Click here to return to the main FAQ page.
Click here for an introduction to
transcribing music, and also read the Overview and Getting Started sections of the Help that comes with
Transcribing music is hard work and although Transcribe! makes it easier, it is still hard work.
If you have never transcribed music from recordings at all then it can sometimes be a good idea to start by using traditional methods - using a perfectly ordinary CD player or iPod for your first transcriptions. Then try Transcribe! again. That way, you learn one thing at a time instead of trying to learn everything at once.
Also see the query below, "Does Transcribe! actually do the transcribing?".
Read the Overview and Getting Started sections of the Help that comes with
Also you will find short videos showing very basic use of Transcribe! near the bottom of this page
No. There are (and have been since the 1970's) some very clever people working on this with
very limited success on anything but the simplest music. You can find links to
other people's efforts here.
Transcribe! does attempt to guess what notes are being played at any chosen moment (marking them on the piano keyboard) and also to name the chords being played. But it makes no attempt to deal with rhythm, or to produce musical notation or midi.
Also see here for a further reflection of mine on this subject.
No, Transcribe! does not address the question of notating the transcription - some
people use notation software, some don't write anything down at all (they are
learning to play something by playing along). Personally I use pencil and paper.
You can add textual annotations (see the Text menu) to the transcription, useful for lyrics, chord symbols, comments etc.
I don't plan to add notational capability to Transcribe! - if I give it limited capability then people will immediately start complaining about the things it can't do, while full-featured music notation is a huge job, and there are already any number of software packages around for music notation, click here.
Yes, Transcribe! can display video synchronised to the audio at any speed. If the video is online (e.g. YouTube etc.) then you will need to download it first, and you may need to convert the video to a suitable format as well. See Help - Various Topics - Video, and also see this page.
No, Transcribe! is for transcribing music from sound recordings. There are any number of software packages around for MIDI, click here.
No, Transcribe! is for transcribing music from sound recordings. There are any number of software packages around for recording, editing and mixing sound, click here.
Yes, Transcribe! can be used very effectively for transcribing speech. There is some advice about this in Transcribe!'s help, under the heading "Various Topics".
Yes, Transcribe! can be used very effectively for play-along practice. There is some advice about this in Transcribe!'s help, under the heading "Various Topics".
After you pause playback with the spacebar, if you press the spacebar again you will play again from the current point (the little red triangle). To position the current point, click on the waveform - there is more about this in the FAQs just below. If you want to continue playback from the paused point instead, then you need to un-pause. You can do this with the comma or semicolon keys (see Help - File menu - Keyboard Commands), or the pause button in the lower toolbar. If you want the spacebar to resume paused playback instead of starting again from the current point then you could use Keyboard Commands on the File menu to have the spacebar trigger the command "PlayResume". If you do this then it might make sense to program some other keystroke to trigger "PlaySpacebar" as it can be useful to have a keystroke which starts playback from the current point.
This has changed in version 8.2 so make sure you have the current version (free to existing users).
To set the current point (the red triangle which marks the place where playback will begin) : click on the waveform. (If there is already a selection there then you will need to shift-click or double-click instead, or you will find you are adjusting the existing selection instead).
To make a selection (e.g. for looping) : sweep the mouse over the waveform with the button pressed, so the desired section is selected (highlit).
To adjust one end of an existing selection : click and drag, near the end you want to adjust. You can also use the arrow keys, for details see the Help for Keyboard Commands.
To move an existing selection : click within the existing selection. You can also use the square bracket keys for moving the current point or selection, for details see the Help for Keyboard Commands.
If you hold the shift key down then this will change the behaviour - you can tell what is going to happen by the shape of the cursor before you click. Also note that double-click will always collapse an existing selection. As also will the 'U' keyboard shortcut.
In fact the little red triangles aren't really markers in the usual sense, they just indicate the current point, which is where playback will begin if you press the Play button or the spacebar. And since playback always has to begin somewhere, you can't delete the current point. See the query just above about positioning the current point and making selections, and see Help - Getting Started for more info. Also note that there is a "Back to the beginning" button in the lower toolbar which will move the current point to the start of the track.
First, be aware that "markers" have nothing to do with looping. You choose
what to loop by selecting it with the mouse. So:
- On the "Play" menu, select "Play Selection" and "Loop" so that both of these items have tick marks against them. In fact this is the default anyway, as long as you haven't changed them.
- Select the section you want to loop - that is, sweep the mouse over the waveform display with the button pressed, so the desired section is selected (highlit).
- Press the Play button on the toolbar. That's it.
You can also do it while playing by pressing the "A-B Loop" button on the toolbar : once to set the loop start point and then again to select the loop end.
Also note that you can store and recall multiple loops, on the Misc page of the Fx window.
This is where you listen to the track at one point (i.e. a very short loop), and then
move that point around. The way to do it is to set a short loop playing - see the query above about looping -
and then click and drag (or use the square-bracket shortcut keys) to move that short loop around. See the Help for Keyboard
Commands (File menu) for details about these commmands.
If you turn on the Spectrum (View menu), then you will see the Spectrum of the selection you have made (and optionally Note and Chord guesses), which will change as you move the selection around.
In version 8.73 there is also a scrub mode. See Help - Menus and Toolbar - Mouse Commands, for details.
You can control-click (command-click on Mac) on the waveform at the required start point.
Also if you show the Time Line (View menu) then you can click on the Time Line.
Remember also that if you want to play other parts of a track without losing a loop you have carefully set up, then the answer is to save the loop (on the Misc page of the Fx window). Then you can restore that loop any time you want.
