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  1. #1
    Premium Member robdbirch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Software Accessories: Transcription Tools/Music Slow Down

    Transcription Tools/Music Slow Down

    Software Accessories: Transcription Tools
    This weeks thread is transcription software.
    It would be great to hear what other people are using and their favorite features or tricks.

    When I was young lad, I ruined a few turntable needles, turntable motors, scratched records, tape player motors, mangled and stretched tapes trying to transcribe songs. I was so amazed when I bought a tape player with A/B capability. It wasn’t a very cost effective or time efficient mechanism for transcription, but it’s all I had

    When I started playing again 30+ years later I was amazed at the power and capability of the software for transcription tools. I have bought a couple different tools because of the differing features and because I could also find them for great sale prices around certain holidays.

    Most of these tools come with free trials.
    I have found some feature generalizations that are pretty much true with all the tools below.

    * Chords - Some are a bit better than others, but if you’re expecting the chords to be spot on, you’ll be disappointed.
    * BPM - Some are a bit better than others, but if you’re expecting the bpm to be spot on every time, you’ll be disappointed.
    * All slow down without altering the pitch
    * All alter the key/pitch of the song
    * Looping
    * All have EQ tools
    * All have how to videos, some more than others
    * They all seem to be good tools, each has a few unique features

    If you’re expecting automatic transcription of a complete song, well … with the current technology capability it’s not going to happen. For myself these tools are used to assist my ear training, music knowledge and understanding. I feel these tools also improve my ear and music knowledge.

    Capo (macOS)

    This was the first software transcription tool I ever bought. It’s very Mac like in look, feel and design, so if you're a Mac user you’ll feel right at home in this application. My favorite feature of this tool is the spectrogram display: Check out the video in the link. I also like the capability where I can save the transcriptions to a cloud drive and read them in on the compatible iOS phone app. I find this capability handy in a practice sessions with other players, I’ll plug my phone into my amp and if there is a part in the song that the group wants to refine I can play it and slow it down and loop a region so everybody can listen.

    AnyTune (macOS, Windows)

    I bought this during a holiday when it was on sale. There are a few items I really like:
    * Marking and navigating a song
    * Stepped Loop Trainer - this is where you loop a region and you set it at a slow speed and then it gradually speeds up
    * I find the use of sharing transcription between Mac app and iOS device a bit over complicated

    Transcribe (macOS, Windows, Linux)

    I saw Chris Liepe talk about this tool a little bit in a live session. I tried the trial and really liked the EQ and Mono/Karaoke which is very good. There are a lot of great videos for this tool and it’s feature packed and has become my goto transcription tool. There are two things that drive me nuts about this tool
    1) I think the look and feel and interface is terrible, it feels like some old linux user interface from the late 90’s or early 2000’s.
    2) There is no device app (iOS, Android)

    Hand Held Devices:
    I think it’s insult to call them some type of a phone, being a cell phone is just one of minor things a hand held device can perform.

    Capo (iOS)
    There is no spectrogram on the iOS device

    AnyTune (IOS and Android)

    I mainly use Transcribe and Capo. I use Transcribe first but I open Capo to use the spectrogram and to have a version I can use on my phone.

    Bias Warning: Currently the software I use runs on the following platforms:
    Apple’s MacOS and iOS

    The software I mention may or may not run on other platforms if it does I will try to mention which platforms.
    If it doesn’t run on your platform let us know what you are using.
    Last edited by robdbirch; 06-13-2017 at 09:46 PM.

  2. #2
    Premium Member palico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    South Carolina


    I don't do much transcription type of stuff. But when I need to work on one I use the Amazing Slow downer (I'm not calling it amazing that just he software's name).

    It does the job of slowing down without adjusting pitch. Useful sometimes. Depending on the type of music I find it easier to look at videos etc.. where I can see the fingers as the how you move and place you fingers as you move is very important to getting the sound right and get it in position to play that makes the most sense. Although at times, I find my own way of figuring out the fingers is easier (or me anyway) than the way the original guitarist did it. Although not as much of transcription tool I also use Guitar Pro from time to time. There is ton of bad tab written for it but it most of them at least give a good clue on how something was done. I don't write it in, just use it like modern tab tool, since so much is available for it.

    For transcription most of time I relay on finding or figuring out the patterns and scales the original guitarist was using. Then those can be easily adjusted to another key. I'll start by just manually adjusting the key using chord theory to find where the new cords are. Although that sounds like a lot of theory work, once you understand the basics of keys and chords it's not really hard. The hard part can be in figuring out adjustments to make it work on guitar. Some songs I've adjusted to different keys and frankly they just don't work there.
    Phileos High Energy passionate Music with Heart and a bit of Southern Attitude.

  3. #3
    Premium Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017


    I don't do any actual transcribing but I use Transcribe software. I use it for learning. Dave Isaacs says you can never break music down too far or practice too slow. Like Palico it helps me a lot if I watch someone's fingers when trying to learn something off youtube with no tabulature. Transcribe even slows that video down for me.

  4. #4
    Premium Member robdbirch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012


    I use the transcribing software for making cliff notes and to help me learn a song by ear.
    I am always trying to improve my ears.
    I also want to get as much mileage out of my ears before my hearing goes
    When I want to learn a song most of the time I first try and figure it out myself.
    I generally use this process:

    • Actually Musically Listen - try to determine major and minor chords sounds, sing melody and rhythm, this I learned from Mr. Liepe and Mr. Walliman
    • Listen and Play - Actually finding the chords, bass lines, melody, rhythm
    • Slow Downer/Transcribe tool - use the slow downers for chord embellishments, arpeggios, solos, isolating instruments
    • Compare my final interpretation with tabs at Ultimate guitar

    I don't use youtube as much as I probably could or should.
    I usually jump to youtube and ultimate guitar when I don't want to spend the time to ear learn a song.
    I sometimes use youtube to check out how the artist might be playing their song or solo or another youtubers interpretation a song.
    Last edited by robdbirch; 06-28-2017 at 04:11 PM.




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