Music Foundations Video Tutorial Roundup: How to Transcribe Acapellas and Chords

In this three-part Music Foundations video tutorial series, Dubspot Instructor Max Wild demonstrates techniques for transcribing an acapella vocal sample and chords to create new harmonic progressions in Ableton Live using Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” as an example. Learn proficient transcription methods used to deconstruct and write strong melodies and chords.



Music Foundations Tutorial Pt. 1: How to Transcribe Acapellas

One of the most exciting improvements in Live 9 is the ‘Convert Audio to MIDI’ feature. This easy-to-use function opens new creative possibilities for working with audio recordings by enabling users to extract MIDI notes from an audio file. In this tutorial, Max Wild takes this concept a step further and demonstrates how to transcribe an acapella by ear. By looking at the rhythms and pitches separately, he demonstrates a practical method for recreating vocal melodies in your productions.


Music Foundations Tutorial Pt. 2: How to Transcribe Chords

In part one of this Music Foundations video tutorial series, Max introduced a method in Ableton Live to extract melodic content from an acapella vocal sample. In this second installment, Max Wild demonstrates how to transcribe the chords that make up the harmonic progressions of a song. Just to review, a melody usually consists of single notes played in succession to make up a strong, recognizable shape using pitch and rhythm. Chords on the other hand consist of two or more notes played at once used to support the melody.


Music Foundations Tutorial Pt. 3: Reharmonizing Chord Progressions

In part one and two of this Music Foundations video tutorial series, Max demonstrated techniques for transcribing acapella vocal samples and chord progressions. In this final installment, Max Wild focuses on reharmonizing the melody of an acapella to create new harmonic chord progressions.

To those of you unfamiliar with the term reharmonization: Reharmonization means changing the harmony (or chord sequence) to a song by replacing the existing chord sequence with chords of your own to give the song a different sound, and personal touch. For instance, you could change a song from minor to major or vice versa by reharmonizing it. This technique is a very useful tool in remixing.


EDU Summer Sessions

Music Foundations Program

Unravel electronic music’s origins, build your chops, learn musical language and theory, and make and play music the way you want. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the roots and lineage of a variety of electronic and dance music genres, strengthen their keyboard skills, and learn valuable music theory, deepening their creative practice and facilitating effective collaborations with musical partners.

About This Program

The best producers, DJs, and musicians in the world strive to be well-rounded. So should you. In Dubspot’s Music Foundations Program, you’ll explore three major aspects of music: rhythmic theory, melodic theory, and critical listening.

Most pioneering early electronic musicians had years of conservatory training in theory and performance but had access to very limited technologies. In today’s musical world, it’s the opposite: we have a powerful and versatile array of electronic music making tools at our fingertips, but often fall short in our theoretical understanding of how electronic music works.

Our Music Foundations program is designed to fill this gap and provide training in fundamental skills and concepts with the electronic musician, DJ, and producer in mind. In this course, you’ll build your chops and learn the basics of musical language and theory so that you can make and play the music you want. You will also develop a deeper understanding of the roots and lineage of a variety of electronic and dance music genres, and explore compositional techniques and song structure. The weekly homework lessons for all three courses have been designed using Ableton Live, and along the way you’ll also learn the basics of Ableton and how to use it as a powerful tool to improve your musicianship in a variety of ways.

What’s Included

  • Music Foundations Level 1: Pads & Rhythmic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 2: Keys & Melodic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 3: Critical Listening

Additional Information

Visit the Music Foundations course page for detailed information on this program here.

If you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.