How to transcribe music from other instruments?

Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.
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Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

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ksjazzguitar

Re: How to transcribe music from other instruments?

Post by ksjazzguitar » Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:54 am

flameproof wrote:
ksjazzguitar wrote:I'm talking about things that affect the writing process, and more importantly, affect the learning process.
Perhaps you are. Now. But in the post that I addressed, you were talking about an imagined dependence on software, the putative laziness of guitar players, and the bizarre criticism that software makes some tasks too easy.
I was always talking about the learning process. Of course, it is quick and dirty to do these things on a piece of software. My point was that the "easy way" is often not the best way to learn. How can you can the dependence on software to be imaginary? People are complaining about how they can't transpose, can't hear the music unless they type it into the computer, can't read the piano music without hearing it, can't count the rhythms, can't write music legibly, etc, etc. (Granted, some of these have been in other threads.) I don't know how that doesn't fit the definition of dependence. How is that not imaginary? Call it non-problematic, call it insignificant if you want, but please don't call it imaginary.

Yes, I think that reading music, transposing, writing things out, reading piano parts on the guitar, open score reading, thinking of music without the guitar, etc. - to me, those are important parts of the learning process that modern guitarists often try to avoid like the plague. I found your comment equating what I was saying to demanding that that we must use gut stings to be insulting. How could a reasonable person come to the conclusion that that is what I was advocating? But I'm sure you won't do it again.
flameproof wrote:No worries, I can be flexible. So, you believe that a person would learn faster or better if they were to eschew these software tools, and scribble out their arrangements/transpositions/compositions on manuscript paper (quill optional)?
Oh, wait, you did it again. Quill? You trivialized my comments on the history of music pedagogy by turning my into some straw-man demanding arbitrary pedantry. I guess that's easier than discussing the issue. And I didn't say that by-hand what the best way and that one must "eschew these software tools." I am saying that using the tools to avoid learning these skills is only hurting the learner. S/he can create a really cool looking piece of music with neat fonts and lots of cool stuff - but in the process has skipped over several tasks that will make them better musicians and better guitar players. They have sacrificed the arduous process that leads to real musicianship for the appearance of musicianship. Sure, use Finale, et al, to finish up a piece - I know I do. But don't short change your education. I feel a moral obligation as an educator to point that out. To me it is the difference between a tool and a crutch.
flameproof wrote:I don't see it that way.
Fine. I didn't mock your position, why are you mocking mine?
flameproof wrote:But as you don't present any reasoning to support your assertions that the ability to use pen-and=paper is useful to the learning process, or that "old-fashioned learning" is a much better way to learn, or that the hard way is the better way, there's little to argue against.
That's not really what I said. I said that, "sometimes the way way is not the good way." Sometimes the easy way is just as good or even better. Sometimes it is not. Sometimes the easy way is a lazy excuse. We'll have to disagree about that.
flameproof wrote:But transposition is a trivial task, and understanding it in its entirety takes nothing more than a couple of moments of reflection.
I disagree, or people wouldn't need to depend on software to do it. I would not consider sitting down to a piece of music, whether it is written for guitar or piano, and spontaneously trying different keys to decide what key is best to do your arrangement - I wouldn't call that "trivial." "Educative", yes, "useful", yes, but not "trivial."
flameproof wrote:Having once achieved the lofty heights of understanding what transposition is I don't see how using software to automate the process is, in itself, undesirable.
Your mocking tone aside, I thought it was clear that I was talking about the practice of transposing on the guitar, not the simple concept of what it means to transpose.

I just think that some of these things that guitar players are trying so hard to avoid, are an important part of the learning process. As near as we can tell, they always have been. Until now that is. Now we can skip over those. It is also my observation, in and out of the university system, that guitar players who can't do these things, struggle. Guitar players who can do these things, excel. In my experience, there is a very clear correlation between these things. If you have a different experience, fine. I just felt that my view point wasn't being represented.
flameproof wrote:
ksjazzguitar wrote:I don't want to get into a flame war
I apologise if you think the tone of my post amounted to "flaming" (though I singularly fail to see how you could feel that way -- disagreeing with someone, or asking them to justify their assertions hardly amounts to flaming).
Actually, when I wrote that I was merely worried that some of my comments about the value of reading, etc. might set some people off - they weren't directed at you specifically. But, ironically, now that you are putting words into my mouth and mocking my position, things are getting a little flame-y. Yes, I did criticize your red herring of an analogy about the gut strings - but I think that pointing out logical fallacies is valid.

