Humoresque Music Definition Essay

In music, transcription can mean notating a piece or a sound which was previously unnotated, as, for example, an improvised jazz solo. When a musician is tasked with creating sheet music from a recording and they write down the notes that make up the song in music notation, it is said that they created a musical transcription of that recording. Transcription may also mean rewriting a piece of music, either solo or ensemble, for another instrument or other instruments than which it was originally intended. The Beethoven Symphonies by Franz Liszt are a good example. Transcription in this sense is sometimes called arrangement, although strictly speaking transcriptions are faithful adaptations, whereas arrangements change significant aspects of the original piece.

Further examples of music transcription include ethnomusicological notation of oral traditions of folk music, such as Béla Bartók's and Ralph Vaughan Williams' collections of the national folk music of Hungary and England respectively. The FrenchcomposerOlivier Messiaen transcribed birdsong in the wild, and incorporated it into many of his compositions, for example his Catalogue d'oiseaux for solo piano. Transcription of this nature involves scale degree recognition and harmonic analysis, both of which the transcriber will need relative or perfect pitch to perform.

In popular music and rock, there are two forms of transcription. Individual performers copy a note-for-note guitar solo or other melodic line. As well, music publishers transcribe entire recordings of guitar solos and bass lines and sell the sheet music in bound books. Music publishers also publish PVG (piano/vocal/guitar) transcriptions of popular music, where the melody line is transcribed, and then the accompaniment on the recording is arranged as a piano part. The guitar aspect of the PVG label is achieved through guitar chords written above the melody. Lyrics are also included below the melody.


Some composers have rendered homage to other composers by creating "identical" versions of the earlier composers' pieces while adding their own creativity through the use of completely new sounds arising from the difference in instrumentation. The most widely known example of this is Ravel's arrangement for orchestra of Mussorgsky's piano piece Pictures at an Exhibition. Webern used his transcription for orchestra of the six-part ricercar from Bach's The Musical Offering to analyze the structure of the Bach piece, by using different instruments to play different subordinate motifs of Bach's themes and melodies.

In transcription of this form, the new piece can simultaneously imitate the original sounds while recomposing them with all the technical skills of an expert composer in such a way that it seems that the piece was originally written for the new medium. But some transcriptions and arrangements have been done for purely pragmatic or contextual reasons. For example, in Mozart's time, the overtures and songs from his popular operas were transcribed for small wind ensemble simply because such ensembles were common ways of providing popular entertainment in public places. Mozart himself did this in his opera Don Giovanni, transcribing for small wind ensemble several arias from other operas, including one from his own opera The Marriage of Figaro. A more contemporary example is Stravinsky´s transcription for four hands piano of The Rite of Spring, to be used on the ballet's rehearsals. Today musicians who play in cafes or restaurants will sometimes play transcriptions or arrangements of pieces written for a larger group of instruments.

Other examples of this type of transcription include Bach's arrangement of Vivaldi's four-violin concerti for four keyboard instruments and orchestra; Mozart's arrangement of some Bach fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier for string trio; Beethoven's arrangement of his Große Fuge, originally written for string quartet, for piano duet, and his arrangement of his Violin Concerto as a piano concerto; Franz Liszt's piano arrangements of the works of many composers, including the symphonies of Beethoven; Tchaikovsky's arrangement of four Mozart piano pieces into an orchestral suite called "Mozartiana"; Mahler's re-orchestration of Schumann symphonies; and Schoenberg's arrangement for orchestra of Brahms's piano quintet and Bach's "St. Anne" Prelude and Fugue for organ.

Since the piano became a popular instrument, a large literature has sprung up of transcriptions and arrangements for piano of works for orchestra or chamber music ensemble. These are sometimes called "piano reductions", because the multiplicity of orchestral parts—in an orchestral piece there may be as many as two dozen separate instrumental parts being played simultaneously—has to be reduced to what a single pianist (or occasionally two pianists, on one or two pianos, such as the different arrangements for George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue) can manage to play.

Piano reductions are frequently made of orchestral accompaniments to choral works, for the purposes of rehearsal or of performance with keyboard alone.

Many orchestral pieces have been transcribed for concert band.

