Describing Music in Writing: Guide for Students
If you need to write about music, it does not mean that you need to be an expert in music and, in fact, being able to read music has no relevance at all. What you do need to be able to do is to listen to a piece of music and analyze it. You also need to be able to create a viewpoint, interpretation, or opinion as to what the music means. With this in mind, it is clear to see that describing music in writing is like writing any other essay in that you will need to have the main argument, good structure, strong evidence, and a good writing style.
The language used
If you can use technical vocabulary you will be able to describe the subtle aspects of music more clearly. If you have an understanding of music in the first place, it may actually be natural for you to use technical language in your writing. However, do not despair if you are new to music or if you have to describe music in writing for a general-purpose, all you need to do is describe what you can hear. Ultimately, it is important to only use technical language if it helps you to describe what you need to and not just used for the sake of it.
Use of Metaphors
Metaphorical language is important when it comes to describing music in writing. In fact, the metaphorical language is usually better than if the only technical language is used. The language that uses metaphors helps to get meaning across that technical language may not be able to. Another aspect to consider is to use synthetic metaphors. Synesthesia refers to words that link the senses of smell, sight, touch, and taste and are used in relation to something that is heard (e.g. sweet music).
Tackling a writing assignment
When we think and write about music, we are really able to appreciate music. So before you start to describe music in your writing, you need to consider that there are stages that you will work through, like you would with any piece of writing. Before you develop a thesis or plan your writing, you need to start by observing and analyzing the music. Remember, you could consider visiting a professional essay writing website such as Customwritings.com if you require some extra academic help from professional writers.
Pay close attention to what your first impressions are. At this point, there are a number of aspects that you could think about. Begin by considering what gets you most about the piece of music. Once you feel that you are reacting to the music, consider what is happening in the music at that point which is causing your reaction. The kinds of things that you could think about are:
- What structure does the music have? Does it have different sections?
- Do you notice an increase or decrease in the volume of the music?
- Are you able to count along with the music?
- Does anything happen to the music when a particular word has been sung?
- Can you spot when the tune changes from one instrument to another instrument?
- Can you hear any repetition in the music?
When you listen to a piece of music over and over again, concentrate on focusing on a specific aspect and you will soon find that you will start to spot different elements in the music.
Once you have made some observations about the piece of music, you will soon be able to organize your thoughts in a meaningful way. For instance, such as the melody getting softer or louder at specific points, how the melody changes when an instrument changes. Consider what these aspects mean and how it helps us to understand the music. Once you are able to analyze the music, you will be able to highlight your observations and your impressions about the music. All of this will help you towards creating an argument or thesis when it comes to describing music in your writing.
Planning your writing
Remember when it comes to describing music in writing you can’t mention every piece of detail. You may find that you may only look at one specific aspect such as the rhythm, the melody, or the dynamics in the music and how this affects and influences the musical experience for the listener.
With regard to the details that you decide to focus on, you will need to think about the best way of describing them. For example, is it best to put the details in the order of most important or perhaps in chronological order? The aim is to pick out, organize, and describe the details that suit your argument or thesis.
The best pieces of writing will choose an idea or thesis about a piece of music, highlight how the evidence supports any claims made, correctly refers to many sources, and uses appropriate metaphorical and technical language. Additionally, you need to look at any counter-arguments and deal with them accordingly. You will also need to consider how other interpretations of the piece of music differ from yours.
A good thesis is one of the hardest parts when it comes to describing music in writing. However, the thesis is paramount to the success of your writing. Make sure your thesis is believable and also something that allows you to argue your point effectively