2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
32 members (doremi, CyberGene, andredatele, AprilE, brendon, Boboulus, David B, 6 invisible), 403 guests, and 453 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
The four forms of memory
#400946 08/01/08 02:28 PM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 197
B
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 197
In the past I used exclusively tactual memory and was plagued with frequent memory lapses in performance. Now that I am starting to use other forms of memory I feel more confident about how well I know the pieces I am working on. However I cannot help but feel that there is something big that I am still lacking.

When we hear about famous pianists who learn pieces with such rapidity that it seems almost God-like, I cannot help but think that this ability is tied very closely to their memory skills. I feel that if one can learn and apply the memory techniques that these pianists use, it may be possible to memorize a piece of music in the first or second read through. If that was possible then it would leave a great load of time for the acquirement of technique and musicality.

In my understanding of memory and the piano there are four major sources of memory, akin to what pianoexcellence posted in another recent thread:
Quote
Originally posted by pianoexcellence:

I teach that there are 4 primary sources of memory: I will even go to the controversial length of ranking them in order of importance (as I have found to be the case)

Aural
Analytical
Visual
Tactual
Aural memory I can only imagine demands some pitch recognition abilities. Here is where I can see a person with absolute pitch has a large advantage. A person who has absolute pitch would be able to hear the piece, either played by themselves or on a recording, and already begin the memorization process. I think that the advantages of absolute pitch in how fast a piece can be memorized and played are easily recognizable in looking at those pianists that can learn a piece of music very quickly. The pianists Argerich, Hamelin, Horowitz, Rubenstein, the list could go on and on, all had absolute pitch. There must be a correlation.

In Gieseking's and Liemer's books they write solely on the analytical memory. The way that he explains the process of memorization makes it sound possible to learn such a technique for memorizing a piece of music very quickly. However in practice I have found his ideas difficult to apply.

I have done a lot of studying on memory outside of the context of music and have learned that it is easier to memorize something that is meaningful, and that is memorized in chunk. These two ideas make a solid argument of Gieseking's approach. Basically Gieseking teaches that before we even play a note of the piano we can memorize the music theoretically. He goes through a Bach 2 and 3 part invention and then a Beethoven sonata in this way. He analyzes the pieces in such a way that memorizing becomes a manageable task.

By visual memory I think of two possibilities. The memory of the written page and the memory of the movements we play on the keyboard. These two aspects of memory have been what have helped me greatly in the last few months. It helps in such a way that I can replay, and even practice the piece in my mind away from the piano. Hoffman once said, "There are four ways to study a composition: (1) On the piano with the music, (2) away from the piano with the music, (3) on the piano without the music, and (4) away from the piano without the music." When I was only using tactual memory number four was an impossibility.

What many people call a photographic memory seems, by research on the memory, to be a misnomer, and that "photographic memory" does not even exist. All memorizers (even savants) memorize by associations, and no one takes a perfect snapshot of anything.
See: No on has a photographic memory
Also see: Your Memory: How it Works and How to improve it

Finally tactual memory is the phenomenon we are all familiar with. We play a piece of music so many times that the movements are ingrained into our fingers.

I would really like to hear everyone’s take on this subject matter, as I feel it is something that seems to be overly neglected in the world of piano pedagogy.

Re: The four forms of memory
#400947 08/01/08 03:06 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 753
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 753
Whiteside fixates on aural memory...and as you mentioned Liemer fixates on the analytical side.

I agree that visual has the two components.

The thing is that none of these are mutually exclusive...
The ear guides the tactual response...many other connections can be made

My personal favorite memory tool is closing the eyes...visualizing a keyboard, then watching your imaginary hands play the piece in front of you while humming along. You may need to slightly wiggle the fingers as you imagine, to involve the tactual.

I find that this is a practice method that really involves all aspects of memory. It takes a lot of practice and concentration. At first, the image is very "slippery", but after a while, you can get it to hold still. If you can play and entire piece like this, I can all but guarantee that you will not have any memory slips in performence.

It's great for when you can't sleep at night.


Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs
Re: The four forms of memory
#400948 08/01/08 04:13 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 644
J
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 644
Quote
Originally posted by BJenkins:
In Gieseking's and Liemer's books they write solely on the analytical memory. The way that he explains the process of memorization makes it sound possible to learn such a technique for memorizing a piece of music very quickly. However in practice I have found his ideas difficult to apply.