But this is getting flame-y, so I will stop responding this thread. I realize that I sometimes say things that go against the flow, and I have a love of jousting at windmills, but that is no reason to mock my argument. Mock me all you want, but please keep your criticisms of my arguments valid. (As my wife will gleefully confirm, I am extraordinarily mockable.)

I've said all I can say on the subject and have started to repeat myself. People can agree with me or not. Most will be somewhere in the middle. But you can have the last word if you want. Just try to address my points without the silliness without putting words into my mouth, please.

Peace,
Kevin

flameproof

Re: How to transcribe music from other instruments?

Post by flameproof » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:46 pm

Kevin,

Your second post in this thread said:
One thing that struck me in reading these posts (and in other threads) is how dependent we have become on software. There are people actually advocating using them as transposition tools or even to do the actual arranging. Why have guitar players become so lazy?
As this followed my comments on my own use of software, I don't see it as being too much of a stretch to read this as you saying that I am somehow dependent on software, that it is somehow surprising that I would "actually advocate" the use of such, and that this use amounts to some sort of laziness. So forgive me if I don't feel a great deal of regret for what you perceive to be my mocking tone. By the way, a more charitable reading of my parenthetical "quill optional" is "witty" -- but hey, witty/mocking, it's all the same to me.

Anyway, all that aside, for some reason you see that the lack of effort of some automated processes means that there are missed learning opportunities. I don't. I see the complete opposite. Having freed ourselves from the gruntwork of trivial tasks we are at greater liberty to explore, to play, to experiment, to test out ideas, quickly, efficiently, effortlessly -- exactly the kind of environment where learning is most likely to occur.

I don't suppose that you know that I am a maths teacher; there are a couple of software tools, Omnigraph and the Geometer's Sketchpad which I have personally used as learning tools in classes of all abilities. These tools automate processes (such as sketching a graph or creating geometric figures). I have seen them bring understanding and insights considerably deeper than the same amount of work with pen-and-paper could hope to achieve.

I suppose that if I were to give a student the task of sketching the graph of y = 2x + 1, I'd expect there to be more learning opportunities doing it with pen-and-paper rather than by Omnigraph. However, if the task was "spend an hour exploring families of graphs", I know that Omnigraph would win hands-down.

That is, in terms of learning opportunities:
Task-for-task, manual is better.
Hour-for-hour, automation is better.

I have every reason (my own personal experience as a student of music) to believe that the same goes for tools that automate certain processes in the production of music. Notation for instance. Notation is an arbitrary, largely trivial, and -- by hand -- a time-consuming and laborious task (I beg you to read "time-consuming" as "time-wasting" (for that is what it is)).

Your mention of the straw-man logical fallacy compels me to say: I have felt that you have succumbed to your own logical fallacy (cum hoc ergo propter hoc) -- you appear to reason that because the greatest works of music were composed without Finale et al, that somehow there is a causal relationship between the two things.

Peace,
Flamey

ksjazzguitar

Re: How to transcribe music from other instruments?

Post by ksjazzguitar » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:45 am

OK, I lied. I'm back. I can't resit. I hate it when people get it wrong. And when they continue to put words in my mouth.
flameproof wrote:Your mention of the straw-man logical fallacy compels me to say: I have felt that you have succumbed to your own logical fallacy (cum hoc ergo propter hoc) -- you appear to reason that because the greatest works of music were composed without Finale et al, that somehow there is a causal relationship between the two things. ...
OK, I lied. I can't resit. I hate it when people get it wrong. And when they continue to put words in my mouth.

