not a cipher for them. This is an undeveloped muscle.

So it occurred to me that I could link sounds to my mental calendar to automatically run through the scales when I review the images pinned to it. To get used to hearing notes in my mind.

As a week has seven days, I can run through the scale C - B. Or as in the Sound of Music, Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti.

I'm starting low on the Monday of the first full week of the month. The next Monday is an octave higher. Five octaves, the range of my keyboards, is enough to cover a month.

At present, my focus is on trying to hear the note in my mind's ear - to audiate - as I step onto the day on the calendar and move up in pitch as I step to the next day. Whether the intervals or the absolute pitches are correct doesn't concern me at moment.

For the time being, I'm working on audiating the sounds. I can do it, but it is very forced to hear a note in my mind. Hopefully practice running through scales as I conduct my reviews will help. Then I can refine to assign the correct notes to the calendar days.

My aim is to be able to play by ear. To be able to identify the notes in a tune just by hearing it - and being able to hit them when I sing.

Assigning them to the calendar is only to make the practice routine, not to provide a way to visualise the notes. Just as I use Lembransation as a memory palace to remember people's names, the names of their kids, the names of trees and birds, when I saw particular films for the first time and other facts, I hope to improve my memory for notes.

It may be the extra association will also help my refresh process by giving another way to place an image with the correct date.

I don't expect hearing music to trigger recall of different memory tags - numbers do not trigger the images tagged for those days of the month to come to mind.

Early days. Let's see where it goes.

If anyone is willing to share how their memory of notes and tunes works, please do leave a comment.

No comments:

Post a Comment