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Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!

Rick Fielding 20 Nov 99 - 01:23 PM
Les B 20 Nov 99 - 02:04 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Nov 99 - 05:10 PM
Rick Fielding 20 Nov 99 - 07:30 PM
Frank Hamilton 20 Nov 99 - 09:42 PM
20 Nov 99 - 09:54 PM
alison 20 Nov 99 - 10:50 PM
Michael K. 20 Nov 99 - 11:00 PM
Rick Fielding 20 Nov 99 - 11:09 PM
Michael K. 20 Nov 99 - 11:12 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 20 Nov 99 - 11:30 PM
Rick Fielding 20 Nov 99 - 11:36 PM
Michael K. 20 Nov 99 - 11:37 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 21 Nov 99 - 12:08 AM
Barbara 21 Nov 99 - 03:50 AM
dick greenhaus 21 Nov 99 - 08:01 AM
Jon Freeman 21 Nov 99 - 09:03 AM
JedMarum 21 Nov 99 - 09:31 AM
_gargoyle 21 Nov 99 - 10:54 AM
Rick Fielding 21 Nov 99 - 03:21 PM
_gargoyle 21 Nov 99 - 07:10 PM
alison 21 Nov 99 - 11:59 PM
WyoWoman 22 Nov 99 - 12:30 AM
alison 22 Nov 99 - 12:42 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 22 Nov 99 - 11:35 AM
MMario 22 Nov 99 - 11:41 AM
_gargoyle 22 Nov 99 - 12:24 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Nov 99 - 02:49 PM
dick greenhaus 22 Nov 99 - 03:45 PM
Margo 22 Nov 99 - 03:56 PM
Jon Freeman 22 Nov 99 - 04:23 PM
Frank Hamilton 22 Nov 99 - 05:08 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Nov 99 - 05:13 PM
lloyd61 23 Nov 99 - 05:27 PM
_gargoyle 12 Dec 99 - 01:34 PM
_gargoyle 12 Dec 99 - 01:35 PM
_gargoyle 12 Dec 99 - 01:39 PM
hesperis 20 Jun 01 - 02:46 AM
pavane 20 Jun 01 - 03:17 AM
Lin in Kansas 20 Jun 01 - 06:53 AM
pavane 20 Jun 01 - 07:18 AM
pavane 20 Jun 01 - 07:20 AM
English Jon 20 Jun 01 - 07:37 AM
pavane 20 Jun 01 - 07:49 AM
hesperis 20 Jun 01 - 02:50 PM
8_Pints 20 Jun 01 - 03:48 PM
Amos 20 Jun 01 - 08:18 PM
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Subject: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 01:23 PM

Because I've worked as a solo singer and picker for so many years I've rarely had occasion to get my repertoire put into sheet music notation form. Occasionaly I'll scribble out a chord chart, or lyric sheet for someone else to follow, but it's been pretty haphazard. Since the release of the new album, I've had ocassion to work with a number of fine players on stage, and I'd really like to put the material from my Folk-Legacy and Borealis albums into a small "songbook" so the others have a clue what I'm doin'. Nothing fancy, just a melody line and chord pattern, very similar to what Sing-Out USED to do. I've done some checking and the prices are astronomical. Some folks are saying that 100 bucks PER song is a GOOD price! I fully realize that the pros who do this kind of thing need to charge well for their services, but I gather that most of their clients are female pop and jazz singers, putting together a "book" for their niteclub gigs.
I could do it myself if all my songs were in C and G, but they're not. I'm a big believer in the barter system, so I thought I'd throw this out and see if there's any feedback. Music and leathercarving are the basic things I have to barter, and both have been well received, so I was thinking about trading some custom tailored taped lessons or hand carved instrument straps (or whatever) for some transcriptions. Any thoughts? (other than I should have learned to write in Bb, Eb, and F#!)

Rick


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Les B
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 02:04 PM

Rick - are there not some software programs that you could play your CD into and have it output the notes as sheet music - with space for you to add the words ? I suspect some of the better versed Mudcatters will chime in soon with that info. $100 a song sure seems steep to me !


