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Transcription help, please

Discussion in 'Score Study Resources' started by Sean Minoa2, Jul 6, 2022.

  1. Hi everyone, first post here :)

    Trying to keep this is short as possible....

    I am 42 years old, and have a good strong knowledge of theory from 32 years of guitar playing. I have always been able to play the piano a little, meaning I can play a few chords, a few scales, and I can actually rough it through "Let It Be" and "Frére Jaques" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". But I am not a real pianist.

    About six months ago, I decided it was time. I sat down with an instructional vid (not the same as having a teacher, I get it), and started hammering away. As I practice at least a little every day, my chops have increased a good deal. Moving forward, I will continue to practice, and am considering getting a teacher at some point sooner rather than later, so the issue here is not "how do I get to be a better player". Although I will never be as good as a good session player, I know how to do get better, and tho it may take some time, I will.

    What I am about here is on the transcription side, which I started doing about two months ago. The objective is not so much to become the world's best piano player, but instead to increase my vocabulary, to help with my compositions. The actual process of transcribing is not the issue. I don't have a problem identifying pitch, nor chord progressions, nor patterns. Tho some things don't come quickly and take more effort than others, I can transcribe just about anything. The problem is remembering what I have done. Sure, I can lay down the two-handed piano version in Cubase, and/or create midi files, but the real issue is once I learn something, I come back the next day, and almost always have a problem with not knowing where to put my fingers. When I transcribe a piece, I practice it for a bit, and then I can get up, go grab a bite to eat, or make a phone call or something, and come back and play it. But the next day, I don't remember it. I can hum it, but I can't play it. If I play it ALOT every day for three days straight, I will probably be able to play it the morning of day four. But if I don't play it for another few days, on the morning of let's say, day eight, I have no idea where to put my fingers when I sit down at the piano. Until I break out the midi, then I am like, "oh yeah".

    Do I need to remember everything? I am not talking every single last note of everything, but basically everything. Because I don't see how I am going to do that. Each morning, I can go over and play what I have learned the day prior, and do that each day in an effort to remember everything, but eventually, that is going to take up a lot of time - time I could spend transcribing something else.

    Must I remember everything? Should I just plow forward with piece after piece and not worry about this so much? Or should I actually play everything every day so I do? Any thoughts and/or personal experiences will be appreciated.
    David Healey likes this.
  2. You don't need to remember everything. You don't remember every word spoken in a movie or that you've read in a book, you don't need to remember every note in a piece of music. Sometimes it's nice (creatively) to remember some of it and improvise. When I'm transcribing something I want to refer back to I put it down in Musescore. I can't sight read but I find the process of putting it in notation helpful and allows me to see the structure of the orchestration more clearly than I can in a piano roll, but do what works for you.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  3. I think you need to play scales, chords, and lots of music regularly. You already have the theory and music literacy. I know what a Cmaj7 vs F# half diminished chord feels like on piano. Muscle memory and physically playing will reinforce that. And it will transfer into your retention.

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