Orchestral Music Score Transcription

Our staff is capable of producing accurate Orchestral Music Score transcriptions from recorded material.

Score Transcription

Music Transcription is a two-step process.

The first phase, known as “takedown” in the jargon of the industry, involves pencil and paper and as many repeated listenings as it takes to transcribe individual parts accurately.

Takedown is billed as hourly work at $75/hr (in conformity with the Orchestrator’s rate sheet from Local 802-NY of the American Federation of Musicians).

The second phase is music copying (also known as ‘engraving’), consisting of the entry of the pencil transcription into music notation software, which can then output the score and the individual parts.

Billing RatesTranscribed Orchestral Music

Orchestral transcription has traditionally billed at double the orchestration rate (rather than the lower copying/engraving page rate). It’s painstaking work.

We actually enjoy this work, so we base our services on the Orchestration rate without the multiplier. Orchestration billing is based on the number of bars, as determined in the initial estimate using the factors of time and tempo. By determining the tempo using a metronome, and the time signature by listening to the music, we determine the likely total number of bars in the piece. The base rate we work from is 72¢/bar times the number of instrument staff lines, based on the Orchestration rate sheet. For more than 10 staff lines, the per-bar estimate rate is 60¢/bar.

Transcription time estimates vary depending on the density of the material. For orchestral material, a rule-of-thumb is one hour of transcription time per one minute of recorded music.

Please allow us to quote your next transcription project!

About Jon Burr

Staff Arranger Jon Burr is also the site administrator for arrangerforhire.com.

Active as a bassist, composer, and arranger since the beginning of his career, Jon's work has appeared on recordings by Chet Baker, Sir Roland Hanna, Mark O'Connor, Barry Miles, Arlyn Valencia, and many others. As a bassist he's performed or recorded with Tony Bennett, Stan Getz, Horace Silver, Stephane Grappelli, Mark O'Connor, Rita Moreno, Barbara Cook, Eartha Kitt, and many others.

Jon writes in a variety of styles, ensembles large and small, with experience in many instrumental configurations. You can hear his work on his websites jonburr.com and Jon Burr Quintet, and is receiving rave reviews from Arranger for Hire customers. His arranging reel is available on request (email us on using the site form). He also writes about cooking at The Improvising Chef.