Technical metal challenges the bravest transcriber. Yet armed with a little music theory and common software, the most daunting riffs are within your grasp.
Transcription is the process of listening to a piece of performed music (a live performance or recording) and using listening skills to write it down. This could be as a score, guitar tablature, simplified notation, or even your own informal shorthand. Transcribing relies on a range of listening skills, including good absolute and relative pitch> skills, along with chord knowledge and rhythm skills.
Many musicians develop ear training skills in order to improve their transcription, and as luck would have it: not only is ear training the best tool for improving transcription, but transcription is one of the best forms of ear training!
The obvious use of transcription is to create a score for use by fellow musicians, but it can also be an end in its own right, either as a form of aural skills development or for you to unlock the secrets of great improvisers and soloists...
Remember: transcription ear training is not just for those of us who are fluent in classical musical notation! It is also possible to transcribe music into guitar tablature, the piano roll of a sequencer, or even into your memory as part of playing by ear.
Transcribers of great skill may be able to instantly commit a complex piece directly to manuscript, but for the rest of us it is often a great help to have an instrument to hand to pick out key phrases and verify what we think we've heard.
Investing time in ear training for transcription can help you to:
- Transcribe melodies faster and more accurately
- Unlock the secrets of great soloists
- Play music by ear
- Recognise common chord changes and structures
Transcription Ear Training Tools
You can greatly accelerate your learning process when it comes to transcription by using modern software tools to help you tune your ear in. These transcription aids let you slow down and pick apart the music to help you hear the detail much more easily.
We have recommendations of the best software to transcribe music for PC, Mac and iOS.
Articles about Transcription
Ready to upgrade your transcription skills? Expand your musical range, exercise with YouTube transcriptions, and choose the best songs to fit your goals.
Transcription can be intimidating, especially for longer pieces of music. Recognizing musical patterns, and technology make the job much faster and easier.
Many new transcribers go for the melody first, but when you start with drums, key, and rhythm section, your lead melody transcription is a whole lot easier.
Transcription takes time. Follow these tips for transcribing bass and chords to speed up the process and amaze yourself with your transcribing abilities.
Knowing the key can save you a lot of head-scratching when transcribing music. Here are some tricks to quickly find the key of a song by ear.
Most beginning transcribers go for melody first, but starting with drums offers many advantages. Learn why and how to transcribe the drum parts like a pro.
Transcription, the art of writing down the music we hear, combines every aspect of ear training. Learn how to start and the best tech tools to help you out.