Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Classical_Thump, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. Classical_Thump


    Jan 26, 2005
    I am trying to start transcribing bebop sax and horn solos for bass, but I am having some difficulty figuring out where to begin. I try to find the starting notes on the bass and go from there, but they passages are often so fast its hard to keep up with the song. How do you guys go about transcribing other instruments, and also do you have any tips for bebop or just transcribing in general?
  2. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Start simple. Transcribe something that you can hear and can play. It is very helpful to have the chord changes to guide you.

    Something that has worked for me in the past:
    I map out the tune or the section of the tune I want to transcribe. Before I begin transcribing, I actually know how many measures of music I am working with.

    I then figure out the form of the tune (A section, B section...). Again, the chords are helpful.

    If the solo is super-fast, it might be helpful to get a device/software that allows you to slow down the tempo without changing the pitch. Sometimes I can map out the rhythm before I can figure out the pitches. Things begin to fit together like a puzzle.

    Also; if you can, it is helpful to be able to sing what you hear. I'm not a great singer, but this helps me find the notes on my bass a lot easier than the trial-and-error method.

    There are a lot of different ways to go about transcribing. These are just some of the things that work for me (some of the time) ;) . Good luck. Don't give up.

  3. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    a few tricks i've used.. some are more drastic than others:

    use Wavelab or similar to slow the tune down to about 70% tempo but retain the pitch.... this can have a huge effect on how easy it is to hear what's going on

    for specific chunks of tiny fast notes go into Wavelab and zero right in on the fragment... usually you can see the amplitudes of the notes sitting there going up and down... if you highlight just one note and set it to repeat it will play that one note and you can usually pick it out

    finally, for a real 'sledgehammer to crack a nut' I've imported audio passages into Cubase, added a metronome track and literally reconstructed the melody line note by note.. when you have a pulse clicking along and you can set single beats to repeat over & over, you can usually nail what's going on...

    and it's amazing how a lot of 'incredible musicians' are as sloppy as you and I when you analyse their timing in detail... funnily enough my admiration for Jaco went up when when i did this on him... he had exceptional time