The art of transcribing – Part 3

As always, be sure to read parts 1 and 2.

In this third part of the art of transcribing, I want to show you one of my processes of transcribing directly from a video source. In this instance, I am transcribing directly from my video editor (Final Cut Pro X). Any video player that can slow videos down without changing the pitch will do. I’ll admit that there are way better softwares out there for transcribing than FCP X but I’m just lazy!

One of the major advantages of transcribing directly from the video is that you can get the fingerings as you are figuring out the notes. In my previous article, I imported the audio portion of the video into my DAW. When would I use one workflow or the other?

I generally transcribe from the DAW when the music is recorded to a click track as it was in the previous article. It allows me to get visual cues in instances where the timing might be intricate.

In this instance, I’m accompanying mister Angelo Debarre here, and there is no click track. This is actually from the lesson portion of the lesson series In The Style Of Angelo Debarre Vol.2, available at DC Music School. This is a lesson example on pushing the beat, therefore the rhythm is definitely not quantized to a particular tempo. Therefore, I feel it’s better to transcribe directly from the video. Despite my top of the line computer, FCP X uses a lot of the computer resources and can be a bit sluggish, and it doesn’t help that I’m using a screen capture software to record everything. Hence, the reason why I said there are better softwares out there such as Transcribe! which I do own, but for some strange reason, here I am using FCP X. Nonetheless, the sluggishness doesn’t affect me too much, I’d say.

In the video below, you’ll see other tricks for using Sibelius when it comes to guitar notation.

One of the most useful tools is the repeat function. Highlight any note, any group of notes, or measure(s)s, and press the R key, and everything will be repeated at the next empty space. You can see me take advantage of that right off the bat.

You’ll also see me draw a slide before a note. For some reason, Sibelius doesn’t have an automatic hotkey for a slide before a note. Instead, I have to manually draw them. Press L to bring out the line window and look for the one called Line. I use Line instead of Gliss because it’s the same shape used for the slide hotkey on the 2nd menu of keypad shortcuts (which you can see me use a few times later in the transcription). If you use a recent version of Sibelius, then magnetic layout is probably turned on. You will have to right click on the shape, and turn off magnetic layout. Once that’s done, you can place the shape anywhere you want. In this case, right before our target note. Don’t worry if the invisible arrow is attached to something other than the intended note, it doesn’t matter as long as it looks right. In this instance, you see me place the shape right away. Normally, I quickly place a shape without caring too much about the appearance. I only position it to my liking when I’m in the layout editing process. That’s because, as you transcribe and work on the layout, non-magnetic objects may move out of place, forcing you to reposition them. Therefore, if you are working for me, just place it quickly, and I’ll take care of all the fine tuning.

You’ll notice that Angelo’s playing is full of specific and very subtle nuances, where watching the video, especially in slow motion, can help you understand exactly what’s going on.

His timing isn’t always perfectly in sync with my rhythm guitar, and you’ll notice that in such instances, you have to rely on your intuition to determine the best way to write it using a combination of your musical knowledge, and your best guess as to the artist’s intentions. This happens a few times in the triplet runs, where I had to guess (correctly) that he was going for triplets.

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