10 April 2005

Transcription: "Starship Trooper" by Yes

I finished the transcription last Tuesday and have made a few minor changes over the past few day as I've been practicing it. Here are the MIDI and MUS files. I need to buy the upgrade to Allegro so that I can save the sheet music to PDF.

My scribbled notes on the manuscript say I began on the 24th, so it took about two weeks to complete. Much of it came very naturally and practically wrote itself. The most difficult section, and most of the effort, was the instrumental crescendo in part III. Three chords repeated and strummed over a three-minute period doesn't offer much to a pianist trying to get the same effect across. I'm happy with the results. I'm still not sure about the ending and how I've solved the issue of the fade cadence, but I think with the right pedalling it will work out.

I'm shooting to get a recording done in the next week or so.

[ updated 28 Feb 2006 ]

There's unfortunately a shortage of transcriptions online, so I'd like to emphasize to anyone looking at mine that I took many liberties to arrange it for piano. I've added too many variations for anyone interested in studying the source or playing along with the album. The most prominent alterations are:

  • The turn at the end of the first measure is a scale step higher than recorded. I wanted to use it against a IV-V harmonization.
  • The chords in the "Disillusion" section are slightly different than recorded. I changed the voicing to fit the hands better while still trying to mimic guitar finger picking on the piano.
  • The harmonized vocalizations at the end of "Disillusion" (at the point the first theme returns) are reduced to octaves in the right hand.
  • Several of the ornaments in the final guitar solo are removed, and the deuling guitars in the stereo recording are changed to swapping between the hands and registers.
  • Throughout, strumming and drum figures are replaced with arpeggios and runs that are not in the original.

Overall, the most prominent bass lines have been retained as has, what I value most in the song, its structure. If you want the keyboard solo from Yessongs, Ian below has kindly offered up his version. For more information, you might want to search Steve Howe's site for references to "Starship Trooper." I haven't been able to find any other information on Wakeman's solo.

[ posted by sstrader on 10 April 2005 at 12:38:07 PM in Music | tagged yes ]