Music Transcription Service

What is music transcription? It is the process of notating a piece of music that is not written down. A transcription can also be a piece of music converted from one medium to another, such as taking a piece written for piano and arranging it for guitar. This is usually referred to as arranging rather than transcribing, but there's some grey area between the two. A very literal conversion of a piece written for one medium into another medium might be referred to as a transcription, but it would still be an arrangement of sorts. However, a piece of music that is not written down is transcribed literally into notation, not arranged. Transcription can be called music dictation if it's live and dictated, like someone dictating a letter to a stenographer.

It's all so confusing, isn't it? Music often is, and that's one of the things that makes it great and frustrating too.

Just so there's no confusion (let's hope!), the transcribing I'm referring to on this page is the process of notating music literally, based only on a recording or live performance. The music being transcribed is usually recorded, but occasionally it may be transcribed live at a performance. The latter is the most difficult type of transcription and demands an exceptional memory and/or quick music writing skills. Very few people excel at this kind of transcription and it is rarely needed now that recording is ubiquitous.

The owner of JLA Music, Jeff Anvinson, has been transcribing music ever since he was a teenager. (He's a prolific arranger too, by the way, and he's done his share of dictation as well!) He got his start around thirty-seven years ago, when his cousin Anthony, who was the same age as Jeff, started writing songs. Anthony had made a recording of one of his songs and asked Jeff to listen to it and write it down on paper. This was definitely a transcription: Anthony might not have appreciated it if Jeff had arranged his song instead. ;-) After listening to the recording over and over, writing down parts of it little by little, Jeff completed the task. Around the same time, while he was an undergraduate music major, he did the same work for a complete stranger who had contacted the music department asking for someone to transcribe a song. Over the years, through music study at the undergraduate and graduate level, he became more proficient. Ultimately, as a university music teacher, he was responsible for teaching dictation skills (transcribing music by ear) to music students. Even today he very frequently uses his transcription skills to notate music from recordings for a variety of reasons, such as teaching a riff to a private student, or composing music to augment a client's recording.

If you are looking for someone to transcribe some music, contact JLA Music and explain what you need. We can quote you a price and turn your recorded music into beautiful published-quality notated music.

Pictured below is an example of what transcribed music might look like when it is completed by Jeff of JLA Music. It's also an example of the kind of work Jeff can do converting hand-written manuscripts into high-quality music editions. Jeff is helping promote and distribute the guitar music of Brazilian composer Ernst Mahle. While Dr. Mahle is completely capable of creating high-quality editions of his music (and has done so scores and scores of times - no pun intended), he is very busy composing, conducting, and teaching. Most of Dr. Mahle's guitar scores are notated beautifully in published-quality manuscript. Some of them, however, are hand written. After meeting Dr. Mahle and performing some of his music, Jeff received permission from Dr. Mahle to help disseminate his music by creating high-quality music editions of all of his guitar compositions. Pictured below is a page from Mahle's Concertino (2010) for guitar and strings, available at JLA Music's sister website,

Website and most graphics are created inhouse by Jeff Anvinson, Owner/Operator of JLA Music
Some graphics are purchased from Can Stock Photo, used by permission, and are Copyright © Can Stock Photo
JLA Music takes care not to infringe on anyone's rights. Please contact us at if you have questions.
Copyright 2023 © Jeffrey L Anvinson