Music Transcriptions for
Turn up your sound to hear "Jackson Schottische,"
a tune Lucille transcribed for a client.
“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 Penny, Michigan
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
Is there a song or fiddle tune you've composed that
you’d like written down so you can perform it, publish it, frame it, or teach at a
workshop? Or a tune you must learn to play but can't find written
down? Or a (large) handful of traditional music that absolutely must be written down
accurately before it's published? Or a handwritten manuscript that
needs cleaning up before you insert it in your church-service bulletin,
magazine, etc.? Or something else? (If you're looking for a
performance critique, click here.)
I can assist
Tunes/songs from jam sessions/recordings Original tunes/songs
music tradition accurately A “new” version of a tune already in print
rendered by several performers
Tunes/songs the way you perform them
typesetting for any music already written down; view
transcription also makes a great gift for the musical friend in your life!
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I've been transcribing
college (the most notable project being 200 of the 300 tunes for Mel Bay
Master Collection of Dance Music for Violin, by Richard Carlin). When
it comes to transcribing fiddle tunes from recordings, my ear catches more notes than most
players hear. Plus, 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 just neat, but also the way any musician expects them to read.) I
apply the latest notational conventions to document rhythm, stem direction, voicing, dynamics, etc.
The rate is $20 per hour
for whatever you want. (This rate could be less for large jobs, such as a fiddle-tune anthology; for a quote.) Turn-around
time is 4-6 weeks (depending on my performance and teaching schedule)
How long does a transcription take to complete?
Everyone wants to know how long a
transcription will take to complete in order to figure out how much it will cost. The fact
is, I have no idea. Many people have
sent me time lengths and even music files, thinking that will help with an
estimate, but it doesn't (there is no need to send me that information; I'll
send you back here for the answer). It depends on how much needs to be written down, and how complex the
piece is melodically and harmonically. Every piece is different in these
ways. The only way I or anyone else knows how much a transcription will
cost is when it's done.
For information about how I log time
for transcribing, read the next section.
Once your materials
arrive, the process goes
I first listen to the recording "recreationally" to let the
sounds sink into my memory. Only when I begin to put pencil to paper does the clock
start running on the hourly rate.
If you have sent written copy of the
music with a cassette, the cassette will be considered the more accurate authority
If you want the music written down
in a key other than what's on the recording, that's fine. (I don't have
perfect pitch, just very good relative pitch, so my ear won't be confused in
the process of transferring sound to paper.)
If each repeat of a recorded cut has
melodic variations and you don’t want the variations, I usually transcribe
the first time through a tune, as that’s often the most reliable version.
Ornaments (trills, turns, mordents,
etc.) are simplified or omitted. If
you want the ornaments included, you can mark this on the Transcription
I omit fillers (pickings,
hammerings, strums “between” melody notes, etc.) unless you ask for
Once all notes and lyrics are entered in Music
Publisher software, I will email or snail-mail you a copy for review.
Print the attachment, proofread and correct the hard copy, photocopy the
corrected page(s) for your files, and then mail it back to me via snail mail.
When the typesetting is completed I can
either mail you hard copy of the
or send it via email attachment in MS Word or as a .pdf (Adobe Acrobat Reader)
file. (Note: I prefer to send sung responses for church-service bulletins
in MS Word. If your computer is compatible with Word, you can easily size
the music graphics to fit your bulletin's dimensions.)
Want to get
out how to prepare your music now, or go:
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Go to The Fine Print
Transcriptions Order Form
Before recording: Use cassette only (CDs
can’t be “rewound” to the middle of a cut).
To record a cut from a recording:
First, listen to the recording.
Is each repetition of the tune the same?
And is it the way you play it?
If not, consider recording the tune live (see next section).
Advance the tape an inch or two past
the leader. Those first notes
Include only the cut(s) having the
tune(s) to be transcribed. Record the entire cut of each tune.
If the tune is in a medley, record the entire medley and enter on the
order form which tune you
want (1st, 2nd, etc.)
To make it easy and fun on my end to
listen to your music recreationally, one of my clients filled the cassette
with as many repetitions of his one tune as he could cram on there. If
you have time, 3-4 repetitions will save me rewinding.
To record live:
Advance the tape an inch or two past
the leader before pushing the Record button.
Those first notes are essential!
If possible, record in a quiet
place. If all you have is a
recording with background noise/speech (taped at a jam session, etc.), 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 (this is not the time to
demonstrate that you can’t make up your mind, or to show off your
creativity, unless the variations are to be transcribed, too). It’s OK to record fast tunes slowly, but play (or sing)
them up to tempo, too, so I know how they’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
make a written note of the errors (don’t point them out while you’re
Rhythmic accuracy is essential and
reduces transcription time. I
write what I hear.
When the recording is finished,
check that all tunes/songs are
complete and sufficiently audible on the tape.
Wind the tape to the
beginning and label the tape on the side the
tunes/songs are recorded on.
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Please include typed,
not handwritten, copy of the lyrics if they are handwritten on the score.
If you want letter chords included, accurately place them
over the typed lyrics.
Do not type the
lyrics in caps only, because I won't be able to tell what's supposed to be
- I've received some fairly messy manuscripts to neaten up (see the before-and-after
sample). While I can usually wade through most, obviously the clearer
your copy is, the better. This also is not the time to be
"artsy" with handwritten notation, etc.; again, easily discerned
copy is key.
- For vocal scores, please type, capitalize and punctuate all lyrics way you want them. Avoid lyrics written ALL IN CAPS, as these don't
indicate what's supposed to be capitalized. If lyrics in caps are already on
the manuscript, please type them on a separate page with appropriate capitalization
- Double-check all notes for line or space placement on each staff to be sure
that, for example, second-line G on the treble staff really looks like a G
instead of almost an F.
- Check your manuscript for desired dynamic markings.
- Make a copy of all drafts for your safekeeping before mailing, and send the most
readable copy to me.
Ready to continue? Go to The Fine Print.
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You, as the end user, are responsible for the ultimate use of all
I as transcriber/typesetter am not responsible for:
“errors” as a result of background-noise
choices I must make upon hearing melodic variations in
rhythmic inaccuracies on the
transcribing copy that’s
faithful to to the recording but different from the end user’s rendition.
you may receive from workshop participants, etc. when a
transcription from client’s supplied tape differs from a tune’s “generally
done it all! Now go
to the Transcriptions Order Form and send your music in!
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