As an introduction we want to say that analyzes of musical works are regularly written by experts and students of musical educational institutions; these are examples of ideal analyzes. But the analysis can also be done by an unprofessional, in which case the subjective impressions of the reviewer will prevail. Let’s consider the content of both professional and amateur analysis of musical works, including examples.
In the center of the analysis of a musical work can be:
- a separate melody;
- part of a musical work;
- a concert of music, such as piano, violin, and others;
- solo or choral music composition;
- music created with traditional instruments or completely new gadgets.
In general, you can analyze everything that sounds, but it is important to remember that the object greatly influences the content aspect.
A little bit about professional analysis
It is very difficult to professionally analyze the work because such analysis requires not only a sound theoretical base but also the presence of a musical ear, the ability to feel all the shades of music. There is a discipline that is called “Analysis of musical works that is played by famous singers.”
Mandatory components for this type of analysis: musical genre; type of genre (if any); style; musical form and system of means of expression (motives, metric structure, mode, tonality, texture, timbres, whether there are repetitions of individual parts, why they are needed, etc.); musical thematic; the characteristic of the created musical image; the functions of the components of the musical composition; determination of the unity of the content and form of the musical structure.
To characterize the named components will not work without knowledge and understanding of the typical patterns of musical works and structures. During the analysis, it is important to pay attention to the pros and cons from a theoretical perspective.
The features of amateur reviews
An amateur review is a hundred times lighter than a professional one, but even such an analysis requires from the author at least elementary knowledge of music, its history, and current trends.
Let us name the elements that can be used to write an analysis:
- genre and style (classical, jazz, rap, baroque, piano melody, etc.);
- a little about the artist;
- objective comparison with other compositions;
- the content of the composition, especially its transfer;
- means of expression that a composer or a singer uses (it can be a game with texture, melody, genres, a combination of contrasts, etc.);
- what impression, mood, emotions cause the product.
In the last paragraph, we can talk about impressions from the first listening and from repeated ones. It is very important to approach the analysis impartially, fairly evaluating the pros and cons. Do not forget that what seems like dignity to you, may seem like a terrible disadvantage to another.
Examples of typical mistakes of amateurs
If a professional pass everything through the “glasses” of the theory, a solid knowledge of the history of music, features of styles, then amateurs try to impose their point of view, and this is the first blunder.
When you write a journalistic review of a piece of music, show your point of view, but do not “hang it on the neck” of others, just arouse their interest. Let them listen and appreciate. An example of a typical mistake number 2 is a comparison of the album (song) of a particular artist with his previous creations.
The grief-reviewer writes that the composition is worse than masterpieces from collections published earlier or a copy of works from them. This conclusion is very easy to make, but it has no price. It is better to write about music (mood, what tools are involved, style and the like), text, how they are combined. The third place is taken by another big mistake – overflow analysis with biographical information about the artist (composer) or style features (no, not the composition, but in general, for example, a whole theoretical block about classicism). This is just filling the place, you see, if someone needs a biography, they will look for it in other sources; the review is not intended for this at all.
Some tips for good critical analysis
First, you need to listen to the song, completely immersed in it carefully. Next, we determine what we need to know from theory for a full qualitative rhetorical analysis. It is important to draw up a plan of analysis, indicating in it the necessary concepts and aspects for an objective characterization (this applies to both amateurs and students who require professional analysis).
Students of musical educational institutions in the first courses are quite difficult to write a full analysis; it is desirable to pay more attention to the lighter components of the analysis.
As a conclusion, we want to mention: do not try to make a comparative analysis; if you do not focus on the trends and features of the music of a certain period, otherwise, you risk shining with ridiculous mistakes. And instead of the final phrase, we will give you universal advice. If you are applying for professional analysis, try to give a full answer to the question: “How is it done?”, And if amateur: “Why is it worth listening to a song and knowing different rhythmic techniques?”