Turntablist Transcription Methodology

This section deals with turntablism notation. The Turntablist Transcription Methodology (TTM) is one of a few scratch-notation systems that have been invented. I have found that the TTM is best suitable as a visual aid when talking (or writing) about turntablism. I will not dwell upon it too much as it can get too complex. For a thorough explanation of the TTM visit http://www.ttmethod.com/

The basics of TTM

Figure 4 shows how time-signature can be read from the TTM staff. The staff used here consists of 4 beats, this time signature is typically used in hip-hop.

TTM Time Signature

FIgure 4 - TTM Time Signature

You can write down your scratch movements by drawing lines in the staff. A forward movement of the record is indicated by a line with an upward slope, a backward movement is indicated by a downward slope. Figure 5 shows two scratches which are done with a forward movement.

Figure 5 - TTM forward movement and different speeds

Figure 5 - TTM forward movement and different speeds

The sound being used can be written in the ‘sample line’. A 45 degrees slope of the drawn line indicates normal speed of the record and normal pitch of the sample being played. A less steep slope indicates slower movement and lower pitch (example in fig.5). Naturally a steeper slope stands for higher speed of the movement and higher pitch of the sound (example in fig.6).

Figure 6 -  TTM holding and backward movement

Figure 6 - TTM holding and backward movement

As illustrated in figure 6, a horizontal line stands for no record movement, in effect you hold the record. Figure 6 also shows a backwards movement, indicated by the downward slope.

As scratching doesn’t consist of record movement alone, you need a way to write down fader movement as well. Basically where the line is visible a sound can be heard, all the missing parts are nothing but silence (fig.7). These short silences, or clicks, are created by using a fader on the mixer.

FIgure 7 - TTM Click Notation

Figure 7 - TTM Click Notation

Figure 7 shows how small dots are used to indicate clicks. The 1st and the 2nd beat would sound exactly the same as the 3rd and the 4th one.

One aspect of scratching that is easier to grasp with visual aids is the concept of the ‘ghost’ click. This click occurs when the record changes direction. Figure 8 points out where this click can be found.

Figure 8 - TTM Ghost Click

Figure 8 - TTM Ghost Click

Transcribe your scratches and more

Above is a short introduction to Turntablist Transcription Methodology. If this has gotten you curious for more visit http://www.ttmethod.com/ and check out the rest of the terminology as well.

If you’re interested in transcribing your own scratches and cuts, it is worth taking a look at Johhny1Move’s Turntable Transciption Method String Language (TTSL). Through a nifty flash app you can create your own scratch notation. Here is an example I made, this is a combo of a crescent flare and a 3-click orbit:

Crescent Flare 3-Clicker Combo

Crescent Flare 3-Clicker Combo

Here’s a peak at the app:

Turntable Transcription String Language Flash Application

Turntable Transcription String Language Flash Application

If you want to contribute to the database or create some transcriptions of your own, get in touch with Johnny1Move. Alternatively hit me up at machiel (AT) skratchamental.com.

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