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What's Your Music Transcription Process (If You've Got One)?

Started by Lij, April 21, 2023, 12:42:03 AM

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Lij

Not sure if there are any discussion boards on this topic yet, I've had a probe around but haven't found anything yet...

But how do you all transcribe music by ear so well?

I'm looking to try and transcribe some ACNH tracks, but it's much easier said than done!

I've heard that some put the tracks into a DAW, using EQ and other tools to dissect it - or others just simply use the 0.25x speed on YouTube. Of course, the practice probably makes it all easier eventually, but are there any particular methods you use?
"Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought." - E.Y. Harburg

Beginner Piano Teacher and Aspiring Composer, feel free to check out my YT: https://www.youtube.com/@JMJ_Music

BlackDragonSlayer

I'm not exactly an expert, but with the pieces I've arranged thus far, I usually just use the Youtube speed adjustment to slow the track and listen to it over and over (and over and over) again until I think I've got it :P Every so often, I try and sync up the playback with the video and listen intently for any differences. Adjusting the volume of the video to various levels is helpful there.
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LeviR.star

Well, usually I use BandLab's AudioStretch function to listen to the audio more closely, at any speed or octave level I prefer. If I'm having difficulties hearing a specific part, and if the track is from a chiptune-based game, I use foobar2000, a really handy tool for that sort of thing. Believe me, learning to transcribe by ear doesn't happen over night, but once you've practiced enough, the difference between where you started and where you ended up is night and day.

Seriously, I cannot recommend practicing transcription by ear enough. We all started at the point you're at, but it will pay off in the end, trust me.
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Lij

Quote from: BlackDragonSlayer on April 21, 2023, 01:11:10 AMI'm not exactly an expert, but with the pieces I've arranged thus far, I usually just use the Youtube speed adjustment to slow the track and listen to it over and over (and over and over) again until I think I've got it :P Every so often, I try and sync up the playback with the video and listen intently for any differences. Adjusting the volume of the video to various levels is helpful there.

Oh cool, overlaying the playback on the video sounds like a really good idea - thanks for sharing!
"Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought." - E.Y. Harburg

Beginner Piano Teacher and Aspiring Composer, feel free to check out my YT: https://www.youtube.com/@JMJ_Music

Code_Name_Geek

The tool that helps me the most is my midi keyboard that I plug into my laptop so I can try out notes alongside the track in my headphones. I also try to match pitch by singing if I'm having trouble - I'm sure that sounds quite strange to those around me. ;D

Audio-wise I mainly use YouTube and its slowdown options, or foobar2000 for chiptune soundtracks like Levi mentioned to split channels. However, I try to do as much as I can without splitting channels and mostly use that as a last resort for tricky spots or to check everything at the end (not that it's bad to split channels, I just want to practice hearing voices together as well). If a bass part is hard to hear, I'll import the track into Audacity and pitch it up an octave to put it in an easier range, but that's as much as I do as far as modifying the actual audio.

I definitely agree that practice makes it better. Transcribing is something I really struggled with at first and it's still not really easy for me, but it's gotten better and I can hear more complex things than I could before. Starting with some early console soundtracks with limited channels (or similarly simple pieces) can be a little less daunting than full orchestral pieces as well.

Lij

Quote from: Code_Name_Geek on April 24, 2023, 05:21:50 PMThe tool that helps me the most is my midi keyboard that I plug into my laptop so I can try out notes alongside the track in my headphones. I also try to match pitch by singing if I'm having trouble - I'm sure that sounds quite strange to those around me. ;D

Audio-wise I mainly use YouTube and its slowdown options, or foobar2000 for chiptune soundtracks like Levi mentioned to split channels. However, I try to do as much as I can without splitting channels and mostly use that as a last resort for tricky spots or to check everything at the end (not that it's bad to split channels, I just want to practice hearing voices together as well). If a bass part is hard to hear, I'll import the track into Audacity and pitch it up an octave to put it in an easier range, but that's as much as I do as far as modifying the actual audio.

I definitely agree that practice makes it better. Transcribing is something I really struggled with at first and it's still not really easy for me, but it's gotten better and I can hear more complex things than I could before. Starting with some early console soundtracks with limited channels (or similarly simple pieces) can be a little less daunting than full orchestral pieces as well.

Ah, I see - thanks for all the advice! Using a MIDI keyboard (or some other instrument) to trace out the notes and using Audacity to pitch up the bass both seem like a really good ideas.
"Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought." - E.Y. Harburg

Beginner Piano Teacher and Aspiring Composer, feel free to check out my YT: https://www.youtube.com/@JMJ_Music