Analyzing Songs
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Old 26-11-2011, 01:54 AM   #1
Phyllotaxis
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Analyzing Songs

I've seen a number of people suggest analyzing pieces of music in the style that you would like to produce. I'm curious if there are any efficient ways to go about doing this. It sounded like some were doing it with pen and paper. If you've done this, how detailed were you? What kind of notation(s) did you use? How many listens did it generally take?

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Old 26-11-2011, 02:30 AM   #2
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Re: Analyzing Songs

there isn't really like... a set way to do this... just use your ears. Jam along with the song. think about the sounds present and how they might be made. write shit down if you want... or keep it all in your head. try to recreate it. learn the song and then arrange it in a different style. look at it through a spectral analyzer and play with an EQ to hear the different parts of the frequency range.

but in the end it just boils down to listening carefully and thinking about what you're hearing...

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Old 26-11-2011, 03:48 AM   #3
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Re: Analyzing Songs

This is what I do. It may or may not work for you or the music you dig.

in live I take the song to be dissected and throw that baby into arrangement view.

I then take a graph paper attitude towards it. I lay markers down every four to eight measures.

Using the markers(not warp marker), I cut up the song...so that I have a better understanding of the sample or sample loop.

These chunks are then taken to the Clip View

two things can happen for me hear.

if the sample is easy to read in terms of percussion and instruments, I count it out and trace the audio for each hit and notate that in the midi piano roll.

If I am having trouble making out sound due to complexity and vocals, I slice to a midi track.(I like this less)

Once I have the midi it is time to feed it into one of my grooveboxes(you can use a wide variety of vst's and ableton does this out the box)

Rhythm sections are selected and *developed* on the groovebox...and the midi extracted is also developed in respect to the genre that make you feel good.

in terms of melodix....chords and pads....I generally need to know when the chord or pad or melody is taking place...but at once I have that I take a chord from my hardware and juice the bassline and chords from that...but that is me I like to improvise on that...I am looking for the key that feels right for me.

There is no easy way to do this. The best advice I can give you is the 95% perspiration 5% inspiration rule of thumb.

When we start new or unfamiliar tasks it take your brain awhile to get your head around what you are doing and why you are doing it. It can feel uncomfortable as one would usually prefer to do something else.

The more you engage in the exercise things get easier and starts to feel more fluid.

month's go by and this once awkward exercise that you were engaging has become second nature and when a song fascinates you, you have a tool to find out *why* and then you can incorporate that into your creative endeavors.

best of luck

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Old 26-11-2011, 03:53 AM   #4
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Re: Analyzing Songs

you would be amazed at how you can be influenced and inspired without trying.

you want to analyse the track so you can make a track like it - with me if I put a playlist together of something like prog house or even a different genere listen to it a few times when im walking to uni or something it gets imbedded and you kind of know what its components are


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Old 26-11-2011, 06:59 AM   #5
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Re: Analyzing Songs

It depends on what you are trying to get out of it. ARe you interested in the overall form of the piece (sections, pacing, length of motives etc.) are you interested in melody and melodic development? Harmony? Sound design. Rhythm and rhythmic complexity?

All of these different elements can be analyzed individually or as a larger and more deep analytical exercise.

If you're just interested in form and pacing this can be done on one listen, by counting bars and marking down when things change. the mroe in depth analytical processes can take considerably longer, especially if you aren't well versed in hearing chords intervals and rhythms.

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Old 26-11-2011, 02:29 PM   #6
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Re: Analyzing Songs

I think using a pen and paper is a great idea. I listen to music all day at work (boring work, not even slightly music related) and semi-concentrate on what is going on. For the most part, I am just enjoying the music, but there are certain points of interest that I'm always on the look out for, and am ready with a pen and paper to jot them down. I personally look out for key changes/modulation, odd time signatures/changes, unusual harmonies, amongst other things.

If you're interested in a particular area, then I'd suggest you listen to and enjoy music as normal, but with a view to taking notes as and when necessary, rather than listening specifically to take notes.

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Old 27-11-2011, 11:17 AM   #7
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Re: Analyzing Songs

It really depends what you're looking to get from the analysis. In a word, yes analysis is important and really useful but blind analysis can be less waste of time.

For example if you're having problems in your own work, say you're having difficulty organising your material into a finished song once you have some generated, then analysing the structures of pieces of music you like and the way in which material is presented in these tracks is really all you need. As such those two things could be tackled without having to ever worry about finer details such as for example the harmonic structure of the work (if working with tonal music) or the sound design.

