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Transcribing Tools

This list was created and is maintained by Alisdair MacRae Birch. If there are dead links or changes needed or you wish to submit a new site (with reciprocal link) please email me at:


Tascam CD-GT1 MKII Portable CD Guitar Trainer

Click to Order Tascam CD GT1 MKII Portable CD Guitar Trainer
 Tascam's CD-GT1 is a great training and jamming tool for guitarists, vocalists, and other musicians. Take any favorite CD, plug your guitar directly into the CD-GT1's 1/4" input, put on some headphones, set the volume, and start The Slow Speed Audition feature lets you learn licks note-for-note by slowing down the CD up to 50% without changing the pitch. You can also increase the tempo in steps until you can match the original performance. Advanced players can use the CD-GT1's pitch and speed controls to audition various keys and tempi for CDs they've burned of their own music. The CD-GT1 has 43 great-sounding, customizable effects including distortion, delay, chorus, and more. There's also a nice selection of vocal reverbs and processed sounds so vocalists can sing along. You can set seamless in-out loop points with the CD-GT1 so that it plays the same passage over and over again so you can nail phrases. Use the footswitch input to start playing the CD from any designated point or to scroll through effects. The CD-GT1 even provides a chromatic tuner and can run on batteries to take your show on the road. Listen on headphones, or use its line output to plug in speakers.

Tascam CD-BT1 MKII Portable CD Bass Trainer

Click To Order Tascam CD BT1 MKII Portable CD Bass Trainer

The CD-BT1 is essentially the same as the GT1 with similar  training features such as Slow Speed Audition, looping, pitch shift, and a chromatic tuner.

In addition, the effects engine is designed specifically for bass with effects such as 5-band EQ, compression, and synth bass. Bass cut and enhancement modes control the CD signal so you can play along. And the input sensitivity can be switched from active to passive for compatibility with a wide range of instruments.

Superscope PSD300 Dual-Well Portable CD Recorder

Click To Order Superscope PSD300 Dual-Well Portable CD Recorder The PSD300 is a portable, professional-quality CD player and recorder. I wrote a review of the product and it's use in teaching which is available on the  Superscope site.



Superscope PSD230 Portable CD Player with Tempo and Key Control

Click To Order Superscope PSD230 Portable CD Player with Tempo and Key Control The PSD230 is a portable, professional-quality CD player that lets you change the key and tempo of any CD.  Simple button controls let you quickly decrease tempo by 33% (in 50 1 % increments from the previous setting).  The PSD230 also lets you change the musical key in 1/16th note intervals (as much as one octave), without changing tempo. A segment of a track can be selected and continually replayed until mastered. Step through an entire track or CD by making the endpoint of one loop the beginning point of the next one.  In addition, a voice reduction system within the unit effectively reduces the lead vocals on many CDs. A must have tool for any aspiring musician! In summary you can:

  • Change tempo without affecting key.

  • Change key one octave without changing tempo.

  • Voice reduction circuit takes out lead vocals on many CDs
    Step-through A-B loops

Reed Kotler's TR1000 and TR400
Reed's Digital Music Study Recorder's are used by many in the industry. Key features are:

  • Digitally records 150 seconds of music

  • Playback speed full, 3/4,  2/3, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/7, 1/8 without pitch change

  • Playback controls play, rewind,  pause, fast forward

  • Playback region (loop) selection controls  set left edge, set right edge , move left edge forward, move left edge backward, move right edge forward, move right edge backward

  • Play once and stop or loop continuously

  • Record Left/Right/Left+Right channel to help best isolate the instrument you are transcribing.

  • Bass Isolator function will in general remove  everything but the bass for easier bass line transcription.

  • Transpose up one octave (for help in bass transcription).

  • Four playback presets to maximize playback fidelity


World Wide Woodshed Slow Gold
This piece of software is so easy to use I highly recommend it, I love the way it keeps an instant history. It has all the features you need, you can slow the music down to almost nothing so there is no chance you'll miss anything!

Seventhstring Transcribe
This software has been constantly improved over the years and now is one of the best. Seventhstring makers of Transcribe provide a comprehensive list of competing Transcribing Software

Additional Tools

Dubbeldam Software
DsChordFinder v3.0 - Finds guitar chords, solos, leads and riffs in recorded music. DsChordFinder uses frequency analysis on the recorded music.

Software from Scotland, UK, which allows you to plug your guitar into the sound card and produce midi files.

Midigtr -- Midi Guitar Chord Finder
Glenn Robitaille's master's thesis software which takes a midi file and displays the guitar chords.

CD Looper, DeComposer and KaraokeMaker
Replay Technologies have a suite of programs. DeComposer is an advanced filtering program that allows you to filter out a single instrument or sections of instruments from any digital audio file. KaraokeMaker reduces or removes the vocals from any song that you have on your computer. It works with Wav files, mp3 files and it will even “rip” songs from any audio cd.

Digital Ear
Digital Ear analyzes a live or recorded solo performance (e.g. a singing voice, a saxophone solo, or any other musical instrument) and converts it into a standard MIDI file.

Intelliscore wav to mid converter
IntelliScore wave to midi software listens to polyphonic wav files and helps figure out the notes, chord names, and key for you.

Akoff Music Composer
Software is designed for recognition of polyphonic music from audio source and its conversion to MIDI score.

Research In Software Transcribing

Transcription of Polyphonic Solo Piano Music
Matija Marolt's Phd Thesis at the University of Ljubljana

Automatic Transcription of Music
Anssi Klapuri's research into a signal processing method for the estimation of the pitch of multiple concurrent musical sounds. The method operates at the level of a single time frame and is based on the utilization of two acoustic cues: the harmonic concordance and the spectral smoothness of simultaneous spectral components