How to determine song form?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by RxFunk, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. RxFunk


    Dec 2, 2012
    I need help trying to determine song form when listening to music, ie: 12 bar blues, 32 bar popular song, etc. Any tips for figuring out song form?
  2. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Step one is to keep track of the chord progression. If you listen to Route 66, you'll notice that the chord progression restarts every twelve bars. Route 66 just so happens to be a 12 bar blues.

    32 bar forms are a bit more complex in that they often contain two different progressions. If you listen to Georgia On My Mind, you'll notice that it starts with a 8 bar chord progression (A) that restarts. After the second time (A), a new 8 bar progression (B) starts. Following that will often be the first 8 bar progression again (A). All four eight-bar sets together form a 32 bar form, in this case AABA.
  3. frisbieinstein


    Dec 29, 2007
    Just learn a few hundred songs and it will sink in. You should be doing that anyway.
  4. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Short answer; If the song was written, as it is to be done, you would have three or four sheets of paper per song, so most do repeat verses, etc.

    Our Country seems to be V1, V2, Chorus, Lead Break, V3, Chorus and tag last line.

    Praise often repeats - it helps if we decide how we will do the song and then I make notations in the margins, of the sheet music; for example: Here is how we do "Beautiful One".

    Intro - chords first three lines.
    C no vocals

    With sheet music without the Coda signs you kinda are on your own and have to go with what is normally done, with that style of music. If you know how the lyrics flow they can point you.

    I know that may not answer your specific question. It's really up to the songwriter what form is used.
  5. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Great replies so far, a songs form is the repeating or common aspects of its arrangement.

    Its form may be a chord progression within an arrangement, or key changes within an arrangement, it maybe a rhythmic figure within the arrangement. All these things, and others, can be seen as part of the form.

    It helps to be able to analyse a song and hear the arrangement first before you even attempt to play it, learn to make educated guess on what you think is happening, then pick up your instrument and see how much of what you thought was right.
    So you just correct what you got wrong, and you have learned to identify a songs arrangement and the form/forms that make it up.
  6. RxFunk


    Dec 2, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies guys, I really appreciate it.