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Transcribing "Don't Explain" - Rhythm help?

860 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  LazySaxman
I've done a lot of figuring out small 1-2 measure licks that I like, not writing them down or anything. I recently decided to start transcribing the entire solo, writing it out and all. I'm starting with Dexter's recording of 'Don't Explain' on A Swingin' Affair. So far I've written out all the notes, figuring the rhythms would be easy afterwards.

Totally wrong. Just trying to figure out the first few measures has me wanting to quit!

So, are there any tips you have on figuring out the rhythms when the player isn't following the beat strictly? Or did I just pick a bad apple?
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Wow, you picked a great solo to transcribe! I wouldn't use the term "bad apple", but it is definitely challenging rhythmically. Ballads are always difficult, because the soloist tends to play with many different rhythmic values: triplets, 16th notes, 16th-triplets, 32nd notes, etc. And, especially in the case of Dexter, he may be thinking 16th notes, but they may be laid back to sound like some kind of triplet, or literally some odd numbered compound tuplet.

A couple of suggestions: if you have all of the note heads already written out, the first step would be to read along while the recording plays; listen just to the beat, and mark where the barlines should go (just listen for the 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 and put the barline just in front of the note that comes on beat 1). At least that will allow you to organize the solo into measures, phrases, and parts of the form (AABA).

My other suggestion is: After that, don't worry about it, especially if this is your first attempt at transcribing the rhythms of a solo. Choose another Dexter solo, one at a medium swing tempo, and you'll find a simpler array of rhythms to deal with. After you have a few solos under your belt, you could return to "Don't Explain" and take a shot at it.

Having the skill of being able to transcribe rhythms is great, but it's more important for your playing that you simply internalize the sound and be able to hear it and play it. It's quite possible that Dexter himself would have a hard time accurately transcribing his own rhythms on the "Don't Explain" solo!
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Alright, I'll move on to something else. I know the solo well enough so that I can play along with the recording without the rhythms written, but I'd like to be able to give it to someone else and have them play it note for note.

So... what next? :shock:
LazySaxman said:
So... what next? :shock:
Transcribe more, or study Rhythm.

Alrighty, so I decided to begin transcribing "Three O'clock in the Morning" and Dukecity, you were very right. I've just started on the 3rd page and haven't run into any major issues yet. I hope it gets easier though. I've been working on it for about 6hours now. (As I watch TV, so it's not quite as efficient;) )
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