#10 It’s only words, and that is all… Damn, what’s the next line?
First published in Trad and Now magazine, May 2008
By Bill Quinn
At a recent singing session, a participant asked a very leading question in between songs.
“I love singing and I love songs, but I can never remember all the words. How do you singers remember not only the words to one song, but to so many songs?”
It’s a fair question. One with possibly as many answers as there were singers in attendance to provide answers.
How does one recall to mind lyrics they’ve written themselves, lyrics written by their peers, and lyrics written by others from one to 400 years previous?
(Arguably, the same question applies to instruments, notes and chords, however, since the author isn’t a musician – or at least, not for the last 27 years – we’ll confine the discussion to the realm of the vocal cords.)
In singing sessions, not everyone is expecting polished performances, and there’s a fair amount of group effort involved; if someone starts to falter, others will usually chime in with a word or phrase or some background accompaniment while the main singer gets back on track. If they know the song. Continue reading