What is Music Analysis? Top 4 Best Careers in the Music Industry

what is music analysis

Table of Contents

Introduction

Have you always wondered what “♪” and “♫” are? Well, these are the alphabets in the language of music!

Yes, you’ve been speaking and listening to the language of music without knowing how to read it.

Want to learn how to read this new language? Or better yet, learn how to compose your own masterpiece! 

Let’s ask the question what is Music Analysis?

Get ready to take ‘notes.’

Key Takeaways

  1. Introduction to Music Analysis
  2. How to build a career in Music Industry
  3. Different Genres of Music

What is Music Analysis? 

Music Analysis is the study of mainly western classical music. But it also lets you study the music of other cultures and songs without written notes. 

According to Ian Bent, a scholar of Music theory, Music Analysis “is the means of answering directly the question ‘How does it work?” 

But before you get ‘Bent’ upon answering the question ‘what is Music Analysis’, you need to understand how it is done.

The method for answering this question differs from analyst to analyst and this brings us to the two techniques in Music Analysis.

Two techniques of analysis

1. Discretization

This method involves breaking down musical pieces into smaller pieces and analyzing how the pieces fit together to form complex compositions.

Jean-Jacques Nattiez, a renowned professor of Musicology, believes that segmentation of this kind is necessary for music to be open to analysis.

Fred Redralh, a professor of Musical Composition at Columbia University, even strongly argues that segmentation is necessary for learned listeners to perceive the music better.

This technique can be considered as a more scientific approach to Music analysis. 

2. Composition

This method studies the interaction of music with one another. How songs resonate with each other and form harmonies. 

It’s a more artistic approach to Musical Analysis.

This requires the person to himself know how to compose music to better understand the interaction between musical pieces 

The two main approaches

As you enrol into the Hogwarts School of Music, you must be sorted into either Compositional Analysis or Perceptual Analysis, the two biggest houses. 

These two houses are opposites, whose core values differ and they answer the question ‘what is Music Analysis?’ in two different ways.

(Don’t worry, neither of them is Slytherin)

  1. ‘Compositional Analysis’ is the school of thought which, according to Jacques Chailley, “requires putting oneself in the composer’s shoes.”

He believes that one must try to recreate the experience the original composer felt while he wrote the music.

Hence, this approach takes you into the mind of a composer and explains his point of view and experiences.

  1. ‘Perceptual analysis’ has a contrasting view on Musical Analysis and believes that music must be analysed through a purely perceptual point of view.

It is based on the thought that – recreating the original scenario is almost impossible and hence one must focus on the listening experience. 

“True analysis works through and for the ear. The greatest analysts are those with the keenest ears; their insights reveal how a piece of music should be heard, which in turn implies how it should be played. An analysis is a direction for performance” – Edward Cone.

Things to know before a career in Music industry

Here’s a list of things you need to know before you pursue Music Analysis

  1. Broad knowledge of different genres of music.
  2. Understanding of musical terms like ‘pitch’, ‘scale’, ‘rhythm’, ‘chords’, etc.
  3. Knowledge of the theory of music
  4. Knowledge of music history

Woah! Sounds a little overwhelming doesn’t it? Don’t worry it really isn’t. It just requires some effort and the right mentor to guide you through it

If you wish to learn these topics, we recommend Music Analysis Online training Course by Ms Nazneen Bhardee.

It is a certified course that introduces you to music theory and music history; equipping you with the skills to read and write music notations. 

It also teaches you how to analyse different types/genres of music.

Since music isn’t a conventional choice of studies you might be wondering…

What is music analysis and How will this help you? 

How are music analysis and the music industry connected? 

Is a career in the music industry a viable option?

If already established, will musical analysis allow for growth in the music industry?

These are some ‘key’ questions that we will now answer.

Career Prospects in The Music Industry

The music industry is an unforgiving one and presents you with many challenges if you’re looking for a career in it. Most people don’t even know what is music analysis.

Let us first look at the difficulties before we get into the prospects…

Difficulties in the music industry

You must have a love for music to persist through the hardships. Your hard work and effort will only be worth it if you love what you do.

Persistence is key and you must learn to view failure as experience and not an embarrassment. You cannot expect instant growth in the music industry, it is a very slow and gradual process.

Many artists, technicians and producers learn their harshest but their best lessons from failures.

The business side of music is not always as glamorous as the performances.”

Managing expectations thus becomes an integral part of managing your career. 

