My Transcribing Corner – all that tech :-P

List of gear:

1. Samsung Tab 7.0 plus – My tablet phone, for listening to original soundtracks

2. Sony bluetooth earphones – connected to my phone, so that I can hear the music more clearly. Want to catch every note, especially the bass line.

3. Yamaha CLP330 digital piano, with Philips headphones.
I wear the Sony earphones in-ear, with the Philips headphones on top of that – double input πŸ™‚

4. Acer Aspire One laptop – cute little thing that fits perfectly on top of my piano. Musescore is the free notation software that I use. When I’m finished transcribing, I save it as pdf format, which I transfer to my…

5. Acer Iconia Tab – I use this to read all my scores. My daughter downloads tons of scores from the net onto the Tab. The pdf reader which comes with it, Lumiread, is great for reading scores (it flips pages instead of scrolling them). Needs a file manager (from the Play Store) – we use Astro – to organise the scores etc.

THEORY TIPS – Part 1: Notation Location

This is the first of my posts on Theory Tips. I hope to put up one each week or so. Like and comment if you find them helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions on theory topics, please put them in the comments too. I’ll try to answer them in coming installments πŸ™‚

Today’s post is about writing music, specifically, “Where does everything in a music score go?”

Here are 5 questions and answers, accompanied by illustrations:

1. First things first –
Clefs, Key-signature, Time-signature

Q: Which do you write first, clef? Time-signature? Key-signature?
A: Remember this order: CKT = Clef ~ Key-signature ~ Time- signature. It follows the alphabetical order! πŸ™‚
* The clef and key-signature are written on every line of music, but the time-signature is only in the beginning of the music (and wherever there’s a change in time)



Stem Directions2. Stem directions –

Q: Where do the stems go, on the notes?
A: Remember “pond” – When the note-head is above the middle line of the stave/staff, the stem goes down (on the left of the head, like “p”) and when the note-head is below the middle line, the stem goes up (on the right of the head, like “d”).

Notes on the middle line can have stems going up or down.

Continue reading “THEORY TIPS – Part 1: Notation Location”

Great music training games

Playing games to improve your music skills, is a great idea. You’ll find games on theory knowledge and aural (listening) skills here. Everyone should check them out. If you register, you’ll get the first 3 levels of every game free.

More Q & A about transcribing music

Can you tell me how to transcribe pieces? Β Do you just play random notes and hope they sound correct?

Haha…no, I sit at the piano, with earphones connected to my phone, which plays the YouTube video of the song. I find the notes on my piano (playing and rewinding small bits of the video at a time over and over) and enter it into Musescore, which is on my laptop on my piano. I try to follow the original as closely as I can. Usually, I do the melody first, then the chord symbols, then work out the accompaniment, one section at a time (not the whole song at once). Takes me anything from a few hours for easy songs, to 2 weeks for hard ones (also depending on how busy I am).Β The pitches of the melody are easy to find. The rhythm is what gets most people. Despite all my teaching experience and skills, sometimes that still takes time πŸ˜› Choosing a suitable accompaniment style (that is playable by others and also sounds good) is always the part that takes most time and thought! I just can’t bear to leave out some lovely counter melodies and fill-ins that I hear in the orchestral versions, so figuring out how to include them can also be tricky…cos we only have 2 hands haha! How I’ve often wished for more ;-)Hope this helps!

Continue reading “More Q & A about transcribing music”

How to play hands together

I sometimes get questions from beginners on how to play hands on the piano. Here’s my reply to one of them. Hope it’ll be of help to some of you πŸ™‚

Nice to hear from you πŸ™‚
I’m afraid Baby Don’t Cry would be a pretty tough piece for you to play if you have trouble putting hands together. Any piece where the melody is in the left hand and accompaniment in the right, is going to be a challenge even for intermediate level pianists πŸ˜› So don’t despair that you can’t do it for this score ok? Even my advanced level piano students would take some practising to get it right πŸ˜‰

Now, for simpler pieces, you first need to practise each hand until you know the notes well. Then put hands together – do only one bar at a time, very slowly. Repeat that one bar until you understand how the hands fit together in terms of the rhythm – when they play together, when right hand plays a note alone, when the left does that? For example, you might go “together-right-left-together”.Β 

You also have to get used to the fingers being independent in the direction they travel, for example “right steps up-skips down-stays; left jumps up 4th-steps up-skips up”.

If you work both of these out (rhythm & shape) bar by bar until they become familiar and then easy, you’ll soon be able to play hands together!Β Try it out then tell me how it’s going ok? All the best!

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