Remembering song lyrics

Remembering lyricsSeemingly every week, there are reports of different singers or rappers not remembering song lyrics during a concert. Although I can understand that this catches people’s attention, I have never understood why such a big deal is made of it.

Singers often have a big repertoire to remember, and are also concentrating on their performance and probably 100 other details we don’t notice from the hall.

Musician/photographer Bill King has an interesting perspective on it here. I thought his comments on remembering lyrics are particularly interesting.

“I truly think memorizing lyrics is about clearing the head and concentrating. As I said, I find this too much for me – yet it’s never a stress issue. Some people have [a] big memory and can look at a full page and retain. I look at a page and I see the binder clamps.

Lately, I’ve gotten really pissed at myself for relying on music and just listen and play along, over and over and find I retain so much easier. Another practice is reading the lyrics by themselves and really getting a true understanding of what’s being expressed. Next, go slowly with words and notes to hear the match-up.”

This last point is important. When is the last time you have taken the words of a song and read them through to see what sorts of meanings are there? Remember, there might be more than one – and meaning could give rise to a fresh, new interpretation to a song lyric.

For other tips, see learn to sing like a pro

2 replies on “Remembering song lyrics”

Well, now the BBC catches up with the Kinks (when’s the Gerry And The Pacemakers At The Beeb due out?) – yet, as in the case of the Who, the results are a bit underwhelming. First of all, it’s a 2-CD collection with each CD containing about fifty minutes of music, and where’s the fun in that? Especially after you read all the liner notes about the sessions the songs were taken from – obviously, the BBC has enough material to fill up an entire boxset, and they don’t even give the max on these two CDs? That’s disgraceful, if you ask me.

Anything to do with The Kinks is welcome. It seems to me they are slipping off the history books. And that’s a great shame for such incredble songwriters.

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