VISIT RESTORATION EFFORT
   
   

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 

About the Piano Scores
Why do you Charge Money?
Can I Request a Song?
Who are You?


ABOUT THE PIANO SCORES

How do you do transcriptions?

It's a slow and tedious process - I work it out by ear. I have software that slows a song down and I listen to a bar at a time, figuring out Elton's exact playing. I then perform each bar into my sequencing software. Since I can't play like Elton, I have to edit each bar to make it sound like Elton. This becomes a midi file. When I'm done with a song, I import the entire song into my notation software. There it gets fine tuned for publication.

Why are there differences in the scores?

You'll find a lot of differences in my scores. This is mostly a function of when I transcribed it. I didn't know much about what I was doing when I first started this site. Sadly to say, my older scores are more difficult to read and have "problems." Usually I have a date at the bottom so you'll know when the score was created. I'm proud to say that I think my scores starting in 2003 are truly publication quality.

Up through 2002 I used an older notation software that was a low end product. It was very awkward and difficult to use. In order to speed up the notation process, I left out the lyrics and melody line. You'll also see in my oldest scores that I did unconventional things with the notation. Besides the fact that I wasn't really an expert on notation rules, I also thought I could simplify the overall score by breaking rules. Eventually I discovered that my scores were more confusing to read, not less. I apologize for the difficulties with these older scores. I have converted a few to the new style and will continue to upgrade these older ones over time

Today I use a high end software - Finale. Like I say, I believe my newer scores are much closer to publication quality.

Why does it take so long?

It's extremely hard work, that's why. First, I don't have perfect pitch. Second, I only do this part time. Mostly what I have is a lot of experience figuring things out and in particular a lot of experience figuring out Elton. Most people do not understand what a grind transcription work is. Besides figuring out the actual notes, getting it into sheet music format takes a lot of determination and patience. It's not unusual for a single song to take anywhere from 40 - 80 hours, depending on the length.

There is a substantial difference between "sounding like" Elton and transcribing Elton. Sounding like Elton is relatively easy and there's literally hundreds of pianists who do this all the time. When I was actively performing, I had no trouble sounding like Elton. Transcribing Elton to sheet music is a hundred times more difficult.

Over the years, I've had many people volunteer to contribute transcriptions. I always welcome their contribution. But in all these years, I've never had anyone get back to me. The reason: they discover for themselves just how difficult this work is. Think about it. If it was easy to transcribe Elton, there would be more transcripts available wouldn't there?

Isn't There Software That Transcribes Audio Music?

Yeah you wish. There is software but it only works on recordings of solo instruments. Even then, it has a lot of problems. There would be lots of transcripts if something like this existed. If I had a software like that, I would have every one of Elton's songs transcribed and posted here for you.

Think about it. A single note played on an instrument includes lots of harmonics. Each instrument has its own naturally occuring set of harmonics. A software that analyzes the pitch of an instrument also hears all of those harmonics. So when it interprets that single note, it hears 5-10 notes and must deduce which one is the root note. Since every instrument varies in terms of the amount and relative strength of harmonics, this is a very difficult task for the software.

Now play 2 notes at the same time. You've multiplied the problem. Now try a whole band. Well forget about it.


CAN I REQUEST A SONG?

As of November 1, 2006, I am unable to take requests until further notice.


WHO ARE YOU?

Personal

I saw Elton for the first time in 1971 with the trio. I was born in 1954 so you do the math!

Occupationally I’m a hard working analyst who sits at a computer five days a week figuring important things out (yeah right). I guess that makes me a bit of a computer geek but I’m OK with that. Sometimes I'm pretty passionate about my work!

I have kids and I am passionate about them.

There was a period in my life when I pursued rock and roll fame. It started with the new wave movement in 1980 and lasted about 9 years for me. It never got beyond being in a bar band in the local circuit, but it was something I had to do. If it’s inside you, I believe you’ve got to try. Otherwise you’ll never know whether you have what it takes. And that's a little bit of the same reason why this website exists.

Here's a 2001 picture of me performing at a party.

Me and Elton

If you’re already a hardcore EJ fan, then you understand. If not, here’s the deal with me. I took classical piano lessons from the age of 8 until 17. At that time, three events converged to change my life: the Elton John album, my first girlfriend, and front row tickets to the Elton John trio September 18, 1971. Elton inspired me to switch to rock and roll; I could apply my classical training to Elton’s playing style; and my girlfriend loved it and loved me. One of my favorite fantasies was to imagine that I was Elton, playing those great songs to an audience of adoring girls. It was such an inspirational fantasy, that it forever changed my musical direction in life.

My musical interests have varied over the years and decades. But since I’ve reached midlife, I’ve decided I wanted to re-visit some of that passion I felt as a teenager listening to Elton John. Most importantly to me is the deep appreciation I have for his contribution to popular music and especially to piano players. Through these scores, I can recreate his tunes and I can express myself musically in a manner which is captured in a permanent form. Best of all, I don’t have to be a slave to practice in order to maintain my technical proficiency. I can achieve good results one measure at a time, piecing them together into a whole song and then into a collection of songs.

It is essential to me that I achieve note for note transcription accuracy on the piano parts. I also work hard at the other parts including drums, guitars, bass, orchestra, etc.

As I review these creations, they become more than just songs. They are part of my essence and my spiritual being. Through this music that Elton has given us, I believe that I'm linked to a greater consciousness, something greater than all of us that binds and connects us to one another.