The Ideal Transcription Software

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by bigfoist, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. bigfoist

    bigfoist TDPRI Member

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    I transcribe pretty much everything I play by ear. I can't stand tabs or sheet music. Problem is, there's no software to let you loop sections of music, stitch them together, so you can learn a solo phrase-by-phrase. You can fumble around in YouTube or Spotify, you can go to a shoddily-assembled and low-features site such as https://www.tunetranscriber.com/, and...that's it.

    All I want is to save and load projects, break them down into solos and phrases, and start looping sections while I piece them together and practice playing them.

    I find myself wanting something like this EVERY time I sit down to transcribe some music.

    So I'm building it. For all you by-ear transcribers, would you be interested in this? What features would you like? Would you be willing to pay five bucks for something like this? Let me hear any thoughts you have on this!
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  2. daves561

    daves561 Tele-Meister

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    This sounds similar to the app Transcribe! at seventhstring.com. I assume you've used this app -- how is it not meeting your needs? Genuinely curious, not a rhetorical question. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your comment about "stitching" things together.
     
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  3. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    The Amazing Slow Downer is inexpensive and simple software that will allow you to loop sections of songs to replay slower or faster, with or without changes in pitch.
     
  4. bigfoist

    bigfoist TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! This looks like a great piece of software. After checking out the website, it's not quite what I'm after. What Transcribe! seeks to do is transcribe stuff for you. It'll tell you, "hey, it looks like there's a G13 here, an Fmaj7 here, and a Csus2/E here". Sure, you can loop stuff and add markers, but it's not a smooth and beautiful workflow for transcription by ear.

    But what I want is something like a looper on steroids. Something where I can break the song down into sections, and then figure each section out. Then combine them. Imagine if you wanted to practice a solo over some changes. So you load it up, split it into four bars apiece. You loop the first four bars, try out a bunch of different ideas. Then you switch to the second four bars, same deal. Then, seamlessly, you start looping both of them and start connecting your ideas. When you hit the next four bars, it's just as easy to loop them with anything you had before.

    Ditto for transcription -- I want to be able to easily highlight a solo, then the individual phrases, and start working through them one at a time and getting them under my fingers. Slow 'em down, speed 'em up, whatever. Then combine the phrases, working up until the whole solo is note perfect.

    This can be done with Transcribe!, but the workflow seems tedious. I want something totally smooth so I don't have to screw around with my computer while I'm transcribing.

    You could even -- roll with me on this one -- snip out these highlighted regions and save them to a list. Then, the program automatically loads them up and you study them like flash cards. Are there techniques that are giving you trouble? Changes that you need to hammer down? Load their snippets in, and spend fifteen minutes cycling through musical flash cards every day.

    Also, Transcribe! is $40. Which is a fair price -- but it could be cheaper. $40 is usually a lot of money for someone college-aged or younger.

    Thanks for this one! ASD is a great piece of software, but very single minded. A lot of my points about Transcribe! apply here, too.

    I'll pose another question: If you transcribe music by ear, what is your workflow?
     
  5. daves561

    daves561 Tele-Meister

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    From Transcribe!'s documentation: "It doesn't do the transcribing for you, but it is essentially a specialised player program which is optimised for the purpose of transcription." I prefer it over ASD, having used both for years.

    I will also quote at length from the same documentation:

    "I have done a lot of transcribing and I have always found that the most awkward and tedious part of the job is simply that of navigating around the track and controlling playback. On a CD or other conventional music player, the business of finding again the section you want to hear, of playing again the phrase you are working on, and generally knowing where you are, is a constant distraction from actually concentrating on the music.

