Rate my transcriptions

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
This literally took me hours. It’s all of the fills in “I keep forgettin’” by Michael Mcdonald.

I always fluffed my way through this song with not much confidence and couldn’t find a chart so I thought I would make this a new habit, maybe one day a week I would chart out a song that I know I’ve been playing wrong for years.

I opened the song in VLC media player so I could slow it down and get each fill. I numbered them, timestamped and wrote a lyric next to each of them.

I don’t have trouble remembering the beat so that wasn’t necessary for me.

I don’t normally notate crashes as an asterisk on the same line as the hihat but I saw it for the first time recently and thought it looked neater.

Do these notes make sense? I was going to rewrite it a bit neater so I hastily crossed out some wrong notes on the last line, but haven’t made time yet.

Please let me know if you agree/disagree with what I believe was the correct part and the way I’ve notated?

As a side note, at the end of my day I played the song the best that I ever have. Slowing the track down to 85% and gradually speeding it up really got my right hand working.
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Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I also found it really helpful to listen to the instrumental version with the vocals removed

I already noticed I missed the pickup note on fill #1 (and 4 which is the same). Also could have noted open hats on the ‘and’ on fill #3. Must have fried my brain.
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I find with charts everyone develops their own personal ways that work for them. I don't know this song and don't have time to listen right now to check your accuracy. However, if you handed me this on a gig I wouldn't know what to do with it. Depending on your purposes for creating this chart, this may or may not matter.

One way to make it more practical may be to make note of the formal cues rather than the timestamps. For example, instead of "1:05", it may be helpful to note "end of prechorus" or "prechorus>chorus" or something else that makes sense to you. Again, that may or may not matter, but if anyone else ever uses your transcriptions in real-life, it may be handy.


Junior Member
First of all, none of what you've written can be clearly interpreted because it's not on a pentagram.
If you want to write music you should adhere to the conventions of music notation for the sake of clarity: key signature (if there is one), time signature (if there is one), key signature (if there is one), and then write away.
You could write a snare part on a single line, but that's not what you're doing here, or you can write a legend beside the notation, but that would require anyone who's trying to read the sheet to spend some time learning your personal, unique way of notating things, which wouldn't be very convenient or straight-forward.
You could print a few empty pentagrams to keep at hand, it's much more convenient than having to draw the lines yourself.

That said, I'll do my best to summon my common sense.
Fill 2 is missing a hi hat hit (or chick?) on the 3rd eighth, together with the first tom hit.
Fill 3 is written more questionably than the rest and is missing a drag before the beginning of the 3rd quarter.
Fill 5 is missing a drag before the first quaver you wrote.
In fill 6 the quaver you wrote is two semiquavers.
In fill 7 the last crotchet you wrote on the hh line should be a quaver, and the same goes for the second line.
In fill 8 there are 3 sixteenths played on the closed hat after each open hat eighth.


Diamond Member
I sort of get what you are doing...it is more like a phrase sheet than a true transcription. I do the same things often when I am in the studio and only have 4 or 5 times to listen and analyze before the tape is rolling. No one else would ever be able to understand it, but I do.


Platinum Member
I’m afraid I wouldn’t find it useful unless I knew the song already, but like the others said, if it makes sense to you, go for it.

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Dang, guess I really need to practice writing.

What do you guys use for a reference? I was looking at Tommy Igoe's book when I wasn't sure how do write things like a 16th note on the 'a' with the kick for example.


Platinum Member
Dang, guess I really need to practice writing.

What do you guys use for a reference? I was looking at Tommy Igoe's book when I wasn't sure how do write things like a 16th note on the 'a' with the kick for example.
At least you’re doing it and asking for feedback. I respect the effort. Not everyone wants to read, but it opens up doors to gigs that non readers don’t get, and they often pay better.

I have no idea what books are good for drummers to start reading, but I learned the basics of it in school, and just started reading anything I could after that. The best way to learn how to chart stuff is to read a lot of well written charts and transcribe some easy stuff at first. This song isn’t what I would call beginning level by any means.

I have seen this kind of shorthand writing before, and do it myself sometimes, but while you have an idea of how to do it, it’s too random and doesn’t follow usual conventions. You did, however, figure out how to add a bass drum to the and properly, so that’s progress!

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
If it helps you it's fine. You arent publishing the things.

I find just writing stuff down helps remember it. Sometimes, if I cant figure a fill out and I break it down piece by piece and write it down, I dont need the chart afterwards. Writing it down somehow reinforces memory.

It works for other things too, like lyrics.


Senior Member
@Duck Tape I think they look fine. I can easily decipher while listening to the track. Probably because a lot of my picket fence, quickie charts have fills notated just like that.

Because I wrote them, I don't need a staff or note legend. I know what is what. I'm not publishing them for general consumption.

Sounds like you have already gotten a good ROI playing wise for your time/effort. If it's working for you, keep going.