Every song written is written by someone. Well duh! Point out the obvious we hear you say. What we mean is, every song is made up of many layers of music and meaning. The musical part of the song is made up of tempo rhythm, key signature, and melody etc. While the meaning comes from the writer, their emotions, a message or journey they wish to portray. Interpreting a song and then expressing it can be a fun challenge. Today we are concentrating on the next few steps to learning a song like a professional. So read on and improve your ability to interpret and express songs to a much higher level.
Step 2. Ingrain Do in your memory
Now that you know which note Do falls on, you still have to memorize it. If you purchase Singorama 2.0 you can play the note on the SINGORAMA! Virtual Piano and sing along. Once you feel as if you can sing the base note Do right on pitch, practice scales.
Keep in mind that minor scales sound different than major ones, so there are different exercises for each type of scale.
Are you finding this hard?
Step 3. Understanding the Song’s Meaning
Now that you have determined Do, you need to understand what the song is about.
Read the lyrics as if you were an English student studying them for meaning.
Answer the following questions:
What is the song about?
Who is the song being sung for?
Who is the song being sung by?
What message is the singer trying to get across?
You may find it easier to do this exercise if you imagine that you are an actor trying to get inside the head of the “character” you are about to play. In many ways, singing is similar to acting. Each song can be seen as a unique story that the singer is trying to tell. Even if the song is narrated from the first person (“I”), don’t make the mistake of singing the song as if you personally were the narrator. Great singers sing in the persona of the song’s narrator in order to express the range of emotions and feelings intended by the songwriter.
Step 4. Figure out the Rhythm and Tempo
Figuring out the rhythm is easy if you have the sheet music. The time signature at the beginning of each score tells you how many beats there will be to the measure.
The top number in the time signature indicates how many beats per measure, while the bottom number indicates for how long each beat will last.
(If there is no time signature indicated at all, then the music is also in common time.)
When it comes to actually singing a rhythm, you may wish to use a metronome to provide a steady, rhythmic sound. Another way of giving yourself a sense of the rhythm is to clap along. When you clap along to a song, you will usually clap on the upbeat. The upbeat is the second (and fourth) beat in o time, while the first (and third) beat is the downbeat. This means that you will clap on the second beat and every other beat thereafter. (You will sing on every beat, however!)
There are a variety of other rhythms that you may encounter. For example, if there are three quarter notes to the measure, the time signature will have a 3 above the 4. If there are three eighth notes per measure, the time signature will have a 3 on top and an 8 on bottom. These are all examples of simple meters.
Now, look for an indication of the tempo, or speed, at which the songwriter intended the song to be sung. You’ll find any tempo markings at the top left of the musical score.
Unfortunately, like so many things in music, the tempo of a musical piece is not described in English, but rather in Italian. Use the handy guide on the following page to translate the most common tempos from Italian into English.
Presto very fast
Vivace quick and lively
Andante moderate (literally, walking pace)
Largo slow and stately
There may also be a number indicating the tempo. This may be written as q = 60, if the song is in o time and each beat (or quarter note) is worth one second (1/60 of a minute).
Try this exercise:
Once you have found the rhythm and tempo of your piece of music, clap a few measures to get a sense of how it sounds. Now, speak the lyrics in conjunction with your clapping hands (or tapping toe). This will give you familiarity with the song’s pacing and speed.
Nice! Now you are well on your way to completely learning any song. No matter what style or waht genre it is from, you will be able to dissect it and thoroughly make it your own. Next up we explore the importance of the Lyrics and song Structure
Another Singorama Success Story!
Joseph D. Chase
Burleson church of Christ
We know that knowledge without a place to apply it is frustrating! Thats why we have written three new and exclusive songs for you to listen to, learn, play with, make your own and generally master! This is a great way to learn and see how quickly you are able to apply all your new knowledge! check them out with Singorama 2.0