Song analysis

ozzy3I thought it might be interesting to try to apply some of the ideas from the songwriting course to some songs outside of the selected listening list. For example, if we look at the classic song of my youth, War Pigs by Black Sabbath (lyrics, listen), we see matching couplets, which is very stable.  The first and last sections have eight lines of eight syllables, which again is very stable. This is in contrast to the singer, who is anything but.

There is a middle section with two blocks of four lines each. This has some stability with the even numbers and the rhymes (such as they are), but there’s also instability in the line lengths. I suppose that reflects the chaos of war. This section is in contrast to the other two, both lyrically and musically. Maybe this is meant to mirror battle: There is calm before and after, and chaos in between.

As far as song form goes, I’m not sure what to make of it. I don’t see anything that I’d call a chorus, and I don’t think I’d call the middle part a bridge. It’s more like verse (type A) – verse (type B) – verse (type B) – verse (type A).

Those little interjections – “Oh lord yeah!” – actually change the section to an odd number of lines, which creates a sense of movement into the subsequent sections. From listening to it, I think something similar is going on musically, where imbalances in the phrases tip the listener forward into the next part. I don’t feel knowledgeable enough about music to say this definitively.

A few weeks ago I made my first attempt at songwriting, with no real knowledge of how to do it. I came up with the Gray Woods Waddle. As it is written out, some of the verses have an odd number of lines, but really the third lines should be divided in two. There’s a kind of stability there, although I think the line lengths make it a little wobbly. The section before the final chorus – (Could that be called a bridge? I don’t think so, but I’m not sure) – is longer than the other parts. Here again the third line should probably be divided in two. Because this part is different in length, it kinda creates a spotlight on itself. Maybe I did some things right when I wrote it. Beginner’s luck.

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