How I memorize Progressions.

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#1 12 July, 2017 - 13:42
Joined: 2 weeks 3 days ago

How I memorize Progressions.

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?


F# ----------------------- G
One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small
F# ------------------------- G
and the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all
---- A ------ C ------D ------A
go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall.

I'm ignoring the lyrics.

First I identify a relevant tonic (F# in this case) and assign that to my father.
-It all begins at a tree not far from my home.
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.

1) 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.)
2) 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).
3) I use real locations to give the story strong context.
4) 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:
1) 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?

12 July, 2017 - 14:35
Joined: 2 weeks 3 days ago

Another thing I like about this:
-I quickly get a grasp of the chord AND it's relationship to the other chords.

In one story My Father(tonic) sends his mean bullDog after my son(dominant) who's eating an apple.

-I instantly am aware of the notes and their relationship to each other (A is the 5th of tonic D).

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