Jazz Transcription (Milestones)
What You'll Need For This Exercise...
Since this exercise involves transcription you’ll need a few tools to get it done:
- First, you’ll want a browser (or tablet) open to the interactive guitar tab (soundslice) for the standard 8 bar foundation for Milestones. You may also print this out from Soundslice or download a PDF from the “Related Materials & Downloads” tab above.
- Next, you’ll want to download the 4 audio clips to transcribe. The can also be found in a .zip file in the “Related Materials & Downloads” tab above.
- You’ll need some software tool for loading the 4 audio clips provided and playing them back in slower speeds. This facilitates transcribing the fast-moving solos more easily and accurately. I recommend AnyTune Pro+ – a terrific app available for the iPad and Macs.
How to Complete This Exercise...
This method is simple, but requires patience and precision. Here are the steps to follow to transcribe your first solo:
- Load one of the 4 provided audio clips (John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Joe Pass or Wes Montgomery) into your slow-downer software (I use AnyTune Pro+).
- Play the audio clip in a loop and set time markers in your software to break each loop into exactly 8 bars. Note: each clip is exactly 8 bars in length (based on the performance tempo).
- Now, listen to each bar of the music (looped) and transcribe exactly what is being played. Notate your transcription in classical notation or guitar tab (it is your choice).
- Complete a transcription for each of the 8 bars. Then move on to the next audio clip.
- You’ll be finished when you have an 8-bar transcription of each audio clip!
- Finally, analyze the your transcription:
- Identify the harmonic degree (scale degree relative to the chord – which is these examples is always Gm7… 8 bars of Gm7).
Continuing to Improve...
Now, try to mimic each soloist’s tendencies and preferences over the same 8 bars of Gm7. You could do this by:
- Playing against the linked Soundslice (interactive guitar tab).
- Recording yourself playing 8 bars of Gm7 into a looper pedal or software.
If you have questions, please message me directly and I’ll get right back to you! Good luck 🙂