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Quick Analysis of Timbre, Pitch, and Timing

15 January, 2016 - 09:13
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You will create your exploratory analysis by answering each of the questions in this outline as best you can. Remember that this is supposed to be a quick-rough-and-ready analysis. Your written answer should be a short, clear representation of what you are sure you know about the answer. For example, it's fine to simply write "major key" if you are sure it's in a major key, but not sure which major key. It's fine to write "typical rock band" as the answer to "what instruments are used," as long as you know what the instruments in a typical rock band are. If you know some of them, but are not sure of others, list the ones you do know, then write "I don't know the rest."

It is fine if the answer to any question is "I don't know." Do not guess at answers. Do not start looking up things that you don't know (yet). Do not spend a lot of time analyzing an aspect of the music that is difficult for you (yet). Those steps will happen after you have decided which aspects of the piece are most useful for you to understand. You can use any of the following resources to help you answer the questions, as long as it is quick and easy for you to use them:

  • Recordings of the piece: Listen to recordings of the piece as often and as carefully as you like.
  • Written versions of the piece, if they are available, and you can read the notation, and you do not want to focus on training yourself to analyze music by ear.
  • Your own instrument, if you can play through or figure out parts of the piece, and if that will help you understand it better.
  • Your own written or notated jottings, if you can create useful explanations and reminders about the elements of the piece, in words, formal notation, or your own made-up notation, while you listen to or play through the piece.