i'm now getting into jazz piano and i would like to know how most people would go about transcribing a monk/oscar peterson or even a jason moran solo?
do you use any special software/hardware to slow down the speed of the playing without changing the pitch so that you can pick it up, or do you just sit there for hours listening over and over?
any help will be appreciated.
There are 32 comments, leave a comment.
get transcribe! from seven string software. very neat little piece of soft. retails under $100.  

you can slow down as much as you want, set up loops, all sorts of markers.  

i use it myself all day for practicing with back-up tracks. get this, i can slow the back-up track as much as i want without changing the pitch. beats a metronome.  
i can even alter the pitch if i want to learn in another key.  

have fun!
i haven't been able to get a full symphomy orchestra together to accompany me so i've had to just settle for listening to the recorded works for now.
i reccomend amazing slow downer from roni music instead.   i bought transcribe and it does not work with my mac.  they advertise it works with pc or mac but in fact it does not work with all macs.  they will not refund my money either.  very dissapointing...  they win my internet rip off company of the year award.
the copy of "rhapsody in blue" (piano solo) that i own is 31 pages long (published by warner bros. publications (c)mcmxxiv). i bought my copy in zurich in the early 1980's.

i sort of played through it once a long, long time ago.

it is as dense as any classical piece.

i had the good fortune to hear on several occasions the recording of gershwin's piano roll of this piece (it lasts about 20 minutes). after listening intently to this, i came to believe that art tatum took much inspiration from gershwin's 1924 work.


if, for example, you had the same copy of the piano solo as i do then you could ask something like "on page xx, measure xx, what is your preferred fingering?" and i might possibly be able to help you out.

but if you're in possession of some other version, the best i can say is "try to play it as written and put some soul in there".


it is truly a monumental opus and not for the faint of heart. you are to be admired for even considering an undertaking of this magnitude so early on in your jazz education.
it sounds like you have an excellent routine. what are the four more things you will add? maybe composition, modern stride, bossa nova solo piano, and left hand arpeggios for ballads?
i was also looking into a cd player for dj's. it plays normal cd's as well as mp3's and allows you to slow down/speed up and change the pitch. its made by stanton. have you guys ever heard of this unit?
i hate this piece.
as a pianist who made a living playing lounges and restaurts for many years i can tell you this piece is requested as much as billy joels "piano man" people in a loud noisy bar will yell it out as a request in a drunkin manor and ultimately make you look bad because you dont go into a virtuoso rendition of a concert piece in s bar full of ignorant drunks.  i attemted getting performance versions together a few times but ultimately decided this was a concert piece rather than a lounge/restaurant piece.  i did work on it enough to know it is a substantial project to tackle and to try to come up with a finished product when taking on the rhapsody for solo piano.  personally i do not like the piece enough to hang with it though it clearly would be a crowd pleaser in many situations.
thanks! music is really the only thing i want to do, and practicing is usually fun. jazz+, i had to change the schedule a bit, i must admit that i didn't actually finish every moment most days. i discovered i lack a lot in technique, so i'm focusing alot on that right now. this is my schedule right now:

1,5 h technique
1 h bill dobbins
30 min voicings
1 h transcribe
30 min counterpoint
30 target notes
30 min perfect pitch
45 min relative pitch

when i find more time, i'm supposed to add melodic rhythms and digital patterns, but i've got lots of homework too, so i gotta learn songs etc. i'm not really happy with this schedule, so i'm gonna change it a bit soon i think.
sorry, to hear of your experiences mike, that's a shame they won't refund your purchase. if it does work owever, (as it always has on my pcs), transcribe is a great piece of software.
i played through it in a piano solo sheet music version during piano lessons some 17 years ago.

