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Transcribing Tools #2922127 12/12/19 02:39 AM
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Chelly85 Offline OP
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Hi, I am keen to start transcribing and I am hoping you wise jazz cats could offer me some tips. What tools do you use and are there any good tunes to start off on?

Thanks in advance

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Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Chelly85] #2922199 12/12/19 10:10 AM
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Transcribing is one of the best ways to learn to play. There is no better teacher than the music itself!

I've done a lot of transcribing and there is one tool that is indispensable: the transcribe app from seventh string software. https://www.seventhstring.com

Simply put, it is amazing (I have no connection with the programmer). The spectral analysis feature is invaluable at transcribing voicings.

Start with some simple Miles solos from his Relaxin', Steamin', Cookin', Workin' quintet albums, like It Could Happen To You from Relaxin'. His solo starts at about 0:49.

All of the lessons on my site are transcription-based. Please visit!


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Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Chelly85] #2922451 12/13/19 04:12 AM
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Chelly85 Offline OP
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Thanks, I will definitely check that out although I'm not great with technology so I might be back asking how it works. I've found some YouTube demos for Transcribe so I will check them out first.

Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Chelly85] #2922502 12/13/19 09:27 AM
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It's a real easy program to use. I recommend that my students put Transcribe on their cell phone (there is also a laptop version). One of the key features is the ability to slow down the tempo, so you can listen to a loop over and over until you really hear it, let's say while driving the car. Most teachers recommend being able to sing a solo before attempting to transcibe it.


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Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Chelly85] #2928615 12/31/19 09:22 AM
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FlatFifth Offline
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A great program for users of Apple products is Anytune. https://anytune.us/

There's a free version to try, but the Pro version is well worth the upgrade.

Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Chelly85] #2928945 01/01/20 11:21 AM
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jjo Offline
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I've used the Amazing Slowdowner for years. It does the same thing; slows the music down but keeps it at pitch. If you use Spotify you can run any tune on Spotify through the program, so that gives you an infinite library. Otherwise you need to download the tune to the phone or device that has the transcribing program.

Here are a couple of additional thoughts:
1. The Miles Davis material is a great recommendation. It's easier to transcribe than a piano solo with a zillion notes.
2. Start with just transcribing the melodic line of a solo. Get a lead sheet so you know the chord progression, which will help you figure out some of the notes in the solo. Write out several blank choruses of the chord changes so you can slowly fill in the notes of the solo as you figure them out.
3. At some point you may want to try to figure out the chord progression in a tune, and to do that you'll probably want to transcribe some of the bass line.
4. You may also want to transcribe some left hand comping under a piano solo. That is, at least to me, a much harder skill.

Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Chelly85] #2929485 01/02/20 04:52 PM
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I use Transcribe+ on my iPad and Audacity on the computer. Both have the ability to change tempo without affecting pitch. And they both can loop sections.


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Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Chelly85] #2929505 01/02/20 05:36 PM
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TonyB Offline
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A feature that Transcribe! has had for several years is the ability to treat video files in similar manner to audio files (i.e. set loop points, slow down without changing pitch, etc.). It uses the Open Source gstreamer package, so though I use it on Windows laptop, I don't know what other platforms gstreamer is supported on.

Being able to download youtube videos and download courses that contain videos, makes handling of video by Transcribe! a really nice thing to have.

Tony

Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: FlatFifth] #2930274 01/04/20 07:25 PM
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Wes Lachot Offline
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Originally Posted by FlatFifth
A great program for users of Apple products is Anytune. https://anytune.us/

There's a free version to try, but the Pro version is well worth the upgrade.

Agreed that Anytune is a great cell phone app for transcribing. I forgot to mention that one.

By the way FlatFifth, welcome to Pianoworld!


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Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Chelly85] #2932507 01/11/20 04:33 AM
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fatar760 Offline
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Interesting that all the replies mention apps.

My first instinct was to suggest a manuscript pad, pencil, rubber, pencil sharpener, another rubber, ears and patience :p

Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: fatar760] #2932593 01/11/20 11:45 AM
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+1


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Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: fatar760] #2933229 01/13/20 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by fatar760
Interesting that all the replies mention apps.

My first instinct was to suggest a manuscript pad, pencil, rubber, pencil sharpener, another rubber, ears and patience :p


I did this 3 or 4 years back. Sitting at the piano with my computer mouse within reach of my right hand and YouTube playing. Stopping the cursor and trying to determine chords and melody notes. The songs I transcribed were Jarrett's Mysteries and Le Mistral. Also 2 of Burt Bacharach's songs: Alfie and Promises Promises. They were songs that I admired and wanted to know how they work. They also used straight forward harmonies.