I have done a lot of studying on memory outside of the context of music and have learned that it is easier to memorize something that is meaningful, and that is memorized in chunk. These two ideas make a solid argument of Gieseking's approach. Basically Gieseking teaches that before we even play a note of the piano we can memorize the music theoretically. He goes through a Bach 2 and 3 part invention and then a Beethoven sonata in this way. He analyzes the pieces in such a way that memorizing becomes a manageable task.
BJ - how well versed are you in music theory? Can you easily do Roman Numeral analysis on the pieces you play? Can you play from a lead sheet?

I have the worlds most useless natural memory. In fact it caused me to give up piano for many years until I finally hit on the idea of analyzing my pieces thoroughly and using that analysis to memorize (and learn to play) them. It has given me a second life with the piano.

You are absolutely right - analysis makes music "meaningful," i.e. reveals logic rather than randomness behind the notes, and allows you to see the notes in logical groups - a huge help in memorizing. I have written about this in another thread. Roman Numeral Analysis in particular allows you to see the notes in groups on two levels - chords, and progressions. Part of uncovering the "meaningfulness" of the music is revealing the relatedness of the notes. Notes relate to the chords they make up, chords relate to the the scale the piece is written in, melody notes relate to the chords, etc., etc.

If you were classically trained, most likely you have little or no experience analyzing the music you've learned to play. Most of us were taught music theory as just that, theory, and never taught to use it as a tool. Becoming proficient at analysis is just like becoming proficient at anything else. The more you do of it, the better and faster you become at it and the easier it becomes.

I am not saying that there is no place for the other forms of memory. They are essential, too. But I have found that truly understanding the music I learn has been the key to allowing me to memorize music confidently for the first time in my life.

One more point. I recommend doing the analysis as a first step in learning a new piece, before you learn to play the piece, and then using that analysis to learn the piece phrase by phrase. I recommend it because it forces you to rely on your analysis before tactile and aural memory have a chance to kick in. Later in the process you will find them balancing out more.

Re: The four forms of memory
#400949 08/01/08 04:25 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 1,501
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 1,501
Edit.


Amateur Pianist, Scriabin Enthusiast, and Octave Demon
Re: The four forms of memory
#400950 08/01/08 05:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 197
B
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 197
Quote
Originally posted by JerryS88:
Quote
Originally posted by BJenkins:
[b]In Gieseking's and Liemer's books they write solely on the analytical memory. The way that he explains the process of memorization makes it sound possible to learn such a technique for memorizing a piece of music very quickly. However in practice I have found his ideas difficult to apply.

I have done a lot of studying on memory outside of the context of music and have learned that it is easier to memorize something that is meaningful, and that is memorized in chunk. These two ideas make a solid argument of Gieseking's approach. Basically Gieseking teaches that before we even play a note of the piano we can memorize the music theoretically. He goes through a Bach 2 and 3 part invention and then a Beethoven sonata in this way. He analyzes the pieces in such a way that memorizing becomes a manageable task.
BJ - how well versed are you in music theory? Can you easily do Roman Numeral analysis on the pieces you play? Can you play from a lead sheet?
[/b]
I've finished college theory. I guess it is just something I need to practice more. I can do a Roman Numeral analysis, but I think the difficulty appears when trying to use that analysis as a method for memorization. It seems to work on a smaller scale just fine, but for an entire piece it becomes more difficult. I would like to get to the point where I can read through a piece of music and analyze it at the same time instead of sitting down and working it out like a math problem. I'm just not sure how to go about practicing that, other than sight reading very slowly while trying to analyze at the same time.

Re: The four forms of memory
#400951 08/01/08 05:09 PM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 197
B
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 197
Quote
Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:
I would say forms, not sources. Sources of memory would likely be neural connections formed in response to information stimuli.
I agree. I changed the subject laugh

Re: The four forms of memory
#400952 08/01/08 10:42 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 644
J
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 644
Quote
Originally posted by BJenkins:
Quote
Originally posted by JerryS88:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by BJenkins:
[b]In Gieseking's and Liemer's books they write solely on the analytical memory. The way that he explains the process of memorization makes it sound possible to learn such a technique for memorizing a piece of music very quickly. However in practice I have found his ideas difficult to apply.

