Things You'll Need
- Music annotation program (such as Windows Media or iTunes)
- Song files
- Music dictionary
Song annotation is the practice of analyzing musical compositions in the interest of classifying and cataloging the gathered information. Collecting songs and observing details of their construction is the field work performed by musicologists. Software programs such as iTunes cross-reference music by using specific qualities and characteristics of the works. This technology has made song annotation easier and more efficient for professionals and amateurs alike.
Download or upload song files to the annotation software. Alphabetize the songs by title initially, if given the option. Study the musical terms in the dictionary.
Collect facts such as name of artist, genre, year or month released and who produced the song. Move on to composer, lyricist, poet, librettist, musical, opera or collection.
Listen to the song to discern the texture and emotion. Make notes on timbre (texture), whether it is soothing or gritty, by noticing which instruments are being played. Note whether it is legato (smooth) or staccato (choppy). Also note the volume of the song.
Tap a finger or foot along with the rhythm. Note specifics about the rhythm, if possible, such as timing of the piece. The speed of the song is important. Labeling a selection as a dance song can be a misleading because of the large variety of dance styles. Specific detailing is critical.
Sing or hum along with the melody. Whether it has lyrics or not is important. The language in which a song is written, quality of voice, gender of singer and lyrical content are all notable characteristics. Determine whether the composition is strophic, a typical verse-chorus construction, or through composed, which is a style that does not repeat any musical content throughout the piece.
Never download music without proper permission.
Lisa GillespieFeng is a certified Georgia Master Gardener and pending Graduate of Augusta State University with a Bachelor of Arts in music and a minor in multimedia communications. Her career in professional writing began with song lyricism in 1998, then transitioned into journalism.