Has anyone done their own transcriptions?

Posted: 1/16/2009 10:33:50 AM

From: Boston, MA

Joined: 1/13/2009


I know a lot of thereminists figure out their own versions of songs. I was wondering if anyone's transcribed any of them and is willing to share. I'm just starting out and my pitch isn't the best, but I'm hoping to play some theremin versions of pop songs I like (Starman, I Put a Spell On You).

Regardless of genre, any pieces that people are willing to share would be much appreciated.
Posted: 1/16/2009 11:21:51 AM

From: Redmond, WA

Joined: 9/1/2007

I would recommend looking into midi files. They aren't the best in authentic sound reproduction, but if you get the free player at http://vanbasco.com/ (http://vanbasco.com/), you will be able to silence different instrument tracks (to play your own lead), as well as see a couple different layouts of exactly what notes are being played.
Posted: 1/16/2009 11:26:08 AM

From: Boston, MA

Joined: 1/13/2009

That's a great idea. Thanks!
Posted: 1/16/2009 1:19:06 PM

From: Escondido, CA

Joined: 2/6/2008

Also, if you have a MIDI file, most musical notation software can extract sheet music from it.

It won't know there repeated passages are, so it will create a very long score, but at least you will have a starting point.

There's a lot of "freeware", "shareware" and inexpensive notation software out there now. Noteworthy Composer is pretty cheap. Sibelius and Finale also have some entry level software.

Posted: 10/8/2009 12:31:59 AM
Dave H

From: Sedona AZ

Joined: 7/12/2009

I have started scanning public domain versions of sheet music like:

The Swan
Clair De Lune
Canon in D
etc. using Photoscore and sending it to Sibelius.

If I have gotten the original music with a violin, cello or flute part it doesn’t take much work to create the theremin part. If it comes from piano it takes a bit more work. There is of course also some editing to fix scanning errors. With the oldest music, sometimes handwritten the task becomes rather large.

I then end up with professional looking sheet music, and midi files that can be used to play various background instruments (sampled). I either keep the melody line for initial practice or mute it playing background only once I have the theremin part down. It is also easy to change tempo, put in metronome etc. I can also create wave files from Sibelius that can be burnt to a standard CD. (I used this method to study violin and it was quite helpful in speeding up the process. It also made practice much more enjoyable.

I just don’t know which form would be useful to other thereminist. PDF sheet music, midi files, wave files, etc.
I also don't know the best way to share the various mentioned files. It's a bit different sharing a midi file compared to a wave file.
Posted: 10/9/2009 1:08:43 AM
Joe Max

From: Oakland, California

Joined: 1/2/2009

I've done a couple - I got the sheet music for a song I waned to try, Purcell’s "Funeral March for Queen Mary" (which was adapted by Wendy Carlos for the "Theme from a Clockwork Orange") and transcribed by it hand into the GarageBand sequencer note-by-note (luckily it's a pretty sparse arrangement, with repeating parts I could cut-and-paste.)

I've also used Reason synth software to load MIDI files obtained from the web and, with some editing and tweaking, turned them into my own arrangements that sound much better than a MIDI player version executed by QuickTime or WMP. I created a great version of "Summertime" that way - a full jazz orchestra arrangement.

I don't know if you're a Mac user, but even GarageBand can produce some great sounding versions of MIDI files, though you might need to figure out what part is what to assign the proper instruments to the tracks. It helps to first use a more sophisticated MIDI player program like Q-Midi to load and play the file, which will show what General MIDI patches get assigned to each of the tracks as a guide to picking the right sound patches in GarageBand. (GarageBand doesn't show this information.)
Posted: 10/9/2009 9:31:40 AM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

I just checked out the Vanbasco midi player mentioned above and love it!

I've been trying to figure out a lot of corny songs for the organ and this is the ticket. I have to decipher sheet music as opposed to read it and learning them by ear can be time consuming.

You can change the key, change the tempo, solo tracks and watch the notes being played on a big piano display.

If you have a sequencer and/or some midi gear (or programs) you could edit free midi tracks in something like FL Studio to get some better sounds for arrangements on backing tracks. The cheesy midi songs give you a good starting point.

I plan on doing this if I ever get some free time. I be happy to share if and when that happens.
Posted: 10/9/2009 9:32:39 AM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

oops: double post
Posted: 10/16/2009 11:04:11 AM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

I did a quick version of Greensleeves using a midi file and FL Studio. I had to do it quick because I'm still using the demo which doesn't allow you to save anything, so it's pretty straight forward.

I just put it up on Myspace, it might be a little while for it to show up on the page. I tried to set it so that it will be downloadable. One version with the lead for practice and one without the lead.

Arranged for Hammond organ, Moog synthesizer and Theremin!

Greensleeves (http://www.myspace.com/solitonwave)
Posted: 11/23/2009 8:33:28 PM

From: South-West England

Joined: 11/23/2009

I did a transcription of the final aria from Tristan und Isolde - "Isolde's Liebestod".
You can download the sheet music here (http://www.dominicirving.com/temp/isoldes-liebestod.pdf).

You can hear me play it on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FumZqZmJAjI) (I start playing at bar 29 in the video)

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