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 05:10 PM

RIck- Having transcribed some 4300 songs for DigiTrad, I can
only wonder why I ain't rich. What songs are you trying to
get transcribed? What form can you provide them in? If
the melody line is written in C, I can transpose it for you with no effort.

If they're songs we have, I can ship you transcriptions; if they're
not, send 'em in and I'll put them in the DT and send you back transcriptions.


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 07:30 PM

Thanks. After the shock of the initial price, this is starting to sound more do-able. I'm going to check with someone about computer programs and see where that's at. I'll talk with you about that Dick. Thanks a million.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 09:42 PM

Rick,

I have used Encore with a MIDI setup. I do lots of lead sheets. It's a flexible software program and with a minimum of keyboard skills you can imput your notes, lyrics and chords without much difficulty. I would not recommend Finale because the learning curve is too great. Encore transposes to any key rather easilly. It also transposes your chords as well. The program is user-friendly. I recommend that you do this step-time rather than try to imput in real-time for closer editing. There are other software programs that make nice copy and are user friendly but I haven't used them. Imput by MIDI is the most economical way to go in terms of time as well as money. Sometimes I don't even bother to play it back through the speakers if the score looks accurate.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From:
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 09:54 PM

How many songs are you looking at the 15 or so on the album?


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: alison
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 10:50 PM

Rick,

If you want melody line and guitar chords that is not a problem, especially seeing as you already know what the chords are. I am happy to help, (it's the sort of things I do anyway), email me if you are interested.

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Michael K.
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 11:00 PM

Rick, Get yourself a copy of Tabledit Software. It is simply the best software program on the market to create transcriptions of any guitar tune or arrangement. You simply input the strings to be plucked along with corresponding chords, and it will notate the melody for you in standard notation. It's the best buy on the Internet (and there is a huge tab library as well.) Check it out and download a trial/evaluation copy. There is also tonnes of support for this program.


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 11:09 PM

I'm overwhelmed. Thank you so much for the offers of help. God I love this place! (I keep saying that, don't I)
I'm starting to wonder if the computer software to do this is as difficult as I might have thought. I certainly can play melody lines on a keyboard, (and own a midi compatible Yamaha 230. What else would I need?
Frank, what you're using seems simple enough (in your explanation). The problem for me is a kind of phobia about computers in general. I've learned a huge amount this year, but almost all of it has been in a totally unorthodox manner. Would a midi hook-up on one of the guitars operate the same way?
Rick


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Michael K.
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 11:12 PM

Rick,

The Tabledit software is not a huge learning curve. It's quite friendly and automated.....and you can add as much or very little input to make simple chord charts or full blown tab with corresponding notated arrangements. Go for it. If you were intimidated by computers you wouldn't be here or on the Internet. (grin)


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 11:30 PM

TablEdit seems to be strictly a PC program. On my Mac I use Songworks II from Ars-Nova.com (it's also PC compatible). You can use a MIDI keyboard, an on-screen keyboard, the Mac keyboard (with or without a Mini-Keys keyboard that sits on top of a Mac keyboard and as you play piano style keys, it strikes the appropriate keys on the keyboard below); in addition, you can replace the onscreen piano keyboard with a guitar keyboard and "play" it with your mouse. The program costs $130 from Ars-Nova, although I bought it from them at MacWorldExpo in San Francisco for about $70, as I remember. They also sell the MiniKeyboard (and Practica Musica, a piano tutor).

--seed


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 11:36 PM

Now these things will give me a simple music staff with melody, correct timing) lyrics, and chords written over them, right?
This is getting interesting.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Michael K.
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 11:37 PM

Yep.


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 12:08 AM

Uh huh. Songworks will even suggest chords for a melody you transcribe. I'm using it to get sound files of fiddle tunes I want to learn: it takes me about a half hour to do the melody and harmony and play it a couple of times to check to see if I've got it right.(I'm slow, and I usually do it by dropping notes directly onto the staff, copying the tune from the Fiddler's Fake Book).