My preferred way of marking a section of music is to play it through once, tapping the 'M' key at the start of
each measure. If you want the beats marked then double-click the first marker and specify auto
subdivisions - I very seldom use actual beat markers. And if you want the sections
marked then double-click (or right-click) the relevant measure marker and convert it to a section
marker (or use 'S' instead of 'M' for marking it in the first place).
Remember that the Navigation Bar (View menu) allows you to go directly to any marker.
Also note that if you want to mark events that happen in arbitrary places (e.g. the place where a particular lyric or chord or note happens) then Text Blocks are usually more suitable - see the Help for more about Text Blocks.
Every now and then, someone proposes a scheme for automatically generating markers at fixed
intervals, or for converting Transcribe!'s automatic subdivision markers into "real" markers.
However I have so far resisted such suggestions as they would add to the complexity of using
markers, and I am not at all convinced that they would offer significant benefit. My preferred
way of marking a section of music is described in the query just above. This is very simple and it
gets the measures marked in the same time it takes to play them. If you have some more complex
scheme in mind then please ask yourself, is it really any quicker or easier than the method I
have just outlined?
Having said that, Transcribe! 8.6 has a command on the Markers menu "Equally Space Selected Markers" which can be used for placing a number of equally spaced markers between two existing markers. For example, suppose you have placed two section markers and want to divide that section into eight measures by adding seven measure markers. With playback stopped (not paused), click anywhere between the section markers to position the current point (the little red triangle), hold down <shift> and tap 'M' seven times to place seven measure markers on top of each other at the current point. Then use the mouse to select a region from the first section marker to the second one, including both of them, and use the "Equally Space Selected Markers" command to spread out the measure markers you placed.
In Help - Menus & Toolbar - File Menu - Keyboard commands, you can read about keyboard shortcuts
such as alt-[ and alt-] which will take you to the previous or next section marker.
In Help - Getting Started - The Transcription Window, you can read about the Navigation Bar which you can right-click (control-click on Mac) to get a pop up menu where you can jump directly to a chosen marker.
And on the Misc page of the Audio Effects and Controls window you will find buttons to take you to the next or previous marker.
Let's suppose that you have placed some beat or measure markers in your transcription.
You can create or adjust a selection with the mouse (see above) or with the keyboard
(see the Help for Keyboard Commands) but how about if you want to adjust the selection to start or end
exactly on a beat or measure marker? The simplest way is to shift-click the marker triangle, which will extend the selection to that marker.
Another way is described in Help - Getting Started - The Transcription Window :
"If you hold down the <alt> key when clicking or dragging then the selection will 'snap' to the nearest marker if
there is one near. The <alt> key may not work if it is used to bring up a system menu instead. In that case you
can instead press <control> after you have started making your selection, for the same effect."
You can also set up keyboard commands to do this kind of thing if you want, though they are not configured by default because there are so many possibilities to choose from. Transcribe! has many commands which are not immediately visible. This is deliberate as we don't want to scare new users with a complex interface.
Read the Help for Keyboard Commands which tells you how to configure any command to be triggered by a keystroke of your choice. You will see a group of commands with names like "SelectionIncreaseRightMeasure" which increases the current selection at the right by one measure, and so on.
For example: to select a whole measure around the current point, configure a keyboard command with its "press" command as "SelectionIncreaseRightMeasure" and its "release" command as "SelectionIncreaseLeftMeasure". Then to advance the selection to the next whole measure, program another key with its "press" command as "SelectionIncreaseRightMeasure" and its "release" command to "SelectionDecreaseLeftMeasure".
Another example: to "select all", configure a keyboard command with its "press" command as "SelectionMoveLeftEnd" and its "release" command as "SelectionIncreaseRightEnd".
These commands can also be triggered from foot pedals of course.
Also see the "Move" buttons on the "Misc" page of the Audio Effects and Controls window. Read the Help for that page, to find out more.
If you are running Transcribe! 8.6 or later: there is a special command for this, see Preferences - Playback - "Playback Start Delay", and press the Help button on that page for details about how to use it.
If you are running Transcribe! 8.5 or earlier: there are two ways. (1) Simply start playback before the part you are interested in. However you can't do that if it's the beginning of the track. (2) Make sure looping is turned on and select the part you are interested in so it will loop. Then start playback near the end of the loop, giving you the time you want before it loops back.
Of course if you have a pedal then you can start playback with that, possibly eliminating the need for a delay.
Transcribe! does not have a specific playlist feature, however it's not hard to get the same effect. When you Save a transcription this creates a transcription (xsc) file which is a small text file containing information about the transcription, including the name and location of the sound file. The xsc file does not need to be in the same folder as the sound file it uses, and you can move xsc files to different folders however you like (as long as they are not open in Transcribe! at the time). So, put the xsc files of your "playlist" tracks into a single folder (named "My practice playlist" or whatever) and then you can open them all at once by selecting them all in your file browser and drag-n-drop them onto the Transcribe! window.
Transcribe! is not a sound file editor or multitrack recording package.
It records, reads and plays sound files but does not modify them. It can also
export modified sound files (e.g. with pitch or speed change applied) although this is not its primary purpose.
You can find links to editors and other sound-related software here.
If you want to save a modified sound or video file from Transcribe! (with altered speed or pitch for instance) then
the command you need is called "Export Sound File" (or "Export video") (on the File menu).
