MUS 111-212

Lab Guidelines for Transcription Exercises

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Developing the ability to transcribe music that you hear has obvious practical applications, but it is also one of the best ways to sharpen your analytical listening skills.  During the course of each semester in MUS 112, 211 & 212, several transcription exercises will be due as assignments.  They are found in Units 10,14 and 17, and titled "Examples from Music Literature."   

While these examples are on your CD, it is usually easier to transcribe using a cassette tape, which allows for easier starting/stopping.  Also, our lab is set up so you may hear the tape and the synthesizer keyboard at the same time as long as you attach the cables as directed below--not possible with the CD.  The "Examples from Music Literature" have been transferred to cassette tapes, which are to remain in the cassette decks located in the Beard Music Media Center.  Please do not remove the tapes from the lab.  Thank you.

[Note:  If you plan to use the Beard Music Media Center simply to practice ear training with the CD, that is fine.  You will have to plug the headphones into the rear of the computer, however, in order to link to the sound card.  Use the "green" jack.]

Unless you are blessed/cursed with so-called perfect pitch, most students require the aid of a keyboard, or other instrument, to assist in referencing pitches.  The diagrams below illustrate the connections which must be made in the Beard Music Media Center to hear the cassette deck and the synthesizer at the same time.  These connections must be made before transcription work begins in order to hear both sound sources simultaneously.  

NOTE:  Hopefully, you will NOT need to adjust the pitch of the synthesizer.  In all likelihood, the synth and tape deck will be matched closely enough for transcription purposes.  But if the pitch discrepancy is too severe to manage, you may wish to adjust the pitch of the synthesizer to match the tape before you begin working, as described below.  If you do adjust the pitch of the synthesizer, please return the pitch to the original setting before you turn off the synthesizer.  Failing to do so may adversely impact the work of students in other classes.


First, select the synth voice you wish to use:  Press the [Patch] button, then, make your selection by turning the round Value Dial.  PR-A 004 Nice Piano works well ...

Press the [System] button.

Press [F2] Tune.

Use the arrow keys to the right to move the cursor to the Master Tune area, highlighting this setting.  The default setting is 440.

To raise or lower the pitch of the synth, use the round Value Dial.

Play the tape and make adjustments in synth pitch until it is in tune with the tape.

When you are done transcribing, please return the Master Tune setting to 440.  This is very important!  Thank you.

You may then press the [Exit] button to leave that particular window.


When you are done working on a transcription exercise, please be sure to:

  1. Return the synth Master Tune setting to 440.

  2. Turn off the cassette deck.

  3. Return the various plugs to their normal connections.


Please reconnect cables as outlined above after using transcription connections.



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