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-Turntable Transcription Methodology- by John Carluccio

  • Location: CASSIOPEIA / Berlin
  • Symposium: 2022
  • Event: Sample Music Festival
  • Topic: Scratching

In 1997, while filming the turntablist collective The X-ecutioners in their first studio sessions (“X-impressions“, Asphodel Records), documentary filmmaker John Carluccio found himself struggling to communicate an idea he had for a turntablist team routine. Drawing on his background in architecture and media, he instinctively began to scribble down a variety of line patterns to convey his idea to the turntablists. Though improvised, the intuitiveness of his approach immediately enabled him to communicate accurately. The effectiveness of this first notation encouraged John to pursue the idea of graphically representing turntable-based music.

In many conversations with turntablists including DJs Apollo, Rob Swift, Babu, and Q-bert, John has been inspired by shared visions of a day when a tool or method could offer DJs a greater capacity for orchestration. John began to share his scratch notation system with DJ colleagues and by early 1998 music and tech magazines began to document and report on the design of Carluccio’s DJ transcription system.

In 1998 John collaborated with industrial designer Ethan Imboden, to develop and refine the system. Then in late 1999, Ethan and John brought in a third team member, Ray “DJ Raedawn” Pirtle, a dedicated student of turntablism who had been independently developing a similar transcription method with a focus on complex scratches. The Turntablist Transcription Methodology (TTM) vol 1.0 booklet released in 2000 and was the result of that trio’s collaboration.

The TTM booklet has been downloaded, shared, and translated into Italian, French, Spanish as created by turntablist fans and enthusiasts. In 2001. In 2004, Scratch Magazine featured TTM in a reoccurring column that explained iconic hip-hop scratch patterns.

In this lecture Battle Sounds director John Carluccio discusses the invention of the Turntablist Transcription Methodology (TTM) at the Sample Music Festival in Berlin, Germany in July 2022. 25 years after making his first turntablist music sketches, Carluccio describes his journey with DJ notation and the optimistic future of the new Sxratch software.

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