I recently came across the work of the bass player MonoNeon. In some of his videos he mimics the pitch inflection and rhythm of speech on his bass. Here's his take on part of a political speech:

you tube clip

In the past I've transcribed jazz solos from recordings onto manuscript paper - but this is a completely different level. How would you even start to notate and then play speech on a musical instrument?

  • 2
    Here is Adam Neely's how to. Basically, each of the syllables has a pitch and each sentence has rhythm. You have to find them. Or approach them up to a point Jun 23, 2016 at 11:55
  • What's really happening is that an instrument which produces tones is being used as a source oscillator for a synthesizer. If you do "enough things" to an analog signal you can make it sound sort of like a voice. Jun 23, 2016 at 12:53
  • 1
    Great link Shevliaskovic! For an example of a great musical piece using this concept check out David Minnick's Summarymix (indabamusic.com/opportunities/wnyc-radiolab-remix-contest/…), winner of the Radiolab remix contest Jun 23, 2016 at 13:03
  • I find that if I mimick a phrase (even lafter, or crying) by replacing replacing every syllable or sound with a single syllable like "pah" or "mah", the "musicality" of the speech becomes much more apparent and it's easier to transcribe melody and rythm. Jun 23, 2016 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


He likely used the help of some software. I attempted doing this in FL Studio using the native VST Newtone.


1. Drag the WAV/MP3 file of the speech's audio into FL Studio.

2. Open the audio in Newtone.

3. Click the "Send to Piano Roll/Copy to midi clipboard" button.

4. Choose a Bass Instrument for the notes to be played on OR if you really want, you can clean up the midi note sequence (delete the strange unneccessary notes etc) and learn to play it on a real. bass/piano/instrument.

5. DONE!

I was going to include the audio demo that I made for this, but I don't think Stack Exchange will let me upload it.

If you want to do this without using technology/software, I can't help you much, other than saying to listen VERY carefully.

PROS of using software: Fast and Easy (takes less than 5 minutes if you have the software already set up)

CONS of using software: Need a half-decent quality recording and you may have to sift through the midi sequence output fixing up some spots. (The software is a little too precise sometimes)

EDIT: Just to explain what Newtone is: Basically it is similar to the famous Autotune. It takes an audio sample, analyzes it, and lets you move each note around or convert to midi, etc.. Instead of using the software with a singer, this uses the same software with a speech.

Hope some of this was helpful.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.