View Full Version : Ever use a music transcription service?
03-04-2004, 11:15 AM
There are a couple songs I've heard that I've spent hours with a strained ear and a tired guitar trying to learn to play. (Mary Chapin Carpenter's "The Dreaming Road", John Wesley Harding's "Peeling Bark", Momus' "Flame int Being", or Nanci Griffith's version of "Drops from a Faucet" for example). I've come close but never quite there on some and others I have no clue at all. I saw an ad in Acoustic Guitar Magazine offering to do transcriptions and looked at his website and a couple others but never got a good estimate as to what it would cost.
Have you ever used one? What were your impressions?
03-04-2004, 03:06 PM
When I was in college, I did transcription work for composers of rock music and such into a notation program called "Finale." I charged 20 bucks per page (average about 30 bars a page). It would be less if there were multiple systems or more if there weren't as many. I would also try to force anything onto the original page and not charge for small amounts of bleed over (ie, less than 10 or 15 bars depending). I wasn't transcribing from ear either (I would have charged more since this takes a lot more time) but rather given handwritten manuscript and simply would make it into files. The few times that I did partial aural transcriptions I was given the chords with the words and such and then went back and wrote in the melodies (It's easier that way) and simply wrote out lead sheets (charged the same for those since it wasn't doing the bell's and whistles versions of all the instruments and such). Keep in mind, I did this as a composition student and would probably charge more now for those types of services. I would still be doing it today but it wasn't really steady work.
03-04-2004, 06:27 PM
There's a huge difference between handing somebody a handwritten notation and asking for an impressive product, and giving someone a tape of you singing and wanting a fully finished product to result from it.
I'm fully proficient in transcribing manuscripts, but I wouldn't dream of attempting to do anything by ear. It's just not what I'm capable of.
Decide exactly what you need doing, including sample photocopies etc, and any decent transcriber should be able to give an estimate.
03-04-2004, 07:07 PM
Have you checked out http://www.olga.net/ or any of the countless other free guitar tab sites on the Net?
03-04-2004, 09:39 PM
Thanks Snooooopy, I actually started this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=226884) that has a good list of 'em (but not all of the songs I'm looking for).
The kind of transcription service I'd be looking for would either be from basic lead sheets to full guitar tab and melody line for the vox. (pretty much what I see on the websites up above.)
I did just download the Amazing Slow Downer for Windows (http://www.ronimusic.com/slspcdtr.htm) which has helped me figuring out a couple songs by ear a bit better.
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