Transcription aids[edit]

Notation software[edit]

Since the advent of desktop publishing, musicians can acquire music notation software, which can receive the user's mental analysis of notes and then store and format those notes into standard music notation for personal printing or professional publishing of sheet music. Some notation software can accept a Standard MIDI File (SMF) or MIDI performance as input instead of manual note entry. These notation applications can export their scores in a variety of formats like EPS, PNG, and SVG. Often the software contains a sound library which allows the user's score to be played aloud by the application for verification.

Slow-down software[edit]

Prior to the invention of digital transcription aids, musicians would slow down a record or a tape recording to be able to hear the melodic lines and chords at a slower, more digestible pace. The problem with this approach was that it also changed the pitches, so once a piece was transcribed, it would then have to be transposed into the correct key. Software designed to slow down the tempo of music without changing the pitch of the music can be very helpful for recognizing pitches, melodies, chords, rhythms and lyrics when transcribing music. However, unlike the slow-down effect of a record player, the pitch and original octave of the notes will stay the same, and not descend in pitch. This technology is simple enough that it is available in many free software applications.

The software generally goes through a two-step process to accomplish this. First, the audio file is played back at a lower sample rate than that of the original file. This has the same effect as playing a tape or vinyl record at slower speed - the pitch is lowered meaning the music can sound like it is in a different key. The second step is to use Digital Signal Processing (or DSP) to shift the pitch back up to the original pitch level or musical key.

Pitch tracking software[edit]

As mentioned in the Automatic music transcription section, some commercial software can roughly track the pitch of dominant melodies in polyphonic musical recordings. The note scans are not exact, and often need to be manually edited by the user before saving to file in either a proprietary file format or in Standard MIDI File Format. Some pitch tracking software also allows the scanned note lists to be animated during audio playback.

Automatic music transcription[edit]

The term "automatic music transcription" was first used by audio researchers James A. Moorer, Martin Piszczalski, and Bernard Galler in 1977. With their knowledge of digital audio engineering, these researchers believed that a computer could be programmed to analyze a digital recording of music such that the pitches of melody lines and chord patterns could be detected, along with the rhythmic accents of percussion instruments. The task of automatic music transcription concerns two separate activities: making an analysis of a musical piece, and printing out a score from that analysis.[1]

This was not a simple goal, but one that would encourage academic research for at least another three decades. Because of the close scientific relationship of speech to music, much academic and commercial research that was directed toward the more financially resourced speech recognition technology would be recycled into research about music recognition technology. While many musicians and educators insist that manually doing transcriptions is a valuable exercise for developing musicians, the motivation for automatic music transcription remains the same as the motivation for sheet music: musicians who do not have intuitive transcription skills will search for sheet music or a chord chart, so that they may quickly learn how to play a song. A collection of tools created by this ongoing research could be of great aid to musicians. Since much recorded music does not have available sheet music, an automatic transcription device could also offer transcriptions that are otherwise unavailable in sheet music. To date, no software application can yet completely fulfill James Moorer’s definition of automatic music transcription. However, the pursuit of automatic music transcription has spawned the creation of many software applications which can aid in manual transcription. Some can slow down music while maintaining original pitch and octave, some can track the pitch of melodies, some can track the chord changes, and others can track the beat of music.

Automatic transcription most fundamentally involves identifying the pitch and duration of the performed notes. This entails tracking pitch and identifying note onsets. After capturing those physical measurements, this information is mapped into traditional music notation, i.e., the sheet music.

Digital Signal Processing is the branch of engineering that provides software engineers with the tools and algorithms needed to analyze a digital recording in terms of pitch (note detection of melodic instruments), and the energy content of un-pitched sounds (detection of percussion instruments). Musical recordings are sampled at a given recording rate and its frequency data is stored in any digital wave format in the computer. Such format represents sound by digital sampling.

Pitch detection[edit]

Pitch detection is often the detection of individual notes that might make up a melody in music, or the notes in a chord. When a single key is pressed upon a piano, what we hear is not just onefrequency of sound vibration, but a composite of multiple sound vibrations occurring at different mathematically related frequencies. The elements of this composite of vibrations at differing frequencies are referred to as harmonics or partials.

