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Open Studio "Transcription Q&A" today


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I thought this might interest some folks here. Open Studio, the online jazz education network, is doing a livestreamed "Transcription Q&A" with all the people who do the transcriptions for their videos, of which I am one. We'll be answering questions about transcribing, talking about tips and tools and whatnot. It'll be on their YouTube channel at 5pm Eastern. (Apologies if this should go in the "shameless plugs" section, and feel free to move it if so; the lines between what is and isn't a "gig" or a "plug" have gotten a little blurry these past few weeks.)

 

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I'm really digging all the stuff Open Studio is doing. Last night they did a livestream Listening Session on YouTube and FB and played the John Coltrane album Crescent and had open chat between each tune on the album. Been check out their classes too really hip place.
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I've been a member for a while now and they do have great courses. On top of that, they've been really digging in during the Stay Home period to do lots of interesting live streams including concerts (Peter Martin does one every Friday night), Guided Practice Sessions, "Green Rooms" with their artists as well as other artists who are friends (when you consider they've had cats like Hello Alves, Romero Lubambo, Dianee Reeves, Emmet Cohen, Sullivan Fortner, and Geoffrey Keezer, available to answer questions and chat, that's way cool), and more.

 

Here's a link to their live streams, which I think they update weekly or so.

 

Open Studio Live Stream Schedule

 

I'm really looking forward to today's transcription Q&A, but I suspect I know the answer to what I want to know, which is how to get better. :snax:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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When Adam asked for songs to start out with, I really thought you were going to sayâ¦

 

[video:youtube]

 

:roll:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Joe, you probably noticed I kinda lost it when the advice "Don't start with YYZ" came up.

That's why I wanted you to suggest it So Much. :D You probably didn't see me saying (silently, obviously) "say Y Y Z. say Y Y Z"

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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When Adam asked for songs to start out with, I really thought you were going to sayâ¦

 

[video:youtube]

 

:roll:

Are we all agreed that this video should continue to memed across the forum, a running gag/inside joke on par with Nord Lead?

Samuel B. Lupowitz

Musician. Songwriter. Food Enthusiast. Bad Pun Aficionado.

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When Adam asked for songs to start out with, I really thought you were going to sayâ¦

 

[video:youtube]

 

:roll:

Are we all agreed that this video should continue to memed across the forum, a running gag/inside joke on par with Nord Lead?

uh, Yes!!!

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I kind of got nudged out before I got to respond to what I thought was the most important how-to question: how to deal with individual, difficult voicings. Other people said to start with the top and bottom notes, and then work your way inward. My approach often ends up being that, but I would describe it more generally as: start with the notes you can hear easily, and then deal with the trickier ones. In practice, the highest note is usually the melody note and usually the most obvious, though once in a while that's not the case. The lowest note is usually obvious, but depending on the overall mix and density, it might not be. That's where the "up an octave" trick I mentioned comes in handy. (Use your software to raise the pitch an entire octave, and the muddy low end becomes a lot clearer.)

 

Assuming the top and bottom were the easiest, then I start dealing with the inner notes. Usually there's at least one that stands out immediately. And once I've got that one, it may make other ones obvious â or it may not. So once I've got the obvious notes, it's time to start honing in on the less-obvious ones. I do this via a simple A/B comparison. I'll play the notes I've got so far, then play back that portion of the recording, repeatedly: me, recording, me recording. Hearing them next to each other like that will tend to highlight the difference between the two, and it will make the missing notes in my voicing stand out more clearly. At that point I'm not just dealing with which frequencies I hear, but I'm also using all the other tools in the arsenal as well: knowing the structure of the tune and what the chord quality "should" be; knowing what options are available according to the common practices of music theory; and whatever knowledge I have of that particular player's vocabulary and the kind of voicing they might be likely to use in that context. By taking all of those things into account, I have a sense of where to look first rather than just flying blind. Like, "Okay, I know this is a dominant chord, to the flat 7 is probably gonna be in there somewhere. Is it in this octave or this octave, or both?" That sort of thing.

