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Transcription exercise: Fin from Tierra - Alberto Iglesias (CSS)

tack

Damned Dirty Ape
Last year I transcribed this captivating cue by Alberto Iglesias from the 1996 film "Tierra" and recently found some time to mock it up. The usual agitations in wielding virtual instruments notwithstanding (CSS in this case), it was a useful exercise to spot a couple problems with my original transcription.

I'm gracious for any feedback, including and especially about the score itself. There seems to be an art to strings notation that eludes me, so I'm interested to know if anything jumps out to the string players in the audience as something obviously not idiomatic.

Thanks!

 
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OP
tack

tack

Damned Dirty Ape
Regarding writing for strings, be sure in your score to use slurs to indicate bowing and/or phrases. Your entire track is legato, and with as few bow changes as possible, which sounds perfect to me. But the score did not reflect what I was hearing because no slurs.
Thanks Paul! Yes, this is one of the things I struggled with, understanding placement of slurs. I heard once (I think from Verta's Putting It All Together class) that strings players basically ignore all the bow markings anyway, and someone who's not intimately familiar with strings shouldn't bother because they're certain to get it wrong. So with that in mind, there's some line between over-notating and under-notating which eludes me. The entire cue being performed with slurs throughout it seemed perhaps redundant to notate them everywhere.

But there are probably some strategic moments where slurs would better indicate the intention that I've neglected. If you could point out a few such cases I'd be grateful.
 

Paul T McGraw

Senior Member
Thanks Paul! Yes, this is one of the things I struggled with, understanding placement of slurs. I heard once (I think from Verta's Putting It All Together class) that strings players basically ignore all the bow markings anyway, and someone who's not intimately familiar with strings shouldn't bother because they're certain to get it wrong. So with that in mind, there's some line between over-notating and under-notating which eludes me. The entire cue being performed with slurs throughout it seemed perhaps redundant to notate them everywhere.

But there are probably some strategic moments where slurs would better indicate the intention that I've neglected. If you could point out a few such cases I'd be grateful.
I agree that putting in up bow or down bow markings is a waste of time. It is absolutely true that string players will often, perhaps usually, change bowings to fit their own ideas. There are lots of reasons for this, and string players themselves will argue and argue about the "best" bowing for a particular phrase. The good thing about putting in slurs is that it will convey your intentions and if string players then put in extra bow changes, they will do so trying to carry out your directions in spirit if not by the letter. There are also two alternatives to using slurs for bowing.

1) Use slur marks (ligatures) to indicate phrasing, exactly as you would for piano, and leave specific bowing up to the player. This was actually a very common usage for many composers. Some, like Brahms, mixed use of ligatures and slur marks.

2) Simply add the performance directive, "legato."

It is your composition so do things the way you want. I tend to err on the side of giving musicians more information about my intentions, but I do draw the line at putting in up and down bow marks. I personally think those should be reserved for a rare special effect.

It is a very attractive track, now I wish I never brought up the entire thing.
 
OP
tack

tack

Damned Dirty Ape
Stunning work Tack! I never though to write out the chords like that, but now I'll have to try it.
Thanks!

A sizable part of the exercise for me is to understand the harmonic progression -- in fact most of the transcriptions I do are just that, a bunch of bars on staff paper with just the chords written down, some scribbled comments with basic analysis, and every now and then I'll write out the notes if there's an interesting voicing. For this one I wanted to try the full notation.

Were you able to look at the original sheets?
I'm afraid not. I wasn't able to find them. So I don't know for sure how close I got. The best metric I have is how close the mockup sounds to the original. That process did help me spot a couple places where it didn't quite sound right (particularly when one of the sections went divisi).

Would be awesome to see the original score though. If anyone has it, please PM me :)
 
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