Whether you are writing a paragraph on music for a classroom assignment or for a review on appear on a website, you can excel with the right approach and sufficient care and thought. Though it's advantageous to have a grounding in the musical arts or in music appreciation if you are to write about music, anyone with a reasonable command of diction and some pertinent input can write a paragraph on music that will be well received and that can even broaden a reader's perspective or outlook. Being tuned into music's unique milieu is enough to put a writer well on his way. Bear in mind that music has a language of its own that is used to describe the words, sounds and arrangements in music.
Set the stage. Besides handling the obvious steps of identifying the work and its artist, the opening of the paragraph should state its topic and give some indication of the content to follow.
Take a position on the song's message and sound. Back up your view with lyrics from the song if applicable. Be aware that the use of quotations from a song must be more restrictive than the use of quotations from longer works of art, if you are to be compliant with the Fair Usage Doctrine of copyright law. Put quotation marks around the title of the song when you cite it, and italicize or underline the title of the album when it is cited. Some points of discussion can be an interpretation of the meaning of the song or an analysis of the song's relevance within its genre. What new direction or directions does the song suggest, for the artist in question? Consider comparing the musical work to other works by the artist.
Pay attention to tempo, instrumentation, lyrics, musicianship, dynamics, rhythm and other considerations. In addressing tempo, for instance, employ the vocabulary of musicians. With classical works, consider applying terms such as "largo" for slow, "andante" for a slightly upbeat tempo or "presto" for very fast. Capture the song's expressiveness in words. Extol its finer qualities. If it features a rich harmony or a moving solo, be sure to say so. Better yet, create fresh and appealing metaphors to characterize these traits.
Explain to the readers what instruments stand out in the song or what unique instruments are used to create a sound. Point out certain parts of the song where you can hear said instruments best or where they sound particularly interesting or out of place. Include a remark about the background of the piece or tune if possible. This remark could be a comment on where the piece was recorded or what the inspiration was behind the song.
End the paragraph with a thoughtful idea about the music or a recommendation on where the reader can find more information on the work or its performer or creator.
Be sure to use the proper language and vocabulary when writing about music. See the references for a complete list of commonly misused words. Not all suggestions given here are necessary for writing a single paragraph on music. A good paragraph can be written by adopting just a portion of the suggestions on paragraph content.
Sara Hickman owns a preschool science-based entertainment business in the Greater Cincinnati area. She has a bachelor's degree in communication and psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.