View Full Version : How do you listen to a song?
01-07-2008, 09:38 PM
I noticed one day that my wife was singing along with a song that neither one of us had heard until we got the cd. When I listen to a song the first thing I do is try to decipher the drum beat and when I am satisfied I will listen to the guitar to see if it is doing anything interesting, then the bass. Lastly I listen to the lyrics.
I would say most non-musicians listen to the lyrics first, but this is a guess. The first couple of times I hear the song I am focusing only on the instruments and not the singer, where my wife is learning the lyrics and singing along.
How do you listen to the song?
01-07-2008, 09:42 PM
I'm a sucker for a good hook, so I usually listen to the guitar and vocal melodies before anything else. After that I'll pay attention to the drums.
01-07-2008, 09:43 PM
im the same as you i just hear the drums more in a song they are what i am focused on i guess its because we know whats going on.non drummers just hear BANG BANG BANG BOOM
01-07-2008, 09:43 PM
I think I usually zone out when I'm listening to a song and don't pay attention to anything in particular unless something really grabs my attention. Of course I do notice drums first but I don't really focus on it. I've always done it and to me it's a bad thing because even if I've heard the song a million times, I usually forget how it "goes", so when I'm playing with people who want to do a cover song I tend to have a difficult time because my mind goes blank as to the song structure and key parts.
01-07-2008, 11:59 PM
I always focus on the drums and tap out the drum line on my thigh.. haha. Classic drummer syndrome.
01-08-2008, 01:15 AM
I always tap quarters with my left or right foot. And if im really diggin the song, ill bob my head a little, depends on genre im listening to though. Rock i usually just tap quarters and such, jazz i just absorb the music. And i usually dont focus on one part of the song the first time i hear it, i just listen to it. After i listen to it more times i'll focus on different sections, but the guitar is usually last...
01-08-2008, 11:52 AM
Being a drummer, I have a rhythmical perspective on things.. I usually listen to what the drummer/bassist are doing against the rest, but also to what the vocals are doing. Vocals can be, and often are, very rhythmical... and I like songs where the vox tend to create little polyrhythms with the groove-guys.
But hey!, that's just me :-D
01-08-2008, 12:46 PM
Sometimes, I care so much about the drumline, that if I can't play it, I won't listen to the song. >_> yeah..
01-08-2008, 04:24 PM
I'm a geek, I always listen to the drums and other rythmic devices and elements of a song.
01-08-2008, 04:48 PM
I suspect all musicians listen to music in a way that it was never meant to be listened to. All the people I've ever talked to about this confirm it too.
We never listen to a tune as a whole. We are always breaking it down to noticing a bass groove, or a drum fill, or an interesting note thrown into a chord, or just how sweet a particular melodic line is..dissect ,dissect, dissect..
thats definately the story with me, anyway. On the 10th hearing, I just might kick back and listen the the piece as a whole.. ..
01-11-2008, 11:05 AM
im always listening to the drumming, or the guitar work and what not.
i hate doing it, but i cant help it, it just happens.
i really wish it didnt.
01-11-2008, 11:28 AM
Sounds and timbres come first, then melodies and rhythms, then harmony (including bass lines). I rarely listen to lyrics, since usually they don't have anything to say. I don't pay much attention to what each particular instrument is doing unless I want to learn or analyse the song, or the instrumentation is so interesting that it catches my attention.
01-12-2008, 03:28 AM
My ears are great, its how I learn really. When I listen to music I try and listen to the music as a whole. I listen to how everything interacts with each other. How the bass rhythm matches drums and how the drums matches the guitars and how the guitars go with the lyrics and if the lyrics have a good pitch.
Try listening to EVERYTHING in a drum corps field show. Every time I listen to the Cavaliers or the Blue Devils I find something new because theres so much to listen to.
01-12-2008, 12:02 PM
Some people listen to the lyrics and like a good sing along tune. Others ( like me, and the rest of my band ) listen the the musical elements of the song, the vocal melodies more than lyrics.
I guess thats why i'll never be into rap music...
Back to the question, I try to absorb it without thinking of individual parts, but i'm usually listening for a chord progression or sound that 'affects' me. After a few listens i will try and decipher the drums though.