For instance, if we press the Middle C key on the piano, the individual frequencies of the composite's harmonics will start at 261.6 Hz as the fundamental frequency, 523 Hz would be the 2nd Harmonic, 785 Hz would be the 3rd Harmonic, 1046 Hz would be the 4th Harmonic, etc. The later harmonics are integer multiples of the fundamental frequency, 261.6 Hz ( ex: 2 x 261.6 = 523, 3 x 261.6 = 785, 4 x 261.6 = 1046 ). While only about eight harmonics are really needed to audibly recreate the note, the total number of harmonics in this mathematical series can be large, although the higher the harmonic's numeral the weaker the magnitude and contribution of that harmonic. Contrary to intuition, a musical recording at its lowest physical level is not a collection of individual notes, but is really a collection of individual harmonics. That is why very similar-sounding recordings can be created with differing collections of instruments and their assigned notes. As long as the total harmonics of the recording are recreated to some degree, it does not really matter which instruments or which notes were used.

A first step in the detection of notes is the transformation of the sound file's digital data from the time domain into the frequency domain, which enables the measurement of various frequencies over time. The graphic image of an audio recording in the frequency domain is called a spectrogram or sonogram. A musical note, as a composite of various harmonics, appears in a spectrogram like a vertically placed comb, with the individual teeth of the comb representing the various harmonics and their differing frequency values. A Fourier Transform is the mathematical procedure that is used to create the spectrogram from the sound file’s digital data.

The task of many note detection algorithms is to search the spectrogram for the occurrence of such comb patterns (a composite of harmonics) caused by individual notes. Once the pattern of a note's particular comb shape of harmonics is detected, the note's pitch can be measured by the vertical position of the comb pattern upon the spectrogram.

There are basically two different classes of digital music which create very different demands for a pitch detection algorithm: monophonic music and polyphonic music. Monophonic music is a passage with only one instrument playing one note at a time, while polyphonic music can have multiple instruments and vocals playing at once. Pitch detection upon a monophonic recording was a relatively simple task, and its technology enabled the invention of guitar tuners in the 1970s. However, pitch detection upon polyphonic music becomes a much more difficult task because the image of its spectrogram now appears as a vague cloud due to a multitude of overlapping comb patterns, caused by each note's multiple harmonics.

Another method of pitch detection was invented by Martin Piszczalski in conjunction with Bernard Galler in the 1970s[2] and has since been widely followed.[3] It targets monophonic music. Central to this method is how pitch is determined by the human ear.[4] The process attempts to roughly mimic the biology of the human inner ear by finding only but a few of the loudest harmonics at a given instant. That small set of found harmonics are in turn compared against all the possible resultant pitches' harmonic-sets, to hypothesize what the most probable pitch could be given that particular set of harmonics.

To date, the complete note detection of polyphonic recordings remains a mystery to audio engineers, although they continue to make progress by inventing algorithms which can partially detect some of the notes of a polyphonic recording, such as a melody or bass line.

Beat detection[edit]

Beat tracking is the determination of a repeating time interval between perceived pulses in music. Beat can also be described as 'foot tapping' or 'hand clapping' in time with the music. The beat is often a predictable basic unit in time for the musical piece, and may only vary slightly during the performance. Songs are frequently measured for their Beats Per Minute (BPM) in determining the tempo of the music, whether it be fast or slow.

Since notes frequently begin on a beat, or a simple subdivision of the beat's time interval, beat tracking software has the potential to better resolve note onsets that may have been detected in a crude fashion. Beat tracking is often the first step in the detection of percussion instruments.

Despite the intuitive nature of 'foot tapping' of which most humans are capable, developing an algorithm to detect those beats is difficult. Most of the current software algorithms for beat detection use a group competing hypothesis for beats-per-minute, as the algorithm progressively finds and resolves local peaks in volume, roughly corresponding to the foot-taps of the music.

How automatic music transcription works[edit]

To transcribe music automatically, several problems must be solved:

1. Notes must be recognized - this is typically done by changing from the time domain into the frequency domain. This can be accomplished through the Fourier transform. Computer algorithms for doing this are common. The Fast Fourier transform algorithm computes the frequency content of a signal, and is useful in processing musical excerpts.