But when I tried to transcribe Dave Brubeck's "Rising Sun" from "Jazz Impressions of Japan" the process broke down when the chord voicings became more close and dissonant. Someone mentioned using spectral analysis to determine pitches. I've wondered how people transcribe more complex harmonies.

A composer named Sam Andreyev analyzing and critiquing Captain Beefheart's song "Frownland" from "Trout Mask Replica". I can't fathom how he did it. Would this be using "spectral analysis" ? "Frownland" is played at the beginning of the video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FhhB9teHqU&t=1s

The "insert media tag" seems to work at times and not work at others.


Last edited by indigo_dave; 01/13/20 08:47 AM.
Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: indigo_dave] #2933570 01/14/20 04:30 AM
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Nahum Offline
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Originally Posted by indigo_dave
.

But when I tried to transcribe Dave Brubeck's "Rising Sun" from "Jazz Impressions of Japan" the process broke down when the chord voicings became more close and dissonant. Someone mentioned using spectral analysis to determine pitches. I've wondered how people transcribe more complex harmonies.


Why? I don't see anything unusual, unless voicings unfamiliar. [Linked Image]

Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: indigo_dave] #2933690 01/14/20 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by indigo_dave


A composer named Sam Andreyev analyzing and critiquing Captain Beefheart's song "Frownland" from "Trout Mask Replica". I can't fathom how he did it. Would this be using "spectral analysis" ? "Frownland" is played at the beginning of the video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FhhB9teHqU&t=1s


Such things are not transcribed, but improvised, in accordance with rather simple principles. I would not waste time on this.

Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: fatar760] #2934342 01/15/20 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by fatar760
Interesting that all the replies mention apps.

My first instinct was to suggest a manuscript pad, pencil, rubber, pencil sharpener, another rubber, ears and patience :p


OK, Boomer ... laugh laugh laugh


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Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Nahum] #2935210 01/17/20 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by indigo_dave


A composer named Sam Andreyev analyzing and critiquing Captain Beefheart's song "Frownland" from "Trout Mask Replica". I can't fathom how he did it. Would this be using "spectral analysis" ? "Frownland" is played at the beginning of the video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FhhB9teHqU&t=1s


Such things are not transcribed, but improvised, in accordance with rather simple principles. I would not waste time on this.


Thanks for the transcription of the Brubeck "Rising Sun" intro. I thought I was hearing some harmonic 2nd's in it. I haven't played thru your transcription yet - I will.

I posted the Frownland link because the music was so dense and contrapuntal. the song Frownland was composed . Sam Andreyev (a composer and teacher) analyzes it in the video I posted. Don Van Vliet sat at a piano an improvised a motif. When he had something he wanted, he had a band member (who could notate music) notate it. He composed the parts that are being played in this manner. The band rehearsed it for months and went in the studio and recorded it within something like an hour. This music is something akin to Bela Bartok's composition in his 4th String Quartet. And incidentally, Sam Andreyev also has a video analyzing Bartok's 4 string quartet.

Another example:

I have good ears for functional harmony - learn pop songs by ear generally speaking. But I'm wondering about music using more complex harmony and more dense chord voicings.

A graduate music student named June Lee has transcribed a lot of Jacob Collier's music in YouTube videos. I think I read that June Lee has perfect pitch. So is that the key to being able to transcribe the close and complex harmonic voicings that Jacob so often uses ? Or Are there software tools available to assist in this ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI3UDcY4hi4

Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Chelly85] #2935239 01/17/20 10:04 AM
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Mark Polishook Offline
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ID .... your ears are always your best friends, as you well know smile Tools can make things easier, no doubt. But end of day, ear “work,” sustained, and given time, across days and weeks, is a pretty good way to go. And of course my answer here is NOT definitive but it does come from my experience .... smile

Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: indigo_dave] #2935254 01/17/20 10:25 AM
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Nahum Offline
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Originally Posted by indigo_dave
[

I have good ears for functional harmony - learn pop songs by ear generally speaking. But I'm wondering about music using more complex harmony and more dense chord voicings.

A graduate music student named June Lee has transcribed a lot of Jacob Collier's music in YouTube videos. I think I read that June Lee has perfect pitch. So is that the key to being able to transcribe the close and complex harmonic voicings that Jacob so often uses ? Or Are there software tools available to assist in this ?