--seed


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Barbara
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 03:50 AM

I use MusicTime and their Music@passport to transcribe tunes and words here and for the SFFMC songpages. (this is the cheapshit version of Encore, that Frank mentioned earlier) Mine ONLY does four voices. Frank's will do up to 64, I think. It comes for both PC and Mac, humsodever, I think they are no longer in business, right crew?
Anyway, let me know if I can help by transcribing some things for you.
Musictime, and I assume some of these other programs, will allow you to take a MIDI (like one you picked up here at DT) and input it as sheet music. When typing the words underneath, the space bar moves you to the next note. Cool, huh?
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 08:01 AM

Rick- The only problems I've found with inputting from a keyboard (or any other MIDI interface) is that of getting the timing down pat; the programs aren't terribly tolerant of rubato, or subtle timing variations or small errors, and produce things like tied thirty-second note triplets when you least expect them.

Just about any transcription program will produce what you want (including transposition). Try some of the shareware stuff (NOTEWORTHY COMPOSER; MUSICEASE etc.) and sww what you're comfortable with. Each one has its own peculiarities.


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 09:03 AM

Rick, as you have seen, there are different methods of inputing the tune via midi. My keyboard playing is not that clever and I find that dragging the notes onto the staff (using Cakewalk) is atually quicker for me than correcting my timing errors.

What is the midi set up you have for your guitar? It is an area that I know nothing about but I would be interest to know if somthing that would work for my banjo exists.

It looks as if you have enough offers of help already but as long as your not looking at anything too complicated (I have never seen Sing Out), I should be able to set it out using Microsoft Publisher e.g. to make a booklet of folded A4 and if what Microsoft say is true, you would have it in a format ready for printing by a commercial printer.

I have only used this program once - last Chritmas I used it to make homemade booklets as presents for the famlily just using plain paper inside and a stiffer coloured card for the outside, fold and staple. They came out quite well.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: JedMarum
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 09:31 AM

Rick - I've been using a cheap software package called "Cakewalk Scorewriter." I am one of those computer users who think "if ya have to read the manual it's bad software" - and "if I can't figure it out from the screens and maybe and occasionalpeak at a help menu, I ain't ineterested." Well this software package is that simple; even an undisciplined user like me can figure it out.

It will play back. You can pick up midi files from the Web and it will score them for you (ie. decompose other people's elaborate scores). It will accept a midi keyboard (or other midi device) input to create scores. I simply use it to create melody line, lyrics and to label the Chords above the staff. I do not use a midi device, but create and edit the score by pointing and clicking with the mouse. I have to say it is easy!!

I am sure some of the othere packages mentioned here are just as good, or better. I suspect if you chose one and learned it, you'd be an expert in no time. Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: _gargoyle
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 10:54 AM

I also like Cakewalk
Take a look at their "Score Writer" Score Writer by Cakewalk

This page has links to their "free trial" download version.


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 03:21 PM

Getting more and more intriguing by the minute.
A couple of weeks ago Peter T showed me his brand new guitar, and within 5 minutes I had attacked it with chizels, sandpaper and dremel. The look of horror on his face as he watched puffs of white dust and wood-shavings floating around was priceless! Ten minutes later when he got it back with proper action, intonation, and strap button installed, he relaxed. That same look of horror comes over me when I watch someone create magic on a computer, and then wonder how I can accomplish even a tenth of it. Gettin' there though...inch by inch!
Rick


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: _gargoyle
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 07:10 PM

Seriously, download the free-trial software and in less than three hours your first song will be done....all others should take less than an hour (depending on how much you want to dink-around ...it is fun...)

Just keep thinking.... I'm earning $100/ hour.


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: alison
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 11:59 PM

so where can we all get jobs doing this for $100 a song????


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: WyoWoman
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 12:30 AM

Get someone to design a "song-transcribers" website maybe?