 

A generalization I can make is that figuring out modern jazz piano voicings often comes down to a process I call "Find the Half Step." Not all voicings have a half step in them, of course, but a lot of them do, and distinguishing those that do from those that don't is one of the easier things to teach yourself to do. Once you've established that a voicing has a half-step in it somewhere, finding it usually isn't too tricky. And once you've found it, it can guide you to what other notes you can probably expect to pick from. Like, if you know it's a C7 chord and you've got an E and an Eb next to each other, you can probably eliminate a D from the running, because people generally don't play a natural 9 and a sharp 9 in the same chord. Of course there are always exceptions, but following the most common practices will end up being helpful most of the time.

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Great stuff Josh. I will also do a process that any of the slow-downer tools provide. I'll loop the single voicing hit, either the whole hit, or even so tightly that it starts to buzz like a tight sample loop. Then I can play against it, versus the repeating method you suggest (which I also do). Sometimes being able to hit a note against the sustaining chord helps me to hear things better. Every tool,in the shed, I say.

 

Jerry

 

I kind of got nudged out before I got to respond to what I thought was the most important how-to question: how to deal with individual, difficult voicings. Other people said to start with the top and bottom notes, and then work your way inward. My approach often ends up being that, but I would describe it more generally as: start with the notes you can hear easily, and then deal with the trickier ones. In practice, the highest note is usually the melody note and usually the most obvious, though once in a while that's not the case. The lowest note is usually obvious, but depending on the overall mix and density, it might not be. That's where the "up an octave" trick I mentioned comes in handy. (Use your software to raise the pitch an entire octave, and the muddy low end becomes a lot clearer.)

 

Assuming the top and bottom were the easiest, then I start dealing with the inner notes. Usually there's at least one that stands out immediately. And once I've got that one, it may make other ones obvious â or it may not. So once I've got the obvious notes, it's time to start honing in on the less-obvious ones. I do this via a simple A/B comparison. I'll play the notes I've got so far, then play back that portion of the recording, repeatedly: me, recording, me recording. Hearing them next to each other like that will tend to highlight the difference between the two, and it will make the missing notes in my voicing stand out more clearly. At that point I'm not just dealing with which frequencies I hear, but I'm also using all the other tools in the arsenal as well: knowing the structure of the tune and what the chord quality "should" be; knowing what options are available according to the common practices of music theory; and whatever knowledge I have of that particular player's vocabulary and the kind of voicing they might be likely to use in that context. By taking all of those things into account, I have a sense of where to look first rather than just flying blind. Like, "Okay, I know this is a dominant chord, to the flat 7 is probably gonna be in there somewhere. Is it in this octave or this octave, or both?" That sort of thing.

 

A generalization I can make is that figuring out modern jazz piano voicings often comes down to a process I call "Find the Half Step." Not all voicings have a half step in them, of course, but a lot of them do, and distinguishing those that do from those that don't is one of the easier things to teach yourself to do. Once you've established that a voicing has a half-step in it somewhere, finding it usually isn't too tricky. And once you've found it, it can guide you to what other notes you can probably expect to pick from. Like, if you know it's a C7 chord and you've got an E and an Eb next to each other, you can probably eliminate a D from the running, because people generally don't play a natural 9 and a sharp 9 in the same chord. Of course there are always exceptions, but following the most common practices will end up being helpful most of the time.

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Cool, I just know that I need to practice this more often.

 

Don't we all? They discussed what to start with, and I think that's important. Start with things that are simple enough that you get them without working weeks. Keep doing more and more and you'll develop your ear, and your skills to tackle harder things. I remember reading in many interviews that Chick Corea started by working on Horace Silver solos... it was within his reach, and from there he moved forward.

 

Another tip that wasn't discussed was to work on something for a while, and then put it away and give yourself a few days break from it. Then come back with fresh ears and perspective. I can't tell you how many times I worked on learning a song, a lick, a solo and thought that I had it pretty close. Came back to it after a break of some time and realized some errors I had made/heard.

 

Jerry

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uh, Yes!!!

 

Wrong prog band!

Don"t worry. There"s no rush. The genesis of this meme has begun.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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