2. A beat and tempo need to be detected (Beat detection)- this is a difficult, many-faceted problem.[5]

The method proposed in Costantini et al. 2009[6] focuses on note events and their main characteristics: the attack instant, the pitch and the final instant. Onset detection exploits a binary time-frequency representation of the audio signal. Note classification and offset detection are based on constant Q transform (CQT) and support vector machines (SVMs). An audio example can be found here.

This in turn leads to a “pitch contour” namely a continuously time-varying line that corresponds to what humans refer to as melody. The next step is to segment this continuous melodic stream to identify the beginning and end of each note. After that each “note unit” is expressed in physical terms (e.g., 442 Hz, .52 seconds). The final step is then to map this physical information into familiar music-notation-like terms for each note (e.g., an A4, quarter note).

Detailed computer steps behind automatic music transcription[edit]

In terms of actual computer processing, the principal steps are to 1) digitize the performed, analog music, 2) do successive short-term, Fast Fourier Transform (FFTs) to obtain the time-varying spectra, 3) identify the peaks in each spectrum, 4) analyze the spectral peaks to get pitch candidates, 5) connect the strongest individual pitch candidates to get the most likely time-varying, pitch contour, 6) map this physical data into the closest music-notation terms.

The most controversial and difficult step in this process is detecting pitch .[7] The most successful pitch methods operate in the frequency domain, not the time domain. While time-domain methods have been proposed, they can break down for real-world musical instruments played in typically reverberant rooms.

The pitch-detection method invented by Piszczalski[8] again mimics human hearing. It follows how only certain sets of partials “fuse” together in human listening. These are the sets that create the perception of a single pitch only. Fusion occurs only when two partials are within 1.5% of being a perfect, harmonic pair (i.e., their frequencies approximate a low-integer pair set such as 1:2, 5:8, etc.) This near harmonic match is required of all the partials in order for a human to hear them as only a single pitch.

See also[edit]



Music is an art form where musical sounds, organized in a specific manner, serve as the method of artistic image realization. Its main expressive means and elements are the following: stop, rhythm, beat, time, sound dynamics, tone, melody, tune, polyphony, instrumentation. Music is being fixed in musical notation and brought about in the process of performance. There exists a division of songs into secular and sacred, or a cultic one (the eldest, at present, is the music of the Buddhist ritual). Development of musical theory on musical notation and pedagogics is closely connected with European cultic music, which is usually called sacred.

According to the performing means, music is subdivided into instrumental, vocal-instrumental, and vocal (singing). Often, it is combined with cinema, choreography, and art. In addition, there is a difference between monothematic music (monody) and a polyphonic one (homophony, polyphony). It is also subdivided into kinds and types, such as theatrical (opera, etc.), symphonic, chamber, and many others, and into genres: song, choral, jazz, dance, pop, march, blues, symphony, country, suite, sonata, rock, rap, etc. More or less, musical compositions possess relatively stable typical structures.

For better understanding, let us examine some musical genres:

  • March. It is remarkable for strictly deliberate time, distinct rhythm, brisk and courageous character. This musical genre provides synchronous movement of a great number of people. Military marches are created for a field (brass) band. March is used in opera and ballet and, at the same time, as the single piece. The dead march is a particular variety of the marches.
  • Symphony is a musical composition for philharmonic orchestra that is written in sonata cyclic form; usually, it consists of four parts. Classical type of symphony has been formed at the end of 18th – beginning of 19th centuries.
  • The suite is an instrumental cyclic musical composition that includes several contrasting parts. The suite is different from sonata and symphony by the absence of strict regulation of quantity, character, and parts’ order; close connection with dance and song refers to the suite as well.

In the meantime, it is worthy to learn more about a notion of musical form. First and foremost, it is a group of expressive means that embody specific ideological-artistic content in a musical composition. In the second place, musical form is a set of elements of the musical composition structure itself. Musical form is unique in every composition. However, there exist its stable various scale types: period, complex and simple two-part, simple and complex three-part forms, variations, rondo, sonata forms, etc. The least meaningful unit is a tune; two or more tunes make up a phrase, phrases construct a sentence; two sentences often comprise a period. A form of period depends on the topics of a musical composition. The main principles of forming are exposition of thematic material, its development, exact and varying repetition, and comparison with new themes; these principles interact frequently.


