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Helpful (I hope!) learning strategy

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I hope the following is of interest…
If you are starting out learning to play the concertina, or indeed already are quite experienced, in any variety of types or musical interest/styles and you; don’t read music, don’t want to learn to read music, or are looking for phrasing examples within tunes, or want to dissect a particularly challenging piece, you may find the computer programme “Transcribe!” very helpful.
(I have no commercial involvement! I have just found it extremely useful!)
The programme allows you to drop a variety of sound or video files into it and thereafter, slow down/speed up playback without changing pitch.
It does also allow you to change pitch/transpose should you wish, (very helpful if you have a C/G concertina and the sound file features a Bb/F player or vice versa J)
It also allows fine tuning up and down from concert pitch, which is very useful if you are playing, or the sound file is being played, on an “old” pitch instrument.
The programme isn’t free (there is a free trial period) but quite reasonably priced ($39) for the full version given its usefulness and flexibility.
Versions available for Windows, Mac and Linux
I use it in conjunction with ABCNavigator2.0. (other ABC programmes are available). Basically, I download the ABC files from www.session.org (my interest is mainly traditional music), which relate to the tune file from my CD collection (remember them!) or download service and follow the “dots” while listening to the tune (usually slowed down to start with) in “Transcribe!”. I can use the ABC programme to find the right notes which helps dramatically when I come to play along with the original in “Transcribe!”. I still can’t claim to read music but this combination of programmes has allowed me to speed up learning new tunes which I otherwise could never have done! It also allows video files from Youtube and other video streaming services to be manipulated in the same way so opening up another store of tunes.
I hope this is helpful!!
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9 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

Good description, but why do you use section markers rather than measure markers to delineate the separate measures?


No specific reason. Normally when I’m learning tunes, I’d just mark the A and B parts of a two part tune for playback by pressing the S key, just never thought about measure markers instead. 



9 hours ago, Don Taylor said:
9 hours ago, Don Taylor said:


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I have been using that very technique for several years now using Cubase LE (a recording/sound processing software - sometimes called DAW 😉 - that happened to come bundled with my USB sound card). The OS/PD counterpart Audacity doubtlessly has the same functionality built in. All you need is pitch neutral speed change and looping between markers which every DAW supports. BTW, it also works the other way around: Speed neutral pitch change (transposition).


It is the counterpart of the magnetic tape reel cassette we had in the 70s/80s. I remember winding back the tape so many times that the tape reel ended up sticking jammed shut (I believe the constant stretching would eventually thin out the tape). Yes, in spite of all the justified criticism, the digital world HAS improved our lives in many ways!  👍

Edited by RAc
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I'll add to this thread that I also use MuseScore for learning tunes. It allows you to import PDF sheet music, with varying degrees of success, which it can then play back for you, or which you can save as a midi or mp3 file (it'll also work in reverse, generating sheet music from a midi file). The interface is more geared toward people who read and write music, but it's well worth checking out if this is a feature that would be useful for you. And it's free! I used to use Finale for a similar purpose, but it's expensive and I've completely switched over to MuseScore in recent years.

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So I also do something like this but when necessary I cheat a little.

I use Transcribe+ which is the app for iPads and import the tune then  if I am having trouble figuring out a part by ear I send the tune to T TE tuner app which does all kinds of things. What I do with it is have the tune play and while the screen is telling me the note I run a screen video that I send back into Transcribe+. Now I can slow it down and figure out the pesky notes that were eluding me and can even transcribe the ABC if needed. 

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4 hours ago, mathhag said:

[...] I run a screen video that I send back into Transcribe+. Now I can slow it down and figure out the pesky notes [...] 

Screen video of a tuner! Haven't thought of that!

These days I mostly go and find a tune on YouTube und use their slow down feature. Recordings I made or friends sent me get slowed down with music speed changer app. That can transpose, too. 

Sometimes when I'm really tone deaf in a section I either look at sheet music and see what that suggests or I play the recording real slow and hold a tuner to the speaker. But I try to get my ear trained well enough to figure it out between ears and fingers...  

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4 hours ago, Alex West said:

Musescore now comes bundled with Audacity as "MuseHub"

You might want to hold off on Musescore 4 and, especially, MuseHub for a while:








It is very confusing as to what Musehub actually does, Musescore says it handles automatice updates and downloading of sound files.  I am happy to do both of those things myself.


As a long-term user of Musescore, I have had a quesy feeling about the corporate background to the deal between the open source organization Musescore.org and the for-profit Musescore.com  - which is actually the Russia-based Muse Group that has been steadily aquiring open source music applications.  I have never been satisfied with the explanations given on the Musescore forums.


If you want Musescore 4 then you can download it from Musescore.org without Musehub.  Personally, I have decided to hold off on updating from Musescore 3 at least for the timebeing.   Musescore 3 is very good already and I have not seen any new features in 4 that make me want to upgrade.


If you are as paranoid as me then I recommend downloading both Musescore 3 and, if you want it, Audacity, from https://portableapps.com/.  I get most of the Windows applications that I use from Portableapps.com, they are mostly open source apps that have been reviewed and re-factored and I trust the site much more than I do Musecore.org and especially Musescore.com.






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