Sail away - transcription challenge

Sail away is a very nice tune. Transcribing the Kenny Barron version was a delightful experience. It took me 2 weeks and 8 sheet of paper – another week for minor changes, corrections and practice. It becomes easier from tune to tune although far from perfect. Sometimes there a just too many notes within one bar and notation not always correct. I try my best playing along with the original. The bass and drum players were taken from the Kenny Barron recording. For all those who would like to practice minor 11 th chords the song contains plenty. For all those who hesitate to grab an empty peace of paper, pencil and eraser it is supposed to be an encouragement. I did´t use any transcription of the song. Always open for comments.


Great work on transcribing this recording @cornelius.moser … 8 pages is a sizeable transcription project!

You capture Kenny Barron’s melodic phrasing and embellishments beautifully and your chord voicings are clean and played in control throughout.

I find that it can be tricky to transition between Barron’s fast melody lines and his wide 2-handed voicing shapes… and you do this really well.

Thanks for sharing!

Here’s a similar recording that I like by Kenny Barron which also heavily features minor 11th chords and the so called "Kenny Barron voicing:

Wow, great transcription @cornelius.moser ! I’m not familiar with this piece, but it’s a wonderful new discovery. The melody is beautiful and the harmonies are rich. You’ve done an amazing job of isolating the drums and bass from the original recording. Eight pages of transcription sounds like a lot of work! Did you do it the traditional way with pen and paper? Did you use any apps to slow down the song and did you find it helpful?

Hello Mike, thank you for your comment. I appreciate it very much. I used the transcribe app by seventh string (license for 1 copy about 37 €) . It is a very helpful tool. Before starting with transcription I would check the pitch. It can easily be calibrated to your digital piano. The slow down command in combination with the loop function allows you to find the notes and chords. Most times I try to play along with the original piano stem for one or two bars. Once I got the melody line I would write it on a blank sheet of music paper with a pencil (traditional way).
Recording the transcription was done with audacity (open source). The isolation of drums and bass was done with stemroller app (open source). I also tried moises ai app. The free version is of less quality compared to stemroller in my opinion.

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@cornelius.moser ,

Awesome job!

That’s a lot of work, but this is the right way to learn jazz!

Now, once you have done such a massive project, can you think and write down all things you have learned/areas in which you feel like you have improved?

Keep top the good work,

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Tuomo , I am very grateful for your comment. In fact transcribing doesn´t cost me any effort. Once you started it would pull you through. It ist a lot of brain work but relaxing at the same time. We keep on doing it …


Hey @cornelius.moser ,
Thanks for the transcription tips. I’ve been practicing the Pianogroove transcription exercises and I think I’m ready to try transcribing a short and easy jazz piece. Nothing as challenging as Sail Away, of course! :slight_smile:

I’m currently looking into different software options for this. I’ve heard that Transcribe app and Anytune are popular choices. I also have Logic Pro, and I read on the forum that some people use that as well. Stemroller seems to work amazingly well too, so I’ll definitely give that a try at some point.

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