Monday, August 1, 2016

Transcribing Audio to Written Notation

Transcribing audio files to written notation requires persistent effort and a certain degree of musical knowledge to succeed. Musicians should already have an understanding of how to read music. Without this basic knowledge, it will not be possible to transcribe audio to written notation. For those that do have the knowledge to transcribe music methods exist to accomplish transcription successfully.

Looping

Looping refers to a process of taking a small segment of the audio and repeating it. This technique makes it possible to concentrate on a small portion of the music. If the music is slow, you can try looping each chord until you can accurately notate it. For faster music, it may be beneficial to purchase an audio editing program. Choose a program that will allow you to slow the music down significantly without distorting the sound. These programs are useful for beginners, but they should not be used as a long-term solution. Developing your speed and learning to transcribe music in real-time should take preference over using audio editing programs.

Musical Form

Transcribers determine the musical form before starting. This helps them set goals and makes it possible to map the progress of the transcription. Concentrate on one section at a time. By mapping out the musical form, it makes it easier to copy sections that are repeated. Most music will repeat parts with only slight variations. In a piece in ABA form, once you get the first A section done, you are effectively half-way done. Each new letter in an ABA form represents a new section.

Rhythm

If you are having trouble figuring out the melody and the harmony, try writing out the rhythm first. Once you get the rhythm notated correctly, it will be easier to write the melody. Often, notating the rhythm will be simpler than the melody. The rhythm will provide a roadmap on which to base the melody. Writing the melody first makes it possible for you to skip melodic pitches that you are having trouble identifying. This makes it possible for you to come back later and fill in the remaining pitches.

Melody

When transcribing a tonal piece, figure out the key signature first. Most melodies are stepwise, so if you can't find an exact pitch, writing the stepwise diatonic notes may help you. Don't worry about the leaps at first. Concentrate on filling in as much of the melody as you can, then go back and work out what the intervals that leap are.