Analysis is one of those “How long is a piece of string?” things, you can go as far as you like; From searching for a specific things in which case you would only need a pen a paper, to more deeper analysis in which you would need the kind of detail described by koyote prime. The key thing to remember is to only go as far as you need. Analysing how a particular topic (i.e. the one that is troubling you) is handled across a large number of tracks is much more beneficial than deeply examining a handful of track to the nth degree without any particular motivation.

You have limited time and there are a huge number of tracks available in the world to analyse, the central idea is to get what you need quickly then move on. This might mean having to listen to a track only once or twice if looking to examine something like structure or indeed a great many times, if looking to understand how a particular sound was created. Again to re-iterate my initial point, it really depends.

I know it can sound quite daunting but if you analyse say 5 or 10 tracks, even for just one or two specific things, you should start to see similarities in the way things are approached by the composers you like and as such you should be able to draw conclusions about how you proceed in your own works. When you’ve gotten to the point that you can draw such conclusions across a range of topic (i.e. sound design, the manipulation of figure and ground, mixing, structure, complexity, number of themes, drum programming, the development of ideas and so on) then you should start to see huge improvements in your music. Hope this helps, any more questions on this, let us know!
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Old 24-01-2012, 04:43 PM   #8
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Re: Analyzing Songs

Hello everybody,

Music analysis and listening are to me the best way to understand and handle music composition and interpretation. Understanding how the music is made in terms of melody, harmony, structure, orchestration & sound is very helpful to musicians, whatever the style is.

A few years ago I had the idea to apply the classical music analysis techniques to pop songs and film music. I did it for a few pieces because many musicians needed to have a kind of "serious" analysis in order to understand better the way professional songwriters and soundtrack creators worked.

If interested, You will find here son [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
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enjoy !
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Old 25-01-2012, 02:20 AM   #9
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Re: Analyzing Songs

really good analysis there.
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Old 20-02-2012, 12:46 PM   #10
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Re: Analyzing Songs

I haven't ever really analyzed music in any traditional way. Somewhat I would go as far as considering myself an "anti-(over)analyst", because I generally don't like the principle about "genre rules", theories and suchs. But about the analyzing part it's of course not quite true.. 'cause when I hear my own music, I can clearly recognize my inspiration from the genres I listen to a lot. I guess it's a naturaI and subconscious thing that happens.
I analyze a lot with my feelings, and the process which goes from listening and getting inspired and 'till I'm actually doing some of my own, always contains a hell lot of thoughts and considerings.

Basically I'll not recommend any special method of analyzing, except from the one that works for you and doesn't get too boring in the long run. There are no right or wrong ways. Personally it almost came all by itself when I started to produce my own music. The more I got to know about compositions and tools, the more I started to notice how other people did their stuff, whenever I listened to a song.. How they got to the results I liked, through other producing techniques and such.
I can't tell you how many listenings it have taken. Sometimes I can listen to a track a hundred times before really noticing (and appreciating!) some minor detail that suddenly rocks my world.
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Old 20-02-2012, 02:36 PM   #11
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Re: Analyzing Songs

not sure , beside arrangement i dont do that much , and even when its that , i just look to the wav form , sometime i try to recreate a sound that interested me by figuring out if ther's layers in wich Eq context it was added ect ... , but thats rather sound analysis rather than music/songs , am usually against set rules ( copy/past results ) , but you can learn a lot for sure

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Old 29-02-2012, 07:15 AM   #12
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Re: Analyzing Songs

While listening to the track you are analyzing take paper and draw a time line in bars and time. As you listen write down whenever something changes or is added at each marker. This is a good way to learn how to arrange your music. Then try to recreate what you wrote down with your own work.
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Old 29-02-2012, 12:11 PM   #13
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Re: Analyzing Songs

I don't like anal.

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Old 25-04-2012, 10:03 PM   #14
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Re: Analyzing Songs

I would rather analyze it with a frequency analyzer
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Old 26-04-2012, 07:07 AM   #15
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Re: Analyzing Songs

Quote:
Originally Posted by StereoStatik View Post
While listening to the track you are analyzing take paper and draw a time line in bars and time. As you listen write down whenever something changes or is added at each marker. This is a good way to learn how to arrange your music. Then try to recreate what you wrote down with your own work.
I like the way that you mentioned here for the song analyzing and its really good for those also who are not having electrical analyzer.

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