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The feeling when you finally remember

Posted By: Sibylle

The feeling when you finally remember - 08/20/19 02:10 PM

I wrote about it before, when you have a piece in your head and you know it inside-out, but can't think what it is. It's agony when that happens! I don't know where the mental disconnect happens, but I hate it. It's like having it on the tip of my tongue and still not being able to remember.

Today it happened with a very particular 3rd movement of a concerto. Funnily I knew immediately it was the third movement, and went to Rachmaninov to start off with - nothing. The embarrassing truth was that it turned out to be - the big one, Tchaikowsky!!

I can't describe the blissful relief of remembering. Guess what's playing on Idagio now grin (and I don't listen to that one very often, it's so overplayed).

Why, brain? Why??
Posted By: jdw

Re: The feeling when you finally remember - 08/20/19 02:29 PM

This happens to me all the time--worst when it's pieces you've played yourself and surely ought to know!
Posted By: bennevis

Re: The feeling when you finally remember - 08/20/19 02:57 PM

Originally Posted by Sibylle

Today it happened with a very particular 3rd movement of a concerto. Funnily I knew immediately it was the third movement, and went to Rachmaninov to start off with - nothing. The embarrassing truth was that it turned out to be - the big one, Tchaikowsky!!

I often can't remember the source of tunes that are in some Romantic works, and have to work 'backwards' - first, which country the music comes from, then who the composer is: often the biggest hurdle - one Russian sounds much like another wink (whereas French, Spanish, Austro-German, Eastern European, American and even British composers - including those of the "cowpat" school smirk - sound quite unlike each other).

For instance, the main theme in the finale of this concerto (from 17:50) often foxed me when heard by itself: it sounds so familiar, yet I couldn't place it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6biFJMwtZYE

My excuse of course is that it's rarely performed, so one rarely gets to hear it.......... whistle
Posted By: gooddog

Re: The feeling when you finally remember - 08/20/19 02:59 PM

Happens to me all the time.

When I hear something on the radio, I try to guess what it is from just the first few notes. When I recognize it but can't remember the title or composer, it drives me crazy. When I guess wrong, it's even more aggravating.
Posted By: Mark_C

Re: The feeling when you finally remember - 08/20/19 04:17 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
....the main theme in the finale of this concerto (from 17:50) often foxed me when heard by itself: it sounds so familiar, yet I couldn't place it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6biFJMwtZYE

My excuse of course is that it's rarely performed, so one rarely gets to hear it.......... whistle

I'm mega impressed just that it's familiar to you!

BTW, it's the only part of the concerto that I would recognize for what it is!!
Posted By: Ralphiano

Re: The feeling when you finally remember - 08/21/19 09:11 PM

Originally Posted by Sibylle
I wrote about it before, when you have a piece in your head and you know it inside-out, but can't think what it is. It's agony when that happens! I don't know where the mental disconnect happens, but I hate it. It's like having it on the tip of my tongue and still not being able to remember.

Today it happened with a very particular 3rd movement of a concerto. Funnily I knew immediately it was the third movement, and went to Rachmaninov to start off with - nothing. The embarrassing truth was that it turned out to be - the big one, Tchaikowsky!!

I can't describe the blissful relief of remembering. Guess what's playing on Idagio now grin (and I don't listen to that one very often, it's so overplayed).

Why, brain? Why??


I used to know the answer.....
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: The feeling when you finally remember - 08/21/19 09:26 PM

I remember having a fairly long listening session to track down one of Schubert's Moment's Musicaux No.3.

Another time there was a passage from Beethoven's Choral Fantasy that I as background music in a video. It was only a couple of seconds. I knew that I had a recording, but had no idea past that. I wasn't even sure of the composer because the passage was so short. That was a real head wrecker, it took quite a while to track it down...
Posted By: cmb13

Re: The feeling when you finally remember - 08/22/19 11:19 AM

My wife, who has listened to pop and classic rock since the 80s, can name any song (of that genre) in basically one or two notes. It’s quite remarkable. She doesn’t listen to our piano music, though, but I’m sure it would translate.

But then, she has a photographic memory and it was recognized and trained at a very young age. She visualizes things differently. She sees people with their names imprinted on their forehead in her mind. It’s a little scary....sometimes she’ll chat with people we come across, and they clearly have no idea who we are, nor do I know who they are. When we leave she’s say “oh, that’s so-and-so, we met them in 2004 at our sons preschool orientation, their daughter went to private school so we haven’t seen them since” or “that’s so-and-so’s cousin, we met at a wedding in NJ 15 years ago”. She can even tell you what they were wearing.

