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How do you figure out rhythms for transcribing?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by wulf, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    An aspect of transcription that I'm getting better at but which I still find slows me down is figuring out how to write down the rhythms I'm hearing. When putting something down, the notes are often relatively easy to determine but I seem to take an inordinate amount of time getting the rhythms down.

    I generally sing the line I'm working on while tapping the beat with my fingers. I'll then sing it round, slower and slower while tapping smaller and smaller subdivisions of the beat - eights, triplets, sixteenths - to try and hear where the notes fall.

    Practise is helping me get better but I was wondering if:

    a) there are other approaches I could try (maybe something else will work better for me)

    b) is there any software that would, for example, let me tap in a rhythm on the computer keyboard and then print out it's interpretation?

  2. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Absolutley the same here, take me hours to write down the rhythm of something correctly!

    Notes are easy, but grooves, especially 16th note feel is a just real task!

    I actually find it's figuring out exactly where all the notes lie in relation to the beat that is tough. I mean I can play it, but working out where it goes on paper is tough.

    I didnt read your post initially - I'm working on less than half a browser window at work and I missed it... and I posted EXACTLY the same thing - almost word for word what you described! :)

    This is precisely what I do.
    I have noticed that the more I do it, it easier to gets, you get used to the rhythm and how it will look when you've written it down... but it still takes me eons!

    To be honest I think it's one of those things that you just have to do for years until you can do it second nature.

    I mean I have little problem with a simple line quarters and 8ths - only when it gets to syncopated 16th lines that it gets real tough.

    Moley's the man to ask - he did some transcription for me for a bet, - they were SO neat and clearly written - very impressive.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    So... all I need is moley's brain in a jar and then I'm sorted... :ninja: :eek: :D

  4. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    More or less... maybe on a plate with a few electrodes stuck in it for good measure?
  5. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Same here. I find the slower I tap/sing, the easier it gets.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think that's right - it's just a question of doing a lot of it!

    I remember Jeff Berlin - when he had his own ask the pro forum - mentioned about spending two solid weeks on transcribing a Jazz peformance - just one tune - and that was every waking minute!! :eek:

    From Jazz pros I've met - it seems to help a lot if you are a decent pianist - they use piano to check if stuff "sounds" right and having a facility on piano is a useful skill for transcribing.
  7. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Sounds like I know 'the trick' then ;)

    Any suggestions on software to assist?

  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    That's pretty much how I do it too.

    You can use Bome's Mouse Keyboard http://www.bome.com/midi/keyboard/ or some other PC-keyboard to Midi-converter and hook it via midiyoke http://www.midiox.com/index.htm?[url]http://www.midiox.com/myoke.htm into your sequencer program of choice e.g. Cubase. The program needs notation capabilities, notation programs like Finale (Notepad) might work too.

    Now you can tap your pc-keyboard, but since the refresh rate is pretty low, it may not be too precise.

    You can always test your transcriptions in any notation program, e.g. Finale Notepad http://www.finalemusic.com/notepad/

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