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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all. I was wondering if any of you can share (if you have) the first solo you transcribed or multiple you know fully and if it reflected in your playing and helped at all. I personally have been playing jazz for only around 3 years now and haven’t actually transcribed a full solo but rather many lines of some to further help me understand the vocabulary, however my goal is to one day fully transcribe a Coltrane solo, (Crescent is one I have in my mind). If any of you haven’t let me know why. Thanks!
 

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That's a great Liebman article. His method for learning music and developing an individualistic approach to the instrument is the best there is, in my opinion. +1 on all that.

As for OP's original question: yes. Many, many, many solos. And not just saxophone solos. I'm a pianist as well so I've transcribed quite a few piano solos, but I've also learned guitar and piano solos on the saxophone, for example. As David said, it's incredibly important and beneficial. And it doesn't make you a clone of anyone, the process just helps make you a better version of you.
 

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Two of the earliest solos I remember transcribing are Gene Ammons' solos on Walkin and Bye Bye Blackbird from the album Boss Tenors in Orbit. Great solos that are not too technically challenging. There's alot of Gene Ammons or Dexter Gordon that would fit that bill for someone just getting into transcribing. Also, I think that it is helpful to learn much or all of the solo and get it down cold by memory before you actually 'transcribe' it to the written page
 

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When we talk about transcribing I assume we mean that we write the notes out on paper rather than just memorizing the notes. Is that the accepted definition of transcription?
 

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Transcribing is a useful exercise for ear traing, mbut doesn'tb reall help with loearning to improvise.

It is only helpful if and when you analyse and understand the notes and phrases you are transcribing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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I covered this question extensively in my dissertation.
You should think about transcription in three parts. One being the act of transcription to help your ear training. The second being practicing transcriptions along with the recording to practice technique and learn proper style. Third is to analyze the transcription and use as much as possible in your future improvisations.
For the context of your question, I will focus on the first, eat training. A mistake many make, including myself, is to think you should do all three in one project. While this is good as a whole, the issue is that those three skills may not be at the same level at the same time.
For example, there was a time I could play a Charlie Parker solo from the omnibook with probably 90% accuracy. And I could only analyze 10% of what was happening. And furthermore there is no way I could have transcribed more than four measures of the music.
I bring this up because you mention wanting to transcribe Coltrane’s “Crescent”, I think this is an advanced transcription and should be saved for when you have done at least a dozen others. It is also good because you can wait to be able to do the second and third steps once your ear training skills are that high.

If you are wanting to transcribe a whole solo, I would suggest something more like a swing period solo with a big band that may be like a single chorus. Or a transcription with the performer as a sideman with similarly a shorter solo.
As saxophonists, our performance skill on the instrument is usually significantly advanced past our ears and music theory knowledge. Don’t go for the solo that will properly challenge your fingers, because that will likely be too hard. Go for the solo that will challenge your ears.
If it turns out you can’t even do this yet, don’t be upset. Just keep transcribe longer and longer sections of a solo. Start doing 8 or 16 measures of a solo, and then eventually maybe 32 bars. Eventually what will happen is you will get to three choruses of a solo and realize that you have actually done a full transcription!
(Disclaimer, writing out the correct rhythms and clean notation of a transaction is another skill I didn’t even mention)
Good luck!
Feel free to PM me if you want to get a copy of my dissertation. I cover this topic more in depth and also give some suggestions for transcriptions for each skill set. While it is for undergraduate students, you may still find it useful!
 

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Transcribing is a useful exercise for ear traing, mbut doesn'tb reall help with loearning to improvise.

It is only helpful if and when you analyse and understand the notes and phrases you are transcribing.
When I became interested in jazz, I already improvised something on the piano, stylistically unformed. However, with only nine months of intentional transcribing, I started playing bebop exactly in accordance with the style, and without any kind of analysis (in those days). Listen and transcribe, transcribe and listen!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I covered this question extensively in my dissertation.
You should think about transcription in three parts. One being the act of transcription to help your ear training. The second being practicing transcriptions along with the recording to practice technique and learn proper style. Third is to analyze the transcription and use as much as possible in your future improvisations.
For the context of your question, I will focus on the first, eat training. A mistake many make, including myself, is to think you should do all three in one project. While this is good as a whole, the issue is that those three skills may not be at the same level at the same time.
For example, there was a time I could play a Charlie Parker solo from the omnibook with probably 90% accuracy. And I could only analyze 10% of what was happening. And furthermore there is no way I could have transcribed more than four measures of the music.
I bring this up because you mention wanting to transcribe Coltrane’s “Crescent”, I think this is an advanced transcription and should be saved for when you have done at least a dozen others. It is also good because you can wait to be able to do the second and third steps once your ear training skills are that high.

