Sorted Song Analyses

More than just a song!

I am approaching 300 videos on my channel so obviously playlists are very important to help guide visitors and subscribers through them all.  I wrote an article in which I provide the seven newer playlists which contain all of my videos, no matter if they're already in another playlist so I recommend having a look at those too!

That said, I feel that one lonely playlist doesn't get the attention it should.  It isn't one of the seven, it is its own playlist that I started many years ago:  Sorted Song Analyses.  It is ordered from newest first.  This article is dedicated to this playlist because its videos contain so much more than just 'learning the song' and I wanted to make you aware of this because you're missing out on lots of content for your own progress!

I use songs as skeletons to apply philosophies, theories and techniques/exercises to.  It is rare that I teach a song blandly, unless it was requested as such but even then, I will say specifically that this is a pure tutorial with score, a link to that score and that it's a note-for-note thing but these are very rare and even in such videos, I always try to drop in a philosophy or technical idea or two since spoon-feeding you is not the Water Pianism way.

It is important to understand that a song analysis video doesn't need to involve a song that you want to play; often, most viewers won't learn the song anyway but will learn many other things that I've talked about in other videos but which are now in context in a song.  I can talk about 2-5-1 progressions, modal theory in improvisation or finding your natural fingering but when you see those notions in action, it's much more beneficial than dry technical exercise routines.

Often, you learn the most when wandering outside your comfort zone.  Just because you don't want to learn a Chopin piece doesn't mean you won't learn a little about sight-reading which will benefit you with your own repertoire; just because you don't want to improvise doesn't mean that All My Tomorrows can't teach you about some useful chord type exercies which will assist you when working out the chords of your own repertoire.  This idea applies to your Musical Personality, too:  Listen to music you wouldn't normally listen to - look for music you've never even heard of by doing a bit of research into world music...!  You are sure to find interesting chords, melodies and instruments which touch you in some way.  For example, I discovered that I enjoy, and this may surprise you, the Medieval Lute music of 16-17th Century England!  There's nothing complicated in it theoretically but the timbre, cute little melodies and interplay between the lute duo (usually) I find enchanting.  It is unimpeding, almost polite.  It also brings me a little closer to Shakespeare, which is a huge study area for me but that's by the by.

Here are three favourite videos from that playlist which I think will prove interesting and beneficial for you based on their hidden/sub-context ideas but of course, spend more time with it in your own time:

1.  Ballad of the Sad Young Men

This tutorial not only teaches you the song but shares my progress/shows the results of getting a very unusual, complex song onto my internal jukebox over a few days, learning about its history and composer and listening to different versions to see how it has been interpreted (every version is totally, incomparably different, which is very telling).  This enabled me to reinforce the structure and gave me the freedom to play it however I wanted without fear of rebuke from purists... because there isn't really a definitive version.  This is something useful to do for any repertoire.  So, you see?  Before you even opened the video, you learnt some important wisdom!

Further, this piece is a perfect example in 'looking ahead'.  It doesn't follow expected chord progressions and the structure isn't clear so it's best to get it totally on your internal piano before even going near the actual piano.  When at it, observe your mind knowing the next chord way before your hands play it; it's like a bright torch pointing ahead of you and the lower you point it, the less you can see so the more hesitant you walk (less fluency).

2.  Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)

Once you've got a song down (you know the melody and chord progression numerically), it's not enough to keep playing it the same way; that's boring and doesn't challenge you or get your creative juices flowing.  Repetition is key!  As I demonstrate herein, go over sections many, many times and do something different each time: change the tempo, key or fingering; enhance the chords, improvise or play in different registers (areas) of the piano.  Why not use octaves in the right hand and apply a walking bass in the left instead of stride?  Mix it up and try new things.

This is a very good way to discover new techniques and apply them in context: to the song.  In this video, I also drop quite a lot of chord theory so you can practise new chords, too!

3.  My Way

What would an article be without danthecomposer telling you to Play You!  I used, cleverly if I may say so myself, My Way to give you inspiration to play Your way!  A score, especially in jazz and pop repertoire, is for guidance only.  It doesn't tell you how to play the chords or where to play the melody, even what fingers to use; it's all down to you so don't look for answers in this respect.  Being a Water Pianist is very much about identifying Your nature and natural style so what better way to find it than using a new song and seeing what your Mind does with it in terms of interpretation and how your Body handles it in terms of fingering and technique!?


In conclusion:

- Spend a little more of your time enjoying these tutorials not for the songs themselves but the lessons contained behind the song.

- Don't be afraid to discover your musical personality and natural tendencies; there's no need to compare with anyone else since not one musician is alike.

- Find lessons and discover new things outside your musical comfort zone.

- Become best friends with your internal piano and internal jukebox


- Don't forget to subscribe to my channel!

Oh, and you may enjoy this much -requested video.