Anyway, it’s a different kind of memory. The more you hear the piece, the more familiar with it you are, the easier it becomes.
Posted By: Sibylle

Re: The feeling when you finally remember - 08/22/19 12:51 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
My wife, who has listened to pop and classic rock since the 80s, can name any song (of that genre) in basically one or two notes. It’s quite remarkable. She doesn’t listen to our piano music, though, but I’m sure it would translate.

But then, she has a photographic memory and it was recognized and trained at a very young age. She visualizes things differently. She sees people with their names imprinted on their forehead in her mind. It’s a little scary....sometimes she’ll chat with people we come across, and they clearly have no idea who we are, nor do I know who they are. When we leave she’s say “oh, that’s so-and-so, we met them in 2004 at our sons preschool orientation, their daughter went to private school so we haven’t seen them since” or “that’s so-and-so’s cousin, we met at a wedding in NJ 15 years ago”. She can even tell you what they were wearing.

Anyway, it’s a different kind of memory. The more you hear the piece, the more familiar with it you are, the easier it becomes.

D'you know what, I can name any pop- or rock song I know. It might take me a moment, but I always know the title and artist. It's classical music that eludes me for some strange reason. I probably have a separate "classical brain"!
Posted By: WTM

Re: The feeling when you finally remember - 08/22/19 01:26 PM

Originally Posted by Sibylle
Originally Posted by cmb13
My wife, who has listened to pop and classic rock since the 80s, can name any song (of that genre) in basically one or two notes. It’s quite remarkable. She doesn’t listen to our piano music, though, but I’m sure it would translate.

But then, she has a photographic memory and it was recognized and trained at a very young age. She visualizes things differently. She sees people with their names imprinted on their forehead in her mind. It’s a little scary....sometimes she’ll chat with people we come across, and they clearly have no idea who we are, nor do I know who they are. When we leave she’s say “oh, that’s so-and-so, we met them in 2004 at our sons preschool orientation, their daughter went to private school so we haven’t seen them since” or “that’s so-and-so’s cousin, we met at a wedding in NJ 15 years ago”. She can even tell you what they were wearing.

Anyway, it’s a different kind of memory. The more you hear the piece, the more familiar with it you are, the easier it becomes.

D'you know what, I can name any pop- or rock song I know. It might take me a moment, but I always know the title and artist. It's classical music that eludes me for some strange reason. I probably have a separate "classical brain"!


I have no evidence to back this up, purely conjecture on my part. But I suspect it's something to do with associating words with melodies. It's easier to associate words with pop music because most of it has lyrics, and a lot of the time the main melody follows the lyrical line. So you can easily recall the name, whereas it's much harder to associate an opus number with a melody without lyrics.
Posted By: jdw

Re: The feeling when you finally remember - 08/22/19 11:37 PM

Originally Posted by WTM
Originally Posted by Sibylle
Originally Posted by cmb13
My wife, who has listened to pop and classic rock since the 80s, can name any song (of that genre) in basically one or two notes. It’s quite remarkable. She doesn’t listen to our piano music, though, but I’m sure it would translate.

But then, she has a photographic memory and it was recognized and trained at a very young age. She visualizes things differently. She sees people with their names imprinted on their forehead in her mind. It’s a little scary....sometimes she’ll chat with people we come across, and they clearly have no idea who we are, nor do I know who they are. When we leave she’s say “oh, that’s so-and-so, we met them in 2004 at our sons preschool orientation, their daughter went to private school so we haven’t seen them since” or “that’s so-and-so’s cousin, we met at a wedding in NJ 15 years ago”. She can even tell you what they were wearing.

Anyway, it’s a different kind of memory. The more you hear the piece, the more familiar with it you are, the easier it becomes.

D'you know what, I can name any pop- or rock song I know. It might take me a moment, but I always know the title and artist. It's classical music that eludes me for some strange reason. I probably have a separate "classical brain"!


I have no evidence to back this up, purely conjecture on my part. But I suspect it's something to do with associating words with melodies. It's easier to associate words with pop music because most of it has lyrics, and a lot of the time the main melody follows the lyrical line. So you can easily recall the name, whereas it's much harder to associate an opus number with a melody without lyrics.


I think you're right. Anything with words (such as Schubert Lieder), I have no problem. Otherwise, my memory for identifying pieces is pretty pathetic, even if I know exactly how they go.
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