One of the common assignments at schools and colleges where students grasp the musical art is, for sure, the assessment of specific musical composition. And while practicing with instruments and singing is hard indeed, writing about music is not easier, as it requires a lot of skills and knowledge of genres, techniques, and other "technical" aspects. Nevertheless, this task is crucial for your development as a musician. It helps to understand the true beauty of the songs and melodies, learn to define strength and weaknesses of compositions, and realize how you can make the music you create now and will work on in the future better. Therefore, you need to learn how to write a musical review professionally, and here are some practical tips that will help you with it:

  1. Listening. You will not be able to write a good article without listening to the composition for at least a few times. Try to relax and enjoy the first time you do it. Find the moments you like the most, and analyze what makes them sound beautiful, and reflect it in your essay about music. Afterward, take some time to think, and listen once again, trying to spot the moments you dislike and repeat the analysis.
  2. Deliberation of the heard. After the last sounds are gone, sit a bit in silence setting in memory all stages of composition. Such method can provide you a considerable assistance with writing your essay on music.
  3. It is compulsory to define the common character of a composition.
  4. A research. While you need to understand how you feel about the musical piece and try to perceive every detail of the composition yourself, you can research what other people think about this composition too. Try to find an article about music you have listened to and see if any well-known and credible critics have left their feedbacks. It is important that you do not change your mind about the composition just to match the words of professionals unless you really agree with them on certain points.
  5. Generation of the plan. The music essay should include the introductory clause, main body, and conclusion. The introductory clause may contain information concerning a specific composition and several sentences about a composer. You can also include some background information – a story of the way the tune has been created. College essays about music usually have quite specific requirements regarding the structure that has to be followed and points, which are important to address, and you need to make sure your paper adheres to these instructions. If you have been given none, it is recommended to look up the template to outline your work properly.
  6. The main paragraphs will be fully built on a piece of music itself.
  7. While generating a plan, it is very important to write down some notes regarding the intro of the play, kinds of instruments, silent or loud sounding, what one can hear in the middle, and ending.
  8. In the last paragraph, one is free to express own feelings and emotions on the occasion of the heard, and you should focus on your emotions during the process of essay writing. Music does create some feelings and emotions, so try not only to assess the piece from the professional viewpoint, but also share your emotions from the side of the mere listener.

Following these tips precisely, you can surely produce a nice essay. While you will not yet be able to review music for money with the skills you gain from completing the assignment, you will have a chance to get a better grade at school. If for some reason, you cannot finish the essay on time, but still need a good mark for the task, there is no need to worry, as a huge team of expert writers is always here to assist. Hence, if you need an urgent music homework help, do not hesitate to contact the professionals at Pro-Papers, and let them help you with the submission of the quality essay.


Essay writing on music applies to large quantity of subjects because the sphere is diverse; the same is the case with choosing the topics for your essay. For example, definition essay may be written in a way to include such themes, as elements (harmony, melody or rhythm), periods (Romantic, Classical, Baroque or Renaissance), tempo (allegro, andante, adagio), instruments (percussion, brass, woodwinds, stringed instruments).

The following ideas might be useful:

  • Musicians and their artistic explorations. You can choose two or more musicians and compare them in accordance with their legacy, education, and upbringing.
  • Styles of music. Here one may make a comparison of multifarious mystic styles taking into consideration meter, melody, rhythm, and structure.
  • Music, which belongs to different cultures.

It is simple to find admirers or opponents of different genres; although, there are many argumentative themes, able to become the basis for well-organized music essays. These themes can cover:

  • Influence on the level of criminality
  • Issues, connected with illegal downloading and piracy
  • Censorship.


