Out of the speakers: analysis tools for recorded music

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Hill, M 2011, 'Out of the speakers: analysis tools for recorded music', in E Mackinlay & D Forrest (eds), Making sound waves: diversity, unity, equity: Proceedings of the XVIII Australian Society for Music Education National Conference, Broadbeach, Qld., 2-5 July, Australian Society for Music Education, Parkville, Vic., pp. 135-143. ISBN: 927749566875261

Peer Reviewed



Whilst techniques for the analysis of musical scores are well established, there are also many existing analytical methods focusing on recorded music in the fields of electroacoustic, electronic dance music, jazz and popular music that provide useful analytical tools. This paper discusses the development of a music analysis method that is intended to address many of the processes and outputs of new and emerging music technologies that are utilised in music making in these genres. The analytical method was developed as part of a doctoral study linking music analysis and music creation and has been applied in undergraduate higher education and VET settings. In the analytical method, a text based parametric template is used to address a range of musical elements such as sound objects, effects processing, spatialisation and interaction, alongside more conventional elements such as rhythm, harmony, melody, texture and form. There method requires the extension of more traditional aural skills to these other elements. The text based presentation of analysis can be augmented with the use of visual representation tools such as spectrograms and graphic form charts that replicate the interface used for music creation in many digital audio workstations. The links between analysis and creation can also be reinforced through the recreation of an analysed work with standard sampling and editing software. The paper discusses how the analytical method has been applied in post-secondary education settings and how it could also be applicable to secondary education settings.