6 years ago i got this music minus one version:
https://www.musicminusone.com/mainpages/details.asp?albumid=204

but never finished it. some day i will put my full attention to it :)
but some day also my princess will come :) so one never knows....
where's the learning standards or repertoire part of your practice?  
i wouldn't recommend leaving that out.

i would prescribe:

jazz arpeggios (phrased with forward motion)
bebop scales (phrased with forward motion)
pentatonic and blues scales (phrased with forward motion)
all resolved to a good target note (forward motion)

all of the above played over standard tunes (repertoire)

the 7 types of voicings as played by mark levine (not really fully outlined in his books)

also, apply the 7 types of voicings to standard tunes (repertoire)

practice each tune repertoire 3 ways as: ballad, swing and bossa.
i also find 'transcribe!' to be a very useful tool.  i am sorry to hear that mike can't get it to work on his mac.  i use version 6 on my 98 machine and version 7 on my xp computer.  you can and should download the program first (there is a 30 day free trial) to make sure it is something you would like to purchase.
this piece by gershwin is now a cliche.  

and when you get down and actually analyse it you'll realise it's not really a great piece of music. it's just popular trash.

the comment "i came to believe art tatum took much inspiration from gershwin's 1924 work." is an opinion, which is fine. it's also an insult to the memory of art tatum.
that's not a bad idea. what do you mean with forward motion? could you please fill me in on what 7 types of voicings you mean? i have the jazz piano book, but which 7 ones are you referring to?

also, playing scales up and down doesn't really do much. when i say i practice say pentatonic scales, i'm using a systematic approach which ensures that i'm playing every combination possible. (bergonzi's books)
i downlaoded the 30 day trial version and began looking at it (transcribe)last night. i opened a file of brad mehldau playing "someone to watch over me" to see how it would work. i see the song advancing on the timeline with some notes (dots), but the notes were not updating. does this software actually give you the correct notes to the song? i'm asking because i was looking to by the cd from stanton, but if this software is the tool of musicians, then i would consider buying this instead.
i like rhapsody in blue and also the preludes....what bugs me is when people call them jazz...but even that doesn't bug me enough to ruin my day :)
these are mark levine´s seven voicing systems, used on the aebersold cd "the magic of miles". there is a transcription book available.

https://www.learnjazzpiano.com/citadel/scotcit.mvc?intro_off=1&action=forum&sub=display_thread&room_id=1&id=31539
i boycotted transcribe! for a long time because of a similar problem as mike's -- they were really incommunicative and had no interest in refunding my money after the software turned out to be incompatible with my rig at the time.  since buried the hatchet -- i don't think there's any better software out there.  it is very troubling that they're still screwing people over, though.

i don't know, last_chance -- i don't have the latest version, but on my version, there's an option to analyze a selected portion of a tune (like, say, one chord) in terms of the frequencies (notes) contained.  even though the analysis includes the overtones, i find it pretty helpful on occasion.  there's nothing out there commercially that will actually provide the notes and correct time values of a given solo, though.  it sounds from your description as though the software is trying to give the melodic tones, though -- you'd almost certainly have to rewrite the solo with the correct time values and triple check everything.  i'm skeptical that it's really much of a time-saver, if any.

i've played around a little bit with the tascam bass trainer (a hardware cd drive with tempo adjusting capabilities).  it sounds similar to the stanton unit.  the sound was okay, but i found it unwieldy to use, with not enough options (sometimes you need more than 50% speed reduction, sometimes less, etc.)  there are some more expensive hardware transcribers that look a bit more suitable, like maybe reed kotler's machine or one of the old-school marantz decks, but i don't have any experience with those.
there has been some talk that he took performance enhancing steroids and they may take him out of the library of congress.
thanks savage! a drop 2 block chord, is that a usual rootless lh voicing, a 1357 lh voicing or is it referring to playing in block chord style a la red garland?
transcribes best features are its ability to loop, slow-down, pitch shift (very useful to bump it up an octave when you are transcribing bass parts), equalize, mix out of phase (often removes vocals & bass etc).  

i would not put much faith in its ability to auto-guess chords & notes (version 7).  it is helpful if you understand the overtone series when you isolate a short segment to figure out chord voicings.
"

to call gershwin's "rhapsody in blue" trash, seems to me to be a deliberately inflammatory statement.

i sincerely doubt that art tatum or oscar peterson or even keith jarrett would agree with you on that.


