Scores Hatching

How do the scores that we prepare for you originate? What software and gadgets do we use? Let’s have a look at the process of getting together the scores of the song Sailing.

You can find the scores and the instructional recording in the corresponding article on our website.

So, how did it all happen?

Once upon a time, my pupil Marián came to me, an accordionist as well a yachting enthusiast, his eyes shining. He’d discovered a great song and he simply must learn it. But there wasn’t much time left, because in two weeks, he was to embark upon a journey around the world. So let’s glance at YouTube and start working at it.

Conversion from Youtube to mp3 format

youtube-to-mp3-printscreenThe most important thing is getting to know the song by heart, listening to it over and over again, humming with the recording and tap the rhythm. Simply getting into the song. For that, it would be useful to make a mp3 out of the YouTube video, so that you can listen to it everywhere you go.

Sound editor Audacity

audacity-printscreenWhich tones does Sailing begin with? I am sailing… F#, G#, B. Whoa, that won’t be ok for Marián, looks like B major. But the, C major is close, isn’t it, why does this Stewart complicate it so much? Easy help, the recording can be transposed a halftone higher. Similarly as you can work with a photo (enlarge, crop, change colours etc.), you can work with the sound track of a recording. In the Audacity music editor you may not only transpose the track, but also slow it down, amplify or attenuate, record, clip and edit, and so on. This makes orientation within the recording easier and enables you to listen repeatedly to a particular part.

Here are two funny illustrations of the usefulness of Audacity.

Is the recording too high for you? Is it difficult to tap on the keyboard, would you like Rod Stewart to sing it let’s say three tones lower, to have it in nice F major? You can of course ask him in person, he’ll sure be glad to help, or you wouldn’t want to bother him and would rather help yourself.

transposing of the original recording into F major
Sailing – transposition

Or we’ll respect the original B major and struggle with all the dieses. Anyway, it’s most difficult to get the first few tones, after that it works somehow. But how annoying it is having to rewind the recording all the time! And what about slowing down a bit? With this song, we don’t need it so much, but imagine listening to some hellish, quick, perplexing solo.

looping and slowing down
Sailing – looping, slowing down

Notation software Musescore

printscreen-musescoreLet’s go back to Marián, particularly to creating the scores themselves. He’s already managed to tap the song in his favourite C major on the keyboard and found the right buttons. It would be good to have it written down in scores, not only to have the song preserved for future generations, but also because we’ve found out that although Marián is also a blonde like Rod Stewart, he really can’t manage all those heights. Let’s see, we’ll write it down in C major in the notation software, and once the scores are ready, you can transpose them as you wish. We use the Musescore programme; the mysterious MSCZ means a format which this software can open and then work with, transposing or editing the scores.

Learning how to use the Audacity and Musescore programmes does take a while, of course, but it’s worth it. The software is developed on the open source principle, which I am a big fan of and which I support by using and promoting. They can have some bugs now and then, but they’re being improved constantly and yet remain easy to use. And first of all, they’re free, you just download them legally and start using them.

article | Jindra Kelíšek
translation | Háta Kreisinger Komňacká
published on 29/01/2014