#1
How exactly do I ANALYZE music? Do I just take the sheet music and find out the key or something?

What's the proper way to analyze?


Thanks,
#2
Just figure out what does what and why it does it. If a part of a piece sounds particularly happy or sad or interesting, just break it down to see what makes it feel that way. What's the progression? What tones are being outlined? Where does the tune resolve and how does that relate to the notes and chords chosen? Is the timing just straight 4/4 quarter notes, up-beat eighth notes, triplets, what in general is going on? How does this relate to similar pieces and what ties those pieces together? Are there instruments other than guitar/bass/drums being used? Why?

It's just one of those things where a lot of it seems common sense, but over time little things will stand out more and more and you'll be able to make distinctions easily. It's hard to really explain what makes one piece different from another at first, but acquiring the ability to at least distinguish minor differences for yourself is incredibly useful, particularly if you plan on being a session/studio musician who has to handle a lot of different types of music.
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#3
think of analyzing music as you would finding a proof for a math problem. you know the math problem is what it is, but now you're looking to see why. When you analyze a piece of music, you are looking to see what makes it tick. Some things you could look for would be key, chord progression, or harmonies. I tend to play alot of jazz tunes, so I look specifically for the chord changes so I know what key I'm in when I need to solo. After that, I look for why they work, any chords I can substitute, and overall how the piece works as a whole.

Analyzing a piece of music can be either a fun way to understand more about it, or a way to use all your theory knowledge to essentially break down every part until it doesnt look like music anymore.
My Gear:
Gibson Faded Flying V
"Dante's Inferno" Iceman
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112
etc.




Quote by freedoms_stain
I can't imagine anything worse than shagging to Mark Knopfler.

Maybe shagging Mark Knopfler, but that's about it.
#4
Tonality: What key is it in? What modulations are there? Is there a key?

Rhythm: What are some rhythmic motifs, what duration of notes are being used at different points? What's the harmonic rhythm?

Harmony: What are the chord progressions? Are there inversions? extended chords? harmonic decoration? sequences? Chromaticism? Where are the cadences? What effect do these have on the music?

Tempo: What's the tempo? Are there any tempo changes? what to the tempo changes add to the piece?

Dynamics: How are dynamics used in the piece? Are there any crescendos/diminuendos? How do these relate to the music?

Structure: What is the structure? Are any sections repeated? Is there a form?

Instrumentation: What group of instruments are playing? are they playing all the time? How is interest generated from changes in instrumentation?

Timbre: What's the timbre of the instruments? how are they playing?

Melody: What's the melody like? Is it fast/slow? What length are the phrases? How does it develop rhythmic and melodic motifs? What sort of melodic decoration is being used? What's the tessitura (range) of the melody?

Texture: What's the texture of the piece? Are there any changes of texture? What effect do these have on the music?

My basic format for analyzing music.
Last edited by griffRG7321 at Aug 21, 2011,
#5
I think I have got a fair idea of how to do it.
Thanks guys!!


One more thing, do you LISTEN and analyze or look at the sheet music and then analyze?
Last edited by MaddMann274 at Aug 21, 2011,
#7
Quote by MaddMann274
I think I have got a fair idea of how to do it.
Thanks guys!!


One more thing, do you LISTEN and analyze or look at the sheet music and then analyze?

I'd say both help. You cant understand how a song sounds without hearing it in some form. Sheet helps by showing what instruments are playing when, and with what notes, etc
Schecter C-1 Classic in Seethru blue <333
Schecter Damien FR
Roland AC-60 acoustic amp
Boss GE-7 EQ
Line6 Ubermetal Distortion
Sigma Dx Acoustic
#8
Quote by MaddMann274

One more thing, do you LISTEN and analyze or look at the sheet music and then analyze?


I don't think you can really analyze music if you don't understand how to hear various things - if you can't recognize major chord voicings bye ear, if you don't have an aural understanding of what the different scale degrees (and their harmonized chords) mean.

But certainly if you have the basics down looking a the score can help you figure it out.
#9
Quote by HotspurJr
I don't think you can really analyze music if you don't understand how to hear various things - if you can't recognize major chord voicings bye ear, if you don't have an aural understanding of what the different scale degrees (and their harmonized chords) mean.

But certainly if you have the basics down looking a the score can help you figure it out.

This pretty much. You want to know what things sound like. Analyzing sheet music without knowing what it sounds like is useless.
E:-6
B:-0
G:-5
D:-6
A:-0
E:-3
#10
Focus especially on the topic you're currently studying: if you are learning about functional harmony, see where the composer placed cadences, introduced various pre-dominants, etc. It will give powerful reinforcement to your studies.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#11
It's a massive subject. All I can say as a guideline is 'try to explain the musical effects you hear in terms of theory'.

In other words, listen to a piece of music and identify what things in it are novel to you, or which you like, and any interesting effects that you want to understand how they've been achieved.

This will focus your analysis.
#12
Quote by Flibo
This pretty much. You want to know what things sound like. Analyzing sheet music without knowing what it sounds like is useless.


I would say if you can read it you ought to be able to play it. But that aside, there is value in analysing sheet music as it can be done away from the instrument and is just as valid. Sheet music is a visual way of seeing the relationships and movements between notes and chords whilst analysing. This assumes you already know how the piece sounds but then there is not much benefit to analysing a piece of music you have never heard just for the sake of analysing it.
Andy
#13
Theory is more then learning about what is in the piece of music. We can hear what is in the song by listening to it, so just applying a name to what you hear (ie, that this is a V chord or this is an E major chord) is not very interesting.

The more interesting question is why does this piece of music work this way. This forces you not just to apply theoretical names to what you hear, but also to connect them in a meaningful way in order to discover something about the piece of music itself. As every piece of music works differently, there's no definite answer to how to go about discovering this. But I think it is definately worth keeping this in mind, as I feel like this aspect of analysis often goes unnoticed.

I hate to self-promote, but a while ago, someone asked about Codas, so I posted a lengthy analysis of a Mozart Sonata that uses Codas. All of it was done with very little observations about the harmonic structure of the piece, (because I wanted to do something besides just a "name that chord" analysis). Here 'tis. https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1471025

As you can see, I tried to create a narrative that showed why Mozart made the decisions he made within the work, and why these decisions contributed to the overall effect of the piece. Those are the interesting types of analysis.