Music Transcriptions

Lucille Reilly is a brilliant musical mind.  Her ability to arrange and transcribe music is unrivalled.  I hope many musicians and teachers will take advantage of her facility.”— –Mike Fenton, UK, and member of the Autoharp Hall of Fame

The transcriptions couldn’t be better.  You made sense of what I tried to do.  I knew my transcriptions weren’t accurate and I couldn’’t fix them.  …Thank you so much for such a professional job.…  My music friends are very impressed, too, with the quality of work you did.    —–Nancy Miesse, Florida

It makes the utmost sense the way you have written the tunes out.… You captured the flavor. That is what makes your expertise so marketable and helpful for me.…  I need to study this music a lot more. I’’ve learned so much from it already.    —–Carole Outwater, North Carolina


Contents

Introduction

Rates

How many hours does a transcription take?

The Fine Print

Recording Guidelines

Transcribing from a URL Link

Typesetting a Handwritten Manuscript

About the Transcription Process

Finishing Up

Order Form

 


Introduction

Is there a song or fiddle tune you’ve composed that you’’d like to have written down so you can perform it, publish it, frame it, or teach at a workshop?  A tune you must need to have written down in order to play it?  A (large) handful of traditional tunes that need to be written down accurately before they are published in a book or on the Internet?  Or a handwritten manuscript that needs cleaning up before you insert it in your church-service bulletin, magazine article, etc.?  I can assist with:

  • Tunes/songs from jam sessions/recordings
  • Original tunes/songs
  • Preserving a music tradition accurately
  • A “new” version of a tune already in print tunes as rendered by several performers
  • Tunes/songs the way you perform them.  And typesetting for any music already written down; view a sample.
  • Proofreading your existing work alongside a recording of it.

I’ve been transcribing music since college, so my ear catches everything.  (At least, that’s what my clients tell me.)  My choral and instrumental ensemble experience (including the role of composer) affords me the ability to typeset scores of any size and instrumentation.

All music is typeset with attention to detail.  (I wrote music copy in ink for so long that I had to study what music looks like; the finished products now generated in music software come out looking more than neat; they are also the way any musician expects them to read.)  I apply the latest notation conventions to document rhythm, stem direction, voicing, dynamics, etc.

A transcription makes a great gift for the play-by-ear musical friend in your life!


Rates

My rate is $25 per hour for whatever you want: transcription, typing in chords and/or lyrics (note that it will take me more time to transcribe these, so your project will cost less if you supply them).  Depending on the job, I can offer a discount for large projects, like a collection of tunes for a book; write me for a quote).

Turn-around time for single tunes is 1-6 weeks (if I’m on the road performing , the turn-around time may be longer, especially during the summer months).

A deposit of $25 will get the process rolling, which can be sent in the mail or via PayPal.  Got a question before you begin?  Contact me.


How many hours does a transcription take?

Everyone asks this first, and while we both know transcribing isn’t cheap (nor is the finished product!), in truth, I have no idea what the final cost will be until the stopwatch tells the tale.  Sometimes a simple sounding tune on a recording can be deceptively complex on paper with accidentals and such, and it takes time to get all the details just write.  However, based on previous jobs I can offer approximate examples, as long as you don’t hold me to these:

  • A simple, 16-bar tune: about 1 hour.  With chords and lyrics supplied: about 2 hours.  When I determine and transcribe chords and lyrics: about 3+ hours.
  • A 16-bar fiddle tune with lots of notes: about 2 hours.  With your supplied back-up chords: about 2-3 hours.  If I find the back-up chords for you: about 3+ hours.
  • A four-part hymn typeset from handwritten manuscript: about 3-4 hours.

It is not possible to provide an estimate before the fact.  What I can tell you is that I don’t bill time for mistakes I make that I shouldn’t have, and that I do bill time to decipher mistakes on the score or wade through nuances/variants you may have changed your mind about.

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The Fine Print

Here is the legal side to keep both you and me honest throughout the process. I take copyright seriously.  You need to, too:

1.      You, as the end user, are responsible for the ultimate and legal use of all transcriptions, including:

  • use for instructional purposes
  • publishing
  • performing
  • recording
  • distribution
  • royalty payments
  • permissions
  • copyright infringement
  • etc.

I as transcriber/typesetter am not responsible for:

  • your failure to tell me about a tune’s copyright status (I check this, anyway, before consenting to work on your project).
  • “errors” as a result of background-noise interference on the source recording.
  • choices I must make upon hearing melodic variations in repetitions.
  • rhythmic inaccuracies on the tape.
  • transcribing copy that’’s faithful to the recording but different from the end user’’s rendition.
  • complaints you may receive from workshop participants, etc. when a transcription from a client’-supplied recording differs from a tune’’s “generally accepted” version.

