Air Man in Noteflight

In my last post, I talked about my plan to transcribe and arrange (more) music from the Mega Man video game series. Well, I finally got started last night! I normally use Sibelius for my music notation, but I’m working out of Seattle this week and thought I’d try a new tool to do a transcription and then blog about it.

The tool is called Noteflight, and it allows you to do music notation and playback online. There is a free version, so I thought I’d start by giving the free version a shot and see how it does.

Well, how do you think it looks (link to external version):

This represents what would be the first stage of an arrangement—as close as I can get to an exact transcription of the original. From here, I would tweak it to make it more effective and playable on the piano, or on whatever group of instruments I’d like to use (i.e. whoever is willing to play) for my arrangement.

You may be wondering about one part that is not notated: the drums. Were a drummer involved, I would actually do some basic notation for the drums, focusing on where I want the hits to be, and let the drummer come up with the full beat to use. The original Mega Man beats are relatively simplistic, so it takes a good drummer to spice it up a bit for a live performance.

Here’s the original for reference:

As far as working with Noteflight, it’s a pretty usable tool overall. I particularly like the keyboard shortcuts and the notion of a short cut for “this note should be shorter/longer” rather than 7-10 different shortcuts for the different note durations. Basically, on Sibelius there are three keys to match up with half note, quarter note, and eighth note (3 hotkeys involved). On Noteflight, if you start with a half note, keep that note selected and press the “shorter” button to get a quarter note, and press it again to get the eighth note (1 hotkey involved). This keyboard idiom for note entry was quite workable for me—particularly on my laptop (trackpad = super lame for notation).

I did find one major issue, at least in the case of “Air Man”: I couldn’t find any way to do a gliss. “Air Man” needs the gliss! 🙁

So what do you guys think, is this a cool way for me to share transcriptions and my progress on them?

Oh and isn’t “Air Man” ridiculously amazing?! You can thank my friend Ian for suggesting it as a starting point. Stay tuned for a fully-fledged piano arrangement, including a YouTube video!

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