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Software programmes to transcribe recorded music on cd to notation


South Norwood
Hi All,

I would like to transcribe certain sax parts from my cd collection. I have searched high and low for published music but no luck eg Fela Kuti, Orlando Julius, Manu Dibango and others. I have seen computer programmes TwelveKeys, Seventh String and Roni Music, but the question is which one or is there another programme which can be purchased, also are they any good?

Many thanks,

Bob Hewlett
The gold standard is Sibelius. But it isn't cheap. The others will chime in with other suggestions, but I've been using the free Musescore. It's usable, but a bit buggy and not over intuitive, so I'd hesitate to recommend it.
Simon@jazzwise was a great advocate of Transcribe. It is available from - I haven't used it so can't give you any details, sorry. Maybe others can recommend it or similar.
I've done lots of transcribing using Noteflight, but I'm not sure what you are expecting - Noteflight is just score-writing software so I listen to the track, work out what's going on and write the dots accordingly. It will transcribe written score from concert to Bb/Eb though.
Transcribe won't do the job for you.. what it does allow you to do though is to play sections of any length at any speed you want and to repeat whilst you try to work it out. It will also allow you to analyse a section of music to identify the notes that are within that section. By clever use of filtering you can isolate a solo part reasonably and then go through it note by note to get a rough approximation of the notation - however you will still other software to actually create (write) the score.

Another way that can work with some recordings is to find something that will do an approximate mp3 to midi conversion of a part and then use midi>notation software to write out the 'dots' for you.

I don't know of anything that will do the job in one hit though - but someone else might hopefully ..
Seventh String is the company that does Transcribe! software. That is what I use for making the transcriber's job easier, and then I write it out in Sibelius, but you could do that bit with paper and pencil or lots of different scoring programmes, from free to very expensive.

As far as I know, the conversion to midi will only work for very basic recordings (single instrument playing one note at a time). This is another area where the human ear is much better than current computer technology at distinguishing one instrument from lots of others.

If you want to do the transcriptions yourself, then it can be a fun and educational experience. Another approach is to pay someone else to do a transcription for you. Curtis Swift of will do pretty much any recording you give him and his transcriptions are first rate. He has done a few for me and they can cost around $20 - $30 depending on length and difficulty.

Good luck

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