Transcribing Kanno

So, last weekend was a good weekend for progress on the latest Hideo arrangements. I spent about 10 hours on three of our four new pieces, two of which are our new opener and closer, both by Yoko Kanno. After finishing the transcription, finalizing the arrangement, and adding some final touches with the help of Blair, all that’s left is proofreading and formatting, to make our scores as clean as possible.

One lesson from the last show is that if you make edits to your score, your musicians aren’t going to want a new copy—they’ve made a bunch of important notes on their music already! My goal here is to have the scores even closer to perfect upon delivery to our musicians, and I think I’m on track for that, barring any major changes in the arrangement due to logistical reasons.

The other thing I’m learning is Yoko Kanno’s piano chord voicing idioms. Like I said to some friends last night, “I’m getting better at transcribing Yoko Kanno’s music.” Truthfully, it has helped me get better at all transcribing, but getting better only with Kanno’s music would have been almost as useful in my case.

Though I am a pianist and I have transcribed and arranged a lot of music for Hideo at this point, I realized this past weekend that very little of that has been transcription of music originally performed by the piano. I started to notice that transcribing piano music is fairly hard compared to other instruments. When hearing 6 to 8 notes simultaneously, all of which having a very similar tone quality, it can be difficult to pick each one out. I am getting faster at it though, and better at being able to tell how hard a piece will be to transcribe before I even begin.

Now, for your enjoyment, here is one of the beautiful new Yoko Kanno pieces I finished transcribing last weekend. How difficult do you think it would be to transcribe this as far as piano music goes?

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