I have done a lot of studying on memory outside of the context of music and have learned that it is easier to memorize something that is meaningful, and that is memorized in chunk. These two ideas make a solid argument of Gieseking's approach. Basically Gieseking teaches that before we even play a note of the piano we can memorize the music theoretically. He goes through a Bach 2 and 3 part invention and then a Beethoven sonata in this way. He analyzes the pieces in such a way that memorizing becomes a manageable task.
BJ - how well versed are you in music theory? Can you easily do Roman Numeral analysis on the pieces you play? Can you play from a lead sheet?
[/b]
I've finished college theory. I guess it is just something I need to practice more. I can do a Roman Numeral analysis, but I think the difficulty appears when trying to use that analysis as a method for memorization. It seems to work on a smaller scale just fine, but for an entire piece it becomes more difficult. I would like to get to the point where I can read through a piece of music and analyze it at the same time instead of sitting down and working it out like a math problem. I'm just not sure how to go about practicing that, other than sight reading very slowly while trying to analyze at the same time. [/b]
Analyzing a piece is a take-you-time project - I'm not suggesting you try to analyze while playing in real time - but it most definitely gets faster and easier the more you do it. Using analysis to learn and memorize a piece was something completely new to me when I started. If you just start out slowly you'll get the hang of it. It's all about thinking of and seeing notes in logical, identifiable groups. Over time those groups become easier and easier to identify.

Re: The four forms of memory
#400953 08/10/08 12:23 PM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 40
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 40
Quote
Finally tactual memory is the phenomenon we are all familiar with. We play a piece of music so many times that the movements are ingrained into our fingers.
For me it has just been drill. Over and over. This thread gives me other things to work with. Thanks.


Yamaha WX3 Upright
Yamaha YPG 625 keyboard
Re: The four forms of memory
#400954 08/10/08 02:56 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,421
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,421
For me the more modes of memory I use the better, with visual being the most secure and tactile the least.

But there might be a neglected strategy here. The memory experts use prememorization and association to improve their performance, and I've never seen musicians try this. I'm not sure how to go about it but maybe some of you are smart enough.

As an example of association, consider this. Memory experts that need to relate a word to a meaning will form a strong visual image for each and then for the link. Example: on my way to work I drive through the towns of Gollhafen the Uffenheim. Neither is easily rememberable. But for Gollhafen you can form an image of a harbor filled with seagulls, for Uffenheim the home of an oaf or ogre. Drop the home of an oaf into a harbor filled with seagulls and you can form an easily remembrable image.

Prememorization works very well for numbers or cards. If you memorize consonants for every number, work that you can do ahead of time atyour leasure, you can convert any number into letters that form a word. My car license plate is AD DR 485. That doesn't make obvious sense. But AD DR is very near adder, a snake. 485 converts to R F L, which as a word might be rifle. Okay, a snake rifle might be very useful! and now I have an image I can't forget.

Can something similar be done for music? I suspect so but don't know how to do it.


gotta go practice
Re: The four forms of memory
#400955 08/10/08 04:31 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
Not only can something similar be done for music, I would contend something similar is done for music i.e. it's how the brain works. The question is how to access it.

Re: The four forms of memory
#400956 08/10/08 09:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,035
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,035
I think finding patterns in the music will help make the memory pretty solid. I guess this would fall under the analytical form of memory.


Houston, Texas
Re: The four forms of memory
#400957 08/11/08 04:52 AM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 607
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 607
Pianists like Lili Kraus and Moura Lympany stated that memorization came to them just as a result of practising. They must have been "natural memorizers" as I believe the majority of the "international set" of concert pianists must be. Artur Rubinstein apparently relied primarily on photograpic memory of the score although one suspects the other aspects were highly developed too.
There is a great fetish for memorization and appearing in public without the score which places an unnecessary burden on many fine artists who find memorizing difficult. I was told that the English pianist Eric Hope devised a method where every bar of a piece was numbered, written down on individual cards and memorized; friends would later be invited to his practise sessions and would be invited to take these cards at random, call out the numbers to Hope who would play the appropriate bar and thus reassure himself that he knew the piece from memory! Surely this was a ridiculous and limiting method of learning which inhibited a fine pianist who would have been wiser to use the score in public, as did Myra Hess and Richter in his later years.
Moiseiwitsch reduced his repertoire to a handful of pieces at the end of his career because of memory problems and Mark Hambourg also regretted the necessity for having to play in public without the score. Joseph Hofmann's remarks on those who perform in public WITH the score is very perceptive, as he said that they, too, know their pieces from memory!

Re: The four forms of memory
#400958 08/12/08 02:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,302
J
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,302
I wonder how you can adapt any theory on e. g. Rahcmaninoffs Etudes-Tableaux?

For me the tactile memory is supported by audial and visual memory.

Romantic music is not theory - it is expressed feelings.

Re: The four forms of memory
#400959 08/12/08 04:28 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 644
J
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 644
Quote
Originally posted by Jan-Erik:
I wonder how you can adapt any theory on e. g. Rahcmaninoffs Etudes-Tableaux?

For me the tactile memory is supported by audial and visual memory.