I reserve the right to refuse the transcription of any work where copyright infringement is clearly evident.  I do check the Internet for works by contemporary composers to be sure copyright is not an issue.  In the case of copyrighted music, I advise inquiring minds to contact the music’s source to see if they offer published copy (which will be a lot more economical).  My transcription services are best for original tunes of your own creation (note that I do not share your original work with third parties), and melodies that are clearly in the public domain.

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Recording Guidelines

Tracks from a recording:

  • Check to see if the tune is on iTunes, CDBaby, etc., before you rip and burn!  Clients have bought me tracks as a gift.  Tracks are inexpensive and it feels good to own.
  • If you want one tune in a medley, state ALL the tune titles in the medley, which tune you want, and at what time it begins in the track.

To record live:

  • Be sure you or someone else pushes the Record button before the playing begins!  Those first few notes are essential, and I need them all.
  • As is humanly possible, record in a quiet place.
  • If all you have is a recording of a jam session with background noise/speech, send it, but note that such recordings may add time to process if the tune is difficult to discern.
  • Play through the tune at least twice, and exactly the same way each time, unless you tell me on the Order Form that you want the nuances and variations, too.  It’’s OK to record fast tunes slowly, but play (or sing) them up to tempo, too, so I know how they a’re supposed to go (tempo has a bearing on time signature).
  • There is no need to re-record due to one or two small mistakes.  Just let me know about the errors (don’’t point them out while you’’re recording!).
  • Rhythmic accuracy is essential and reduces transcription time.  I write down what I hear.

When the recording is finished:

  • Check that all tunes/songs are complete and sufficiently audible.
  • If you are sending a CD, label it with your name, contact info and track titles.
  • If you are sending via email, the email supplies your e-dress; please include your best phone number.

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Transcribing from a URL Link

  • Get the best recording on the Internet that you can find that sounds the closest to the melody as you know it.  The most popular sites to hear tunes generally hold more than one performance of the same tune.
  • Copy the URL and send it to me in an email.
  • If the song begins later in a video, find its beginning and state the time shown in your email so I can find it quickly.
  • When a melody has lyrics, type the lyrics and send them to me.  I can transcribe lyrics, of course, but will have to charge my hourly rate to do so.  Frankly, you will save me time by typping these out yourself.


Typesetting a Handwritten Manuscript

  • As I’ve received some fairly messy ones (see the before-and-after sample), the neater your copy is, the better.  Time is money, and you don’t want me studying your manuscript to figure out less-than-clear details.
  • Scanned manuscripts do not transmit well, especially when the original done in pencil or thin-stroke pen.  Your best bet is to photocopy it with a darker setting so that really good blacks show, and then snail-mail it.  Before you mail, check the photocopy for clarity, ink over any questionable spots.  I do not charge for mistakes I make, but I must bill time for lack of clarity on your part.  Do not send me the original!  If it gets lost in the mail, you are sunk.
  • For vocal scores, please type, capitalize and punctuate the lyrics the way you want them.  Lyrics written ALL IN CAPS do not tell me what’s supposed to be capitalized.  If lyrics in caps are already on the manuscript, type them on a separate page with appropriate capitalization and punctuation.
  • Double-check all notes for line or space placement on each staff.  For example, make sure that second-line G on the treble staff really looks like a G instead of almost an F.

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About the Transcription Process

  • I begin with recreational listening, ingesting the tune while performing other tasks at home.  There is no charge during this phase, which helps speed the transfer of sounds to paper.
  • From the recording, I rough out each tune on paper before typesetting it, or I’ll go straight to my music software if the tune is simple enough.
  • I may send you an in-process copy so you can write the chords in where they belong if you want them, unless they are evident to me by ear.  You’ll then get something to proofread and either scan and email or return via snail mail.
  • Should you send written copy of the music with a recording (some folks do this), the recording will always be considered the authority.  I have to write down what I hear.
  • If future repeats of a tune have melodic variations and you don’t want the variations, I usually transcribe what is played the first time through, as that’s often the most reliable version.
  • Ornaments (trills, turns, mordents, etc.) will be simplified or omitted, unless you want them included.  Let me know on the Order Form.
  • I will omit technique details (fingerings, hammer order, strums “between” melody notes, etc.) unless you ask for them.
  • If you want the key to be something other than what’s on the recording, it’s easy to do.  Let me know on the Order Form.  However, please consider stating the original key on the finished manuscript!

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Finishing Up

  • Once all notes are entered, I will email you a .pdf for your review to proofread.  Use a red pen to mark corrections, and scan and email or return via snail mail.

(Note to churches: I prefer to send sung responses for church-service bulletins in MS Word.  If your computer is compatible with Word, you can easily size them to fit any bulletin’s dimensions.  If you are using some other word-processing application, let me know and we will try something else.


Order Form

Music Transcription

  • Titles (if on a physical CD, please list in order of appearance):

 

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