Here’s a collection of the most useful songwriting and analytical listening resources from around the web. See also the PWYM video collection.
Listening for song forms and structures
Check out the video series on analyzing “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel.
Ethan Hein’s posts on song structure and production:
Brad Swanson considers different methods for labeling song sections.
Jeremy Steinkoler explains commonly-used song forms.
The Infinite Jukebox, powered by the folks over at The EchoNest, is a really fun interactive way to explore the structure of any song through visualization of its repeated elements. Learn from legendary music hacker and programmer Paul Lamere about why and how he created Infinite Jukebox and how you can “tune” Infinite Jukebox to literally play with your music.
Listening for beats
Useful posts from Dave Conservatoire:
Funklet is an interactive in-browser drum machine loaded with various famous funk beats.
More good stuff from Dave Conservatoire:
Songwriting and production
The Sound On Sound “Classic Tracks” series talks about the production of famous songs in great depth, including insights into the songwriting and arranging.
NYU Songwriting professor Phil Galdston on songwriting and producing.
Music Radar has an extremely cynical but illuminating article on pop song structure.
This lengthy, hilarious essay by the KLF on pop songwriting and production is dated from a technical standpoint but is creatively quite relevant.
Dispatch From A Guy Unsuccessfully Trying To Sell A Song In Nashville has some more comments on why song structures work the way they do.
The demands of electronic dance music are a bit different from conventional pop songs. Here’s a handy post on how to write an uplifting trance song.
Timbre and space
The always brilliant Brian Eno contemplates the connection between musical timbre and scent.
Moylan’s classic text on critical listening, recording analysis, and audio production processes, Understanding and Crafting the Mix: The Art of Record Production, was the inspiration for a lot of this course.
Listening more broadly
Aaron Copland’s “What to Listen For in Music” is a classic.
Greg Wilson has some more perspectives on how you listen to music.
This video series by Joseph Hollings goes through the orchestra by instrument groups. It’s aimed at fifth graders but is really useful for anyone.
Our Play With Your Music Theory videos are designed to get complete musical novices started with pitches and rhythms.
Learn more about music theory for music production over at the Soundation Music Theory group.
Michael Hewitt’s book Music Theory for Computer Musicians is a fresh take on theory, written with the needs of pop and dance producers in mind.