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Memorizing songs

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Hi all,

No not the lyrics. If you're going in and out of several modes/registers (and I do A LOT) in a song how do you memorize them? This is pretty difficult for me also because my normal accent can sound bad so I try to be close to the way the singers sound. I can repeat each line after a singer and sound good, but when I'm singing the same song over a karaoke track or something I sound terrible. I still can't sing a song in it's entirety.

So what's a good approach to memorizing a song? Do you repeat the lines dozens of times (can be very tiring)?

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Singers will sometimes use what is called a song map. You take a copy of the music with the lyrics, at least, but maybe also includes the score for vocal cues. And you make notes where the voice comes in and even what mode you want for that particular section. For example, you may want a whiny siren, such as the Robert Plant banshee wail on "Immigrant Song." Then make a note for the regular stanzas of lyrics to sound like Lord Christopher Monckton, Viscount, and former science advisor to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain. Sometimes, a mental image can help more than a technical definition. Then, for the higher parts of the lyric, notate Alvin the chipmunk, or something like that. Whatever your mental image is for the modes.

Anyway, the process is called song mapping and there is nothing wrong with making these notes to yourself. It's called being prepared. Practice a song with these notes and eventually, it will be come almost a physical memory, linked to the mental images you create as a mnemonic.

I mapped "Heaven and Hell," mainly for the vocal cues. Much of the song is repetitive accompaniment and it would be easy to get lost in the measures. So, notes between stanzas might say "two reps Iommi tri-tone cycle."

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