Hello everyone! Today I’ll explain how I transcribe anime music. And in order to do this, I’ll show you an example of my transcribing process.
(if you only want the Sankarea OP – Esoragoto sheets: just jump to the bottom of this page)
How to transcribe (anime) music – a guide by Animenz
- an absolute pitch or at least a relative pitch
- a notation software (there are some free notation software you can download, but the really good ones are commercial, so you have to buy it. Or pirate it…)
- a piano or keyboard
- and last but not least an ounce of inspiration and creativity
To start with the transcription, you naturally have to listen to the music piece you want to transcribe. Most TV-size openings/endings are short (roughly 1-2 minutes), so listen to it at least five times to grasp the basics of the music.
The first thing I notate is the melody. But before I start with this, I have to name my sheet and provide some information about the piece like key signature, time signature, and tempo. Just make use of your ears if you want to determine key signature etc. To determine the tempo, use a metronom. For the rest: google.
Then I’ll proceed with writing down the melody. Most j-pop music have a typical Cross-rhythm with lots of dotted notes.
As soon as I have finished the basic melody, I add the chords. Simply listen to the piece and figure out which tone is the bass. In this case, it has only basic chords like D-major, G-major, b-minor, A-major and e-minor. I usually notate triads.
Proceed like that with the whole sheet and – congratulations! You have finished a basic sheet of your piece. But of course I am far from being satisfied yet with this sheet.
Therefore, I have a four sacred principles I always comply with. They are called variation, details, transitions and original ending.
I always use many different accompaniments for the left hand in order to make the sheet more interesting. Usually, my accompaniments adapts original rhythm of the music piece.
For example, here are my six different accompaniments of the d-major chord (in order of appearance)
I also vary the melody in the right hand. Usually I make use of additional octaves or thirds. Or simply paraphrase the melody.
My transcriptions always include some “details”, or in other words – melodies which is played in the background.
For example, the very beginning of the piece Esoragoto starts with the voice, a d-major chord played by a guitar… and a very high pitched melody in the background played by a synthesizer. In order to play this “second voice” I have to relocate the right-hand melody into left hand but one problem remains, however:
The red framed chord is impossible to play and if you use an arpeggio it sounds strange. So my only option is to modify the second voice a little bit. The goal is to create an alternative which should be both playble and similar to the original.
I often add some transitions between passages. Usually I write transitions if a musical theme is changing. (for example if the chorus begins) Or if there’s a change in the key signature (for example, d-major changes to c-sharp major).
I also tend to write short transitions between very long notes to fill in the gap (usually a whole note).
In Esogaroto, I wrote a short transition before the the first verse repeats…
In my opinion, transitions makes the music flow better, but that’s probably a matter of taste.
4. Original Ending
This is the only principle that does not always have to be present. Since I mainly transcribe TV-sized OP/ED, the music sometimes ends abruptly or it don’t end on a tonic chord. There are different ways to handle this: Either you add a entirely “new” ending or you just “reuse” some parts of your sheet. For example, here is the original ending (TV-size opening)
It’s not a big problem though if you would leave it like that, but I prefer to end it in tonic in order to give the impression the music has finished.
In this case, I simply reused the beginning of Esogaroto and made only minimal changes to create a alternate ending.
Alright everyone, that’s enough for today (I have spend four hours captioning and writing this post and I am really tired now).
Thank you for your attention, and I hope after reading this post, you get a better insight in the working methods of me.
-= Download the sheet and the midi file here =-
[Esoragoto] (difficulty: average)