XSC (transcription) files don't contain any sound. They are text files containing information about your transcription. Read the Help for the File Menu (in Transcribe!'s Help) for more information.
The idea about exporting modified sound (or video) files from Transcribe! is that first you set up the modifications you
want using the Fx (Audio Effects and Controls) window, so that the file is playing in the same way that you want to export it.
Then use the Export command and check the boxes for the effects you want applied to the exported file.
So, if the speed change you applied is not appearing in the exported file then it probably means you didn't check the "Speed" checkbox in the Export dialog. On the other hand if the checkbox in the Export dialog is disabled, this is because you didn't apply the effect in the first place - cancel the Export command and use the Fx window to apply the effect you want, then Export again.
Assuming that you do, in fact, have enough disk space then the reason is that you are trying to save the file to an inappropriate location such as your system folder, or a CD drive which can't be recorded to anyway. Select an appropriate location such as somewhere in your Documents folder, and all will be well.
This was a bug in version 8.40, fixed in 8.41. It happens in version 8.40 if the first exported section starts at the very beginning of the track - that is, if there is a section marker at the very beginning. The workaround is to move that very first section marker very slightly to the right so it is not quite at the very beginning.
Transcribe! on Windows and Mac reads mp4, m4a & aac files but not m4p which is a protected format (usually from the
Apple music store). However, Apple stopped using this format in early 2009 and these days all iTunes music downloads
from the Apple music store are "iTunes Plus". "iTunes Plus" is a higher quality download and more to
the point, it comes without DRM (digital rights management) - it's an "m4a" file
rather than an "m4p". This means you can play it on non-Apple devices and software, including Transcribe!
You can upgrade previously downloaded tracks to "iTunes Plus". You can find Apple's page telling you how to do this by searching for "About iTunes Plus", which will take you to support.apple.com/en-us/HT201616
You have to have the track on your disk in order to load it into Transcribe!, which means that streaming services are a nuisance. You have various options:
This is a useful thing to be able to do, both for the purpose of recording sound while it is playing from a streaming service like YouTube, and also for recording Transcribe!'s output while playing. Of course Transcribe! has the "Export sound file" command, but if you want a file where the speed or key changes in the middle of the track while playing, "Export sound file" cannot do this.
Transcribe! itself cannot record the sound that is playing on your computer's speakers, but there are other programs which can. See this page for a discussion of methods covering Windows, Mac and Linux. You will find plenty of other options too, if you do some appropriate searches.
This might happen because the track is in a format which Transcribe! doesn't read. Here are some suggestions.
First, if you have the file on your computer but Transcribe! can't handle the format, then you may be able to make changes to your system to fix this. For example:
If this solution doesn't work then read on...
This applies to QuickTime files (mov, m4a, aac, mpeg).
First, make sure you have the current version of Transcribe! which you can download
from the download page in the usual way.
It's free to existing users, it will recognise the license key you already have.
If that doesn't fix the problem then look in the Transcribe! "System Info" (on the Help menu) after you've tried to open the file. If you see a message saying "NewMovieFromProperties; Unknown error (Error OS:-1856)" then this is an Apple QuickTime problem, which affects some users after updating QuickTime on Windows. The solution is to try playing the file in QuickTime Player (which you have, it's part of QuickTime). QuickTime Player will tell you that some file associations need restoring and you should say "yes". After this, Transcribe! will be able to play the file.
You can use the "Open" command (File menu) to open an audio CD track directly in Transcribe!, but this is
not usually the best way. Although your CD player is of course capable of playing in the usual way, it may nevertheless be sluggish
when used with Transcribe! - this is because Transcribe! needs access to the audio samples and so has to use a
different method for reading the data from the CD.
The answer is to use the "Copy Sound File" command (File menu) to copy the track to your hard disk first, then play it from there. This gives better performance and also has the advantage that the track will still be there after you take the CD out. There are also many programs other than Transcribe! which can copy ("rip") tracks from audio CD to hard disk.
Note that the "Track 01.cda" etc. files which Windows shows you on an audio CD are not in fact sound files and there is no point in copying these to your hard disk.
Sometimes mp3 files have faulty data in them, and different programs handle this in different ways. Transcribe! chooses to stop, because there is a danger of speaker-destroying or ear-destroying noise. So if you have some other software which plays the whole mp3 file, listen closely at the point in the track where Transcribe! stops : you will very likely hear a strange noise and/or a dropout caused by faulty data. The solution is to update the software you are using to produce mp3 files. Or load the file into some editor which will read the whole thing and re-export it, to get a copy without faulty data.
"Nahimic 2" is a sound effect app used for gaming applications, and I've had a report that it can cause difficulties opening files in other appplications including Transcribe!. I've no idea how common this is.
People sometimes report all kinds of strange problems using particular sound output devices, and one simple way of bypassing these problems is to install another sound device. If you go to Amazon and search for "usb sound adapter" you will find dozens of little usb sound devices, many of them costing less than $5. Get one of those, plug it in, and use Transcribe!'s Preferences - Playback to select the new sound output device.
This is probably a soundcard or driver issue : it doesn't normally happen if you are using the built-in
sound system, it only happens with third-party sound hardware. In fact this seems to be commonest on the Mac
- I've had it reported for Alesis Multimix8 and Focusrite Saffire.
To fix it make sure you have the latest version of the software and drivers to go with the sound hardware, then configure it to increase the size of the playback buffer.
Or use Transcribe!'s Preferences - Playback to select a different sound output device.