we humble forum members here at ljp must therefore be obliged to assume that the caliber of your musicianship is so great that you not only have the moral right to bash gershwin to that extreme degree, but that you also have the credentials, experience, virtuosity and composing skills to elevate yourself above a peon like gershwin.

where may we hear some of your musical compositions, andrewjazz, that surpass "popular trash" and ascend into the realm of "true art"?


andrewjazz, as we are all here to learn, please bestow the benefits of your great musical knowledge and wisdom on us so that we may see the light and not stumble in the darkness, blindly believing that gershwin was a great man, a great composer and a great pianist.

save us from our ignorance and prove to us once and for all that gershwin was a trash-writing hack.
read chapter nineteen of the jazz piano book, the concept is explained in full detail there.
also i would say transcribe is relatively complicated.  it took me a long time to determine that it was not a case that i was just not useing it right.  amazing slow downer by roni music on the other hand is totally intuitive.  you practically can not help but use it correctly on your first try.  super easy to figure out and use.
hello again and thank you so much for your input, all of you, and, i will ask questions i am certain, later.  sandy b
hi-
i hesitate to enter this discussion, but i find that there are a few faulty ideas floating around.
my opinion, and it's worth what you paid for it, is that you should ideally be able to transcribe without speed adjustment. if the point is to develop your ear, then definately do not transcribe using a note by note visual method. turn off the function that visually tells you what the notes are, because you will not learn what you can and can't hear with that thing turned on. if your goal is to get all the notes written on a piece of paper, then fine, go note by note, but i think you will find that your ear will not improve using this method.

try transcribing very simple but powerful things, lester young comes to mind. choose a very short section, and learn to feel where all the phrases begin and end. next learn to sing along with it. then sing it without the music, and finally write it down. once written down you can begin the process of chewing it up and digesting it with your instrument. however, the content will mean so much more because it is from an aural basis.  
i can't think of a worse way for a musician who wants to learn and love music to transcribe than by using a piece of software to visually give them all of the notes. use the software if there is a really difficult section, but i think you will find that ultimately it will not enhance your listening/musicality.
try choosing something short and not too technically flashy to begin with, but make sure it is something that really spoke to you. i think as musicians we are always trying to be honest about what we can and can't hear, so really, don't let your ego get the best of you and make you transcribe woody shaw solos using some visual program if you can't sing louis armstrong.
good luck.
note: wanted to share this with you. i read years ago in a book from a school, intended for band studies, that paul whiteman, the band leader, said he was brought to tears the first time he conducted this composition of rhapsody in blue. to me all of this is an art form and beauty is in the eye, or ear in this case, of the beholder.i behold this to be a great american masterpiece of art form music. sandy b
i fail to see the reasoning as to why, whenever someone asks about a certain piece of music and who obviously is fond of that work, that others feel the need to criticize that piece. i get the feeling they use this opportunity to somehow show everyone else they've reached some higher echelon of musical education; appreciation, and to what end?  

sandyb ends up having to defend the majesty of rhapsody in blue, which is preposterous considering how well respected and beloved this piece has been, and will be for years to come--and it's not easy to play either.  

inasfar as art tatum being inspired by gershwin, tatum 's greatness was the result of he making it a point to be inspired by everyone he heard, regardless of what type of music or level they played at--and we should all do the same. so to even suggest gershwin not being an inspiration to tatum is ludicrous.  

sandy, i like most others, agree with you. i think it's a timeless, important piece of music.

  my advice would be to play it slow at first, bar by bar--until you get it. it may take along time, but if you love the song, it will be worth it.

i do play this song publicly, but just stick to the more popular sequences. there's a few recurring themes throughout, and i just do variations on them after a while sticking them between the intro and the finale, and playing them as long as i feel the audience at that time warrants.
"tatum 's greatness was the result of making it a point to be inspired by everyone he heard, regardless of what type of music or level they played at--and we should all do the same"  

thank you casparus!

