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GUEST,Rumncoke Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain? (47) RE: Help: With Alzheimers- do songs remain? 12 Jul 06

I used to keep an index of my songs - just the titles, but I began to be unable to remember how to start them, so I got some good quality printer paper folded some booklets and started to write out every song completely.

I made them up into a book before I realised I had left out part of Tam lin - but I doubt I will ever need it. Once I get past verse three of a ballad I can usually keep going. It is normally something with three or four verses I muddle up.

More recently I have taken the book with me to folk festivals because I got worried about forgetting words.

A young man sat down and told me that I ought to learn the songs rather than read them because it wasn't the right way to do it. I tried to explain that they were not songs I was trying to remember, but songs I did not want to forget, but he did not appear to understand the difference.

I have had to write out another several hundred songs because other people are beginning to forget the words to them, or they hear a rather poor version of it and sing that instead of what I think of as a better one that used to be sung decades ago.

Now I don't forget tunes, never have done - I used to be able to remember a song and its tune after hearing it just once, but that was a long time ago. I sing 'Bitter withy' as I heard it at the Portsmouth Polytechnic Folk Club at The Star in Lake Rd in late 1969 or early '70 played by a man wearing trousers that must have been made out of old curtains, who played an accordion. But without the strong nasal tone.

Having just sung it though with only one hitch I can still(sometimes) recall it, though not perform it flawlessly first time. I always was more a singer than a performer.

I supose I have the first inkings of some form of dementia.

It would perhaps be relvant to point out that the forgetting does not hurt - it is how other people treat you when your memory fails that causes the pain.

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