Basic Vocal charting question

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    Hey guys,


    After my brother got me into the custom songs, I got to figuring it out and had my first drum chart knocked out in about a day. Needless to say, now I’m hooked and want to do harder stuff. So on to vocals it is! :excited:


    My basic question is about how you actually pick the correct notes for each vocal phrase. I watched the video on charting vocals, and I see what he did but don’t fully understand how he picked the notes he did. Do you just run through the midi notes, listening (using the built-in Reaper synth), until you hit a note that sounds to be about the same note as the singer is singing? If not, how do you pick from the (30 or so?) notes available?


    See, basic right? <img decoding=” src=”/wp-content/uploads/invision_emoticons/default_SA_smile.gif” /> If anyone can help, I would really appreciate it. I’m getting very excited about getting some tracks out there.




      Pretty much. If you don’t already know which note is being sung, you find it (either using Reaper’s synth FX or with a tuner). You can have Reaper limit the range of ‘valid’ notes by selecting a key from the drop down at the bottom of the window or w/e, which can help.

        If not, how do you pick from the (30 or so?) notes available?


        One disclaimer: the reason I’m replying is because unlike a few other guys, I have a hard time charting vocals by ear, so I’m gonna give you a perspective from “your” side. For expert comments, wait for the likes of Nyx and espher. <img decoding=” src=”/wp-content/uploads/invision_emoticons/default_SA_smile.gif”>


        Well, first of all, it’s not 30 notes. <img decoding=” src=”/wp-content/uploads/invision_emoticons/default_SA_smile.gif”> Notes work in octaves, which means 7 tones and 4 semitones: 7 notes plus their flat/sharp “versions”, to keep it simple. So, an octave works from C to the next C (it’s 8, hence octave, but it’s 7 notes) . Again, to keep it simple, once you understand how deep or high is the song being sung, you can pick your starting octave and work on that. And that slims it down to 11 pitches.


        Also, music works in keys, which (supersimplisticly) means that any song (or part of the song if the track is very complex and changes key midway) works on 7 pitches. In example, the key of C works on C-D-E-F-G-A-B (no flats or sharps here). That means that if a song is in the key of C, you’re down to 7 pitches.


        How do you get the key of the song? There’s a fair number of Web sites that give you that, depending on how famous the song you want to author is. Which brings us to another point: do you *need* to do vocals by ear? If your song is not obscure, you can find sheet music and MIDI to help you with. If you can’t find any source for vocals but you can find a source for guitar or you can find the key of the song, you’re narrowed it down enough to make it less nightmarish. <img decoding=” src=”/wp-content/uploads/invision_emoticons/default_SA_smile.gif”> And as espher suggested, Reaper allows you to only see the notes in a specific key or scale.


          I find musical key irrelevant when charting vocals. Just because something’s in a particular key doesn’t rule out the possibility of a slide.


          Sheet music can help, but rarely captures all of the necessary slides.


          The octave you pick for charting is only relevant for the guide pitch in the trainer. If you’re off, the guide pitch will be an octave too high or too low. Personally I prefer to hear the guide pitch in a different octave – makes it easier in my head.


          Get a tuner and mess around. Hopefully you can sing well enough to match what you hear. The tuner will show you the note.


          I’ve been flabbergasted by virtuoso touring musicians who are completely tone deaf – they can’t tell when there’s a slide in a sung note. How do they play an instrument!?

            I find musical key irrelevant when charting vocals. Just because something’s in a particular key doesn’t rule out the possibility of a slide.


            I think we’re at a waaaaaay more basic level than slides. <img decoding=” src=”/wp-content/uploads/invision_emoticons/default_SA_smile.gif”> If he’s having trouble finding out what notes to chart, slides come after you have actually made sense of the pitches. And if you have no idea what a note is, a slide is the least of your problems. <img decoding=” src=”/wp-content/uploads/invision_emoticons/default_SA_wink.gif”> Sheet music and most MIDI won’t have any (or almost no) slides transcribed or sequenced, but they’re gonna have the basic structure.

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