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Things I can transcribe that aren't...?

Discussion in 'Score Study Resources' started by David Robson, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. a.) insanely complex to the untrained ear
    b.) over 100 years old

    I've been transcribing every day for almost two years now and I still find myself getting overwhelmed and not progressing the way I'd like to. The Williams pieces I try to transcribe are either too complex musically for me to fully comprehend or (in the case of the entire Force Awakens score) seem to have been drastically re-orchestrated for the live stage, which tarnishes its accuracy to the recording.

    So much film music nowadays seems very simple harmonically, and this is where I want to start. Are there any easy go-to's I can start with, like Barber's Adagio for Strings or Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, where I can clearly follow what is going on both in a musical and orchestrational sense?
  2. You should start with pop tunes to get you started, however, if you want to do film scores I would suggest some of the John Barry scores. Out of Africa and Born Free are pretty simple harmonically, but there's other stuff going on underneath - then you could go onto some of the Bond scores from the 60's where there's a bit more complexity harmonically.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  3. Try themes to TV shows. You can adjust to your preferences and difficulty level.

    Or do a simpler film score like requiem for a dream etc.
  4. What problems are you having with transcribing, exactly? Can you take a simple tune and write the pitches down 100% accurately the first time or would you struggle? Or are you struggling with rhythm?

    If it's a struggle with identifying pitch I'd suggest actively working on your relative pitch. Solfege is a great way to get your ear sorted, if you haven't looked into it I'd recommend it (movable do major/la minor in particular). Use key signatures - don't attempt to transcribe using accidentals for everything, and don't rely on interval recognition (if this is what you've been doing, stop).

    Once you can transcribe accurately it's just a matter of listening and isolating instruments. I use the software Transcribe which helps greatly with this.
  5. I would recommend not using key signatures. 99% of film scores are open key with all accidentals marked because it reduces the chances of error by about 1 billion percent.

    Do this:

    and it should look like this:

    If you're doing it for two years and not getting better, you're trying stuff that's way too complex. You should be doing pop tunes. I do:

  6. If you want to do a score, there are certain users on here that can get you the LOTR score, if you're interested. Still has all the developing themes one could ever want, but with surprisingly simple orchestration. I think some of Goldsmith's scores probably fit this bill too.
  7. I've gotten basically all of my keyboard / piano skills from those pop/rock transcriptions. This is where playing piano / keys for 18 years has REALLY paid off.
    Dillon DeRosa likes this.
  8. Hey Mike, could you make that YouTube video public please? Haven’t been able to watch it…
  9. Over the last year and a bit I have been mostly transcribing Jazz standards and now when I try and improvise and start to compose, my hands just want to add 7ths and 9ths to everything... please help!

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