Author Topic: How do you learn a new piece of music?  (Read 3066 times)

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Offline Solitary Wanderer

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How do you learn a new piece of music?
« on: May 30, 2007, 11:21:44 AM »
How do you learn a new piece of music?

My method is to source the 'best' version by cross-referencing a number of books and websites. I know 'best' will vary from person to person but a version that is generally considered worthwhile and will become my future reference point for comparism.

If I'm going to a concert to hear the new piece then I'll listen to it at least 10 times over a two week period prior to the performance. I find this is the magic figure for me so that on performance night I know the piece quite well and from then on I remember it forever. Using this method I've revisited music I haven't listened to in years and I know it immediately on first listen.

Its intense study but it works and its fun. :)

Whats your modus operandi?
'I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.' ~ Emily Bronte

Offline 71 dB

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2007, 11:32:32 AM »
I find most classical music easy and the first time I hear it everything is clear for me. This does not mean I can memorize them. I have a bad memory. Because I can't remember things so well I have to understand them.
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Offline Solitary Wanderer

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2007, 11:48:47 AM »
I find most classical music easy and the first time I hear it everything is clear for me. This does not mean I can memorize them. I have a bad memory. Because I can't remember things so well I have to understand them.

Thats interesting 71 db. The first listen to a new symphony largely washes past me. I find as I get more familiar with the composition the more I appreciate it.

If I could learn them in one go think how many cd's I'd have to buy to keep up!  ;) :)
'I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.' ~ Emily Bronte

Offline 71 dB

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2007, 12:16:33 PM »
Thats interesting 71 db. The first listen to a new symphony largely washes past me. I find as I get more familiar with the composition the more I appreciate it.

If I could learn them in one go think how many cd's I'd have to buy to keep up!  ;) :)

My brain calculates all the time what could happen next in a piece of music. Usually most instruments behave pretty much how I have predicted. A surprising appearance or behaviour of one or two instrument won't get me confused. In case of poor symphonies what happens is naivistic or banal compared to what I have calculated.

Listening extremely complex electronic music has trained my brain for this. classical music is so easy compared to say Autechre, music where fundamental structures like melody, harmony and rhythm are "broken". Notes are created by playing drum samples extremely fast (e.g. 440 times per second = note 'a') and rhythms are created by simultanuous chaotic pulses.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page

Don

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2007, 12:21:34 PM »
I find most classical music easy and the first time I hear it everything is clear for me.

Right.  Everything is clear after one listening as long as the work is by a Dittersdorf type. ::)

Offline 71 dB

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2007, 12:32:19 PM »
Right.  Everything is clear after one listening as long as the work is by a Dittersdorf type. ::)

Why don't you suggest something more challenging?  ;)
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

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Mozart

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2007, 02:17:58 PM »
Learning a new piece of music is torture for me almost. Like a gamma ray trying to escape from the core of the sun, it takes a million years to get through. But it has great rewards. WIth non Mozartian composers I struggle with every sound to find some sort of comprehension. I've been stuck on the Eroica for months now I can't make it past the 2nd movement.

Offline jochanaan

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2007, 02:43:56 PM »
Mostly, I learn new music the old-fashioned way: I practice it. ;D
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Offline Bonehelm

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2007, 03:00:21 PM »
Why don't you suggest something more challenging?  ;)

Feel bad for people like you. There's no reason to listen to any music more than once...(not like Elgar worths a lot of listening anyways, but still).

Don

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2007, 03:11:36 PM »
Why don't you suggest something more challenging?  ;)

Okay.  Did you have a clear understanding of Mahler's 9th Symphony after your first hearing?  Did additional listenings have nothing to offer in terms of understanding the work?  Do you put your socks on one at a time?

Offline 12tone.

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2007, 04:28:07 PM »
Okay.  Did you have a clear understanding of Mahler's 9th Symphony after your first hearing?  Did additional listenings have nothing to offer in terms of understanding the work?  Do you put your socks on one at a time?

Maybe he puts both on at the same time.  Need that challenge  ;)

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2007, 10:34:40 PM »
My brain calculates all the time what could happen next in a piece of music. Usually most instruments behave pretty much how I have predicted.

Are you sure you have flesh and bones? You sound more like a Classical-Music-Listening-Predictor-Corrector-Algorithm than a human being;D


I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts. --- Rachmaninoff

The Mad Hatter

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2007, 12:33:06 AM »
I don't consider what I'm playing to be a performance until I can play every note of it in my mind, and know exactly what every moment sounds like.

Offline johnshade

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2007, 08:28:26 AM »
...I'll listen to it at least 10 times over a two week period prior to the performance. I find this is the magic figure for me...

Doesn't this depend on the music? I believe someone can "get" Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony after one to two hearings. With the opera, Die Frau ohne Schatten, I get new insights with every delightful hearing. I've heard (or seen, live and DVD) the opera dozens of times.

My opinion of this opera is unlike what Rossini said after attending a performance of Lohengrin. Asked what he thought of the opera he said, "One can not judge it from a first hearing and I certainly do not intend to hear it a second time."
The sun's a thief, and with her great attraction robs the vast sea, the moon's an arrant thief, and her pale fire she snatches from the sun  (Shakespeare)

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2007, 08:35:14 AM »
My opinion of this opera is unlike what Rossini said after attending a performance of Lohengrin. Asked what he thought of the opera he said, "One can not judge it from a first hearing and I certainly do not intend to hear it a second time."

Yep! The best comment on Wagner ever!  ;D
I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts. --- Rachmaninoff

Offline quintett op.57

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2007, 08:39:29 AM »
Doesn't this depend on the music? I believe someone can "get" Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony after one to two hearings. With the opera, Die Frau ohne Schatten, I get new insights with every delightful hearing. I've heard (or seen, live and DVD) the opera dozens of times.
Depends on many things I think.
Concentration, mood, taste and experience.

Offline Solitary Wanderer

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2007, 11:24:11 AM »
Doesn't this depend on the music? I believe someone can "get" Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony after one to two hearings. With the opera, Die Frau ohne Schatten, I get new insights with every delightful hearing. I've heard (or seen, live and DVD) the opera dozens of times.

My opinion of this opera is unlike what Rossini said after attending a performance of Lohengrin. Asked what he thought of the opera he said, "One can not judge it from a first hearing and I certainly do not intend to hear it a second time."

Yes, it varies but I find absorbing myself in a concerto or symphony for two weeks solid puts me in good shape for the performance night. I have 'signposts' and fave 'bits' to anticipate  :)


Hilarious! Theres many great Wagner associated quotes and this is a gem  ;D
'I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.' ~ Emily Bronte

Offline 71 dB

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Re: How do you learn a new piece of music?
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2007, 11:40:54 AM »
Okay.  Did you have a clear understanding of Mahler's 9th Symphony after your first hearing?  Did additional listenings have nothing to offer in terms of understanding the work?

I have listened the work once. I had the feel I understood everything but you never know what happens when I listen to it again.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page