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I am trying to put together a piano arrangement for Eminem's Mockingbird, and so much of the emotion comes from the rap lyrics. I'm trying to sound out the melody to his vocals, but no matter what I do it doesn't sound right.

Is there a reason for this, or am I just not trying hard enough?

Any suggestions on how to "sound out" the melody behind his lyrics? I feel like I have no problems finding the notes behind any other melody but rap eludes me for some reason, and when I listen to it I know that there is a melody there.

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    How fast is Eminem rapping? A common tip I've heard from other music transcribers is to slow down the music when transcribing it, and depending on how fast Eminem raps in that song, slowing his rapping down might help greatly. – Dekkadeci Nov 19 '18 at 6:28
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    it's actually one of his slower ones – pianonoob Nov 21 '18 at 3:44
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It's not clear what "melody" you are after. There are extant instrumental versions of this number, e.g. youtube. If you're trying to create a lead over this music that "feels" like the spoken rap, I don't think you can succeed -- any more than you would with a pattersong such as Cake puts out.

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    I'm trying to simulate the "Haley I know you miss your mom, and I know you miss your dad, but I'm trying to give you the life that I never had." with a right hand melody. – pianonoob Nov 19 '18 at 23:27
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Some of it comes down to the technology and resources you have/understand. Figuring out a melody like this might work with two ways, first is humming it. This works more or less reliable with me, at least to create the melody, record it and then figure it, because it is more pure, altough the song is already pretty sparse.

Second thing is (either with humming recording or the actual recording) you can put it in a DAW, and then you have some options. Try to track it with something like melodyne, there's a free trial. (This might even be possible without a DAW, i don't know since I never used melodyne outside a DAW) Melodyne gives you the pitch for the whole sequence you put in, it has a piano roll, and shows you over which notes the melody goes, as well as the timing. This might work on the song, but surely will better work on a acapella version or the humming version.

In a DAW could also set the bpm and try to insert a piano vst, to figure out the melody. The big advantage is, that you are not working against time. Figure out a note that works for most of the melody (key center) and then just align it with the rhytmical pattern. Every note that doesn't fit you just shift till have the whole melody figured.

  • Just to clarify, I'm not talking about the the chorus, whose melody is easy to pick out almost instantaneously. There's something about the spoken lyrics that feel like they ought to have a melody, but I can't find it for some reason, and I usually can pick this sort of thing up instantly...... Is your answer in reference to the spoken rap sections? or the chorus? – pianonoob Nov 21 '18 at 2:36
  • Those are tips for any section that's hard to figure out, so yes, also the spoken rap session. If you can already figure out the melody of the chorus you know the key center already i guess. If using melodyne just see if it can figure out the key center, to check if it works correctly. – Sebastian Nov 21 '18 at 17:53
  • I'm starting to think that I can't find the melody because he uses many frequencies in between chromatic intervals. So I think it's impossible. – pianonoob Nov 21 '18 at 21:48

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