Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I can transcribe single note solos pretty ok.....but wat good would that be if i don't know what chords are playing at the background??? .... i tried to guess the chords out by the note choices of the solo......but 70% of the time it's wrong........ is there a way to transcribe chords more accurately?

ps: i can only play saxophone and not any other chordal instruments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Start learning the piano. I have a keyboard near my computer so when I transcribe tunes I use it to help me. First find the root motion of the chords. You should be able to igure out what key the song is in from that and the solo, and once you know the key, it'll be it easy to narrow down what the value of each chord is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
umm......i can guess the chords out when they are within a key....but most of the time i transcribe stuff that always uses non funtional harmony......but yeah, i'll probably start learning piano when i'm a bit better playing at the sax.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Columnist and Saxophonistic Art
Joined
·
6,260 Posts
First try to get the song form.


Write out the structure of the piece verse, chorus, bridge and coda.
Even if you don't intend to transcribe the whole thing it's often useful to have a complete map because if the chords are unclear to you at some point then if you know that the same thing happens elsewhere in the piece then you could listen to it there.It_might_ be clearer second time.
So listen to the whole song making a note of what happens where. Lyrics are helpful so are the...HOOKS in a pop tune.< Sometimes if I'm using a CD player then I jot out the sections on a piece of paper with the start time of each section taken from the CD player's display so I can find it again. I would also recommend having a piano handy via checking your transcription by playing and asking yourself if it sounds right.

START EASY!!
Always..start your transcription with the things you can hear easily.Hearing the inner voices of a poly-chord is hard so don't start with that.:)
Start with the melody.
Then try the bass part.The bass part is a must when you figure out the chords because bass players frequently < or are supposed to:D lol > play the root of the chord, or else the 3rd or 5th, so knowing the bass part gives easy to hear clues.Now start on the harmony of the chord. This is the hardest part so try bit by bit. Pick out whatever single notes you can hear in the chord - often the top note of a chord is easier to distinguish so write down whatever notes you can hear in any of the chords.
KEEP IN MIND, "voice leading" is used in MODERN harmony < FROM BACH ON, EG- IMHO, BACH IS MODERN LOL;) - this is where you hear a prominent note which will move to the next note above or below or stays the same when the chord changes. These are usually easy to hear. When you've picked out as many chordal notes as you can then you try to identify the chords!
NOW, This is where your experience and knowledge of music make a ESSENTIAL difference. If you are experienced then you will know what kinds of chords and chord progressions are in front of you. The bass line, melody line and top line of harmony that you have already worked out will narrow the possibilities right down and you can try out the possible chords on your instrument to see what will work and SOUND correct. One of my old Berklee instructors ( Gary Anderson BTW, who writes stuff for CNN now etc etc- he is so cool...very great musical guide to me ) showed me a technique to get closer to the chord by trying to play single notes on your instrument, when the chord comes in the song.... use a F , does it fit? F#? D? When you find a note which fits, it might belong in the chord.
It's always up to you to listen for each note! Always think in terms of chords via melody, to hear what is happening.

If you really want to go further seek out an experienced pro teacher who is a good player and has some chops at this- it's a fun thing to teach and not that hard to move ahead with. Results will happen when you try. TRY!!
HTH.


PS- when I was at Berklee...I used to transcribe all the time. There was no Aebersold then , or all these fake books. So to keep on my toes for the funky-strip lounge gigs I had in the Combat Zone, I used to always be ear training myself learning Jimmy Forrest tunes/solos, coping voicings of Herbie Hancock or trying to learn the approach notes Dexter played in ballads. So- Lenny Johnson ( a great trumpet player who played with Quincy Jones and Herbie Pomeroy & knew Miles & ClarkTerry etc etc ) told me to transcribe Cannonball to get a " time feel" awat from just tenor players. So I started, the first few killed me- lol- then...I got into it and did it all the time.
HENCE- came my Cannonball Adderly Collection transcription book published a few years ago via Hal Leonard. I would never of done this had Lenny never told me.Plus it worked- God bless him!!!
In any case try. Try , try.
We do this because we love it- don't let nothing stop you.GOOD LUCK:)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,313 Posts
You can use the Transcribe! program to tell you with some degree of accuracy which notes are being sounded at any place in the recording.

http://www.seventhstring.com/

Assuming you know the names of the chords and their spellings, and even if you don't play a chordal instrument, you can translate this information into the chord symbol names.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
4,881 Posts
Know what key you're in.
Know the song form.
Transcribe the melody.
Transcribe the bass line.
Determine whether the bass note is the root of the chord (a lot of the time it is the root)
Determine whether a 3rd above the bass is minor or major.
Determine whether the 5th above is perfect or diminished.
Use the theory you know to assemble the pieces.

...this will usually get your close enough and further than you need.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
2,892 Posts
A hearty "Amen!" from the peanut gallery to what Tim said. And I second the motion on playing the piano. Playing a chording instrument such as the piano, or guitar, will help you to hear chords better. I do a lot of "chord transcribing" on the guitar, though, admittedly, much of the chords in jazz are "advanced chords" on the guitar, not the standard open string D-G-A dribble..........daryl
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,862 Posts
When I started out I would transcribe the melody and bass line first on piano. This was for relatively straight forward tunes like off Grover Washington Jr's Winelight album.

Then, knowing that the bass plays mainly the root or 5ths I would then try to figure out the chords. It took a week or two before I was able to get the hang of it. Also knowing familiar chord progressions like I-vi-ii-V's etc helped figure chords out.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top