I've read alot about how analyzing songs can really help your comprehension of music and your songwriting. How do you go about doing this? Do you just find the key of the song and how the chord progression works in that key? Im kind of lost on how to do this but I would like to try it. If someone could explain how they analyze songs that would be good, also an example would be even better.


Flow of soul
look at every instrument evrey note every timing watch it in your head and feel the way the song flows
ya, look at the chord progression, especially the chord voicings and how the lead licks are put together.
Quote by -SpasticInk-
look at every instrument evrey note every timing watch it in your head and feel the way the song flows
What? I'm sorry but I dont understand.


Some people will analyse the phrases, as in finding phrase ends and starts in each melody and describing each phrase and what intervals it uses. You might also want to list each phrase as either an A, B, C or developing phrase and describe the contour of the phrase (does it arch, does it look like a slope). Maybe even the range of the phrase. You should try to determine which phrase is the most important phrase.

Some guys analyse counterpoint, as in what harmonic intervals are used with other harmonic intervals and their combination with melodic intervals.

If your analysing in an improvising context you will look at each chord, its function in the progression, and use logics and theory to determine what scale/mode to use over it.

If your analysing progressions, you would look at what each chord is doing to the progression, what is its function, how does it lead to other chords, maybe some voice leading?

Other times guys will analyse solos, which is sort of similar to the first way but your focussing more on licks and the intervals/rhthym of that lick.

Maybe you might want to analyse rhthym, which would probably be just finding the main beats and finding the key signature, maybe check if theres some polyrhthym used?

I dunno, theres probably a million other ways, but those are just the ones I've found people do. It's a pretty damn broad topic.
Chord progression, voice leading, motivic/thematic development, modulation/key relationships, rhythm and orchestration are what you would probably be most interested in when you analyze a piece. There are more specifics, but most of that falls under motivic development.
Same way that you read and learn to understand the structure of a novel and where to put whats what. Listen and pick apart each instrument and how they work with the other instruments. Learn how some lay low while another plays a more complicated riff and then they come together after and join in. Listen to what the drums are playing for timings and how they hold the backbone of the band together etc. Also listen to wide variety of music and styles, very important.
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Firstly, I would find out the overall structure of the piece.
Is it Rondo? 12 bar blues? Verse, Bridge, Chorus etc.

Next i would look into what instruments are being used (this doesn't have to come next, but it can be useful). Guitar, bass, drums, vocals? String quartet?

I would then find the tonal center (key) of the piece and the different sections.

Then the chord progressions and rhythms.

Then how the melodies (Solos, Vocal lines) work over the chords.

I expect you can analyze it further than this. But I'd say that covers the basics

EDIT: Looking into the dynamics of the piece can be useful too. Points where it is louder, quieter etc
Last edited by bigmanwithanaxe at Aug 10, 2008,
find the chord progression and work out the key.

btw for each key there is a three chord trick, to work it out you use the key chord (lets use C Major for this example) and you count up to the fourth and fifth notes in the key (which is F and G in this example) and there it is (also you can add in the sixth (Am in this example))