Sunday, November 08, 2009

Chart Madness

Some of you may remember this rather complex memory aid that I created to help me memorize the Act I Finale of Barbiere. The math dork in me loved the process of breaking down the music and text into a pattern and assigning numbers and letters, like a complex algebra problem. I carried the “cheat sheet” around with me through hours of staging rehearsal, and by opening night it was solidly memorized.

I haven’t really had opportunity to put this method into practice again - until now! On November 19*, Jocelyn and I will perform Hillula for the third time, and this time I’m determined to have it memorized. Judd has made a few revisions, streamlining the work a bit, and I love it even more. (There is also talk of totally expanding the work, into more of a chamber showpiece; can’t wait to see how that evolves!) I started spending some time with it to refresh my knowledge of the piece, and quickly realized that I was going to need a system to memorize this. There is lot of thematic material repeated, but with different texts, and several little interjections of material from other sections. It took me about three hours of adjusting and regrouping and relabeling, but I think I found it.

What I learned through the process this time was that these charts are more about the time I spend with the piece than they are about the final product. Those three hours of looking at the score and analyzing it and coming to terms with how it is laid out did more for my memorization process than this chart probably will, in the long run.

So, do you want to see it? It’s rather mad... But here’s a look inside the crazed workings of my mind! (#’s = Music, Letters = Text)

1 - Ax4ax5
3 - B(b2)Cccc’c
4 - D
4’ - Aaa
5 - EEF
6 - Gx4
6’ - eE
3b - H(h2)IJjx4
1b - BKL
1c - M(e)m(a)m
1d - Nnx4
4b - Ppx12

* Come check it out! Beth Morrison Projects presents a 21st C. Liederabend at the awesome Galapagos Art Space. The incredible lineup includes works by Corey Dargel, Caleb Burhans, Missy Mazzoli, David T. Little, and performances by David Adam Moore, Kamala Sankaram, Abigail Fischer, and many more. It’s a big night of vocal music, with lots of great stuff happening. Hope to see you there!

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