I'm still mystified -- Rick, I think I'm more in your frame of mind, just scratching my head and saying, "Garsh..." But I'm fascinated by all this, so I'll continue lurking.

so, I'm hearing this right? You can play guitar or banjo and it'll transcribe that to sheet music?

This is so awesome...

WW


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: alison
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 12:42 AM

WW.... that's what I do with the piano, but I believe there are program that will do the same for the guitar and voice.

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 11:35 AM

Rick,

I use Finale, since it has ended up being the industry standard for music publishing, and it has all kinds of provisions for any damned thing a composer and arranger might take it into hisor her head to do, but, as Frank says, it has a really miserable learning curve--and, as he did not say, it really costs a lot of money!!!!!

I have tried to to create midi files with my guitar synth and then convert them to notation, and it requires a ton of alteration and re-writing--partly due to the fact that note duration is so weird on guitar, and partly because there are a bunch of extra notes that sound when you play guitar and you notate as half notes on an arpeggio chord or what ever, but they end up getting coverted to some weird thing like dotted quarters with eight rests, and partly because the way that the conventions on how notes are written doesn't always correspond to what is played--

Anyway, I find it easier to just notate by either playing one note at a time into a sequencer program and converting the midi file and then tweaking, or, and I do this more and more, simply typing the notes onto the staff--which eliminates the need for looking at each phrase and trying to figure out if it is really what I meant--

Like everything that you do on computers, you should set aside a little time to learn how to do it before making commitments to have printed music in people's hands--

Make sure to keep your expectations simple--the expectation that you should be able to plug a CD into your computer and just print out a book of music is likely to lead to great disappointment--

Opcode has introduced a new software, Fermata, that only costs $60, and should be really good--it will include a sequencer, they're lowerer end products tend to be really easy to use, very intuitive, and at the same time offer you a lot of the features and performance that their high end stuff uses--

There are a variety of online support groups for people who use music software, I would advise you to find independent ones, as the software company sponsored sites tend to sidestep the very problems that you are likely to get hung up on--


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: MMario
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 11:41 AM

there are also some new pitch to midi programs out there, I'm going to look at some demos today....


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: _gargoyle
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 12:24 PM

What type person are you Rick "PC" or "MAC"??

Last week I observed a classroom of kids using MACs and the software which I beleived to be the "SongWorks" recommended by the benevolent Mr. Seed. (It was deffinately a "Song--------someting" for MAC) In addition to an "on screen keyboard" the program also featured an "on screen guitar neck" which allowed the children to input using the instrument they were most comfortable with.

The teacher was frustrated because the Roland keyboards would only work on a PC....the G-3 required additional adaptors ...and the individual earphones had not arrived so it sounded like bedlam....but the kids were having a blast with only the screen input....(lesson was the cycle of fifths with the child's own composition)


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 02:49 PM

Garg, if I'm anything I'm P.C. (only "politically correct" when it REALLY counts!) I'm soaking up info at a rapid rate the last two days. I may be new to computers, but by God I sure READ a lot. Your download suggestion seems excellent, and that may be the way I go. First I'm going to rope one of my techie friends into coming over and sitting in on the first session. I'm trading him an arrangement for "Lullaby of Birdland" for his time. That Shearing could string a note or two together.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 03:45 PM

Rick- "Lullaby" is a challanging one to try--notes are easy, but it's very tricky getting the timing down so that it doesn't have a beat like a Sousa march.


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Margo
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 03:56 PM

Hey Rick. I use the Noteworthy Composer. You can write your song in C, select all, then transpose the entire thing up or down! The program plays back what you've written so you can tell if you're doing it right. I quickly found myself writing with ease. That's my .02 worth! Margo


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 04:23 PM

Rick, one thing to bear in mind when looking for software is that some of the midi stuff, like the version of Cakewalk professional that I use is more geared to producing music to be played through midi equipment than the finer points of musical notation although I think they have improved in later versions (I'm using version 3 and I believe that version 9 is either out or will be shortly).

