Okay, I have to admit, this is my first really serious attempt at transcribing something on this level. I’m in the early stages and I’m sure I picked a section that is way too advanced for me, but for the past few hours I’ve been working on the first several bars (10-12) of the piano solo. My goal is to learn the first 16. He’s using mostly his right hand. Towards the end he starts using both hands and I believe the left hand is just playing the same notes down an octave. Anyway, at this point I’ve picked out all the notes and I’m just attempting to duplicate the way he’s swinging them. After many, many repetitions playing at 50-70% speed, I can sort of duplicate the feel and sound. To play it the way he’s (seemingly effortlessly) playing it at full speed seems super human to me. It’s been a real learning experience and has given me a real appreciation for what that guy is doing. I guess the next step would be to attempt to write down what he’s playing. Hayden, I can understand why it took you a week to do what you did! But hey, I’m lovin it. It’s great fun! Thanks for putting together another great lesson.
It’s an advanced piano solo for sure… he’s very talented.
Continue with your study of the piano solo, but also…
Maybe try something a bit simpler… how about this, try the sax solo… from bars 3:06 to ~3:17 (this way you also aren’t temptet to look at the keys - we are working on our listening skills here )
This is the 2nd A section of his first time though the form (bars 17-25) - listen to how he takes the original ‘arc’ of the melody and repurposes it so beautifully over the next 6 bars. Brilliant!
First of all, always play left hand voicings underneath before you start to work out the notes.
The 1st note of his solo is on D-7b5 (bar 3) - I’d recommend you play left hand voicings underneath from when his solo starts, just to get in sync with what is happening. Play your left hand voicing on beat 1 of each bar.
I will transcribe the 1st 32 bars of his sax solo and post in here in a few days. Have a go at it too.
First focus on accuracy, ie. get the right notes, and the right rhythm and feel. Then gradually speed up, in small increments.
If you noticed, i recorded the transcription exercise lesson at 120 bpm, when they were playing around 160bpm. (After 1 week I was comfortable with 120 which is 75% of the original speed… it will take more practice to speed it up whilst keeping accuracy)
Even at 120 bpm, some of his trumpet lines are difficult to execute on the piano!
So don’t worry about slowing it down Mark… it’s essential when you are starting out… slow it down as much as necessary.
Mark, to transcribe a whole solo, it takes weeks/months… And even then you can revisit it, better emulate it, and speed it up.
It’s very challenging but also very rewarding and hugely beneficial to your playing.
As you say you have to listen to it over and over… and that is how you absorb jazz phrasing and feel. Essentially, it’s how you learn to improvise.
My pleasure… keep an eye on this thread… I’ll transcribe and post the first 32 bars of the sax solo in a few day. I also really like the piano solo from 6:20 to ~6:50 - I will transcribe that too and post it here.
Remember you don’t need to transcribe the whole thing… just pick the bits you like. Perhaps just a couple of bars or a 251 lick/line.
Hayden, I took your advice and moved over to the sax solo. The first thing I did was work on playing only the chords, in the left hand on the first beat. The transition between Arturo and the sax player is a bit tricky, and it took me a long while to hear and recognize where in the form the sax player starts playing. I’m glad you mentioned that he starts his solo on the D-7b5 chord. That was a big help. I had to listen very closely to those few bars over and over again and finally realized that I could hear the piano player playing the chords, and got to where I could hear him ending the previous section with the the Fm7 Bb7 and then playing two measures of the Ebmaj7 before the sax solo kicks in.
Once I was able to play the chords in the left hand on the first beat through the entire solo, I moved on to learning the solo at bars 17-25 as you suggested. Playing the solo in the right hand and the chords in the left hand on the first beat. I agree - that little section is quite nice, and much easier to work with.
Working through all this for several hours last night was a very fun, interesting and valuable learning experience. I agree with you that all of us students should to be working on transcribing on a regular basis.
