View Full Version : Memorising classical bass pieces

04-29-2005, 12:01 AM
Im currently hoping to learnsome classical pieces for bass and it will help improve my finger dexterity, hand co ordination and my theory and memorisation skills. The piece im hoping to learn is (sonata #1 in G minor). I can play it technically wise no problems, i have great bass technique its just that the memorisation part of it is woefull for me. It would take a hell of a lot of time to memorise and play proficiently. But really am i kiddin' my self, i mean all classical pieces are difficult. Its 7 pages long but i might work on a few bars a day or if im lucky 1 page of music. It sure will improve my bass technique and sounds great to play. Its the type of thing to play to all those other "know it all" musicians who think they are the best thing on this universe. SO has anyone got any suggestions or things? BTW, it never repeats itself, i dont think, so that makes it harder. Im using to learning rock lines where the riffs repeat over and over and classical is just way over me. Its challenging but ill take one bite at a time so to speak.

Memorisation has to be a top skill of a musician that usually gets overlooked. The ability to memorise long, technically demanding classical pieces aint no walk in the park. Thats what makes jazz a bit easier, its mostly improvised;) .

enough of my stupid ramblings...sorry.

04-29-2005, 04:20 AM
There's not much to really say other than just keep playing it over and over again. Some things that help me to memorize pieces is to identify different arpegios or scales that make up the piece. I might think "ok, in measure three it's just going up a C major arppegio starting on E, then down the scale."

Another thing that really helps me is to listen to a recording of it a lot. The more that I have the song in my head, the easier it is to play it from memory. There are two parts to remembering a song: remembering how it goes musically, and remembering how to physically play it on your instrument. Often, if I know how it goes musically well enough, my fingers will usually follow suit and play what I'm hearing.

05-21-2005, 03:23 AM
Yeah, learning major Classical pieces are difficult. Sometimes it takes 3-6 mos. to learn a major piece, sometimes a whole year on really tough pieces. You can only realistically add 6-10 classical pieces a year to your ongoing repertoire. Itís difficult learning classical at the start, especially those first ones. Your brainpower is really challenged and you get mentally fatigued, but it gets easier as you mature as a musician. Your mind gets tougher and you can handle it, if you know what I mean. Also, playing for many Juries in a college setting helps a lot.

I learn sections at a time by breaking it up, usually at cadences. Try to think in terms of chord structure and progressions (Minor 7th, Dom7, Cycles, cadences etc.) to help the memorization. Also, some players are just better at memorizing things than others. Lots of theory will help categorize things for ya and is another reason to learn all you can. I always use a metronome starting at 45-50MM to work out the kinks, working my way up to the proper speed. I will usually work on 3 pieces at a time and learn them as a set to help speed up the learning process and to be more efficient.

Practice a lot ... and then some more even when tired,