I have not used thier Scorewriter but I would imagine that one is more geared to producing the notation. I would reccomend Cakewalk to anybody - I am a long term computer user (started with CP/M systems as well as Vic20s) and a pretty good "surviver" with them but having said that, I have found their products to be very intuitave. I reccomended Cakewalk to a friend a few days ago. She went for Home Studio 8. I believe it only took her about 15 minutes to get her first song written...

Jon


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 05:08 PM

Encore does have a new distributor but the Passport Company that designed it is out of business. It does have a new home, however. A search engine should get you there.

As re timing, the most important aspect of a lead sheet is just getting the essential melody notes and the chords down. The interpretive parts such as fermatas, rubatos, swing phrasing et. al. can be suggested by written instructions. For copyright purposes, you don't need a lead sheet full of heavy duty syncopations or dynamic markings. If you are writing a chart for an arrangement, then this is a different story. As close to the sound that you hear, you want to capture on paper. Even then, a lot is given to musicians and their ability to interpret the style of music. IE: you could write out a bluegrass tune but it would take a bluegrass musician to give it the right feeling.

I get the feeling that you might want to do more than just leadsheets, Rick and that a better equipped software program would serve you. Encore seems to be the most flexible but there is Mosaic for Mac and there are others to research.

The reason transcribers charge $100 per page has to do with a couple of things. 1. They are sometimes musician union members and there is a copyist scale. 2. The hardest part of annotation is getting down what the composer intended. 3. Professional copyists have usually used special music copying pens for recording work. There was a bias against computer generated lead sheets and scores in the Hollywood music community for many years but this might be changing now. 4. It's not the most fun work in the world to do. There is more motivation to do it when there is a definable goal, learning a song, copyrighting an original song or catagloguing for a songbook or compilation, and teaching songs to others. It's a chore, no matter how you look at it that is time consuming but software makes it easier than doing it by hand.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 05:13 PM

Ayeee Chiwawaaa! Dick. No no no! I'm gettin' his time showing me computer stuff in trade for me showin' him my arrangement on GUITAR of "Lullaby"!! Whooeee, my first attempt at computer scoring is gonna be more like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". In C.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: lloyd61
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 05:27 PM

Some place I have the address for someone who will transcribe a song for $25.00. All it requires is a tape of the song and the words. I will have to dig the information out of my files.

I have been using Note Worthy, but have not been thrilled with the results, Then again maybe the problem is my material not the software.


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: _gargoyle
Date: 12 Dec 99 - 01:34 PM

An interesting reply to an article in the University of Southern California's "Networker Magazine" April 1997, Vol7 #4

Mozart unmatched

I was reading your article about musical software ("Liszt Servers," p.35, January/February 1997, Networker. I'm a bit concerned about such a blasé attitude about the ability of computers. Do you actually know of a program that can do what Mozart did? I'm working on a program for real-time pitch analysis - and it only works for one note at a time. I doubt "it's a piece of cake." If you can document a program that can extract a score from a recording, I'll be most surprised. Incidentally, the story about Mozart [accurately transcribing a work he had heard only once] is much better documented than "legend." The "Miserere" of Allegri was guarded as a special secret by the Vatican. Mozart heard it during a service and wrote out the score afterwards. It has nothing very unusual in terms of composition to make it so special - part of the magic of the piece came from the particulars of the performance, instructed by the composer and passed down as a living tradition. Even a score cannot capture that. Certainly a MIDI file, lifeless as it is, cannot. You brought out that idea forcefully at the end of the article.

Michael Zarky Programmer and harpsichord maker

Editor's Note: We didn't expect anyone to take quite so literally the analogy between Mozart's uncanny aural memory and music software's pyrotechnics. True, no known software can pluck notes out of the air and set them down as a score. However, programs like Digital Performer can extract keystrokes on a synthesizer - improvised or played from memory - and automatically translate them into a clean score. This ability, while not the same as that demonstrated by Mozart in Rome, is nonetheless one that astounds and liberates musicians. The fact that programmers like Zarky are working to develop software to perform real-time pitch analysis suggests that like the once-matchless moves of chess master Gary Kasparov, Mozart's transcribing trick may one day be topped by a machine.