i've heard this same sentiment from virtually every exceptional musician i've known.
hi sandy b here. thank you for your welcome to this forum. gentlemen are always respected and admired.  your suggestions are greatly appreciated as i love the art form of music composition so much. i want to play this with the best possible technique. my background is...so you will know what i can do and not do in general as a pianist, i studied serious classical piano, late bloomer, 23 year old to 30 and taught as an understudy to intermediate classical piano, my teacher had a master's  degree in music education. i studied under two professional jazz pianist for a total of a year. mostly jazz scales. that was enough. another year of learning to read fake sheets from a classical piano teacher who taught to concert level and beyond. he himself played improv,etc aside from classical. i have a good background but i am not impressed with myself as my standards are very high. i was raised attending concerts of the national symphony orchestra of washington dc in constitution hall with the excellent acoustics. i know enough to know what i do not know. casparus... your suggestion to take it slowly is what i am doing and i welcome any input to work on this composition. moral support is good too from informed ,intelligent and mature comments such as yours. if the remarks are with obvious ill intent,or know it all attitudes and very immature, i deem this to be ignorance on some level and i ignor the remarks completely and do not even process the information as accurate. i have read enough to agree that even the critics cannot decide what syle is here. art form piano composition  works for me as my hobby is new age to compose myself. in my world as a performer of piano. i could have more education in music as i love the study of music i want now to learn to sit and improv jazz, look off into space with no music, the way i do new age. light jazz to start and maybe more complex later. no music just improv. i love the creative process of improv and composing music of any style. thank you for your input in advance. i just talked with a pianist pro the other night and he told me to just go with the one melody note and go from there with music theory to back it to play jazz improv. makes sense and sounds simple i will try this. maybe i am making it all too complex for myself? i will go try after church today. thank you for being a gentelmen and stating in your email mature respect for me. refreshing in todays world of," i am better than you attitudes."  sad to me as we are all in this world together and why not treat each other kindness? i want people to remember me as a good person who cares for others above all else.  oscar peterson is my ideal in jazz piano. love his strong melodic line and i always know what song he is playing as he stays grounded to me.  thank you again, sandy b
it seems you have a strong backround in classical music.  so you should be better prepared than the majority of pianists in this forum for the rhapsody.  the rhapsody in blue is to be learned just like any other classical compossition.  there is no similarity to how a pianist prepares to perform the rhapsody compared to how a pianist prepares to play jazz.  so to learn to play the rhapsody just put all your classical training to work and that is all there is to it and not a thing more.
i have a strong opinion about rhapsody in blue.
i believe it should be banned along with "stairway to heaven".
ahem. i have a strong opinion about including "stairway to heaven"  
and  rhapsody in blue in the same post.
anything by george gershwin is great. i bought the rhapsody years ago and never completed it and now i'm just picking the main parts i  love to hear ad learn those. i first learnt the opening (first 3 pages), then i learnt the ending and pretty soon i'll begin working on the middle slow section.
sandyb--i've noticed something about 'stairway to heaven' over the years. musicians are never impressed by the song-- but play it over and over again for the masses, knowing that instant adulations are around the corner. rhapsody isn't quite the same i don't think--you play it now and apart from the main theme, most don't know it.
ya cynbad have u ever been to the steinway building in ny  they have a sign that says "no rhapsody' just like lots of guitar shops have signs have signs thst say 'no stairway".  same thing..  its just rhapsody freaks tend to be alkys while stairway freaks tend to be pill poppers and stoners.  mostly it boils down like everything else in life to a choice of drugs.
mike, i did not know that!  i always thought that piano stores should have a sign like that!!!!  lmao

imo, rhapsody players think they are great pianists, but they just play a lot of notes as fast as they can, and they wear too much cologne.
and i am so sick of hearing it, i could puke.  i think that's the main problem with "stairway".  but, i actually kind of like "stairway to heaven"...
i'm going to start playing "stairway" in piano stores...
well its ok cause you're a girl.
songs do have tritones for the dominant and possibly a secondary dominant or two. which of course would make them more palatable to those that require a steady diet of tritones in their music in order to justify their ability to enjoy music.

ray, please take a hint and take me off your mailing list.

thank you!
i thought the bridge of "well you needn't" was chock full o' dom7's.
???
but i'm with you, 7, that guy sounds like a headcase.
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