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Thread: Composing on GP or Powertab, problem

  1. #1
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    Question Composing on GP or Powertab, problem

    Hi,
    The trouble I am having is that when using notation programs I spend a lot of the time trying to get the note durations right for my ideas and end up wasting so much time on the note lengths and rhythm that I end up losing the ideas or the inspiration to add to it. How can I rectify this problem? I am willing to spend time to improve, but I'm not sure how to approach this problem. Any advice, tips, information? Any help will be ravenously devoured lol

    Many thanks
    Blaez

  2. #2
    JazzNerd gersdal's Avatar
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    Notating is an art that you should master if you want to share ideas with other (normally handing out sheet music to your band etc). The best way IMHO to practice notation is to transcribe and notate music from cd's mp3's etc.

    For writing down ideas I would recommend recording the idea first, to avoid the bit about getting annoyed with the whole process and write it down in GP or PT when you are sure the idea is safely on tape and can be checked with respect to accuracy.

  3. #3
    JazzNerd gersdal's Avatar
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    A couple of stolen statements and quotes:

    Quote Originally Posted by CAJO
    Transcribing solos and tunes is the "perfect" practice in many ways:

    - you train your ears.
    - you learn new licks (by lifting off favorite phrases from the solo)
    - you get to know the tunes, solos, etc. more intimately (learn language)
    - you build your technique (at least if the solo is demanding enough for you)
    - you practice music notation (if you write it down).
    - it's the best way to learn phrasing and articulation.
    FatJeff's method for transcribing

    Quote Originally Posted by FatJeff
    The method I use is as follows:

    (1) Listen to the solo over and over again until you think I have it memorized
    (2) Play it back some more, this time scatting over top of it
    (3) Once I can do that more or less note-for-note, I get out my guitar, and learn to play it. This takes quite a while.
    (4) Finally, once I can sing and play it from memory (either with or without the original recording), I write down the notes.

    It's not an either-or thing with learning it by ear and writing it down. I find both offer something the other doesn't. When I first learn it by ear (including the singing), it gets ingrained into my head, and after a sufficient number of iterations (never counted, but at least 100, probably more), I'm ready to take it to the guitar. There has been plenty of "working on my ears" by this time. Now, it's a matter of getting what's in my head out onto the fretboard. This can be tedious - I have to look at numerous ways to play many passages. The benefit here is that I break away from "patterns" that I naturally fall into, and usually pick up a few choice new licks to work into my improv in the process.

    By the time I get around to notating, it's pretty mechanical. But I am always surprised that when I'm jotting the notes down on paper (I do it by hand at first, then put it into Sibelius later), I start seeing the theory behind what the person's solo contains. Why did those bebop-sounding runs that Woody Shaw put into Bag's Blues sound so great? Ahh, I see: he's descending from the b7th down through a b13, then a #11, to the 3rd, then the b3, then the 9th. I don't "see" these things when I just play them.

  4. #4
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaez View Post
    Hi,
    The trouble I am having is that when using notation programs I spend a lot of the time trying to get the note durations right for my ideas and end up wasting so much time on the note lengths and rhythm that I end up losing the ideas or the inspiration to add to it. How can I rectify this problem? I am willing to spend time to improve, but I'm not sure how to approach this problem. Any advice, tips, information? Any help will be ravenously devoured lol

    Many thanks
    Blaez
    I agree with the replies above, and I would add that the best way round this is to record your ideas in real time. Really make sure you're playing the rhythm exactly the way you want it; loop it, do a few takes of it if necessary. (Sometimes I find the rhythms of my ideas are not set, they can go 2 or 3 ways; it's only by playing them over a few times - and sometimes singing them - that I can decide on the best rhythm. And then listen back, of course, because sometimes the one that sounds best on listening back is not the one that felt best to play.)

    Then when it's recorded, transcribe it as if it was someone else's melody or solo. If the rhythms are complicated (eg funky syncopated 16ths), slow it down and isolate each beat if necessary. (This is easy to do with software like Transcribe.)

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies. I have been thinking about ways to approach this and I think I found a way, but I see that in the long run this will just be a case of becoming more familiar with different note duration combinations and patterns and being able to identify them in my ideas. I'll keep at it

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