CASE award

Congratulations to you and the editorial staff of the USC technology news magazine, Networker, for winning a silver medal for "Most-Improved Magazine" in the prestigious 1997 CASE Circle of Excellence Awards program. Please pass along my appreciation to all for a job well done!


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: _gargoyle
Date: 12 Dec 99 - 01:35 PM

An interesting reply to an article in the University of Southern California's "Networker Magazine" April 1997, Vol7 #4

Mozart unmatched

I was reading your article about musical software ("Liszt Servers," p.35, January/February 1997, Networker. I'm a bit concerned about such a blasé attitude about the ability of computers. Do you actually know of a program that can do what Mozart did? I'm working on a program for real-time pitch analysis - and it only works for one note at a time. I doubt "it's a piece of cake." If you can document a program that can extract a score from a recording, I'll be most surprised. Incidentally, the story about Mozart [accurately transcribing a work he had heard only once] is much better documented than "legend." The "Miserere" of Allegri was guarded as a special secret by the Vatican. Mozart heard it during a service and wrote out the score afterwards. It has nothing very unusual in terms of composition to make it so special - part of the magic of the piece came from the particulars of the performance, instructed by the composer and passed down as a living tradition. Even a score cannot capture that. Certainly a MIDI file, lifeless as it is, cannot. You brought out that idea forcefully at the end of the article.

Michael Zarky Programmer and harpsichord maker

Editor's Note: We didn't expect anyone to take quite so literally the analogy between Mozart's uncanny aural memory and music software's pyrotechnics. True, no known software can pluck notes out of the air and set them down as a score. However, programs like Digital Performer can extract keystrokes on a synthesizer - improvised or played from memory - and automatically translate them into a clean score. This ability, while not the same as that demonstrated by Mozart in Rome, is nonetheless one that astounds and liberates musicians. The fact that programmers like Zarky are working to develop software to perform real-time pitch analysis suggests that like the once-matchless moves of chess master Gary Kasparov, Mozart's transcribing trick may one day be topped by a machine.

CASE award

Congratulations to you and the editorial staff of the USC technology news magazine, Networker, for winning a silver medal for "Most-Improved Magazine" in the prestigious 1997 CASE Circle of Excellence Awards program. Please pass along my appreciation to all for a job well done!


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: _gargoyle
Date: 12 Dec 99 - 01:39 PM

An interesting reply to an article in the University of Southern California's "Networker Magazine" April 1997, Vol7 #4

Mozart unmatched

I was reading your article about
musical software ("Liszt Servers,"
p.35, January/February 1997,
Networker. I'm a bit concerned
about such a blasé attitude about
the ability of computers. Do you
actually know of a program that
can do what Mozart did? I'm
working on a program for
real-time pitch analysis - and it
only works for one note at a time.
I doubt "it's a piece of cake." If
you can document a program that
can extract a score from a
recording, I'll be most surprised.
Incidentally, the story about
Mozart [accurately transcribing a
work he had heard only once] is
much better documented than
"legend." The "Miserere" of Allegri
was guarded as a special secret by
the Vatican. Mozart heard it during
a service and wrote out the score
afterwards. It has nothing very
unusual in terms of composition to
make it so special - part of the
magic of the piece came from the
particulars of the performance,
instructed by the composer and
passed down as a living tradition.
Even a score cannot capture that.
Certainly a MIDI file, lifeless as it
is, cannot. You brought out that
idea forcefully at the end of the
article.

Michael Zarky
Programmer and harpsichord maker

Editor's Note: We didn't expect
anyone to take quite so literally
the analogy between Mozart's
uncanny aural memory and music
software's pyrotechnics. True, no
known software can pluck notes
out of the air and set them down
as a score. However, programs
like Digital Performer can extract
keystrokes on a synthesizer -
improvised or played from
memory - and automatically
translate them into a clean score.
This ability, while not the same as
that demonstrated by Mozart in
Rome, is nonetheless one that
astounds and liberates musicians.
The fact that programmers like
Zarky are working to develop
software to perform real-time
pitch analysis suggests that like
the once-matchless moves of chess
master Gary Kasparov, Mozart's
transcribing trick may one day be
topped by a machine.


