What software do you use for transcription?

I’m on grade 3 and doing some transcribing. The power chord ones were quite straightforward to do with Spotify. I’m writing down the transcriptions in Guitar Pro.

However now I’m onto Chord Melody transcriptions its a lot trickier (How to Play a Melody on Guitar | JustinGuitar.com). So I want to slow it down, pause and loop easily, etc.

I can’t seem to slow down Spotify. Justin mentions software called Transcribe! but it doesn’t look like it supports streaming services.

Curious - what do you use for transcribing?

JK, you mention Transcribe! I use Transcribe! on the PC. Has some great feature, not only looping over individual notes but making suggestion for either note or chord sections. For really busy songs you can use the EQ facility to strip out complete frequency ranges, so can effectively isolate instruments to some degree. Slow down speed up and true to the original track.
Some good tutorial on YT but as far as I know its system based ie PC.

I also have a copy of Riffstation which identify to some degree of accuracy chords with a song, at a major minor level but can be set to power chords. It ids tempo and while the song is play shows the current and next chord and how many beat away the next chords.
You can can change Key, tempo and add a capo (to find those easy chords :wink: ) and save the audio to use as a BT.

My 2 cents.

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Fished out this Transcribe! tut which I found very useful :sunglasses:


Thanks Toby, well, that’s one for Transcribe! I guess. I’m on PC as well.

How do you get the music into it? Seeing as everything is streaming now. Use a youtube downloader or something like that?

I use a YT down loader called SnapDownloader, https://snapdownloader.com/ had it while and can’t recall if it was freeware or not but it would not have cost the earth if I bought it :rofl: Very flexible as it converts to many different video and audio formats and the latest version has a trim function. That saves a shed load of editing on video, as you can just select the section you are after and just down load it ! Will also download full playlists as well. Nice little program. :sunglasses:

For a quick dirty way to see a songs chords Riffstation is my go to. It was thought to be unavailable these days but it is still out there.

Riffstation Download
Riffstation Demo

There some useful functions to create Backing Track or isolating song parts (EQ filtering) and build riffs/tracks. Its quite a clever bit of software and all the adjusted audio can be saved. Not sure this video cover the capo function but you also get chord boxes presented as the song plays not just the chord name. As I said not 100% but pretty close in most cases. But I find it can pick up vocals pieces and see them as a chord, which gets thrown into the progression. So you need to use your ears and interpret what you are hearing, along with what you are seeing.
For rare songs that aren’t out there as lesson or even available to download, you drop a digital copy in and jam along with it.

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A good program to get you started with slowing down and using a DAW is Audacity. It’s an open source program with some incredible feature for a free program. You can read about it here.

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I don’t think you’ll find any of these more advanced tools that support streaming services. The very nature of these tools requires that they have a local copy of the song to pull in, deconstruct, and analyse.

Streaming services are, specifically, designed to prevent that, as that sort of capability allows the music to be easily copied and pirated.

You could purchase the song on streaming platforms that allow purchase and download of MP3 files.

Alternatively, you could find the songs on Youtube and use the speed controls on Youtube to slow it down to help you transcribe. Obviously this has limitations and won’t give you all of the additional features of an application like Transcribe!

There’s also an app called Amazing Slow Downer (iOS and Android) which, apparently, works with Spotify. Again, it’s not going to give you all the features of a tool like Transcribe! but it should give you some useful capability, and should be a bit less clunky than Youtube.

You could do that too.



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I did a little tutorial on Transcribe! markers a few years ago, in answer to a question on a forum.




I am a simple guy all I do is slow things down on youtube and that’s all my software for transcribing :joy:


Thanks @Majik, @adi_mrok, @stitch, @TheMadman_tobyjenner. A few good ways to do it there. Sounds like transcribe! is the best one & just using YouTube controls is another good option - had no idea you could slow down a YouTube video.

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Youtube gives you the choice of a few playback speeds (0.25, 0.5, 0.75), but you can fine tune that by selecting “custom”, which allows you to set the playback in increments of 0.05.

Also useful are the left and right arrow keys (go back and forward by 5 seconds) and the “j” and “l” keys, which go back and forward 10 seconds. “k” or spacebar start and stop the playback.

All in all, youtube’s a pretty good tool for transcription and also for playing along with to get that lick or solo just right. One thing it doesn’t have is the possibility of looping a particular section.


That’s surprisingly good. Had no idea. I’ll be checking it out when I sit down to do some transcription.

Maybe a silly question but could you record the YouTube Audio on Audacity then use the audio recording on software like Transcribe?

There are apps and web sites that convert youtube videos to mp3 files that you download to your computer and can be input to software like Transcribe!. You needn’t record with Audacity.

I think Toby mentioned something about this earlier in this thread. You can also google something like “download mp3 from youtube” and you should find some sites that do this. (Some can be kind of sketchy, though.)

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I found some Firefox plugins that do the downloading from YouTube - so all good there for now!

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I use Transcribe! For downloading I’d use youtube-dl. The actual score or tab is created with lilypond. Sometimes I might use pencil and paper for a “rough draft,” though.

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I recently came across an app called Chord ai. It analyses a song and outputs the chords to the song. It seems reasonably accurate. Once the song is in playback mode you have the option of altering playback speed. You can also loop a selected section. This could be helpful for transcribing. It integrates with YouTube nicely.



@J.W.C You must be a Linux guy using command line and open source stuff :wink:. I should try out YouTube-dl, so far the browser plug-ins I’ve tried work but all want $$$ for direct to mp3.

@Matt125 Chord AI looks amazing. Like Shazam but for chords. Will have to check it out. I am trying to train my ears though so wouldn’t want to rely on it… but for the hard stuff, what a tool.

Guilty as charged. :slight_smile: Not just command line, of course, but I do spend a lot of time in it.

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you still need to rely on your ears these programs are not perfect yet.