So that’s where I left off last night. Came in this morning and found out that my PC won’t turn on. I think it’s the power supply. Bummer! It’ll probably take me a few days to get up and running again.
Hayden, thanks again for everything you do! You’re the best!
Yes playing left hand voicings underneath on the first beat of the bar is very important… the pianist will not be doing this, he will be syncopating and anticipating his comping which can make it harder to follow the changes.
A tip is to listen to the drummer. After every 8 bars, the drummer will add a subtle ‘fill’ and when you move back to the top of the form (and also into the bridge to a lesser extent), this ‘fill’ or ‘roll’ is slightly more pronounced… listen out for that as it is a very useful hint.
That’s exactly right… more often than not, the soloist will ‘wind down’ towards the end of the form… but Arturo caries on in this instance. In some ways this ads to the spontaneity of the performance, but from a transcription standpoint it is tricky.
The main point is that you had to listen to it over and over, just to hear whats happening. This is the whole point of transcription…
Music is an aural art form, and thus listening is the best way to learn it… particularly in the jazz idiom.
That’s great news… and it’s why i directed you there.
I’d recommend staring out with transcribing from players like Chet Baker, or Miles Davis, as they leave a lot of space in their solos.
If you try transcribing Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, or Kenny Barron, you will find it much more difficult.
In the upcoming study of blues, I will post a number of different F Blues recordings that I would recommend transcribing from… this isn’t a compulsory exercise, but for those looking to improve their improv skills, it’s essential.
The blues is a short form too, with few chord changes (and the jazz blues form has both major and minor 251s) so it’s perfect. More on this when the section is finished
My pleasure Mark… it’s very encouraging on my end to be able to teach this side of jazz… and it’s very much aligned with the direction I want to push PianoGroove.
And good luck with your computer!
ps. if you were wondering, when i quote you, i manually add in your name, i’ve spoken to my tech guy to get this fixed (as it quotes the username by default) which is ugly due to the how the forum integrates with the membership side of the website. But anyway, I am working on getting it to quote the persons name by default. cheers.
If you’ve struggled to get stuck into transcription. The blues is a very nice place to start. I have included 4 records below that you can transcribe from. Start with the “Bill Evans Blues In F” as this is the most accessible.
In the latest lesson on the blues, I demonstrated the value of transcribing from these great musicians
Thanks Michael, I’m glad you like them. Yes the concepts covered in this series will be very important.
Moanin is a minor blues and so the F Minor Blues will all have an important part in his solo, but listen to when he steps away from blues in his improv… then he will be utilising chord tones, approach patterns and sprinkling in extensions and alterations.
Have fun playing with this stuff
My pleasure Mark, and yes, there is a lot of info in there.
Remember to start simple with your improvs and just cycle around the progression with iRealPro, try to get an aural appreciation of what each chord tone sounds like, and more importantly, what it sounds like to resolve into each different chord tone using the approach patterns outlined.
If I can help, or you need any guidance just let me know
Love the transcriptioning… however can not get the Gershwin Summertime.xsc into transcribe. I may haved replaced google maps with Gershwin and one transcribe monitor (i have 6) says it is Gershwin but is Bill Evans. Everytime I try to add file transcribe disappears, will keep trying.
i am flummoxed. again…transcribe says the xsc for summertime is a transcribed and not a sound file… tried the mp3 above it but how does “transcribe file will open up directly within the transcribe software”. as written re Summertime.xsc and below it. I really have been going in circles and it is craze making. If transcribe is open as soon as i try to drag a file it closes and hides. I have wasted so much practice time trying to figure this out…and cannot locate help on transcribe either.
what to do???
Download this file by clicking the “down arrow” icon:
Drag the file into Transcribe. You are using Mac if I remember correctly… you can either drag the mp3 file onto the Transcribe Icon, or alternatively, open transcribe and then drag the .mp3 file into the window.