Networking and building relationships will require making a lot of phone calls and maintaining constant lines of communication. This can be very mentally taxing and might not leave you enough time for your endeavours.

Your passion and love for music will decide whether it is all worth it, as no day will feel like work to you.

List of Careers in The Music Industry

1. Recording Engineer

 A good understanding of composition and a working knowledge of software such as fruity loops and logic pro can open this avenue for you. 

Every song that is made by an artist, every audio used in movies and ads have to be recorded, mixed and mastered.

A sound engineer is thus an indispensable part of the industry and often the highest-paid worker.

2. Music Director

Music Analysis can directly lead to a career as a director. However, it requires years of experience and a good understanding of different instruments. 

If you are born with the gift of perfect pitch or can hear an orchestra around a single instrument or simply have a good ear for music, this path is for you.

Directors are music magicians who leave audiences spellbound with the movements of their wands. A music director arranges and manages the ebb and flow of the music in an orchestra.

They can be directors of a school band, church choir, small orchestra or even a professional orchestra!

3. Music Teacher

Like any other profession, you have the option of mastering music analysis and subsequently becoming a teacher yourself. 

Spread the knowledge you have garnered over the years to students who are aspiring to learn just like you.

4. Youtube reactor/ Podcasts

Youtube and audio OTT platforms like Spotify opened up the option of making money from your home while reacting to your favourite songs!

If you are good at making friends and aren’t camera shy, this is the perfect career path for music analysis. 

All you have to do is record yourself breaking down and analyzing your favourite tunes. 

 We will teach you how to grow your channel in-depth in the next segment.

How to grow your Music channel?

Growth in the music industry is a very slow and gradual process, and it’s not every day that you are found by a music producer or get a chance to work with a recording label.

Labels always look to work with experienced veterans in the industry who already have a foothold in it. For an individual, without many contacts in the industry, you’ll need to make a name for yourself!

That however is easier said than done and requires a lot of grinding. You have to start with the smallest of steps

But a wise man once said – “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” The further you’ve walked the more you’ve learnt!

So let’s get you packed now, with information for your musical adventure!

How to set up a Reaction/Music analysis channel on YouTube

First and foremost set up your own YouTube channel, Instagram page and TikTok(If available). Try to make the name and video names SEO friendly. 

Read about the relevance of SEO here: On-Page SEO: Is it still relevant?

It’s important to understand that your personality attracts viewers more than your content does. Even if you provide quality content, there is always someone else providing the audience with the same

YOU are your own USP (Unique selling point), the people will come for the content but stay for you. ‘Likeability’ is the biggest factor to success as a content creator

Just be yourself as people can sense pretence or fakeness really quickly. However, highlight aspects of yourself that make you ‘Likeable’. You can be Trendy, Cool, Informative or a mix of all these. 

How to increase your viewership and generate revenue?

Carefully select popular songs that are trending currently or classics that never grow old. Record your live reactions and upload this video on YouTube and ask your friends and family to share this content in their circles. 

Constantly interact with your viewers and commenters. Build a community and interact with them. Constantly remind them to like, share and subscribe to your page.

Take suggestions from your audience for songs to react to and watch your channel grow. Collaborate with other reactors and conduct fun activities on your channel to share viewers between channels.

As it grows, avenues of revenue will open themselves up to you.

After reaching 10,000 subscribers and 4000 hours of views, Youtube will pay you for your videos! Find out how to generate revenue from Youtube.

You can also take advantage of TikTok and Instagram reels; using shorter videos that reach a wider audience to bring traffic to your channel.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Avoid copyright issues. You can learn here: Avoid copyright claims in reaction videos

How to take advantage of the Diverse Indian listeners?

India has 225 Million users on YouTube (the most in the world and growing steadily) and they’d love to know what is music analysis and how it applies to Indian Music?

We are home to T-Series, the most subscribed channel on YouTube. Yet there is a gap in the community for reactors who break down Bollywood songs!

Currently, there are more foreign reactors to Indian Music than Indian reactors! This gap in the market is waiting to be filled by the likes of the right reactor.

With 225 Million pairs of ears comes a wide variety of music that they listen to. It would be very easy to carve out your niche in the community

Let’s look at the popular genres of music and see if there is one you can dance to the tune of… 

Most Popular Genres of Music to react to

1. Pop 

When the name of a genre of music is short for Popular, you know it has a lot of listeners.

It is often characterized by catchy and repetitive lyrics and chord structures. The biggest stars in the music world belong to this genre. 

