The importance of analyzing songs for a singer

By November 7, 2018 No Comments

By Chris Glyde

When it comes to vocals, for some reason, the standard of what’s expected of them is significantly different than most instruments. I assume this came from the image of the singer who goes around partying all the time. Anyway, if you have a desire to improve upon your craft then this article is for you.

One of the most important things you can do as a singer is to analyze the works of others. This requires many different steps such as:

  1. Form
  2. Melodies
  3. Harmonies
  4. Rhythm of the Phrases

1) Form:

Obviously, certain genres rely on different rhythmic schemes and rhyming schemes. It’s important that you spend time with your favorite music and diagnose how they build tension lyrically. Honestly, this is a lost art.

If you’re unsure what exactly I’m talking about then I would suggest you look into some writing choruses by Pat Pattison. It’s very similar to the English prose, but not exactly, as the melody plays a role.

Word choice is also important within different genres, country singers obviously talk about tractors, girls in tight blue jean, and ice-cold beers. Metal guys would be more likely to sing about bones or something more aggressive. I feel this aspect is a little more intuitive though and doesn’t need to be looked at as closely as the rhythm and rhyming schemes of the lyrics.

2) Melodies:

Melody is probably the most important aspect of music for a vocalist. By analyzing melodies of other hits or songs you enjoy you can begin to understand why you enjoy them. It helps if you have a background in another instrument, so you can understand the harmonies being played below the melody. Even if you don’t have this skill, you’ll still find yourself able to see how the notes the singer sings relate to each other. There is a relationship between all the notes played at the same time (harmony and melody), but also a relationship between all the notes next to each other (melody and melody, harmony and harmony). When you analyze these melodies you’ll begin to notice patterns you never noticed before.

3) Harmonies:

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to all songs you’re analyzing, but many groups/works of music will have multiple singers in it. I bet you’ve heard a song where a second vocal line or singer comes in over top the original and it sounded great. Awesome! Take that song section, break it down, and figure out why it sounded so good. Then reuse similar tools in your own music.

4) Rhythm

We already addressed part of the rhythm in the lyric section of this article. The second part of rhythm is how each line is delivered over the measures of music. In order to really analyze this you’re going to need to understand rhythmic notation and be able to read music. That being said, every genre and artist has special rhythmic quirks they use in their music. Break down the songs you like in your favorite genre and you’ll have a way to become a much better writer.


About The Author:
Chris Glyde Is a vocal coach based in Rochester,  New York. If you’re looking for great advice or would like to let me know how this article helped you contact me at through my website.