What, how and why are you transcribing?

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12
1) What: currently These Foolish Things by Lester Young
2) How: Listen, Play, repeat (I don't slow or write it down)
3) Why: I realised that I can't start transcribing with stuff from Sonny, Stan etc. Well, I could and did but it did not help me to grow a lot in terms of improvisation because I could not "unterstand" what they were thinking. Lester Young seems a good place to start for that because (1) it makes sense historically and (2) his lines are less technical, so I can focus more on harmonics, phrasing, sound etc.
 
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101
Location
Austin, TX
My first instrument is guitar but I often try to learn solos for tunes I am working on from sax players. Right now I started working on Johnny Hodges "I Got It Bad". I use Trasncribe! software with foot pedal to control playback.
 
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1) Remember by Hank Mobley

2) my CD player has a little button which means I can put little sections in a loop until I have it, then record the next little bit etc.
I do it in real time. If I can't hear it, I'm not sure of the benefit of trying to learn it
I don't write it down. I feel the benefits are in memorising and having to get it inside my head. Not an exercise in reading.

3) Im enjoying his playing at the moment. Great time feel, lines and tone.
If any of that rubs off on me, I'll be happy
 

Tiberius

Well-Known Member
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1,054
Beauty and the Beast.

I downloaded a backing track, which says it's in F,D,G,E. So, I started in (Concert F...tenor G). I played it, then after a while, the woman stops singing, and the man starts...so I guess that's the first key change :) ...so I started playing in E from then and it seemed to fit....work in progress, I don't know where they change next...maybe when they both start singing...

Now, working out the notes, that wasn't too difficult reeli, but, working out the length of notes, that...probably not yet, so I did this :oops:...is that ok?



**edit, doesn't seem to want to read an image either from Box or Dropbox...

20170325_175049.jpg - Box

**edit2, works as a link, but not as an image

Then...I've got this far so far. Still very much work in progress:

Beauty and the Beast170324.mp3 - Box

Oh yeah, it's my Fibracil reed, it's a bit harsh at times, but good to practice with as I don't have to wet it before/during.
 
Last edited:
Messages
101
Location
Austin, TX
Beauty and the Beast.

"Then...I've got this far so far. Still very much work in progress:

Beauty and the Beast170324.mp3 - Box

Oh yeah, it's my Fibracil reed, it's a bit harsh at times, but good to practice with as I don't have to wet it before/during.
What strength and on what mpc?
I tried Fibracell 1.5 and can't find mpc that would match it. Even though 1.5 Legere works fine on 4C (for quiet playing).
 

Tiberius

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,054
3, on a Berg 105/2, which is theoretically a 7*...except it isn't, no way, it's very similar to my teacher's 6*.

The Fibracell's seem quite inconsistent. I have another 3 that is quite a lot harder than this 3, and a 2.5 that is way way softer.
 
Messages
101
Location
Austin, TX
3, on a Berg 105/2, which is theoretically a 7*...except it isn't, no way, it's very similar to my teacher's 6*.

The Fibracell's seem quite inconsistent. I have another 3 that is quite a lot harder than this 3, and a 2.5 that is way way softer.
Good to know (about Fibracells) - my plan of attack is two-prong - advance on Legeres - simply because there is nothing else that plays so easily on mpcs that I have. Then hold the ground with move to similar strength canes. Today I was finally able to control #2 Vandoren on 4C. 3 and 6* are beyond my imagination - when I tried Vandoren 2.5 I could not control it - notes end abruptly - everything is way to "breathy".
 

nigeld

I think I need a different ligature
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3,894
Location
Bristol
I downloaded a backing track, which says it's in F,D,G,E. So, I started in (Concert F...tenor G). I played it, then after a while, the woman stops singing, and the man starts...so I guess that's the first key change :) ...so I started playing in E from then and it seemed to fit....work in progress, I don't know where they change next...maybe when they both start singing...
The backing track goes from Concert F to Concert D at 0':38". It's still in Concert D at the end of what you have recorded so far (1':30").

Oh yeah, it's my Fibracil reed, it's a bit harsh at times, but good to practice with as I don't have to wet it before/during.
Sounds good to me.
 

Jazzaferri

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2,186
Location
Victoria BC Canada
Chain of Fools Vocal with 3 backing voices, guitar, keys, drums, bass, and OH YES bari, tenor alto, bone and strumpet

CHEATING though........ other than the lead vocal and bass parts (which the bass player will ignore after the first two bars so I just cope and paste), writing my own bits...so much easier LOL
 

Tiberius

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Messages
1,054
Mostly coz my teacher is on holiday, so I have to do it myself. Yellow submarine by Mark Maxwell. Using Transcribe which I'm finding quiet amazing. Mostly coz you can highlight a bit, say a single rif, or part of a rif and put it on repeat, then just play 'stuff' until it sounds the same.