Transcribe! itself doesn't do this but it shouldn't be a problem, you just need to use other software for playing your instrument through the computer, and have that software running at the same time as Transcribe!. If you search for "play guitar through computer" (without the quotes) then you will find lots of solutions.
(Note: Transcribe! itself does not have ASIO support)
ASIO & RTAS drivers achieve low latency by taking exclusive control of the soundcard so other applications cannot output sound at the same time. There are two possible workarounds. (i) Install another soundcard and configure Transcribe! to use it (in Preferences). Note that if you search Amazon or eBay for "usb sound dongle", you can buy them for two or three dollars. (ii) Don't use ASIO or RTAS, instead tell your VSTi's to use the standard drivers that are part of the OS (meaning that you have to put up with higher latency).
First of all, close ProTools down. If ProTools is running then it is not usually
possible for other applications to use the DigiDesign hardware at the same time.
Recent Digidesign sound hardware on Mac should work ok - it's just a matter of going to "System Preferences - Sound - Output" and selecting the Digidesign device. If it's not there or doesn't work then it may help to go to the Support section of DigiDesign's website and download and install the "CoreAudio Driver". However some older DigiDesign hardware is not fully compatible with OS-X and won't work. In this case they themselves recommend that you should have other sound hardware for use with other applications.
DigiDesign's "CoreAudio Driver" is the crucial piece of software involved, you probably have documentation for this already supplied with your ProTools setup, and you can find more if you search the Support section of the DigiDesign website for technical documents on CoreAudio, for instance this: http://akmedia.digidesign.com/support/docs/CoreAudio_Usage_Guide_25695.pdf
Regarding the Digidesign Audiomedia III : this card was discontinued some time ago and Digidesign have stopped supporting it. It is not fully compatible with OS-X and this is why Transcribe! cannot use it.
First of all, close ProTools down. If ProTools is running then it is not usually
possible for other applications to use the DigiDesign hardware at the same time.
If you are using recent versions of DigiDesign hardware and software then you may be able to go to Transcribe!'s Preferences - Playback, and select the Digidesign device. However if that doesn't work then read on.
Transcribe! uses Windows' "WaveOut" group of functions for sound output, and DigiDesign's "WaveDriver" is the crucial piece of software involved. So if Transcribe! does not find the DigiDesign hardware, or fails to open it, then this normally means that you need to install or update or reconfigure the DigiDesign WaveDriver. You probably have documentation for this already supplied with your ProTools setup, and you can find more if you search the Support section of the DigiDesign website for technical documents on WaveDriver, for instance this: http://akmedia.digidesign.com/support/docs/WaveDriver_Usage_Guide_25693.pdf
Note particularly what they say about disabling Windows' System Sounds, and about adding third-party apps (such as Transcribe!) to the "WaveDriver Opt-In List". If this all seems rather complicated, don't complain to me, complain to DigiDesign.
Regarding the Digidesign USB MBOX : The mbox does not by default work for audio playback with
Transcribe! and many other application programs (though it does work with Windows Media Player).
In this document: http://akwww.digidesign.com/support/docs/WaveDriver_Usage_Guide_6.7.pdf I find: "WaveDriver is not multi-client. Only one application at a time can use the WaveDriver. Be sure to disable the Windows system sounds. It is also recommended that you use a separate sound card for games or other general work. For third-party soft-synthesizer and samplers, use the Digidesign ASIO Driver (refer to the ASIO Driver Usage Guide)."
So, maybe if you disable system sounds, close any other app which might be trying to use the mbox, then close & relaunch Transcribe!...?
Single-app-only for the mbox is clearly a drawback, which is presumably why they recommend having another soundcard as well.
With Transcribe! 8.70 there was a problem using the Logitech AK5370 USB microphone. This should now be fixed with Transcribe! 8.71, so do the update (free to existing users). Alternatively you can use QuickTime Player for your recording needs. You will find it in your main Applications folder, and on the File menu you will see a command for "New Audio Recording".
This is probably related to GStreamer versions. GStreamer had a major not-backwards-compatible upgrade from the 0.1 version to the 1.x version in 2013, see the 2013-03-15 entry here. It's ok to have both GStreamer versions installed side by side, but sometimes one or other of them may be absent or broken. So run "gst-launch --version" in a terminal to find out which your system is using by default, and then use the version of Transcribe! which uses the same GStreamer version - that is, version 8.40 of Transcribe! for Linux (still available on our download page) uses GStreamer 0.1, while version 8.6 and later uses GStreamer 1.x. An alternative approach is to upgrade, reinstall, or otherwise repair the version of GStreamer which Transcribe! is using.
If your distro has any packages containing "extras" for GStreamer then install those too as that will probably include plugins for things like mp3 which might not otherwise be included.
Sound output problems seem to be particularly common with low latency kernels and the Jack audio drivers. It is related to the sound drivers installed on your Linux distro, and the GStreamer plugins which Transcribe! uses to talk to those drivers. Fixing up your GStreamer installation as described will probably fix the problem but if sound output is still not working then bring up Transcribe!'s Preferences - Playback and you will see where you can specify which GStreamer plugin to use for output. Press the Help button on that page, and follow the instructions there to identify a GStreamer plugin which works when used from the Terminal. Then specify that plugin for Transcribe! and all should be well.
I get occasional reports of this, it seems that Sibelus sometimes insists on exclusive access to the sound card. Here is the solution.
In Sibelius, hit the "Play" tab in the top ribbon. Under "Setup" click the very small diagonal arrow. At the bottom of the next window click "Audio Engine Options". The box "Release device when Sibelius is in the background" must be checked.
