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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I think that the process of transcribing is one of the most useful to evolve as a player to improve:
ear training, technique, rhythm, jazz vocabulary
I don't use any software, just my stereo or computer. I press play, pause, sing the melody and then transfer it on the horn.
This is how I do it, do you use the same method?
 

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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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I agree that transcription is very important and I think that "listen, sing, play" loop is a critical part of that, but I find refusing to use software to loop (and sometimes slow down) recordings to be a bit "hair shirt".

I've tried it both ways, and I found needing to use pause/play buttons on a standard player (as well as hunting for the correct starting point) really tedious. I transitioned to using software (I use Transcribe!) with a transcription pedal, which I find much more enjoyable. As a result, I find myself doing a lot more transcription than I used to.
 

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The cats we’re transcribing put their finger on the record and learned it off pitch if they couldn’t grab it at live speed...how’s that for technology?
I agree that learning things at actual speed translates more directly into being able to grab lines by ear in a live setting. For me that’s way more useful and worth the struggle. Hair shirt...I haven’t heard that since parochial school!
 

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I agree that learning things at actual speed translates more directly into being able to grab lines by ear in a live setting. For me that’s way more useful and worth the struggle.
Perhaps, but you won't generally have the time to "sing it back" in a live setting either.

For me, the key is getting better at transcription (or "grabbing lines by ear") in general.

The less tedious and more enjoyable I make the transcription process, the more I transcribe, and the more I transcribe, the better I get at grabbing lines by ear.
 

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Back when I transcribed solos, I'd try to sing the passage, then put the arm back on the vinyl LP (anybody know what that is?) and do it over and over until I got it. It pretty much ruined the record and the needle. Then I bought an Akai reel-to-reel and had a guy who knew electronics put some sort of potentiometer on it to slow it down to any speed without having to remove the capstan. That was great.

Now, there are gizmos with loops that can slow down the song and retain the pitch. The Tascam VT-1 does that. Times change.

Years ago, I knew a trumpet player who had been in the Five O'Clock jazz band at the University of Texas. All he had to do was to hear something once or twice, and he had it. The strange thing about him was that he couldn't learn to drive a car. I think that was a fair trade.

Some day, there'll be a pill that you can take to make you a master musician in a day.
 

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Perhaps, but you won't generally have the time to "sing it back" in a live setting either.

For me, the key is getting better at transcription (or "grabbing lines by ear") in general.

The less tedious and more enjoyable I make the transcription process, the more I transcribe, and the more I transcribe, the better I get at grabbing lines by ear.
There are thousands of examples of players calling and responding live on stage without having any time to “sing it back” before repeating what was said...wonder how they do it. I played in a band with another horn player, sometimes two, and at least half our lines were created on the fly with one person laying down a line and the other adding harmonies or doubling it on the fly or singing it to the other and coming in together. Wonder how we did it gig after gig without a slower downer or time to sing it back. Glad there’s multiple ways to skin the cat so to speak.
 

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bb; yes, that's a very common way of learning. Its not 'transcribing', which is transferring played music to notation, then reading it back, more of an educational tool. What you're doing is how most of us have learned thousands of tunes over the years along with the sax solos. In this way we learn more than just the notes - we learn to play the notes like the original player, which is how we learn styles and develop one of our own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to everybody for watching.
@mmichel if that software works for you keep using it.since we all play in real time I personally think that I want be able to grab music and play it back on my horn in real time. I don't want to develop a habit to listen to the music at a slower speed, but it's just me,just my humble opinion.
@swperry1 Good point! the more we train our ears the less we need to sing back what we have just listened. So the goal should be playing the melody Instantly without singing it first, and this is crucial to react while you are playing with other people. You can't pause them unless You are into "matrix" movie haha!
@Bloo Dog my father has a good vynil LPS collection, I used to listen to them but I am pretty sure He would kill me if I use them to transcribe! Some of my younger students even don't have a CD player... I have a good hi fi system because I trust in a good quality listening, so to me this is a defeat of our times. Your "master musician pill" is a great idea, maybe we should invest more in pills than in mouthpieces in the next years!
 

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Check out AnyTune. Your back will thank you.
I just checked this out. Thanks for sharing. Using a slow down program seems years ahead of when in the 70's we listened to vinyl records to transcribe.
 

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In case you aren't aware, you can also just click the gear icon on any youtube video and slow it down without changing the pitch. Of course this doesn't have the marking and looping of the standalone programs mentioned so far.
 

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I just checked this out. Thanks for sharing. Using a slow down program seems years ahead of when in the 70's we listened to vinyl records to transcribe.
Indeed! AnyTune has great features to easily loop, jump, stitch sections, quickly rewind (like the OP was doing) by just swiping with your finger across the screen, attenuate the soloist sound so you can play with the band or conversely attenuate the band so you can better hear the soloist to transcribe it, adjust pitch, speed and much more. Let’s you really focus on the transcription work at ease.
 

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I played in a band with another horn player, sometimes two, and at least half our lines were created on the fly with one person laying down a line and the other adding harmonies or doubling it on the fly or singing it to the other and coming in together.
I've done that frequently with JL on this forum, back when we played in the Sunday night jam. The jam is on hiatus since the virus hit, but I sure hope it will return one day. It was hella fun, especially improvising backing horn lines and harmonies.

I've also traded 4's and such with guitar players, and try to play the lines back at each other. Don't always get it exactly, but part of the fun is playing back an answer phrase that slightly changes the phrase or doing a variation in the same style or completely going off the rails into something else entirely. Those musical conversations are what I enjoy most about playing live music and jamming.
 

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I've had the Amazing Slow Downer for many years. It's handy when I have to nail the exact part off a recording in order to play it at band rehearsal. And I can change pitch to match the key the band will play it in.
 

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Me Too allenlowe now I am trying to break out of the Shell and start to FLY some, who knows maybe one day I will be able to Soar Like An EAGLE. Thanks to all of the Mentors
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for your suggestion. Anyway the goal is react to the music in realtime. So, I guess the slow down modo should not be overused. Maybe it could be useful if you are listening to superfast passages like a Cannonball Adderley's solo. Anyway I personally don't use the slow down software, I prefer listening in real time, because music is played in real time. It is amazing however, that today we have access on so many tools to help our study on the instrument!
 
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