Transcribe works by pulling audio files (.mp3 or .wav files) into Transcribe and then you have the ability to slow sown, loop sections, and also other features. If you don’t have the audio file on your computer, then it won’t work.
The easiest way is to follow steps (1) and (2) above. Remember that anything you have in you iTunes can be pulled directly into Transcribe… simply drag and drop the files.
Does this help… I’m happy to explain further if you need
You are so kind.
I do not want to burden you with too many techno queries and have found a source to assist me.
But, if you have the thread and your Jan 17 response to my query perhaps you can quickly figure this out.
Per instructions for # 1, I cannot locate the “down arrow”, … it must be hiding in plain sight but is it on transcibe or should I hit file or yikes hmmmmm … where the heck is it…???
congrads on the tutors…
If ever there is a real basic simple beginning place to transcribe and put the pieces together so that one success can grow and roll on, that would be so helpful. I imagine it to be quite boring and challenging when you know so much and the pathways are so lubricated to revert back but I believe many would benefit.
You have given us the tools for a solid foundation, truly.
I’d recommend starting by transcribing a line over a 251, like in the first 2 examples.
The end goal is to be transcribing full solos - as in the later lessons of the course - but you will work up to this.
It’s tough to get started on Cheryl, but also very rewarding and in my opinion to the most effective way to improve at jazz piano.
Once you develop your ear you will feel very liberated as you can pull creative inspiration from any of your favourite recordings and have full control over the direction and development of your sound.
HI Hayden, I realize this thread is kind of old, so hope it will still be seen.
When transcribing do you recommend the Hear it, Sing it, Play it method, or do you go straight to playing? I have been seeing a local jazz pianist to supplement encourage some discipline in my practice routine, and he feels strongly that you need to be able to sing what you hear prior to playing it. I have found it very helpful, and it has made me realize that I don’t always hear what I think I hear! Using the Transcribe software is critical for me, as I can’t pick up some of the lines without slowing it down.
Myself and some of our other students are still fleshing out how it will all work and making good progress.
My plan has always been to add a subsection in there for transcription drills and exercises. I’ll get to work on this now.
Anyhow onto your questions:
I personally hum or whistle the tones of the lines I’m transcribing. I’ve always loved to whistle lol
But in effect, it’s the same thing… sing/hum/whistle… we are using our body to emulate and internalise the sounds we are hearing.
So yes I think it’s always a good idea to vocalise the lines. It’s a way to get the lines and melodies inside out bodies. Improvisation comes from within. Musical ideas that you are feeling, or hearing inside of you.
Yes I agree.
If you transcribe a 251 line. And then take it around all 12 keys, you should be able to sing it. I know after doing that I am able to. That’s always been a vitally important step for me.
Yes Transcribe is a huge asset when it comes to transcription.
Depending on the tempo, sometimes I can transcribe straight from Spotify. But it also can be fiddly with the slider to drag it back etc…
Also if the recording is not the best quality, then Transcribe is essential for me.
The more I do it Kim, the better I get at it, and I’m sure this will apply to you to.
Transcription Exercises In The Practice Inspiration Area
I will recategorise this post now, and also plan out a series of exercises for students to transcribe.
Hope this helps answer your questions and I’m really happy to hear you are getting more into transcription.
It truly is the most effective way to develop your own sound. ‘Stealing’ little nuggets from different solos, and those little nuggets turn into ‘words’, which with more ‘words’ then become ‘sentences’, which then become whole solos.
Hey Guys - So I’m late to the party on this exercise, but came across in my recent work on Summertime. The past 2 days, I’ve been transposing this line thru all 12. I’ve found it very challenging and had to write out the numbers in relation to each corresponding chord. I’m very slow but it’s also helping me think thru the 13 in particular as I find that I’m not always clear on what is the b13 or the 13 for a particular chord. But it’s getting clearer, and the line today started coming out naturally towards the last 3 keys today. I’m going to keep working on this all week, and see if I can also sing along by Friday! Love this. Thanks Hayden.