In order to enhance my very poor audiation I want to begin transcribing songs and so I've started with a supposedly easy one (and I believe it really is), counting the number of voices, the instruments and so on. I've understood very soon that it is not so difficult for me to catch the key and the notes, since I have smattering of intervals and harmony, while what I find very difficult is to understand time signature and the way drums are used.

So, the song is the following

Could you provide me with its time signature, a description of what the drums play, together with some suggestions and (methodological, cognitive) tools to tackle the problem in general.

Psychological note: I'm vaguely afraid that the problems I now see are just the tip of the iceberg and that the more I will become conscious of what I'm doing (and I'm a real beginner, so I have near to zero consciousness) the more difficulties and subtleties I will find. In a sense, I feel reassured by the (always supposed) simplicity of the song, but on the other hand I would like to know what other ''asperity'' the piece could conceal.

  • 1
    One of the most helpful things to have in your armoury is how each instrument works. (Both physically and in the mix). You maybe sing, so voices will be simple to spot. Have a dabble on other instruments and their part of each jigsaw will be more obvious. Yes, it's not a five minute fix, but you'll be appreciating more with that sort of knowledge.
    – Tim
    May 17 '18 at 7:53

Your question about the time signature of this song should be easily answered. It sounds very much in 12/8. This means there are 4 basic beats per bar and each beat is divided into 3. As for the drums, they are most noticeably playing on the 1st and 3rd beats of the bar to start with (with quaver or eighth note lead ins) and then in the next section a higher drum plays on beats 2 and 4.

  • Can you elaborate on what you perceive as being your audiation problem? I understand it to mean the ability to hear and understand musical sounds with the inner ear. Is that what you are struggling with?
    – Jomiddnz
    May 16 '18 at 22:11
  • Your definition is correct. The main problem, for what I can see, is that I feel overwhelmed with the many data I cannot put into something I understand. Your time signature has unlocked something and now I can sing along "One-two-three, etc.", perfect. The trouble concerning drums (and the rest) is that I now ear the 12 basic, light percussions per each bar but I hear something else, too, here and there. Could you tell me what instruments are played in the intro? Also just rhythmically, because I hear too many things (especially percussions) and I'm not able to name them!
    – Alex Doe
    May 17 '18 at 22:19
  • It sounds to me like it opens with keyboard and bass guitar and a bit of percussion (on the off beats). Also there sounds like some guitar picking on the off beats too. The bass guitar is mostly on the 1st and 3rd beats with some up beats. There's a synthesizer playing chords also to fill out the texture. There's quite a lot going on so it's not surprising that you can't easily identify it all. Would you consider starting with a simpler song with a less complex texture? Just a thought.
    – Jomiddnz
    May 18 '18 at 0:16
  • One typical mistake for a beginner is that of being not able to judge what is simpler and what is harder and it seems this is my case. So I probably should turn back to this song when I am a little more experienced. If I am not too off-topic, what would you suggest to be a couple of songs to start with?
    – Alex Doe
    May 18 '18 at 6:42
  • 1
    Well, just as a suggestion you might like to try Morning Has Broken youtube.com/watch?v=3Rifby1tVE8 It clearly starts with piano solo and then in come guitar strumming and bass guitar. Very clear and easy to hear. Then more layers come later on. See how you get on.
    – Jomiddnz
    May 19 '18 at 3:28

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