01-12-2008, 12:10 PM
i always start with the rhythmic section, so firstly drums, then the bass. later there's probably keyboards (if any), vocals, guitar. but while drums and bass, have always the first two places, the rest usually is pretty random, depending on my mood, and their quality :).
01-12-2008, 12:38 PM
I always listen to the 'atmosphere' of a song first, the feeling that a song projects.
With Dream Theater I tend to listen to the song as a whole and I watch video's of MP to see what he does in his drumming. For me music has to be listened to as a whole.
And even though the singer for DT has a weird voice, it still fitīs the music.
01-12-2008, 03:37 PM
I absolutely HAVE to like the singing or the whole thing is over for me. I really admire good singers and wish I could do it myself. That's why Incubus is so great, they have it all IMO. I do break apart all the individual instrument parts once I get past the singer filter. Actual lyrical content comes last, but is sometimes very important. If i didn't care about the singing, I could probably get into some of the prog stuff like Dream Theatre and Coheed and Cambria and other stuff.
I do agree with some other posters about almost unwilligly dissecting a song being a burden for a musician. People who don't play an instrument don't have a clue what that's about, I've asked people before and they just think it's wierd.
01-12-2008, 04:19 PM
thats pretty much what i do. drums first, then guitar. cause i like to play guitar and drums to it if i can. then everything else...like muffled tom said, usually, if i cant play it...im just like...naw..forget it!
When I listen to a song the first thing I do is try to decipher the drum beat and when I am satisfied I will listen to the guitar to see if it is doing anything interesting, then the bass. Lastly I listen to the lyrics.
01-12-2008, 05:53 PM
I usually listen to the drums first too, but once I listen to the drums I listen to everything together.
It's kinda like this in my ear: 50% drums, 20% vocal, 30% everything else.
01-12-2008, 06:34 PM
Great question - there are two types of listening (as far as I'm aware of): Active and passive.
Active is when you're focused 100% on the song and conciously aware of everything that is going on in the piece of music, whereas passive is when you're subconciously aware of it (eg. background music in a social situtation). Or is it the other way round?
I think drummer should devote some time in their practise schedule to just active listening(or passive if it's the opposite way round). It's like learning to talk - you listen to other people and pick it up from them.
For me, as I'm a religous jazz listener so I try to listen to the WHOLE music, not just the drums, but how each musician responds, relates and 'talks' to the other musicians, but I tend focus on the drummer slightly more than I do the other musicians. As for rock, pop, etc. I can't say I'm lyric man so I'm more focused on the drummer whilst absorbing in the melodies, chords and general jist of lyrics.
I notice drums and vocals first, then guitar and then bass (unless something especially interesting is going on in guitar or bass).
For most music....I listen to the snare drum and hi-hat first. If I don't care for the sound of those, then I find it hard to enjoy a song regardless of the other factors.
02-27-2008, 06:32 PM
i always listen to the drum beat first. I just tap with my foot and fingers as if i was holding sticks and play the beat but if i can't "decifer" it i get really annoyed and change the track. but that hardly ever happens lol
02-28-2008, 10:21 PM
I try and focus on the overall impact of the song the first time i listen to it. Then if I like it, i figure out the chord progression to see what the band or artist is doing harmonically. I don't really pay that much attention to the drums unless they are rediculously good, or i'm trying to learn the song. I just kinda let the bass and drums fill in the backbeat.
03-06-2008, 05:47 AM
If I'm doing my house Cleaning or if I'm Driving or trying to sleep just turn up the volume and let the song run BUT if I really Want to Listen a song, I try to focus in the song and only in the song
03-06-2008, 03:19 PM
What I notice first is the quality of the recording/the way that the instruments and vocalist(s) sound. If the quality turns me off or then some weird recording effect which doesn't sound good to me, it'll bug me basically throughout the whole song. Next I'll usually notice the chords or melody, which are present in almost all of the music in my library, and see if anything interesting is present. If a chord really catches my ear then I might look up the chords or try and find them out at the piano.
Kind of going at the same time are the drums. However, the drums vary from any one song to another a LOT, so they might be subtle enough that I notice but I don't make a point to "dissect" the part. However if it's somewhat interesting then I'll try to figure out what the drummer is doing. Again if it's complicated I'll head to the drums and figure it out.
I try to be picky on purpose when I listen to music. After all, what's the point in listening if it doesn't sound good to me?
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