Alternatively, see "I'm having a problem outputting sound." above.
I get occasional reports of this, it seems that Finale sometimes insists on exclusive access to the sound card. I don't think it affects all versions of Finale, and also it can depend what version of Windows you are running. I have a report from one user who said that changing Finale's audio setup to use DirectSound, and then making sure to launch Finale before Transcribe!, solved the problem and both programs can then play sound at the same time.
Alternatively, see "I'm having a problem outputting sound." above.
The point here is that the Fx window also uses keystrokes for its own purposes - for instance there
are boxes in the Fx window that you can type numbers into. It would be perfectly possible from a technical point of view for the Fx
window to use the keystrokes it's interested in and pass the rest across to the transcription window in case they
might be shortcuts, but the potential for confusion would be enormous.
The solution is to use the <esc> shortcut which does work in the Fx window, and which takes you straight back to the transcription window.
You can also use the spacebar to get back to the transcription window.
Another solution is to use Transcribe!'s "global shortcuts" - see the Help for Keyboard Commands (File menu).
Transcribe! cannot work miracles, but there are techniques which may help. The first is Karaoke mode, which means
combining the left and right stereo channels but with one of them phase-reversed. This has the effect of cancelling out
anything which is panned in the centre of the mix, which often includes the main vocal. However if the recording is mono,
or if the thing you want to remove is panned to the same place in the mix as things you want to hear, then it won't help.
For more info go to the Mono/Karaoke page of the Audio Effects and Controls (Fx) window, and press Help.
The EQ page of the Fx window may also be useful. However if the thing you want to remove is in the same part of the frequency spectrum as things you want to hear, then once again it won't help.
Don't forget that if the thing you want to hear is very low or high pitched then using the Tuning page of the Fx window to raise or lower its pitch by an octave or two can make it easier to hear. Bass parts are often much easier to hear when raised by an octave or two.
You can have any speed you want from 5% (one twentieth speed) to 200% (double speed) by using the
slider on the Speed page of the Audio Effects (Fx) window, or by typing into the box on that page.
If you type into the box then you can use up to three decimal places so you can have a speed such as 96.528% or whatever.
But perhaps you want to set the speed without bringing up the Fx window.
You can choose what speed buttons appear on the toolbar, in Preferences - Toolbar. If you want more preset speeds than that, then you should use keyboard commands (see Help - File menu - Keyboard commands). There are commands for increasing and decreasing the speed, and you can create new keyboard commands for any speed in 5% increments from 5% to 100%, and then in 10% increments up to 200%.
Also remember that you can adjust the speed using the mousewheel on the speed button in the toolbar (see Help - Toolbar), or using a continuous MIDI controller (see Help - File menu - MIDI commands).
Also if you want to get seriously technical about it then see Help - Various Topics - Automation.
Transcribe! does not have any magic way of determining the tempo so you must first place markers : set the music
playing and tap the M key at the start of each measure. You don't need to mark the whole piece, maybe about 8 measures
is plenty. If you mark only a couple of measures then the result may be inaccurate if the markers are not very
exactly placed. If you want to measure the tempo in bars (measures) per minute then measure markers are all you need.
If you want to work in beats per minute then you should mark the beats too, so in 4/4 you would tap "MBBB" to mark
a single measure. Or you could mark just the measures, then use auto-subdivision to mark the beats (see the Help
for the Markers menu). Then select the marked part of the piece using the mouse.
If you just want to determine the tempo then use the Compute Tempo command on the Markers menu.
If you want to change it then bring up the Speed page of the Fx window. This page will show you the speed in bpm and you can change it to what you want.
If you want to copy the new version to CD or iPod or whatever then you should use the Export Sound File command to save the modified sound file. There are some more FAQs about that elsewhere on this page if you need them.
Yes you can, see the "Speed Up" command on the Play menu. Some people who are using Transcribe! as a play-along practice tool like to do this. You can also create more complex practice sequences of loops, speeds etc. by using automation. See Help - Various Topics - Automation, which describes the use of scripts to control Transcribe!. Scripts can do a lot of things, but in the Help there is a specific example for speeding up while looping. You can download this script among others, on this page.
Yes you can, but this does require the use of scripts. Some people who are using Transcribe! as a play-along practice tool like to do this. See Help - Various Topics - Automation, which describes the use of scripts to control Transcribe!. Download the example scripts on this page and try the one called changekeys.xscscpt. You will need to edit it to get the sequence of keys that you want.
You need to go to the View menu and turn on "Show Spectrum/NoteGuesses/ChordGuesses" according to your taste.
This is because the defaults have changed in 8.2 : we used to show these things by default but now that there is also the Piano Roll
available, I decided it was better to default both "off", and let you decide which you prefer.
But do not despair - you can set the default to whatever you like. Set your current transcription the way you like it, then Preferences - New Windows - "Set defaults from current window" and press "Ok".
Yes you can but we don't provide a fully automatic way of doing this because normally you will need to edit the chord guesses and remove the bad ones. So instead, the way to do it is to copy the chord guesses into Text Blocks, edit them there as necessary, then export the text blocks to a file (this is on the Text menu) so you can print them in any way you want. The best way of copying chord guesses into text blocks is to use the Piano Roll - see the Help for the Piano Roll menu. You can shift-click the piano roll to see chord guesses, and you can right-click (control-click on Mac) to get a menu for inserting a selected chord guess into a text block. Remember that you may need to adjust the track tuning as you will not get any useful guesses if the track is off pitch.
