Hey, I just thought I would check in. I’ve just finished the course, and really hoping I don’t become discouraged without a list of things to do.
I pulled up the Transcribe tool that Josh had mentioned in one of the last few lessons, and I’m not quite sure how it works.
I grabbed a file for the song Unchained by Van Halen, one of my favourites and it’s a very simple bass line (as far as I can tell.) However, I can’t for the life of me, figure out how to isolate the bass track using this Transcribe tool to try and figure out which notes I need to play. Any tips?
Transcribe! isn’t a tool for isolating instrument tracks. It is primarily a specialized player of audio files that allows you to change the speed and pitch of a music recording. It also allows for selecting a part of a recording to loop playback of it so you can listen to it repeatedly to discern what’s being played.
Software such as Moises does isolate instruments in a sound file. There are other applications that do this, too.
Figuring out notes is tricky and takes some practice to get the knack. People have lots of different ways to go about this. So here’s mine. I like to start by knowing the key of the song. That narrows it down to fewer likely note choices. I’d suggest starting by looping the first few bars of the song. Use either your bass or the Transcribe! Keyboard as a guessing tool. The first most easy guess is the first note of the first bar being the root note of the key. If you play along and it sounds good, you have transcribed a note! I’d forget about the rest of the notes in that bar for a bit and try to get the first note in the next bar. If it’s not the root you could try the 4th, 5th or 6th note in the key and see what sounds good. Very good odds for root notes and 5ths. After getting the first note in each bar, I’d see if it’s different for the 3rd beat in each bar and start progressively filling in the gaps. I think it’s fun to be able to play along with just Beats 1 and 3 before working up to the runs and fills. If it’s difficult to hear if a note sounds good or not when playing along, try doing some ear training with Earmaster or some other tool. Also, the more music theory you learn, the better your guesses can be if you like that sort of thing.