transcribing music to shamisen notation- tips wanted

total beginner in transcribing so i need all the tips i can get:

you people who can do this, what advice can you give?

(and resources, links etc :stuck_out_tongue: )

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I’d suggest just get started on transcribing something and then take notes along the way any time something comes up. It’s much easier to help out in this matter if there is a specific issue or question.

Since Shamisen tabs are based on the number positions, I trust you have either a reference or one of those stickers that show you where each position is?

Anyway good luck and feel free to write to me anytime you need!

Amanda, are you transcribing from western notation? If so, I have one suggestion, and that is to draw a shamisen neck with the notes of the key you are transcribing from written up the neck. For simplicity, I would put the shamisen in niagari tuning, and make the open string on the first and third strings be the tonic (i.e. if the sheet music is in the key of C Major, then the open string is the note C). Just to give you an idea of what I mean, here is how the first octave should work out for the key of CMajor, with the shamisen positions of the first string and the equivalent notes:
0 =C, 1=Db, 2=D, 3=Eb, 3#=E, 4=F, 5=Gb, 6=G, 7=Ab, 8=A, 9=Bb, 9#=B, 10=C.
You might make a new chart like this for each key you will transcribe from. Since you are just starting out, this is a good way to keep from getting confused. Make sure your charts are accurate before you get too far in to the transcriptions - try playing what you have just written and check that it sounds right.
That’s a start anyway, let me know if this helps.

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thanks both,
yeah, think charts and playing along (if i can XD ) are the way to go, already doodled a little, it’s in Bb and the melody line ‘looks’ easy enough for a beginner, the piano stuff is waaay over my head though, so will stick to melody.
On that note (no pun intended) will Niagari be okay for Bb or san sagari be better?

This is just the type of thing that is for.

Amanda, for basic transcription, whatever the key, make that your “0” on the first and third string. So Bb is the pitch of your open string, and work from there. Karl’s program could be useful for you, as long as you can work around the sharps and flats thing (eg Bb=A#, Eb=D# etc.) - and is much nicer looking than what I would come up with on paper!
If you’re stuck at this point, let me know, and I can sketch and post a pic of the neck in Bb. You can puzzle out all the other keys yourself just by using that one as a guide. It might be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be fine.

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thankyous!!! will be playing about later :smiley:
need new batteries for my tuner…

I just updated the Scale Viewer so that you can select whether you want sharps (#) or flats (b).

I’ve decided to keep the mixture of 3# and 10b on the positions of the sao, as I figured it would be easier for people to relate to their instruments if they have position markers.

Tell me if there’s anything else that could be useful to have. Most things don’t take any time at all to fix so just tell me :smiley:

Karl, that works really well. It is fast and looks nice and clean when you’re finished.
I hope you don’t mind me using your program for this, but I made a composite image here to fill in all the notes, rather than just a scale in Bb.
For anyone that needs this sort of thing, it just takes a few minutes to set your key, and then fill in all the notes. Very handy.

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OMG i love you guys XD

I had a bit of an accident earlier and broke strings, it’s so humid here i shouldn’t have tried, that image means i can play around with the tune without worrying about my strings XD Cheers Gerry

Okayyy had a bash at it…looks totally wrong to me, will scan it in tomorrow.

I could add a toggle button that show all notes for sure.

i don’t know if anyone can have a play to see if it makes sense?
Timing is 4/4, the dots underneath the numbers are to indicate half notes, the little symbol that looks like a 7 is a rest like in western notation.
I didn’t know how else to do it.

I’ve probably made a total mess of this, will take a pic of the western notation in a bit.

I apologize in advance if this is information that is already known. Typically in this kind of notation (bunka-fu) subdivided notes are indicated by a line underneath it. Likewise, rests are solid circles, subdivided rests are simply solid circles with a line underneath it. The number of lines represent the number of subdivisions. Japanese music is usually written in 2/4 time as the example below, so the notes with two lines under it are actually sixteenth notes but the idea can be transferred to other time signatures.

I would also recommend writing down the tuning. The standard for tsugaru jamisen is ni agari, so you could write that or raised second if that is what it is (The japanese characters are actually at the top of the image above, the first character of the phrase is the one with the the two horizontal lines.) In japanese music they also sometimes write the tuning as relationships between the strings as below. That may be useful for tunings that do not fit into the standard japanese models.

subdivided notes are indicated by a line underneath it.

Ah yes, I’ve kept Karl well informed of my desire for the beat lines underneath the notes, or at least the option to put them in. :wink:
How’s about it, Karl? :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, my sensei is always emphasizing paying attention to the beat lines below the notes. They are important