oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen
oracne

musical memory

In choir, we're singing Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms, the four-handed piano arrangement this time. The first and only time I'd sung the piece before was in...1999, I think. I'm using the same score (Peters Edition) now, and it's fun to see occasional things marked specifically because my conductor at the time wanted them that way, and to have my current conductor choose just the opposite.

I didn't go over the score before we started rehearsals last week, as I was curious to see what I would remember. Last night, we worked on movements three and seven, running through them at speed. Some parts went straight from backbrain to mouth, with no conscious effort. Then, suddenly, a roadblock--a single measure where my brain shorted out. It was like I'd never seen it before. The measure was covered with pencil marks, I saw, but I didn't have time to focus on them. After we stopped, I was able to look at the marks, which showed me how the notes repeated (and didn't, in the trickiest spot). Once I saw how I'd marked it, the next time I sang it perfectly, as if my memory had been returned to me all of a piece; I could feel the memory in my voice. Or because I knew what the marks were, and this time a glance was enough to remind me what they meant.

I think this might be like spelling. There are those certain words which, no matter how many times I look them up and confirm their spelling, I still am not sure the next time I want to use them. This measure was clearly a problem for me the first time, as I'd marked it so carefully, so I had to learn it by rote repetition, not intuitively. Perhaps rote learning doesn't stick as well, deep down?

There were a couple of other little spots like that, but none so dramatic.
Tags: singing
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