My first post! I’m so pumped!
Below is the technique I’ve used to memorize chord progressions -i.e., The Beau Method ;D
Following the technique are some thoughts, a potential problem, and possible solution/modification.
+ For progressions I’ve assigned each scale Degree to a person.
-Tonic/1 (my father); Super-tonic/2 (my brother); Mediant/3 (me); Subdominant/4 (my ex-wife); Dominant/5 (our son); Submediant/6 (my mother); Leading Tone or subtonic/7 (my grandmother)
++ Every degree has a person 1,2,3,4,5,6,7.
To remember the progression 1-4-5 it would involve my father, then my ex-wife, then my son.
Chord qualities and letters are encoded through associative actions/images.
-for instance I create doubles of things to remember Sharps.
What about a progression like the first verse of “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane?
I’m ignoring the lyrics.
First I identify a relevant tonic (F# in this case) and assign that to my father.
A white rabbit runs out of a knot in the tree and at my father (Tonic) -who has two giant Falcons(F#) on his shoulders.
My brother (Supertonic/2) appears as a mage casting a spell turning both falcons into Gold (Gmajor).
The Falcons(F#/Tonic) break the gold -chasing him to a telephone pole nearby and steal his hat.
As they fly away, my brother casts GOLD(G) again and their heavy metal bodies tumble into a tree.
I, Beau, (Mediant/3) fly to rescue the hat using my Angel wings (A) then land on a gate when my son (Dominant/5) runs up wearing a magic Cape (Cmaj) and turns me into stone.
A Dragon (D) ridden by my mother (submediant/6) crawls down a tree nearby and takes the hat from my son.
I (A/Mediant/3) fly and rescue the hat in mid-air from the Dragon -before crossing the street on an IMAGINARY BRIDGE.
So that is the VERSE progression, and it ends by segueing into the progression for the BRIDGE.
-When I transition back into the VERSE after the Bridge, I use V from V for Vendetta as my link.
I’ve done a few songs this way.
- Because chord names repeat so often in progressions -I use on-the-fly associations more often to inspire creative links -as opposed to pre-set associations (e.g., The Amajor chord in this story is Angel wings. In another story I used an Apple.)
- Keeping themes running in stories seems to help strengthen the links (I keep using the GOLD spell, so I remember when I’m dealing with a Gmajor chord).
- I use real locations to give the story strong context.
- The people I use are originally encoded onto my fingers. I have 10 people encoded onto each of my 10 fingers, and I use the first 7 fingers to remember the first seven scale degrees.
One problem I foresee is:
What happens when key changes occur… especially if they occur frequently (a la Jazz) ?
A change I’m considering:
- How would it work if I assign an OBJECT to each scale degree (tonic, supertonic, mediant, etc.)
-AND assigned 7 people to each note name (G, A, B, C, etc.)??
If I want to encode I-IV-V in Cmajor:
Carl drinks tonic water (C/Tonic) and falls off a ledge landing on Frankie the Judo practitioner (F/Subdominant) who breaks the wrist of Gladys the dominatrix (G/Dominant).
I’ve also got a system for memorizing every note on the staff A0-C8. I’m extremely excited by it, and I’d love to share and help perfect all of these systems. I’ll make a new topic about it soon.
Thoughts and comments about memorizing progressions the way I’m doing it?