Transcription bank: Sam Duffy

Where the transcript was published

Duffy, S., & Healey, P. G. T. (2013). Using Music as a Turn in Conversation in a Lesson. In Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2231–2236). Berlin: Cognitive Science Society.

How the transcript was made

Video footage from a one-to-one clarinet lesson was analysed and coded by hand using ELAN (Brugman, 2004). Transcripts were then exported into Microsoft Word for final formatting and inclusion of specific symbols.   Translating these transcripts into LaTex for publication has been a challenge since many of the symbols come from different packages and these have to function inside a verbatim environment to allow for control over line and word spacing.

Rationale for the design    

It is surprising how few authors looking at interaction in a musical context attempt to represent the musical sounds produced. When they do, one approach is to use musical notation to locate activity on a musical timeline, for example Figure 1 (Holck, 2007).



Figure 1 Extract from a transcript using musical notation. English translation used with permission Holck and Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

However this transcript presentation is less meaningful for those who do not read music and does not necessarily draw out the interaction features that a conversation analyst would be interested in. In applying the rules of conversation analysis to musical utterances, our notation needs to be comprehensible to those who are used to working with transcripts, whilst being able to capture the interactionally relevant aspects of music production.

A system of notation was devised with two main aims: to make representation of the music understandable for both musicians and non-musicians, and make it possible for a written transcript to convey the full interaction, whether utterances were verbal or musical. The starting point was established notation for conversational analysis as shown in Figure 2 (Sacks, Schegloff, & Jefferson, 1974). This was adapted to produce notation for musical sounds as shown in Figure 3 (Sam Duffy & Healey, 2013).


Figure 2 Conversation analysis notation.


Figure 3 Notation devised to represent musical sounds.

This allows us to analyse and document a musical exchange using a combination of the musical score and our adapted transcript notation, as shown in Figures 4 and 5 (Sam Duffy & Healey, 2013).


Figure 4 Bars 118-120 Clarinet Sonata in Eb Major Mvmt IV Publisher Durand, 1921. Plate D. & F. 10,063, Paris.


Figure 5 “The tutor delays interruption”

Purpose of the transcripts

Our aim was to investigate the interplay between musical contributions and verbal interaction used by student and tutor in instrumental music lessons. In particular to examine further the possibility that the musical contributions are organised in a similar way to conversation turns.

Other issues

This work has developed to include comparison with remote music lessons mediated by video conference (S Duffy et al., 2012). There is a requirement to be able to show each participant’s direction of gaze in real time and in the correct place in the dialogue. A script has been developed using Processing ( which visualises transcripts exported from ELAN to facilitate this analysis. This is very much a work in progress at this stage but is becoming a useful tool.

Duffy sketch_dialogue_gaze_gestureReferences

Brugman, H. (2004). Annotating multimedia/multi-modal resources with ELAN. In In Proceedings Fourth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation. Portugal.

Duffy, S., & Healey, P. G. T. (2013). Using Music as a Turn in Conversation in a Lesson. In Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2231–2236). Berlin: Cognitive Science Society.

Duffy, S., Williams, D., Stevens, T., Kegel, I., Jansen, J., Cesar, P., & Healey, P. G. T. (2012). Remote Music Tuition. In Proceedings of 9th Sound and Music Computing Conference (pp. 333–338). Copenhagen.

Holck, U. (2007). An Ethnographic Descriptive Approach to Video Microanalysis. In T. Wosch & T. Wigram (Eds.), Microanalysis in Music Therapy: Methods, Techniques and Applications for Clinicians, Researchers, Educators and Students. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. A., & Jefferson, G. (1974). A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language, 50(4), 696–735.