The Arab Music Archiving and Research foundation (AMAR), in collaboration with the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), presents “Niẓāmunā al-Mūsīqī”.
Welcome to a new episode of “Niẓāmunā al-Mūsīqī”.
Today, I will be resuming our discussion on the subject of Memorising with Mr Mustafa Said.
It seems there was a teaching method consisting in playing a melody free from any ornaments. Yet, this is not available to us because most of our recordings are commercial recordings reflecting live performances, and were thus not intended for memorising purposes. On the other hand, we do have Mr Darwīsh al-Ḥarīrī’s 1932 Congress muwashshaḥ recordings intended for teaching or documenting purposes, and that are thus easy to memorise from. It seems this was the teaching method at the time.
We can listen to some samples if you wish.
Excellent. Let us listen…
Mr Mustafa, are there problems in relation to cases of persons who memorise something incorrectly and then attempt to get rid of this incorrect “version”?
As I told you, memorising the recorded piece is wrong. The piece must be memorised, not the recording… there is a difference. I once had a pupil who did not know how to memorise: he was hasty and used to tell me that he had memorised a piece while he had not. He thought he had because he used to play the recording on the computer –or on something else–, played along with it, and thought he had memorised the piece. Then he would come the next day, not having memorised anything.
One must memorise the piece by playing it alone, not from playing along with a recording… because you are supposed to end up playing it alone or with others. So do not think that by rehearsing while playing along with a recording you will be able to memorise the piece and play it alone later.
I have a question: a person who had memorised a samā‘ī incorrectly long ago decides to play it today. Yet he finds out that the possibilities as well as the understanding have changed… How does he get rid of his old habits and succeed in playing it correctly?
He will realise this by himself.
Will he be able?
He will not play following the way he had memorised in the past?
No. He will realise this by himself.
Even short pieces, such as lāzima-s memorized incorrectly, or incorrect additions…?
Since this person was able to evolve, and did so within five years because he decided to, and thus reached a different level, then the way he thinks also evolved in this same direction.
To me, those who do not evolve are those who insist on keeping the mistakes they made in their previous memorisation, whereas those who have the ability to evolve can also develop their method of memorising that is part of their training.
By the way, as good and prolific as a composer may be, if he contents himself with what he has, he will remain confined within the same vicious circle his whole life. Whereas, if one goes on listening and memorising new works -i.e. the inherited, or what he comes across–, listening well and applying the new methods in order to evolve…. Well… if he does not do this, then his creativity will remain limited. As old as a person may become and however high the phase he reaches may be, he must not content himself with this because memorising is good for one’s memory.
Where does studying come in the memorising process? If one memorised a piece three years ago, and later memorised tens or hundreds of other pieces, what are the required intervals to rehearse the previous one and keep it in mind?
Whenever you feel that you are on the verge of forgetting a piece you must rehearse it.
What is the mechanism?
You will know. You brain will show you.
Depending on the need?
Exactly. Your brain will show you what you have forgotten and what you have not forgotten.
Can we now listen to one of the marvellous performances illustrating Memorising?
Let us listen to a Sheikh’s performance and to an instrumental performance.
Let us listen to “Aḍā’ al-nūr” performed by Sheikh ‘Alī Maḥmūd and then performed by Muḥammad al-Fayyūmī… even if it is only an excerpt…
What about the instrumental performance?
Let us listen to ‘Āṣim Bēh’s bashraf rāst played by al-‘Aqqād, then by Sāmī al-Shawwā, then by al-Qaṣṣabgī, then by ‘Alī al-Rashīdī…
We have reached the end of today’s episode of “Niẓāmunā al-Mūsīqī” presented to you by Fadil al-Turki and Mr Mustafa Said.
Thank you for listening.
We will meet again soon.
“Niẓāmunā al-Mūsīqī” is brought to you by Mustafa Said.