How To Describe A Music Composition

Charlie K    |

When it comes down to describing music, there are three main components that make up most of what people listen to- rhythm, melody, and structure. These terms seem pretty straightforward, but some use them differently depending on how they describe music.

Music theory is an excellent way to know the exact definitions for these terms. However, using concepts like intervals and scales can get very complicated quickly. That’s why this article will give you simple ways to identify each one of these important components in any song!

This article will also go into detail about how different musicians use rhythm, melody, and structure to create songs. By understanding the nuances of how composers organize their ideas, you will be able to pick up tricks and contribute to your own musical repertoire.

Organize your descriptions into themes

The first important thing to do is organize your description of the music into thematic points. A theme is like a key concept that helps link together different parts of the song or piece.

Themes can be described in three ways: by what it is, what part of the song it is (like the main chord), or how it’s structured.

When describing the former, make sure to include which notes are used for the theme and describe their tone and intensity. When describing the latter, think about the rhythm and pattern of the theme as well as how many cycles it has.

Group similar descriptions into genres

how to describe a music composition

A music genre is an area of classification that covers a wide range of songs with similarities in structure, tone, or both. Technically, a genre can be defined as “A group of artists or musicians of the same style” but this doesn’t really help when it comes to identifying what styles are available for you to choose from.

Instead, think about it like the movie genre. Before movies had soundtracks, every story was represented by one specific type of scene — a conversation between two people, a fight, etc. As time went on, people began adding sounds to match those scenes so that viewers could more easily relate to the film.

Music follows a similar pattern. Certain melodies, rhythms, and/or introductions are common markers that identify a song as belonging to a particular genre.

The most difficult part? Figuring out which areas of the song belong to the genre and which don’t! Luckily, there are some easy ways to describe a musical piece and determine its genre using formal rules. Read on to learn how.

Combine genres into subgenres

how to describe a music composition

As mentioned before, describing a music composition is not as simple as just giving its genre and then describing the parts of it. Doing so would be very broad and vague!

Instead, describe the components of the song, and what genre they belong to. For example, when describing a track that has drums, bass, guitar, piano, and vocals, describe which ones you could identify the song as having and what genre those pieces belong to.

For instance, if the song had some sort of acoustic guitar piece in it, describe whether it was rhythmically steady or more syncopated, how many chords there were, etc.

Then, describe the transitions between each element (for example, the drum beat changing or the chord moving from major to minor).

These types of descriptions are much better than saying the song has a bass line, a melody, and lyrics.

Use terms such as rhythm, melody, harmony, and beat

how to describe a music composition

In music theory, you will often come across terms that describe how a piece of music is structured. These are referred to as metrics or features of the song. Some of these concepts are more important than others in defining what part of the song people will listen to and understand.

There are five main terms used to describe the structure of a musical composition: rhythm, meter, melodic line, chord progression, and bassline. All five can be applied to any type of music, from classical to jazz to hip hop to techno.

This article will discuss all five of these components in depth and how to use them to effectively describe a new song.

Make use of adjectives and adverbs

how to describe a music composition

In music, there are two main tools used to describe what part of the composition is. These are called adjectives and adverbs. Adjectives help make your description more descriptive, while adverbs emphasize tone or how loud something is.

Some examples of using both types of descriptors in music include describing an instrument as “sounding good” or “having a strong sound.” Or saying that a song has a peaceful feel- even though it may be very rhythmically active.

By defining parts of a musical piece, you give context to what is being listened to and understand the pieces better.

Provide descriptive details

how to describe a music composition

As we already mentioned, developing your writing skills is an ever-evolving process that can always help you grow.
Description are what make up the majority of content on the internet, so improving your ability to describe things is very important!

Descriptions add flavor and texture to written material, which helps to enhance the overall experience for readers. If there’s one thing people look to in entertainment media, it’s descriptions of experiences or events.

They want to know how something made someone else feel, or at least what tone and style the writer used when describing the event.

So why not apply that mentality to music?

By being more detail oriented with your songwriting, you will reap the benefits in the form of wordy, interesting posts on various music discussion boards and sites. Your followers and watchers will also appreciate the extra touches done to the songs you upload.

There’s almost no reason to sound like a robot when describing a song unless you really have nothing to say beyond the lyrics.

Tell a story about the music

how to describe a music composition

A musical composition is not just notes, it’s also telling a story. The story can be explicit (like “This song tells me something about love”) or implicit (“I feel like this song wants me to do something”).

The stories we tell ourselves have powerful effects on our behavior and emotions. For example, a ballad with lyrics such as “You make me want to live my life for me” could inspire you to start living your own life after ousting negative self-beliefs by realizing that you are worthy of happiness. An upbeat track with lyrics such as “It's time to take control” could motivate you to begin taking more responsibility in your life.

Music has power.

Focus on how the composer expresses themselves

how to describe a music composition

A music composition is not about what instruments you use, nor is it about who plays which instrument. It is instead about how your composer uses their tools to express something powerful or meaningful.

As musicians we are always looking to explore new techniques and strategies for expression. As writers, we are constantly developing our voice and style.

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