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: hesperis
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 02:46 AM

Interesting. Glad I did a search on transcribing.

So, somewhere between $25 and $100 per song is reasonable for a human being to relieve a busy someone else of the necessity of doing it?

Hmmmm...


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: pavane
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 03:17 AM

There ARE programs about which can analyse sounds and report on the musical notes, but only, as far as I know, for a single melody line, not a whole orchestra. I have long been considering this as a project, but it is highly mathematical, using Fourier Transforms etc. to obtain a spectrum from the sound.


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 06:53 AM

John In Remote Kansas (JIRK) on LIK's cookie

Rick

We have had quite a bit of practice recently with music scoring and the programs thereto.
I have been working up a reprint of a local Irish Session Book – purely out of a masochistic personal proclivity, while Lin has been scoring Digital Tradition tunes that we have in our files to make MIDIs for DT.

There is NO machine or program that any real live person can afford that does a decent job of copying from analog music to a printed score. You can get a sort of a MIDI from some kinds of software, by playing an instrument through a microphone pickup into the computer; but when you try to change the MIDI into written music, you get pretty crude stuff.

If you have an instrument with a MIDI output, almost any program going will let you "play" a tune into the computer's MIDI input, and will produce a semblance of a music score. The problem is that – unless you are a robot – the timing will make a real mess of the score. The approach that works, sort of, is to play the piece R-E-A-L-L-Y- -S-L-O-W-L-Y- -A-N-D- -M-E-C-H-A-N-I-C-A-L-L-Y. You can set most MID program input filters to ignore notes less than a certain length, or to round off note time values, so that you get something readable.

The best way to put things in is using stepwise input. You select a note time value (quarter, eighth, half etc), then you play the note on your MIDI instrument. The note appears on your screen. Then you select the time value for the next note, and play the note, etc. Because most stringed instruments have natural sustain, you might have to be careful using a MID equipped guitar or other similar instrument, to make sure one note dies before you start to enter the next one. The best input device we've found is the simple MIDI keyboard. You select the note time value with one finger (usually one keystroke) and play the note on the keyboard (with one finger of the other hand, if you're sufficiently ambidextrous).

You normally use the same input procedure with a mouse. Set the note time value, then click on the staff where you want the note. Many programs also have an "on screen" picture of a keyboard so that you can click on the key, if you like that style better.

Most SCORING programs will accept MIDI instrument input, will output MIDI files, and will convert a MID file to a written score. Most SEQUENCING programs will do the same things. There are very real differences in the quality of output that you get; but probably, for what I gather is your purpose, almost any or the common programs, commercial or shareware, will do what you want.

My preferred program is one called "Rhapsody" which, unfortunately, is no longer published. It's by the same people (passport) who made the "Music@Passport mentioned by Barbara, and yes, passport went bankrupt in 1978 and was bought by Finale, I think it was. Lin has been using "PrintMusic" (about $69 – made by the same people who make Finale). Both of these are in the category of SCORING programs, that also produce MIDIs.

I also have "CakeWalk Home Studio," (about $49 last time I looked – it came with my keyboard). All programs that have the name "CakeWalk" associated with them are SEQUENCING programs – intended to make MIDIs, but mostly also capable of producing printed scores (sort of).

I have looked at the "big gun" scoring programs – "Finale" and "Sebilius," and frankly I could do it quicker and neater by hand. Either of these programs is $500 or so. My recommendation is "Don't bother," but if you're curious, you can get "trial" versions of either off the web or on a CD (should be free) from most larger music stores. Hit a store that caters to music teachers and/or church organists. They'll stock them because all high school band conductors are writing their major opus ...(?) Printing is disabled in the trial copies, and there are no instructions. If you try to open the Help file, both will tell you that "Help is disabled" in the trial versions; but if you click almost any button on the tool bar and then hit "F1" the help files will pop open – works on either of them. Warning – neither of these programs will give you any idea of how a good program works.

