Song Writing – Arrangement Analysis Checklists

  • Today, some checklists based on the arrangement tips from last time. After you’ve written your song, ask yourself these questions.


What do the instruments do?

How do they fit together?

  • Do they change or stay the same?
  • Are their parts simple or complex?
  • Do the overall dynamics change? e.g. loud/soft, fast/slow, full/sparse arrangement
    Does the tempo change?
  • Does the overall level of complexity, texture or no of notes played per bar (8ths, 16ths 32nds) change drastically anywhere?
  • What layers does it have? e.g. rhythm, bass, harmony, melody
  • What different textures does it have?  e.g. melody and accompaniment, counter melody, polyphony (lots of interweaving melodies), homophony (block chords)
  • Is there anything unusual or interesting about the way things are sung or played?

And to analyse each section, try adapting this form (see key below)

Song:                                                                                                               Historic Placement:


Layers: Rhythm, Bass, Harmonic, Melodic


  • Syncopation – using off beats
  • Implied harmonies – chords created by different melodies/instruments working together
  • Diatonic – fitting into a major or minor key
  • Chromatic – lots of sharps and flats, notes which do not fit the key
  • Modal – using different scales to major minor (e.g. blues scale)
  • Ascending/Descending – going up/down