You can adjust Transcribe!'s keyboard timbre on the Tuning page of the Fx dialog and you can adjust the volume by moving the mouse up and down while playing a note on Transcribe!'s piano keyboard. The sound used is pretty crude, synthesized internally. It's not intended to sound beautiful, it's only intended as a pitch reference.
I don't plan to turn Transcribe! into a "performance instrument" in this way (for one thing, the built-in sound is not very pretty).
However it shouldn't be necessary - the right way to do it is to use other software to play the sounds from MIDI.
What software are you using now to play sound from MIDI? You should be able to leave it running while you use Transcribe!, and it should continue to work.
It may be a good idea to switch off Transcribe!'s own MIDI responses to prevent confusion. Also if your MIDI player app stops playing when you bring Transcribe! to the foreground then it may be possible to fix this. It's a matter of telling the player app to continue responding to MIDI even when in the background. Otherwise, many apps suppose that if they are in the background, you don't want them to respond to MIDI. Check the Help for your MIDI player app to find out how to do this.
Alternatively you might choose to keep your MIDI player app in the foreground, while using "Global shortcuts" to control Transcribe! in the background. See Transcribe!'s Help for Keyboard Commands (File meu) about global shortcuts.
The short answer is no. The piano keyboard aligns with the spectrum above it, indicating which notes
appear at which point of the spectrum. A piano keyboard is the most suitable way I know of for graphically
indicating a full range of notes from left to right.
However there is help at hand for string instrument players who are wondering where to find a certain note on their instrument. If you right-click (control-click on Mac) a keyboard note then you get a pop-up box showing string and fret information for that note. You can select your particular string instrument and tuning in Preferences - Fret Display.
You should take a screenshot and use that. On Windows the PrintScreen key copies a screen image to the clipboard from where you can paste it into a document. On Mac OS-X use "Grab" (in Applications/Utilities), which creates a tif image file. Or use shift-command-3 which creates an screen image file on your desktop.
If you read music on the guitar then you will know that the open top string is written as E in the top space of the treble clef, but Transcribe!'s spectrum of a recording of a guitar playing the open top string shows it as E above middle C - the bottom line of the treble clef. This is quite correct, because the guitar is a transposing instrument which sounds an octave lower than written : the open top string in fact sounds as the E above middle C although it is written in a guitar part an octave higher. The same issue applies to double bass.
Yes certainly. See Help - Various Topics - Video, and also see this page for more information about video formats and how to use them with Transcribe!.
If you are running Transcribe! 8.6 or later: Yes on Windows, Mac, and Linux. On Windows and Mac you will need to install GStreamer.
Click here for information about GStreamer.
If you are running Transcribe! 8.5 or earlier: Yes on Windows and Mac, but not Linux. On Windows you will need to install QuickTime (it's a free download from Apple), click here for more info.
It's a fun little feature. Of course it's useful for creating videos with speed and pitch alterations, but the time-offset slider in the Video Viewer means that you can also use it as a very quick and simple way of correcting synchronisation errors.
With some videos, when you start playing (or go back to the start of a loop) it can take some time - up to a second - for the video to get synchronised with the audio. One workaround of course, is to start playing a little bit before the section you are interested in. This relates to the way in which the video is encoded and you may be able to improve matters by using a different encoding. See this page for more information about video formats and how to use them with Transcribe!.
First make sure you have the latest version of Transcribe!
If you are running Transcribe! 8.5 or earlier on Windows or Mac then also make sure you have the latest version of QuickTime. On Windows, that would be version 7.7.9, released 7th Jan 2016, click here for more info. Also see "Special note about YouTube videos with Transcribe! 8.4 on Windows 7" on this page.
If you are running Windows 10 or Mac OS 10.10 or later, then you can use Transcribe! 8.6 or later which uses GStreamer for playing video, click here for more info.
If this doesn't fix it then it can sometimes happen that although other software can play a video smoothly, Transcribe! cannot. This is because Transcribe! has to use a different way of playing the video, as it needs to control the playback speed very precisely in order to synchronise the video with the audio at any speed you choose. Some video formats work better than others for this purpose.
These problems relate to the way in which the video is encoded and you will probably be able to improve matters by using a different encoding.
See this page for more information about video formats and how to use them with Transcribe!.
First look in Transcribe!'s "System Info" (on the Help menu), where you will see a message about GStreamer, either to report what version was found, or possibly to say that it wasn't found. On Windows and Mac, the version 1.14.2 of GStreamer which we distribute works pretty reliably, whereas some other versions don't seem to work so well with Transcribe!.
So what you should do is try the version of GStreamer which we distribute here, and make sure to first delete the version you currently have installed, as described on that page. Then restart Transcribe! and check that System Info says you have GStreamer 1.14.2.
You probably loaded the sound file again, when you should have loaded the XSC (transcription) file which was saved. Read the Help for the File Menu (in Transcribe!'s Help) for more information.
Set your current transcription the way you like it, then Preferences - New Windows - "Set defaults from current window" and press "Ok".
This applies to things like: the position and size of the transcription window, whether to show the text zone, whether to show the navigation bar, whether to show the spectrum, whether to show the time line, the piano position (top and bottom notes), etc.
You can also choose to set defaults for audio effects if you want, by selecting the appropriate option before pressing "Ok".