You can also slow the track down, but I don't find that so much help actually, except it does show where it's not just one note, but where he slips from one note onto another.

Actually, the notes are not the tricky bit I find, it's fitting them onto the paper. Transcribe also has a way of letting you mark the beats, so then you have what notes fit into what bars, it's a bit easier to write the notes down then. Although, most of the ones I've written so far don't quite have 4 beats...some have less, some more :) teacher will correct when he comes back.

Also, the music is in B Major, which is just silly. I was going to migrate it using Audacity, but then I realised. If I write it in A Major, I'm ok with C#, F# and G#, then all I have to do is write the Eb and Bb as inline notes. And I'm fine with Eb and Bb.

Now when he gets back, I'm sure my teacher will try and convince me that B Major is not the same as A Major plus Eb and Bb...but it's so much easier to play that way, surely I can't be the only person to do that?
 
Messages
73
Hey Guys! Wow long time since I've been on the forum, good to see the thread is still going!
Right now I am working on transcribing quite a bit, currently transcribing any lines that take my interest. These days I'm very interested in guitar lines, so I'm transcribing mainly Jesse Van Ruller and Jim Hall.

My big transcription project right now is Jim Hall on You'd be so Nice to Come Home To.

Why : Beautiful shapes, Forces me all over the range of the horn, really getting my Altissimo together because of it. Lots of wider intervals like Octaves, Sixths Etc, used in very creative and interesting ways. Interesting rhythmic concepts that show how to take simple shapes ( Like a descending B half Dim arp in his solo) and make them sound hip and interesting.
Ear catching harmonic concepts with use of Upper Structures, triads, chords, etc that sound really beautiful.
Great time as well, whats easy on guitar can be difficult technically on sax, so it is really helping my technique and getting my time together! Also it really forces you to work on sound, using those big intervals, playing up really high, playing really low and trying to have consisent tone, intonation, vibrato and to be specific with the lengths of notes as if you were playing guitar in a way.

How: I have listened to this solo for years, mainly exposed went I went through a Paul Desmond phase some years ago, so being able to get the solo together singing wise didn't take too long. Now I am currently just playing it over and over again on Itunes, and looping the parts that are really tricky (which is quite a lot of it on alto haha), not slowing anything down at all and really working out my ear.

I'll try and post a video of it when I am done!
For anyone who doesn't know the solo
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laAgYKli1M4


Peace.
Micheal
 

Tiberius

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,054
All You Need is Love by Mark Maxwell/Dr Saxlove. How, looping small sections and playing random noted until it sounds the same. This is slightly easier than the last one as it's in tenor G rather than B
 
Messages
56
Location
France
Speaking about transcribing, when did you start doing it ? Having started to learn the saxophone a little less than a year ago, I'm (slooooooooowly) learning music theory, which is somehow complicated who you've been "playing" guitar the punkish way (understand: "if it sounds good, that's ok, if it doesn't then do something else) for almost 20 years.

This morning, for example, I've been playing with my alto along a new song by Kamasi Washington (yes, I know he plays tenor!), only by ear.

The theme in itself was quite easy to get, but as soon as the chorus comes in, I found it hard to get all the notes. I was able to get the mood of the song and find the key to "improvise" some quick licks, but playing the song the way it is actually played is something else.

Although playing small passages of the song again and again and then playing slowly with my sax will surely allow me to make my way through the song, I find it really difficult to put things down to the paper. Would you say that a solid knowledge is required when trying to transcribe (thus meaning I'm wasting my time trying to do it now), or did you find it was a useful exercise when you were still in the early learning process?

My question may sound dumb, but I'm so in love with learning sax that I feel like I've been wasting 30 years learning so little theory, so now I try to learn a lot of things and sometimes I wonder if I'm not rushing some things by doing so...
 

Tiberius

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,054
Speaking about transcribing, when did you start doing it ? ...
Had a go pretty soon after starting, a bit more recently while teacher away. Finding the software "Transcribe" helped a lot, can just highlight a single riff and repeat it.

I don't reeli know much music theory other than basic scales tbh. When he's writing it for me my teacher often notes the backing 'chords' but I've no idea how he works those out.
 
Messages
164
Location
Birmingham
What - minuet by Bach
How - in front of the piano, helps me to have a visual of the notes in front of me
Why - I like this tune and recently downloaded a pdf for alto sax from www, the download is in B flat major and my teacher suggested it would be easier for me to play in G major so that’s what I’m doing, I find if I write things out it helps them stick in my mind
:sax:
 
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