The research projects students are asked to complete at universities and colleges vary from major to major. Some people have to deal with term papers more, while others already got used to working on thesis papers. No matter what kind of project you are assigned, there are instructions you need to follow, and they may be similar due to the commonalities the tasks share. Here are the few major ones you need to remember before you begin to work:

  1. Choose what you like and spend enough time for the research. Music coursework is a huge paper, and you will have to work on it for a while. If you do not want this writing assignment to be daunting and unpleasant, it is better to pick the topic that you like enough to enjoy the research process. When you have a few options you think work perfectly with you, let your instructor take a look at them, and suggest what you should go with, or tell you how to make the topics more specific. Start researching the topic only when you are sure the teacher approves it if you do not want to find yourself wasting time. Leave at least third part of the deadline for the research, look for credible authors in the field, and sources recommended by the specialists. Avoid using data from the articles that were not peer reviewed, or the websites you are not sure use the trustworthy info.
  2. Organize the working process. You should not only manage the preparation time properly, but also outline the music term paper beforehand. It is crucial to follow any guidelines you have regarding the structure, or look up the samples on similar topics and see what sections they consist of. Deciding how and what you will cover before writing will help you create a consistent and focused research paper, and spend less time on editing afterward.
  3. Rewrite and proofread. While this might be the most obvious tip ever given, most of the students fail to consider it before submitting their music thesis papers. It is paramount to proofread the paper once you are done writing and edit everything that does not sound good enough. You can also ask for an editing help of a friend or any specialist in the sphere of providing a coursework writing service. UK or US are known to have many companies that could help in case it is crucial to eliminate the number of blunders to an absolute minimum. If you spot serious issues in any parts of the work, it is better to rewrite it completely rather than edit, especially if you have enough time. Thus, you will ensure that the submitted piece is graded highly.


If you are a musician, singer, or a teacher looking for the employment options, it is absolutely necessary for you to have a well-crafted CV. Music curriculum vitae are very important as they can help you find the job faster and outshine all other potential candidates for the spots you aim for. CV in a music industry is more of an experience description, and it is a lot more focused than the application papers of experts in other spheres. The position you desire to occupy will determine the structure and the content of your CV. Musical professionals need to have specific CVs that have to be targeted towards the specifics of the job and the hiring company, institution, or organization, which means that you need to research the common requirements you need to follow while writing and understand what the employers are willing to see while reviewing the application. Pro-Papers has prepared a few basic tips you need to know to craft a winning CV:

  1. Put the most significant details and the contact information at the top of the music resume. Your name has to be visible from the first sight and be a bit bigger than the other text. It is pivotal that you put your phone number, address, and an email under the name, to make them easy to spot, as you do not want it to be hard for the employers to reach. Also, you can indicate the main instrument you play or the voice type at the same section, if applicable.
  2. Always start with experiences and end with education. The hirers definitely want you to be an educated person, but they care more about the experience you have and the skills you have obtained throughout the years than about the degree you have. Include the information on the organizations you have worked for, as well as the exact dates, add the data on the instruments you have played, and the section/role/chair if appropriate for the position. Note that details and section you include are different for CVs and resumes. The first ones can be lengthy and include as much info as the writer finds relevant, while second ones are about a page long, and cover only the points of the top relevance. The curriculum vitae are mostly for the people involved in the academic field or the ones that have a lot of experience to show, and resume for musicians will also be a predominant factor when someone tries to get a good position in the sphere.
  3. Mention honors and certifications. If you have awards, accreditations, licenses, and certification, it is vital to list them all and devote the whole section of the resume to it. It is hard to express how much such details will boost your chances to get the job you apply for, as employers truly value the candidates who have a great reputation and an international or, at least, local recognition. Therefore, do not be afraid to brag about own achievements, as you have deserved what you have got, and there is no point in hiding it from the public.


Songs by great artists have become a necessity of our life; it helps us relax after difficult and intensive working day, it distresses. It is impossible to have fun without it, and when someone feels blue, it helps to cure the soul. Music reveals a person showing his colors; it draws people together. It can be said a lot about a character of a person by analyzing the songs he or she prefers listening to.

You adore listening to music, but you still have to do some homework. Music is a really great thing to listen to, but homework may be not as easy as it seems at the first glance. Have no worries, as there are numerous specialists by your side who are always ready to assist. Whether you are preparing a music resume for college or are working on a thesis to get a degree, Pro-Papers has everything necessary to bring you the success. The highly qualified crew of writers, personal approach, best sources, on-time delivery, and the solid guarantee concerning plagiarism-free content and absence of grammatical blunders, and this is just for starters. Purchase term papers, research works, essays, and CVs from Pro-Papers to get an affordable and professional help from the best writing team in the sphere!

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