Along with such big stars come a huge fandom. They are always searching on youtube for reactors who share the love for the same music.

The most trending Popstars of this age are Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles

2. Hip-Hop / Rap

This is the fastest-growing genre of music and has seen a huge boom in listeners in this decade. Hip-Hop was always a very popular genre but it has never been as big as it is now.

This is because Hip-Hop is more than just a genre, it is a culture. The global stars in the genre thus also become influencers and trendsetters in their own right.

Hip-Hop is also a genre that heavily relies on sampling other songs. This would play right into the hands of someone with knowledge of music history and music analysis.

The biggest names in Hip-Hop are Drake, Eminem, Kanye, J Cole, and Nicki Minaj. 

Although mumble rap is on the rise, analysing rap lyrics and the production of hip hop music, is the biggest musical reaction prospect on YouTube right now. 

Check out Knox Hill, Stevie Knight, TheThirdErnest and the biggest hip-hop reactor No life Shaq

There are also big names from India popular on the world stage like Divine, Raaftar, Brotha V, Honey Singh, Naezy and Badshah. 

If there are western reactors like Doc Rich who react to our own homegrown rappers and garner millions of views, why can’t you?

3. Rock

Rock music - Slash
  Giffer

This genre has the most loyal listeners rivalled only by Hip-Hop listeners.

Classic rock songs are often musical masterpieces waiting to be broken down by adept Analysts.  

You can take advantage of devout listeners of bands such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Queen, AC/DC and build a community of rock music lovers around you.

Rock music also allows you to react to specific instruments and instrumentalists such as guitarists, drummers, bass players, etc. 

Jimmy Hendrix, Slash, Jimmy Page, Tim Henson are all guitarists who are world-famous and rock listeners are always looking for reactors to break down their music.

4. Indie

Indie music has carefully carved out a niche in the hearts of Indian listeners.

Indie artists and bands like Prateek Kuhad, Anuv Jain, When Chai Met Toast and (the most successful band) Local Train have been at the forefront of this movement.

So, hitch a ride on this local train and fill your listener’s ears with soothing and soulful music. You will win the favour of bilingual listeners who love Hindi and English songs alike.

5. Ghazal

Perhaps the most technical and hardest genre to analyse. However, it is also the most soulful.

WIth songs lasting from anywhere between 10-15 mins, it’s a treasure trove for content.

Also, listeners of Ghazals would love to learn about the mastery and techniques required to perform these masterpieces

There are many accomplished Ghazal singers like Mehdi Hassan, Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali.

Amongst modern day ghazal singers, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has a separate fanbase of his own that drives this soulful and rustic form of Indian Music. 

Your audiences are sure to be mesmerized by the music and the analysis.

6. Bollywood

Bollywood pop music is one of the most listened-to genres in the world. Yet there are very few reactors to Bollywood music! 

In fact, there are more foreign reactors than Indian ones for Hindi Music!

This is a huge gap in the Indian youtube music community that is waiting to be seized. Especially since T-Series is the most popular channel on YouTube.

So grab a camera and mic and start reacting to your favourite singers, be it Shreya Ghoshal, Mohith Chauhan or Arijit Singh. 

Conclusion

You now understand Music analysis and Music Industry; the hard work and determination required for Growth in Music Industry.

You also know the different opportunities that come with different genres of music and how to use them to your advantage.

Get through the high and lows of your musical journey with the information you’ve been equipped with!

Passion and love for music are what’ll make your experience a rewarding one, so carry it with you always. Always look for opportunities to network and grow. It is as important as your dedication to the craft itself.

Hopefully, this has all been music to your ears!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of Music Analysis?

Music Analysis helps you to understand patterns that contribute to the style, mood and period of the music.

What is Pitch, Rhythm and Scale?

Pitch is the position of a sound in the complete range of sound, determined by its frequency. Rhythm is a repeated pattern of music in a song. Scale is a series of musical notes ordered in their ascending order or descending order of pitch.

What is the significance of the 12 scales in Music?

A scale is made up of 8 notes that make up a key. It signifies the variance of the pitch. Find out more here: Online Metronome

Who is the most renowned Musical Analyst?

There are many notable ones, but Heinrich Schenker who developed the Schenkerian analysis is a very famous name. Find out more about him here: Heinrich Schenker

Why is Music Analysis important?

It allows you to understand the interaction of the music with other songs and lets you understand very scientifically, why you like a song.

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