Saturday, February 12, 2011

Transcribe Music, Songs, Notes, Chord, Solos

To many musicians, the words “transcribing music,” are words that induce feelings of despair and nausea. Many musicians that have tried to transcribe music before may have run into problems such as: not being able to hear the bass line, the song may be played at too fast of a tempo to even give it a good try, etc. They may have tried to play a chord, but couldn’t make out one or two of the notes necessary to make the chord sound the right way. Transcribing music can be very difficult and challenging process (sigh); but it can also be a very rewarding.

Transcribing a song makes the transcriber listen to a song and play it by ear. Playing by ear definitely makes a person a better musician. Playing by ear makes you more aware of what is going on musically; creates more effective communication with other musicians; and gives you a bigger appreciation for what is being done in a song. A beginning transcriber will make many mistakes and miss some of the importance of a song. This is to be expected, so do not give up so quickly.

In order to transcribe music, there are several steps that must be taken. First, you must listen to the whole song several times, without stopping, rewinding, fast-forwarding, and pausing. Try singing or humming the melody of the song. Take notes. Don’t be afraid to write down how you feel about the song. Put chords to the music. Learn the solos, riffs, etc. Put this all down on paper. And in between all of that, also take the time to learn more about theory and other sheet music.

A program like Song Surgeon can be a huge aid for transcribers. It allows you to slow a song down so you can more clearly hear what is being played. It also enables you to set up loop points, so you can focus on specific segments and play them repeated AND at a slowed down pace. Many slow down program introduce distortion when a song is slowed down. Song Surgeon does not, it provides distortion free audio with both key and/or tempo change.

It also contains vocal reduction and EQ functionalities. These features allow you to diminish or minimize certain frequencies (i.e. instruments) so you can focus on others.

Lastly, Song Surgeon offers a fully functional, 4-hour free demo, so you can try the program before you buy it. If you are looking for some BIG time help or assistance with transcribing, take a look at Song Surgeon.

Don’t forget that transcribing music is not easy to do. If you fail, pick yourself up and try again. You’re most likely not going to get it right on the first try. It may take several different songs and a long time to develop good, accurate transcribing skills. Lastly, have fun with it and enjoy doing what many musicians are too scared to even attempt.

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