Transcribe! does not have a specific set list feature but you can easily get the same effect. Create a folder for each set list and put the transcription files for that set into that folder. Then you can easily load all those transcriptions at once by drag-n-drop onto Transcribe!'s window. Note that if a tune appears in more than one set then it's fine to copy the transcription file - transcription files are small. For more discussion of this technique, please see Help - Various Topics - Organising Many Transcriptions.
You can create keyboard shortcuts for the commands QuitNoSaveNoVeto which will close all open transcriptions, or DocWindowCloseNoSaveNoVeto which will close the current transcription. Use "Keyboard Commands" on the File menu, and hit the Help button on that page for details.
Some keyboard shortcuts are hardwired already - the ones which are listed against the corresponding menu items when you look at the menu. 't' is New Text Block, 'm' is New Measure Marker, '.' is Stop Playback etc. You can't change these. This only applies to those shortcuts which actually appear alongside the menu item.
The most likely cause is that when you ran the "MIDI commands" or "Foot Pedals" dialog,
you configured the commands but left the "Respond to... " selection (at the top of the dialog) as "Never".
Also be aware that if you unplug the MIDI interface or the pedal then Transcribe!, not being able to find it, will set "Respond to..." to "Never" in order to avoid endless error messages as long as the thing is missing. So when you plug it back in again, you will need to run the dialog again to switch responses back on again.
The Magic Mouse can sometimes be a bit over-sensitive to scrolling. To keep it under control, you can try
adjusting it in
"Universal Access" in System Preferences, or possibly this: MagicPrefs.
Often however people have problems with the magic mouse's over-eager attempt to emulate a mouse wheel. Transcribe! 8.4 or later has an adjustment for mouse wheel sensitivity in Preferences - General, and in fact you can turn it off altogether. Or get a proper mouse with a physical wheel.
Please update to the current Transcribe! 8.72 (free to existing users).
Transcribe! 8.6 and later uses GStreamer (if installed) for video and other purposes (and does not use QuickTime at all).
It's optional but you will need it if you want to handle video in Transcribe!
Click here for information about GStreamer.
Transcribe! 8.4 and earlier for Windows uses QuickTime (if installed) for video and other purposes (and does not use GStreamer).
This is a free download from Apple. It's very useful with Transcribe! because it allows Transcribe! to display videos, to read various sound file formats not otherwise readable, and to export compressed M4A sound files (On the Mac, QuickTime is already included). The link is http://support.apple.com/downloads/#quicktime However for some unknown reason this page of Apple's sometimes fails to list the latest version of QuickTime for Windows which is 7.7.9, released 7th Jan 2016, so you can also download it by clicking here.
NOTE: when installing the latest version of QT you will need to select "Custom install", click on "Optional QuickTime Features" and select "Entire feature will be installed...". This is needed for Transcribe! to be able to communicate with QT.
You will need to reboot the computer after installing QuickTime, before Transcribe! will be able to find it. If you look in System Info on Transcribe!'s Help menu, then you will see a message telling you whether QuickTime was found, and what version.
Apple have announced (April 2016) that they are no longer updating QuickTime for Windows. The last-ever version of QuickTime for Windows is version 7.7.9, released 7th Jan 2016. This means that there are a couple of security vulnerabilities in QuickTime which will never be fixed (see
Both of these weaknesses would only be an issue if you download malicious content and open it in QuickTime. Reading the advisories, my impression is also that they would only affect mov files though I'm not an authority. Just to put this in perspective, this means that you can get into trouble if you download mov files from malicious hackers. But then, you can get into trouble if you download any kind of file from malicious hackers, because QuickTime is far from being the only software with security vulnerabilities.
Transcribe! up to version 8.5 uses QuickTime (if it is installed) for reading some sound file formats (such as m4a) and for displaying video. If you have installed QuickTime on Windows and now choose to uninstall it then Transcribe! will no longer be able to read some sound files (so you would have to convert them to some other format to use them with Transcribe!) and will no longer display video.
The best solution is to update to Transcribe! 8.6 or later, which does not use QuickTime at all, either on Windows or Mac.
Because Apple are discontinuing the QuickTime API. That doesn't mean that QuickTime files (mov files) will stop being supported, and Apple might well continue to call their bare-bones media player "QuickTime Player", it just means that under the hood Apple are using different technologies to handle these files. GStreamer can of course read QuickTime (mov) files.
I've had a tiny number of reports of this. The crash happens in GStreamer so if you don't install (or if you uninstall) GStreamer, then all will be well. I'm guessing that GStreamer is making use of some instruction not supported on this old processor. To uninstall GStreamer, delete /Library/Frameworks/GStreamer.framework on your System Disk. Note this is not the same as the Library subfolder you will find in your Home folder - you won't find GStreamer there.
All I can suggest is that if you have no need for video then carry on without GStreamer. And if you do need video then I could send you the previous version Transcribe! 8.50 which uses QuickTime for displaying video. Sorry for the problem.
This happens if you have installed the "N" or "KN" versions of Windows, which for legal reasons have various files missing which are needed for handling audio media. You can solve this by installing the "Media Feature Pack"
provided by Microsoft here.
Click here for more information.
Note 1: Micrososft's media player "Groove Music" is included in this feature pack, so after installation of the media pack, try running Groove Music to make sure it is installed ok.
Note 2: An alternative solution would be to do a fresh install of the standard version (not the "N" version) of Windows.
Microsoft have released a security patch that makes it impossible to view Help (.chm) files that are stored on a network drive (as opposed to .chm files stored on your own computer). The Help contents page appears, but instead of the topic text you will see a message "The page cannot be displayed".