A very long experience in transcribing leads to some patents that facilitate the process:

1. First of all, the heads of notes with no rhythmic design are written off, the rhythmic side is later.

2. In the case of a chord, the highest pitch is transcribed first, then the lowest, then fill pitches.

3. At normal speed, the soprano of chord is heard most clearly, which can be helped by equalization in the direction of high frequencies, and in the case of stereo sound, changes in panning. If soprano is very high, you can lower the recording an octave down.

4 .To detect lower pitch the reverse process is required to remove high frequencies and amplify the middle and low, raising the recording an octave up.

5. To find the internal pitches of a chord, theoretical knowledge ( that's where they are needed!) Helps first of all: identifying the chord itself ,its function (finding the bass pitch), it's available chord tensions , his position - closed, open, drop 2, drop 3, drop 2 and 4, spread . Everything is searched by trial and comparison with the original.

6. The persistent work of the ears strong tires them, so it is recommended that after stopping take a break of two days and then return ; you will definitely hear your inaccuracies and mistakes!

Last edited by Nahum; 01/17/20 10:27 AM.
Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Nahum] #2935411 01/17/20 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Polishook
ID .... your ears are always your best friends, as you well know smile Tools can make things easier, no doubt. But end of day, ear “work,” sustained, and given time, across days and weeks, is a pretty good way to go. And of course my answer here is NOT definitive but it does come from my experience .... smile


I like ears. I'm thinking trying transcribing after a long period of not doing it. So does anyone have recommendations for a good iPad app for it. The is something called Anytune in the App Store. Any others ?




Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by indigo_dave
[


A very long experience in transcribing leads to some patents that facilitate the process:

1. First of all, the heads of notes with no rhythmic design are written off, the rhythmic side is later.

2. In the case of a chord, the highest pitch is transcribed first, then the lowest, then fill pitches.

3. At normal speed, the soprano of chord is heard most clearly, which can be helped by equalization in the direction of high frequencies, and in the case of stereo sound, changes in panning. If soprano is very high, you can lower the recording an octave down.

4 .To detect lower pitch the reverse process is required to remove high frequencies and amplify the middle and low, raising the recording an octave up.

5. To find the internal pitches of a chord, theoretical knowledge ( that's where they are needed!) Helps first of all: identifying the chord itself ,its function (finding the bass pitch), it's available chord tensions , his position - closed, open, drop 2, drop 3, drop 2 and 4, spread . Everything is searched by trial and comparison with the original.

6. The persistent work of the ears strong tires them, so it is recommended that after stopping take a break of two days and then return ; you will definitely hear your inaccuracies and mistakes!


Thanks Nahum I did #1 just out of practical necessity. I also experienced #6. My transcribing experience seemed to me something like doing a crossword puzzle. Not sure about the others. I think I often notated the highest note and of course the bass had clues. The middle notes are the problem.

Anyway, thanks to you both for your responses. And good to see you in the neighborhood Mark.

Re: Transcribing Tools [Re: Mark Polishook] #2935422 01/17/20 04:15 PM
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TonyB Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Polishook
ID .... your ears are always your best friends, as you well know smile Tools can make things easier, no doubt. But end of day, ear “work,” sustained, and given time, across days and weeks, is a pretty good way to go. And of course my answer here is NOT definitive but it does come from my experience .... smile


Using tools to slow down music is something that various musicians, especially guitar players have done for a long time. Before all the tools we have today, we slowed down albums on turntables by playing them at half speed. Some people used a reel to reel recorder, recording at 7 1/2 IPS and playing back at 3 3/4 IPS.

These days, using Transcribe! or similar tool, we are doing the same thing, but with MP3 or WAV files - slowing the recording down. The big difference is that now we can set loop points.

So however one does it, we do rely on our ears. When I was growing up, that is typically how we learned to play guitar. So it was quite common for guitar players to have good relative pitch as a result.

For pop music, knowing basic diatonic theory is a big help because then, you automatically know the most used chords in a given key (I, IV, V, and ii, iii, vi) as well as the major and minor scales for that key, making it much easier to figure out what is going on. If a chord occurs that is not among these, you start looking at secondary dominants and tritone subs, and that pretty much covers what you are likely to encounter unless there are parallel minors and that sort of thing. But knowing about these, again makes the selection process easier too.

In the end, a combination of good ears and at least some knowledge of the craft of music goes a long way.

Tony

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