Songwriting Analyzing a song

To become a better songwriter and/or producer you simply must practice a lot. But to find out where you need to improve your skills, you need feedback. Therefore, regularly ask for the opinion of someone you respect in the music field about the songs you are making. You don’t have to take everything lightly but take a critical look at yourself and your own work. But it can also be very educational the other way around; listen to some of your favorite artists and analyze their songs. Why are they so good? If you analyze them well, you can extract a lot of information that you can use to get better at songwriting yourself. That is why we regularly analyze songs at the Wisseloord Academy. So, what can you pay attention to?

Song structure

First the structure. What does the song look like (in general)? How long are the verses relative to the chorus? Is a pre-chorus used? And if so, in what way? Is there a bridge in the song? Is there an instrumental bridging or a post-chorus? Put this on paper in as much detail as possible in a chronological order.

Lyrics

Once you have determined the structure, you can start analyzing the lyrics. What is the story and how is it told? What is the function of the verses; is there a situation that is described or a question asked? And is the chorus to this perhaps the answer or consequence? Try to determine the function of the lyrics per part of the structure. Also look at what language is used. For example, is it straightforward or very cryptically written?

Melody

Again, distinguish between the different parts of the song and determine what the differences are per part. The melody roughly consists of three parts; intervals (the musical distance between two notes), the rhythm and note lengths. These will probably vary per part of the structure, just take a look.

Package

Last but not least; the arrangement, or the music. Often there are noticeable differences between, for example, the verses and the chorus. For example, the arrangement is ‘smaller’ and ‘calmer’ in the verses and ‘fuller’ and ‘more exuberant’ in the chorus. At least, in most cases, there are always exceptions. Also analyze this for the selected song.

In the end, this is how you analyzed a song. Do this with several more and see if there are any similarities. Draw your conclusions from this and see what you can possibly apply in your own music.

To read more about Songwriting and how to improve the process of developing, creating and refining recorded music visit our knowledge base page about Songwriting.

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