Cum hoc ergo propter hoc is only a logical fallacy if it is based on few observations, and if it assumes causation. If it is based on a significant data, then it is induction and is a perfectly valid logical process. If I see a child who plays chess and does well in math, I might assume that there is a correlation. That is bad logic because it is only based on one data point. If I observe hundreds of kids over the span of 20 years and see that there is a tremendous correlation, then I am just collecting empirical data. That is not a logical fallacy, it is in fact, a cornerstone of the scientific method. It is the foundation of inductive reasoning. True, in the chess example, I have not proved causation, but I have made a strong argument for correlation and from that can build a hypothesis. (True, there are situations of coincidental correlation, but they usually rely on constricted data sets.) Proving causation is more complicated, but I wasn't saying that I'd proven anything, just saying that I had a hypothesis and that it was based on observation of a large set of data. That is not cum hoc ergo propter hoc, not in the logical fallacy sense, it is simply induction. Observing correlation and hypothesizing causation is a fundamental practice in science - especially if you can posit a causal mechanism. Ideally, I would have to design an experiment, but short of getting 100 babies, locking them in rooms for the next 30 years, giving half of them a traditional education and the other half a shortcut musical education and see who produces better music (judged by and impartial panel), I don't know how to test it. Like much of psychology and other social sciences, observation and hypothesized causation are all we can do. This isn't physics. This isn't Euclidean geometry. Education is a soft science. Often observation of large data sets that generate theories is all we have. Observing the results is often the best confirmation we have. Until they devise a way to download the "computer program" that runs the human mind, and can dissect the code line by line, then the epistemological purity you are seeking is an irrational fantasy.

As a practicing musician and teacher, I have hundreds of data points spanning more than a decade, so I feel comfortable with what I said. I feel comfortable with my hypothesis. If your observations have led you to the conclusion, then I'm really happy for you, but the amount and depth of my data makes that hard to believe.

For the record, I never said that Finale causes people to not write good music. I'm getting really annoyed with you putting words in my mouth. If you aren't going to read what I say, then don't respond to it. I have said that the shortcomings in traditional music skills that leave many modern guitar players in a position where they can't function without these shortcuts - that is the problem. I said that Finale (and all the other potentially abusable shortcuts) has not made us better musicians. I contend that it helps to hide and make people complacent about musical deficiencies. That is my observation, my judgment, and my hypothesis. As for Finale, it is a fine product. I use it myself. Most of the musicians I know do. A clear reading of my arguments is not that Finale is causing musical deficiency, just that a dependency on it - due to insufficient fundamental musical skills - is a sign of a problem.
flameproof wrote:
ksjazzguitar wrote:One thing that struck me in reading these posts (and in other threads) is how dependent we have become on software. There are people actually advocating using them as transposition tools or even to do the actual arranging. Why have guitar players become so lazy?
As this followed my comments on my own use of software, I don't see it as being too much of a stretch to read this as you saying that I am somehow dependent on software, ...
Jeez Louise, how sensitive do you have to be?!?!? First of all, as anyone can see, that were two posts in between my response and it was a direct response and an expansion on what WenatcheeTheHatchet had said. That is why it directly follows his quote! Don't be so paranoid. Is English not your first language? Do you not understand that a phrase like "reading these posts (and in other threads)" explicitly is directing my observations away from you? Seriously, how can a reasonable person read that and think that I was talking specifically about one person? How can you conclude that a statement like, "how dependent we have become on software" and conclude that it is a personal attack on you? Sorry, but I don't know what to call that but irrational. I'm pretty sure that in all languages that the first person plural also includes the speaker.

Well, it seems that I can't get out of this hole so to keep from being sucked further into this flamey hell, so in order to keep my promise of opting out, I guess I'll have to stop reading this thread all together. I'll offer you the last word gain. It's up to you if you want to use it putting words in my mouth and airing out your persecution complex - I won't care because I won't be reading it.

Until next time,
Kevin

flameproof

Re: How to transcribe music from other instruments?

Post by flameproof » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:16 am

You're hardly offering me the last word if you keep returning to say more.

I am compelled to say:
No amount of correlation can indicate causality, ever.

And:
If we were to say that people who live in France are attractive, witty and well-versed in matters of science and philosophy, it is perfectly proper to infer that I am attractive, witty etc. It's called the syllogism.

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Re: How to transcribe music from other instruments?

Post by pogmoor » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:18 am

gringo wrote:Richard Yates wrote a book called The Transciber's Art. Perhaps it would be helpful. http://www.yatesguitar.com/publish/
Anyone been able to get this in the UK? I ordered it from the big river site and they couldn't get it!
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

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