I have had good recommendations for "Noteworthy," but have not looked at it. My last check on the web jabber about it indicated that its largest failing (as of a few months ago) was that you cannot tell it how many measures to put on a line. It breaks wherever it wants to. There was a promise of a fix for this, and lots of people live with it. I don't know whether it does a good job with lyrics and/or chords. Based on popular recommendations, it might be your best bet if you want to do it yourself, although for $20 difference you could get one of the cheaper commercial programs.

One of the biggest problems I have seen with ALL music scoring and sequencing programs is that they do not handle lyrics and other text particularly well. There are some simple reasons why this is true, but they're a little technical. Suffice to say that you can learn to live with it – with most programs.

There are also VERY FEW programs that let you print anything except the full page. Only a few programs let you output a file that you can use in a layout program like Publisher, etc. There are also VERY FEW programs that let you put more than one tune on a page. If this is a problem, ask VERY SPECIFIC QUESTIONS of someone who has used the program before you lock yourself into one.
As a matter of interest, Lin's "PrintMusic" claims to be able to take the output from a microphone (NON MIDI) and produce a score. We've tried, and it works about as well as playing a MIDI instrument into it if you play slowly and one note at a time, but you need a strong mic.

Incidentally – write your tunes in any key you like, with the chords for that key. Any decent program will transpose to whatever you want the final key to be. Most of the good programs will let you put fret diagrams in along with, or in place of, the chords, and will even transpose the diagrams – although you might not necessarily like the fingerings that the program chooses.

Although we can't promise a commitment to a tight schedule, both Lin and I would certainly be willing to give you whatever help we can. You can PM Lin In Kansas if you'd like to contact us.

John (the JIRK until we can get another email address and I can get my own cookie)


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: pavane
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 07:18 AM

Try my program Harmony - it handles lyrics aligned to notes, and can also write the result to a Karaoke format MIDI file.
And I think you will find that learning the simple and concise abc notation, and using one of the many abc programs, (including mine) will allow you to enter tunes far more efficiently than step-wise MIDI


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: pavane
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 07:20 AM

By the way, Harmony also allows you to insert line breaks wherever you need them


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: English Jon
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 07:37 AM

Fourier analysis won't work Pavanne. Trust me.

EJ


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: pavane
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 07:49 AM

I am prepared to believe you!


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: hesperis
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 02:50 PM

Cakewalk Score Writer is quite different than most of their other programs, as it is the basic version of Cakewalk Overture. Overture is supposed to be a professional scoring aid, not a sequencer, and is a little more professional for that purpose.

I have Cakewalk Pro 9, and it is pretty good, but it's not for professional notation, only professional midi and audio. So I checked out the Score Writer, and it is pretty good.

I refreshed this thread because I have a job offer to do some transcribing, and I wanted an idea of what to charge. So, somewhere between $25 and $100 per song seems reasonable, depending on what the person wants done.

Since Rick started this thread last November, maybe he can give us an update on his progress?


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: 8_Pints
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 03:48 PM

I have been using Noteworthy since February and found it easy enough to manipulate.

Some features were hidden, however, such as the ability to break the score on specific bar lines (a tick box setting allows this to be controlled as required).

Whilst grace notes can be introduced step-wise into the score, "turns" as represented by the ~ character are not processed properly on replay.

It enabled me to transpose traditional tunes into something that my limited Northumbrian Smallpipes can accommodate, and was certainly affordable.

Bob vG


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Subject: RE: Transcribing songs costs BIG BUCKS!
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 08:18 PM

I enjoy using Band In a Box on a PPC Mac. It has dimensions and capabilities I haven't even tapped yet, but the basic interface will take any chord series and play it against any basic song structure you can imagine; additionally you can identify tunes note by not and lyrics as you prefer. I'd recommend it, but I don't know how it compares to Cakewalk and the others.

A


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