Romantic music is not theory - it is expressed feelings.
Jan-Erik - I can appreciate the reluctance to "look under the hood" of beautiful Romantic music, but I must say, as musically beautiful and expressive as it is, it is still very analyzable and it makes full use of the things we learn in music theory (including the Etudes-Tableaux!). Romantic composers did not just write notes following their instincts and ear for beautiful sound - they all had thorough knowledge of theory and used it to compose their pieces.

You are a lucky person to have great, reliable tactile, audial, and visual memory. For me all of those without analytical memory are just not enough. Also, for me, analyzing what makes the most beautiful music tick detracts nothing from the experience of playing or listening to it. If anything, it makes me appreciate it even more. Analyzing Romantic music is really fascinating - discovering just how composers pushed the envelope, expanded the harmonic language, and created such moving masterpieces. In addition to all that, it makes learning, playing, and memorizing these pieces much quicker and easier (for me) for all the reasons I stated earlier in this thread.

In the end, everyone must use what they find useful.

Re: The four forms of memory
#400960 08/12/08 04:58 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 191
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 191
As much as I love mnemonics and the exploration of memory and learning, I haven't been able to find a good way to link mnemonics and music. I think this is because mnemonics are based upon spoken language. If anyone has any ideas that are workable, please get a document going on them.

Also, I'm assuming that, to help you analyze, you make a copy of the score and write on it. Even if you don't, would you do up a piece as an example and make a .pdf of it to post? For those of us who haven't started the practice of analyzing our pieces, an example might be helpful.


Piano Hero Encore Rocks the 1800s!

Current Assignments:
Bach Prelude and Fugue in Bb Maj, D min, and C Maj from Bk I
Mozart Sonata K.280
Brahms Rhapsody Op. 79 No. 2
Bartok Six Roumanian Folk Dances
Prokofieff Visions Fugitives Op. 22

I'm going to Ithaca! Yay!!!
Re: The four forms of memory
#400961 08/12/08 05:46 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
Quote
Originally posted by thepianist2008:
As much as I love mnemonics and the exploration of memory and learning, I haven't been able to find a good way to link mnemonics and music. I think this is because mnemonics are based upon spoken language.
Not all are verbal. The key to good remembering (association) is a rich visual imagination. I'm sure we all do it subconsciously anyway.

Re: The four forms of memory
#400962 08/12/08 05:51 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,150
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,150
I am curious because I see such an emphasis placed on the visual. Music is sound. Doesn't anyone remember using the ear first? I can barely think of any visual component to my music.

Re: The four forms of memory
#400963 08/12/08 05:55 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
It's because of the way pianists are (unfortunately) trained. A premium is placed on reading, and nobody bothers to do much singing or solfege anymore.

I spent a lot of time on solfege and singing, so my memory is mostly aural and tactile.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
Re: The four forms of memory
#400964 08/12/08 05:59 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
No. The memory works with visual cues. We remember in pictures. When you hear an old song do you not then see in your mind's eye where you originally heard it? Who you were with? This can be used in reverse to set memories.

Re: The four forms of memory
#400965 08/12/08 06:01 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 644
J
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 644
Quote
Originally posted by thepianist2008:
I'm assuming that, to help you analyze, you make a copy of the score and write on it. Even if you don't, would you do up a piece as an example and make a .pdf of it to post? For those of us who haven't started the practice of analyzing our pieces, an example might be helpful.
Gladly - here is a link to an analysis I posted here a while back of Debussy's Clair de Lune.

I also recently did an analysis of a Scarlatti Sonata . You'll have to dig through the thread to see my analyses. I didn't post the Roman Numeral Analysis I wrote in on the original score and the reduction I did on a separate sheet of paper in the original thread, but you'll see some other forms of analysis I did that I found extremely useful. I''ll see about posting them. The Scarlatti project took me much more time than it would have normally because it was a special project to learn a piece completely away from the piano. Doing analysis AT the piano is much easier and faster!

To answer your question, I tend to write my analysis right in the score, but often I do make photocopies first - especially to keep expensive Urtext scores clean.

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our October 2020 Free Piano Newsletter is Here!
---------------------
3,000,000+!
------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Mixing VST audio with external hardware audio
by Andrew_G - 11/28/20 02:42 AM
File, sand and/or needle inside my Baldwin?
by DanD - 11/28/20 01:18 AM
Hybrid piano too loud for my neighbor :(
by kiwibd - 11/27/20 07:19 PM
White noise
by QuasarPiano - 11/27/20 05:40 PM
Im Strolling Along With You
by Claude56 - 11/27/20 05:12 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics203,088
Posts3,027,965
Members99,391
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4