I offer a variety of custom transcription services to suit the needs and budget of my clients. I charge an hourly rate of 60$ CDN, although discounts for large commissions can be negotiated.
I have a very high level of relative pitch, an advanced understanding of notation conventions, and high level of competence in various notation software.
Whether you are looking for professional looking transcriptions, or simply just need someone to figure out notes for you, I can help you out.
My greatest asset is the tremendous speed that I’ve acquired over many years of training my ears, and using notation software. For extreme speed, I mainly use keyboard shortcut commands, which are now like second nature to me; I’m like that 12 year old kid that beats everyone at video games.
Nonetheless, to help you out, I can describe various scenarios and the best options for you.
For starters, I am open to transcribing just about anything. However, it should be noted that certain music can be quite interpretive when it comes to notation. It involves making educated choices, which, therefore, requires more time.
For instance, on an improvised solo, a musician’s timing might not always be in sync with a rhythm section (whether on purpose or not). This involves having to make a decision on how to best notate such rhythms.
Certain styles of music use tremendous amounts of intricate ornamentation. Not all notation conventions are standardized. As such, this sometimes requires one to invent a system of notation for such ornaments.
Solo rubato music requires one to decide where to make the bar divisions and how to rhythmically notate certain passages, while making it as easy to read as possible.
The recording quality can also affect the authenticity of the transcription. If the mix is muddy, it can sometimes require guess work, and even the best ears may not be able to determine what’s going on. Think The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” opening chord. For many years, there was speculation as to the exact nature of the chord; various instruments can be heard contributing to the chord making it near impossible to decipher the exact voicings of each instrument. That is, until it was revealed in an interview by George Harrison. In such instances, when we don’t have the answer from the artist, we have to make educated guesses or approximations.
In certain recordings, where the artist clearly played a specific note, another note might come out in the recording, due to the interaction of instruments and the mix where we might end up hearing an unintentional overtone. In this instance, the transcriber has to follow his/her instinct to determine what the real note might be.
When it comes to notation, there are different levels of professionalism. Some people are hired to just figure out the notes and rhythms. They then pass it on to what we call an engraver, whose job is to make the sheet music look good. This can mean working out the number of bars per system, making the chord symbols aligned, making the text look nice and clean, fixing the enharmonics, grouping the stems, etc. It’s basically putting on make-up on sheet music, and this results in the Rolls Royce of transcriptions!
However, no matter how fast you are, engraving is a slow process and can easily take a lot of time. Therefore, not everyone might want all the bells and whistles. Different degrees of engraving can be done as well. Maybe you want the chord symbols to be aligned, maybe you want every system to be 2 or 4 measures so that it’s easier to read. It’s all possible.
I work with Sibelius for the most professional looking sheet music. Guitar Pro is very popular among guitarists, however, the engraving is automated and often wrong. If you don’t care about how it looks, and you just want the notes and rhythms, Guitar Pro is definitely a good choice, as it is actually faster to work with than Sibelius. Furthermore, if you don’t even care to have chord symbols or even rhythms, and you only want the notes, the transcription can go by extremely fast on either Sibelius or Guitar Pro (or any decent notation software). In such a case, the turnover time is extremely fast, as the speed will only be determined by how fast I can translate what I hear into notation (and it’s really quite fast!).
I pride myself on a high standard of ethics, and will not overcharge for transcription commissions. In fact, I can submit progress by the hour.
Generally, I will give the recording a careful listen. I can never estimate the exact amount of time, but I can definitely tell what takes longer and what will go by very quickly. For instance, music where the rhythm is simple and consistent will go much quicker than highly syncopated music.
If you’re interested in hiring me, get in touch!
Meanwhile, you may want to consult some of my articles on my transcription workflow for more information (SOON TO COME!)