If you are wanting to transcribe a whole solo, I would suggest something more like a swing period solo with a big band that may be like a single chorus. Or a transcription with the performer as a sideman with similarly a shorter solo.
As saxophonists, our performance skill on the instrument is usually significantly advanced past our ears and music theory knowledge. Don’t go for the solo that will properly challenge your fingers, because that will likely be too hard. Go for the solo that will challenge your ears.
If it turns out you can’t even do this yet, don’t be upset. Just keep transcribe longer and longer sections of a solo. Start doing 8 or 16 measures of a solo, and then eventually maybe 32 bars. Eventually what will happen is you will get to three choruses of a solo and realize that you have actually done a full transcription!
(Disclaimer, writing out the correct rhythms and clean notation of a transaction is another skill I didn’t even mention)
Good luck!
Feel free to PM me if you want to get a copy of my dissertation. I cover this topic more in depth and also give some suggestions for transcriptions for each skill set. While it is for undergraduate students, you may still find it useful!
Awesome thanks for the tips! Ill go ahead and PM you for that dissertation, Im interested to read that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
When we talk about transcribing I assume we mean that we write the notes out on paper rather than just memorizing the notes. Is that the accepted definition of transcription?
I think it depends.. now it seems to have changed to where transcribing can mean just is memorizing the solo and playing it without writing it but I think you can benefit with or without writing it down personally.
 

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Back in high school I transcribed Miles playing on Bags Groove. a couple of choruses. Still in my head somewhere. it needs to be a muscle used regularly in my opinion. If not an entore solo at least a part. And as others, more qualified than I would state. If you can do it all memorized just like the recording you have added alot to your musical journey.
Hey all. I was wondering if any of you can share (if you have) the first solo you transcribed or multiple you know fully and if it reflected in your playing and helped at all. I personally have been playing jazz for only around 3 years now and haven’t actually transcribed a full solo but rather many lines of some to further help me understand the vocabulary, however my goal is to one day fully transcribe a Coltrane solo, (Crescent is one I have in my mind). If any of you haven’t let me know why. Thanks!
 

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I think it depends.. now it seems to have changed to where transcribing can mean just is memorizing the solo and playing it without writing it but I think you can benefit with or without writing it down personally.
Thanks for the reply. I realize the word transcribe has scribe, which means to write, in its root but I was looking for the informal colloquial meaning.
 

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My current teacher wants me to transcribe anything I want so I'll have a go at lotus blossom by Sanborn. She said she wants to hear me play with him and not be able to tell us apart. Sound like one. maybe for 8 bars?? K
 

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My current teacher wants me to transcribe anything I want so I'll have a go at lotus blossom by Sanborn. She said she wants to hear me play with him and not be able to tell us apart. Sound like one. maybe for 8 bars?? K
That sounds like fun! I always love playing along with my favorite players and replicating them exactly.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I covered this question extensively in my dissertation.
You should think about transcription in three parts. One being the act of transcription to help your ear training. The second being practicing transcriptions along with the recording to practice technique and learn proper style. Third is to analyze the transcription and use as much as possible in your future improvisations.
For the context of your question, I will focus on the first, eat training. A mistake many make, including myself, is to think you should do all three in one project. While this is good as a whole, the issue is that those three skills may not be at the same level at the same time.
For example, there was a time I could play a Charlie Parker solo from the omnibook with probably 90% accuracy. And I could only analyze 10% of what was happening. And furthermore there is no way I could have transcribed more than four measures of the music.
I bring this up because you mention wanting to transcribe Coltrane’s “Crescent”, I think this is an advanced transcription and should be saved for when you have done at least a dozen others. It is also good because you can wait to be able to do the second and third steps once your ear training skills are that high.

If you are wanting to transcribe a whole solo, I would suggest something more like a swing period solo with a big band that may be like a single chorus. Or a transcription with the performer as a sideman with similarly a shorter solo.
As saxophonists, our performance skill on the instrument is usually significantly advanced past our ears and music theory knowledge. Don’t go for the solo that will properly challenge your fingers, because that will likely be too hard. Go for the solo that will challenge your ears.
If it turns out you can’t even do this yet, don’t be upset. Just keep transcribe longer and longer sections of a solo. Start doing 8 or 16 measures of a solo, and then eventually maybe 32 bars. Eventually what will happen is you will get to three choruses of a solo and realize that you have actually done a full transcription!
(Disclaimer, writing out the correct rhythms and clean notation of a transaction is another skill I didn’t even mention)
Good luck!
Feel free to PM me if you want to get a copy of my dissertation. I cover this topic more in depth and also give some suggestions for transcriptions for each skill set. While it is for undergraduate students, you may still find it useful!
Can i still get a copy of that dissertation?
 
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