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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Chrispurchase, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Chrispurchase


    Oct 24, 2007
    I've been playing for a couple years now and I'm pretty happy with my theory knowledge and technique, but recently I have started to jam with other musicians and i have noticed that my ear isn't really as good as it should be...

    I've been using Auralia for interval recognition, rhythmic & melodic dictation and do well on them but it doesn't seem to be assisting with the jam sessions.

    I'd really like to start doing some transcription but don't know quite where to start with it. How do you transcribe and any easy songs that you'd recommend?

    Thanks for all the help....

  2. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    You can transcribe anything you like, it doesn't have to be a bass line. If you need something really basic do nursery rhyme songs, or old church hymns, folk songs... anything with a melody that is easy to sing (and singing does help). The more you do the better and faster you'll get.

    Interval recognition is a good place to start, but when you really get going you'll know the sound without thinking of the name of the interval (just like you don't think of how words are spelled when you are talking with someone).

    It may take some time. Be as patient with yourself as you would be if you were teaching a loved one.
  3. I'd start with some simple melodies, ones that have words might be a little easier because they are simpler to remember, and you can sing them without feeling like a muppet. Try something like yesterday, it's got a fairly simple melody, and once you have that it becomes easier to figure out other things. Another way would be to either grab your bass, or a guitar, or go to a piano, or an instrument you can play chords on, work out the root note for each chord, then work out major/minor by adding the third etc. I find it makes it easier if I can find a starting note from a phrase, either play it or sing it so I can identify it, and then sketch out whether it goes up or down, or round and round, and then apply notes to that until you find the notes that are being played/sung.

    I found it quite tough to begin with but it becomes easier with time, and practice. A useful tool is to learn solfage (do ray mi fa so la ti) It works over any major scale, so if you know the melody goes - ray do do, and then you work out that the song is in G, you then know that the notes are - A G G.

    Good luck, hope you can extract some useful information from all that nonsense,
  4. Gary Willis ear training book is great for this. It starts out with intervals but very quickly gets to transcription.

    By the end of the book you have exercises consisting of multipart transcriptions with chords, melody, bassline etc. , and you have to do them all completely by ear.
  5. very good advice!
  6. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Also transcribe your own ideas. Your listening to some music or just get an idea for a line. First try to transcribe it in your head only, don't worry about key or things work on the line the interval between notes, see yourself playing it. Then get your bass and figure it out. Do little bits like this really starts pulling together the brain, voice, instrument.

    Have another musician friend wanting to work on their ear too, do this back and forth. Doesn't matter what instrument they play take turns starting with simple 3-4 note riffs. They play the riff and you figure it out play it back to them, then reverse the process. Basically you're slowing down what goes on onstage in good bands players listening and feeding off each other to make music dynamic and unique to each performance.
  7. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Transcribe Christmas songs. They are easy and you know them all.
  8. Martin Bormann

    Martin Bormann

    Sep 20, 2007
    When you transcribe a song, go one measure at a time. Listen for the bass movement first, notate the bass then above the staff write in the chord quality. Then work your way up through the voices until you have everything written. It also helps to figure out placement of time and key signatures before you start. You can do it on the fly, but it'll tend to throw you off if you come across a couple changes in a song.
  9. Chrispurchase


    Oct 24, 2007
    Thanks for all the tips & info... I guess like any thing the hardest thing is getting started, I still find it all a bit intimidating.

    I spoke to one of the musicians that I'm jamming with and he suggested using a piano to find out a starting point but then to avoid using an instruments as develops & teaches you to trust your ear quickly - Is this a good idea?

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