In the process of analyzing musical elements of a work, one must direct one’s attention to such matters such as:
Song Form – Binary (A-B-A-B) , Linear (A-A-A), Open, Suite, etc. Dynamics – Such as: Soft/Loud (piano-forte), Rit., Performance Expression, Cresendo Decresendo, Articulations (, legato, staccato, etc.) (Music without dynamics or expressions can easily become sterile.) Time Signature/Meter – Look for consistencies or changes in meter, tempo, feel, musical style, anticipations/delay attacks etc. Harmonic Content – The harmonic progressions in a song can help re-enforce style, mood, support or contrast melodic movement, add interest to a song by use of modulations, chord substitutions, tensions, constant structure, use of modes and re-harmonizations. Melodic Content- Look for tones that are not common to the chord or scale. Often times the use of tensions exist within the melody. Also pay attention to repetitive melodic phrases. How often do they appear and when are ‘new’ melodic ideas introduced. Instrumentation- Combinations of instrumentation not only effect genre of music but also provide mood enhancement, aesthetics, alternate harmonic overtones, can help re-enforce melodic and lyrical content, and become an essential tool of the producer. Density & Linear Motion- Density in an arrangement denotes layer upon layer of sustaining parts such as chords played by a variety of instruments simultaneously. Linear Motion denotes independent movement of parts such as Counter Point, Line Writing, Rhythmic Independence, etc. Contrast & Blending- In an arrangement, contrast can manifest itself in many ways, i.e. pedal tones, rhythmic distinctions, melodic distinctions, etc. Blending is the process by which there are few or no distinctions, i.e. different melody lines from different instruments morphing into each other. Essential & Ornamental- When analyzing a production/arrangement, try to determine which elements are Essential to...
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