    "Transcribe! displays the track as a scrollable waveform from left to right. You can place markers for sections, measures and beats, and you can label them with descriptive names and add textual annotations if you want. The markers identify the various points in the track and you can click on any point to play instantly from that point. There is a rich collection of keyboard shortcuts for controlling playback, and you can also use pedals for hands-free playback control. You will soon find that this allows you to concentrate on the music instead of concentrating on fiddling with the playback controls and wondering where you are. This may not sound very glamorous but if you actually do transcribe music then I think you will appreciate what I am saying."

    https://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/overview.html

    My point here is that the author of Transcribe! feels the same way you do, and I think this app covers a lot of what it sounds like you're looking for. I assume there's a trial version you can download and use...? If you haven't tried it, I would have a look and see how close it gets to what you're looking for. At the very least, it's inspiration for what's already out there and what you could improve on. There is a ton of functionality in Transcribe!. Support for multiple sections, looping, skipping between sections, all controlled by keyboard shortcut. And for $40 I think it's a steal. (I write commercial software for a living. A bug-free desktop application with complete documentation and as much functionality as Transcribe! has is no small feat.)

    My 2¢ and all!
     
  6. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    For the actual transcribing, I like to just use pencil and paper. The tricky part to me is playing back particular parts of the song over and over, possibly slowing down the tempo, and/or isolating the guitar. I use MATLAB for that part. I programmed it to to key off the snare drum to determine BPM and the start of each measure. Then I can select measures, create loops, write to wave files, etc. as necessary.
     
  7. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    Is there an engineer (or maybe scientist) in the house?? That’s awesome!
     
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  8. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes indeed, electrical engineer in real life!
     
  9. Cloodie

    Cloodie TDPRI Member

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    I use Transcribe. It has everything I need in terms of replaying sections, slowing down the temp etc and probably quite a few features that I also don't use.
     
  10. Califiddler

    Califiddler Friend of Leo's

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    I have never heard the word "workflow" used like this before. Is it a computer term? What does it mean in this context? When someone asks me "how is your workflow" they are asking me "how busy are you?"
     
  11. stinkey

    stinkey Tele-Afflicted

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    In Reaper you can loop a section of a file. I guess you can do it in most DAW´s.
     
  12. Bella_Caster

    Bella_Caster Tele-Meister

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    If I'm understanding correctly, you can do this with Audacity. It's really the only reason I use Audacity. You can use markers (which Audacity calls labels) to mark your I/O points to loop. And from the effects menu you can choose Tempo. In the Tempo dialog there's an option to change tempo withot changing pitch. There's also an option to use high quality stretching so that the loop doesn't suffer from quality reduction as much as it would otherwise.

    This can also be done with Ocenaudio, which I prefer over audacity with the exception that Ocenaudio doesn't maintain the same type of quality as Audacity when slowing down.

    You can usually do the same type of thing in many DAWs, but I find Audacity or Ocenaudio to be quicker to load up and just get going.
     
  13. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use Reaper DAW. Super easy to select any section of a song and loop it. Super easy to alter the tempo without changing pitch. Super easy to even stretch out the graphic depiction of the song’s sound waves so you could pick out a single beat of a song, isolate it, and play it.
     
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  14. GuitLoop

    GuitLoop Tele-Meister

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    If you're on Windows the Live Looper app allows you to identify/mark an unlimited number of loops in a song. You can then sequence them any way you want, loop them and/or jump around from part to part. Current price US$7.50 with a free 30 day trial.

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/live-looper/9n9szh5krnnx?activetab=pivot:overviewtab

    Note that there are two ways to play sound in the app...
    1) The main app window provides access to your sequenced loops. You can start playback wherever you want in the sequence, loop parts and dynamically jump from part to part while the track is playing. By default the loops play in the prescribed sequence.
    2) The waveform viewer allows you to view a linear waveform of your track but still allows you to jump around amongst the identified loops and play and loop them.

    Disclaimer...I am the creator of the app. Yes another musician/programmer in the house.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
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  15. gtroates

    gtroates Tele-Holic

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    I like an app called “Anytune” give it a look, I transcribe all the time for myself and students. I like Anytune’s features better than ASD which I used for years until I found Anytune but both of them loop sections of any size, you can label the loops in both too and store them.
     
  16. historicus146

    historicus146 Tele-Afflicted

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    Anyone mention Guitar Pro?
    Seems fine to me...
     
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