The Transcription Behind the Music

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The Transcription Behind the Music

At a party, Bruce Springsteen’s song, Born in the USA, streams out of an MP3 player, and people start shaking their heads and playing the air drums to the beat. The E-Street Band along with other rockin groups must have played this song thousands of times by, at some point, reading from sheet music. When a band is following the same lyrics and notes, whether it’s on paper or a screen, the end product is a song. A favorite melody that wins over fans with its words and notes.

What is the method of converting music to paper, so it can be played again, and the integrity of the music is not lost? The process is transcription of music, notating a selection or a sound that was previously unnotated, such as an original guitar solo. It is a genuine adaptation of the lyrics and notes. When the notes that comprise a song are written down, this is music notation. During this procedure, written symbols are used to visually represent aurally perceived music.

It is literally an art and involves the use of special tools  (transcription aids), such as slow-down software, pitch tracking, and notation software. . These instruments can faithfully capture the lyrics and notes by transcriptionists, trained to use such unique equipment. This entire process transfers the music, so it can be replicated on paper and reproduced by the reader.
Transcribing songs to paper is both an art and a technical procedure, which calls for an expert professional in this area. This way, the piece is captured true-to-form. Next time, you hear a recorded song playing, it wasn’t just the musicians and production team behind it, but the transcriptionists too.


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One Comment

  1. Hey Melissa,

    Nice reminder! I’m a drummer myself and half of my work actually consists of transcribing songs first. Without it there would be no playing at all!

    Keep up the good writing!


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