I'm a total newbie who has these tons of melodies floating in his head. I know how to play a synth and when I transcribe stuff from my head on to my instrument I generally use the trial and error method and figure out patterns and stuff.

What if I had no instrument beside me and struck gold with a melody and wanted to write it down like in the words notation (C C# .... A ) stuff like that, without experimenting on my instrument (no trial and error, nothing of that sort).

Like knowing what key would go exactly with the note I thought without first trying it out?

P.S. I'm a complete Newbie, Self-Taught, and I don't even know how to play with two hands simultaneously.

EDIT : I just downloaded this is it any good?


1 Answer 1


Your EDIT is the right track. What you described all falls under the category of Ear Training. Or better you would say: Brain Training. Because the whole purpose is to write down what you already have heard (or imagined) and maybe even can sing or play.

As always: You have to train and you have to practice. And start simple. Better too simple than too hard. If it's too easy you can always advance quicker.

My advice is to use real notation instead of words. If you are "a complete Newbie" it doesn't matter anyway and there is no better method to write down music than our notation system.

A starters advice: Use a limited set of notes. The goal is to just get the "dots on the line", or different words on paper, if you want. No confusion between C and C#. A seven note scale (like Major, Dorian etc.) and you want to learn on what position the note is that you have in mind right now. Is it the first position (the C itself), the third?, the seventh? The software can help you here, but writing it down directly is even the better and faster route.

If hearing positions in a scale with 7 notes is too much, start with less. Just use a triad (c, e, g), always from the same absolute basis, and try to 'hear' one of these three with your inner ear, or sing it out loud. Then write it down.

If you lose motivation by just writing down what you might hear or not here is a second approach: Copy music by hand. This works wonders. Take the notation form of a piece you already know, from listening to it, and then copy it by hand, note by note. Just one voice/line. Try to hear with your inner ear what you are writing down at the moment. As mentioned earlier: Take very simple lines at first. Children's songs for example.

As you might have noticed this is the opposite way from what you seek to learn: Writing down what you see and then hearing it instead of hearing it and then write it down. You brain does not care. The two tasks are connected and you learn important aspects from both methods.

Sidenote: Instead of earmaster you could use the free and open source http://www.solfege.org/ instead. I did a review and comparison for the University of Cologne (Germany) once and Solfege is actually equally good for the beginner level, eventhoug the GUI does not look like that, and superior for the advanced pupil.

  • I just Downloaded SOLFEGE hmm... interesting software. Commented Jul 1, 2012 at 14:34
  • Btw I wanted to write stuff in the word notation 'cos that's what trackers use to make Chiptunes and this guy has these papers that are handy when you want to jot ideas down only i don't Know how t do that Like He does. and Neither do i have a midi Synth to attach with my PC so..... Commented Jul 1, 2012 at 14:40
  • will your laborejo help too.......? Commented Jul 1, 2012 at 14:43
  • I see, Tracker. Well of course you can write in word notation. The principle is the same. Define/Sing one root-note(tonic), write all notes down next to each other, point randomly at one and sing it. I suggested normal notation because it enables you to write the duration/rhythm of a note with the symbol itself. You save a lots of space (on paper) when writing down single voice melodies and you don't need the layout to define the duration. Laborejo is for pure western notation only. It helps you as much as any other notation editor in its current development state.
    – nilshi
    Commented Jul 1, 2012 at 16:27
  • So was this the answer or do you need more/a different kind of information? I ask because I don't see the answered icon here.
    – nilshi
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 22:19

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