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How do you analyze a song?

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aknownymous | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 2, 2012 at 8:11 AM via web

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How do you analyze a song?

Tagged with analyze song, history, music

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 3, 2012 at 5:36 AM (Answer #1)

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"Analyzing" is an ambiguous word. To break into parts, to observe how its parts unction? It is particularly difficult when dealing with art, those creations whose existence is based on emotional rather than rational reactions -- if we compare it to the analysis of a mechanical creation, for example, we can see that the parts do not have a physically clear function -- to move a car, to provide energy from wind, etc. So the first in analysis of music is to give a name to our perception of the composer's motives -- to dance? to muse? to lament? to exalt? etc. Then the listener can "analyze" the parts to determine how the piece succeeds or fails.
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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 2, 2012 at 8:19 AM (Answer #2)

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This is a good question. There is no one way to analyze a song. So, there will be many different opinions. In light of this, let me give you some suggestions.

First, you can analyze a song in terms of its lyrics. If you go this route, then treat the song as poetry. You might consider the artistry of the words. Consider things like word order, rhyme, imagery, allusions, and the like. Closely looking at the words can be a very helpful and insightful.

Second, you can analyze the song in terms of it music. You will need to be someone who knows something about music, but this can be very fruitful as well. You might want to consider things like how the notes work together, the effectiveness of the crescendos and the like.

Finally, you might want to examine things like how the song make a person feel. This is, of course, subjective, but it can be helpful.

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