Is there a musical notation applications that makes it easier to transcribe the trumpet part for rock and roll song?

I've used Musescore (free app) for editing music notation and printing sheet music, and had this question (See here for the original question asked in Musescore forum https://musescore.org/en/node/288400#comment-915028).

I'm repeating information here just so this question stands alone.

I'm trying to transcribe the Trumpet part to 10th Avenue Freezeout (by Bruce Springsteen) and use the following workflow (currently).

I receive a PDF that has the lyrics and chord changes (like A-7, C, D-, etc). I use Drawboard PDF (on SurfacePro) and make notes on the lyrics as to what I should play and when. For example, I'll label "A", "B", "C" in the lyrics and then have hand-written trumpet parts with "A", "B", "C" and know that those notes are played where I've marked "A", "B", "C" in the lyrics.

I currently using Transcribe! and hand write parts, but would like to know if any music notation application could be used as follows.

(1) Create a song with just the lyrics, and the measures.

(2) Listen to the song and transcribe the trumpet notes to the musescore. Initially as text, just the notes because the rhythms I'll have listened to. Trying to get the exact rhythms in some cases is not needed because I know the songs and can "feel the rhythm". The purpose isn't to get an exact sheet of what I need to play but a rough reference of what I need to play

(3) If time permits and so far it hasn't, I would convert the text notes to the actual rhythms to create an actual trumpet sheet music part with lyrics included on the same sheet of music.

I've asked this about musescore and was told it doesn't really support this approach.


Your approach is unworkable because step 1 requires you to attach the lyrics to notes that don't exist yet. There's no way to "create a song with just the lyrics." In most notation software, including MuseScore, you need to line up each syllable of the lyrics with the beat they fall on. Therefore, most musicians transcribe the notes first, and then the lyrics (or apply this process to each measure or phrase).

But your lyrics don't even correspond to the notes you are transcribing—if I am reading this correctly, you want to transcribe the trumpet fills with the lyrics printed as a reference. Therefore, I would suggest inputting the lyrics not as MuseScore "lyrics" but as another text style, like expression text. You'd first want to get your lyrics in plain text and insert line breaks that correspond to every four (or maybe two or eight) measures of the song. Then, paste each line as expression text every four bars into an empty score. Your lyrics won't line up exactly with your trumpet fills, but they will be close enough to help you find your place. This approach is more similar to what pop musicians typically do, which is write the first few words of the lyrics in the margin as a reminder if they are worried about missing their cue.

A more crude workaround, if you insist on rhythmically precise lyrics, could be to create a rhythmic skeleton by filling each measure with 8th note rests (or 16th rests if necessary) and then attaching the lyrics to the correct position in those rests. Then you would go back in and input your melody in another voice and then hide the voice containing the eighth rests. This gives you an accurate picture of how the lyrics fit in with the fills, but it is a rather painstaking approach and probably won't look as pretty as you hope.

  • Max Kapur, Your answer is really helpful. Now I understand why Musescore was saying it could not be done. Your comment what pop musicians do and suggestion on how to use text not lyrics makes sense and I'll go down that path. I now realize that I can just use Musescore, with extra space between staffs for lyric text to get what I'm looking for. Thanks for the explanation. – PatS Apr 30 '19 at 12:59

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