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How to analyze a song?

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I’m sure that many of you have experienced a similar problem to what I am about to describe. You get a track going. Start off with a drum loop, add some synths, maybe a bit of a melody.. You get a wicked 8 bar loop going and it seems to end there. There is something stopping you from developing the idea into a full song.

The way I got through that hurdle, or I should say, I’m still trying to get through this hurdle, is listening to songs I like by other artists. Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Then sit down and listen to a track. I mean really listen. First, try to get an idea of what the general structure is. Write down whatever it is.
Then  try to figure out how all of the instruments are interacting. Listen to the song more than once if you must. However many times necessary.

Notice what is happening between the different sections of the song. How are the instruments getting from one part to the next? Is there something happening that makes the transitions clear? Or are the transitions smooth?
Observe how the song develops. Write down the order in which the instruments come in. Do they fade in? Do they just start?

The important lesson here is not to copy. Try to do what I’ve described to as many songs as you can. One song a day perhaps? One every second day? Whatever works for you.

By observing how other artists develop their musical ideas, you will learn how to develop your own, and hopefully it’ll help you get out of the 8 bar loop and into finished song territory.

Hope it helps,

Major Shake


Written by majorshake

April 14, 2011 at 11:00 am

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