Click here for Microsoft's own description of this problem: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/896358
Click here for Microsoft's description of how to solve it, which ain't easy: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/892675
Click here for a free utility for fixing it (I haven't tried this myself): http://www.ec-software.com/products_hhreg.html
The alternative of course is to install Transcribe! on the local hard drive, not on the network. Don't blame me, this is Microsoft's Help system.
It seems that some versions of these Stardock utilities are incompatible with Transcribe! - after some time, Transcribe! becomes unresponsive. If this happens to you then the answer is to turn off WindowFX completely and exclude Transcribe! from WindowBlinds. You might also be able to solve the problem by updating these Stardock products. I don't think I can do anything about this because I don't think this is a Transcribe! bug.
On Mac & Linux, there's an Options button at the top of the Transcribe! Help Viewer, where you can select font and size.
On Windows we use the Windows "chm" Help Viewer which is a Microsoft thing - part of Windows - and rather surprisingly, it isn't easy to change the font size.
Click here for Microsoft's own answer to this question: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/192391. This actually made no difference whatever for me, but might work for you.
Apart from that, the only solution appears to be to use a different Help viewer application, e.g. Help Explorer Viewer. The actual help file which you need to load into that viewer is (depending on where you installed Transcribe!) "C:\Program Files\Transcribe!\xschelp.chm"
You can transfer transcriptions from one computer to another, even when the computers are
running different OS's (Windows / Mac / Linux), as long as the destination computer supports
reading the sound file format involved.
First read Transcribe!'s Help for the File menu, to make sure you understand about transcription files (xsc) and sound files (wav, mp3 etc). Also check the list of supported sound formats in Transcribe!'s Help - Various Topics - Sound Files. If Transcribe! on the destination computer does not support the format of the sound file then you will need to convert it first. Transcribe!'s "Export Sound File" command on the original computer may be useful here, but note you will subsequently need to use the "Import Sound File" command to load the newly exported sound file into your transcription.
Then copy both the sound file and the transcription file to the same folder on the destination computer. Or put them in different folders, but then you will probably need to use the "Import Sound File" command to find the sound file on the destination computer.
When you open the transcription file on the destination computer then it can happen that although the xsc file does open (its name is displayed in the titlebar of the transcription window), it reports that it cannot find the sound file. In this case you should make sure that the sound file is present on the destination computer, then use the "Import Sound File" command to load it into the transcription.
Note that you can always find the sound file used by a transcription, by bringing up the Sound File Info window (on the Window menu).
Please update to the current Transcribe! version which you will find on the
download page. The update is free to existing users.
BTW (1): If, like me, you dislike "Unity" mode then : before you have logged in (when you are about to type your password), there are some options about keyboard layout etc. at the bottom of the screen. One of them allows you to select "Ubuntu Classic" which will get you a more conventional interface.
BTW (2): If you want to disable the behaviour where app menus appear at the top of the screen then use Synaptic Package Manager (System menu) to uninstall the default installed package "appmenu-gtk". See here for more discussion: http://www.webupd8.org/2011/03/disable-appmenu-global-menu-in-ubuntu.html
BTW (3): These days I prefer Xubuntu which by default has a more conventional interface.
Apparently this is a problem with the iTunes 11.1.4 update. The solution is available here.
There is no automatic way of doing this for the Preferences. However you can transfer Keyboard Commands, MIDI Commands, and Foot Pedal commands, by using the Export and Import commands in the relevant dialogs.
If you are using Transcribe! with the Video Viewer or with another app such as a music notation program then you may want to reduce the amount of space used by the main Transcribe! window. Here are some suggestions.
The green button in the title bar will switch between full screen and normal window size. However it can happen that the normal window size somehow gets bigger than full screen size, causing this problem (this doesn't just apply to Transcribe!). You can't make the window smaller by dragging the lower edge up, because the lower edge is hidden by the dock. So drag the top edge down, then drag the whole window up.
In version 8.71 we have added a "Reposition this Window" command on the Window menu, to solve this problem.
The "Recent Files" list shows recent transcription (xsc) files. So if you don't save your transcription
(the "Save" command on the File menu) then there is no transcription file, so it won't appear on the
"Recent Files" list. Read the Help for the File Menu (in Transcribe!'s Help) for more information.
The reason we don't list sound files is that if you have saved a transcription file then it is usually a mistake to load the sound file again, and it confuses people. Instead you should load the transcription file because that is where markers, loops, etc. are stored.
The "Reload Last Transcription" preference loads the most recent transcription on the Recent Files submenu, so you must have saved your transcription for this to work.
Transcription (xsc) files store information about your transcription such as
tuning changes you have made, markers you have placed, EQ settings, etc, and of
course the name of the sound file. Transcription files are very small, they do
not contain a copy of the audio data.
If Transcribe! then offered to open the sound file again then you would be starting a new transcription and the markers etc. would all be gone - this would be very confusing for a beginner.
But is is very easy to open sound files directly if you want to. Bring your file browser (Windows Explorer or Finder) to the front (but make sure you can see some of Transcribe!'s window behind it). Locate and select the sound file (or files) in the browser and drag-n-drop onto the Transcribe! window. You can also drag-n-drop from iTunes or (on Mac) Spotlight.
I'm glad you asked - yes there are, on this page.
Remote Buddy enables you to control apps on your Mac using various remote devices including for instance your smartphone. When you are setting up Remote Buddy on the Mac you need to know the application identifier of the target application, which is com.seventhstring.transcribe