Song Bank

Popular music with a teachable purpose.

Are you teaching your students -- or interested in learning yourself?! -- about major thirds, Aeolian Mode (esp. vs. Dorian Mode), Picardy Thirds, asymmetrical compound meter, direct (or otherwise!) modulation, and more? You can use pop examples listed here. For each song listed & linked, there's an entry talking about the song & artist's cultural significance, an analysis of the teachable content in the song, and comments on the school appropriateness of the song. 

Songs listed range in date from the 1950s to 2014, cover a wide swath of genres that are part of the Western pop. Most artist hail from the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia.

Songs are broken up into three categories: classical & jazz samples, harmonic & melodic concepts, and rhythm & meter concepts. Enjoy!

 
 
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songs featuring classical & jazz samples

From Evanescence sampling Mozart to Jurassic 5 sampling the Oscar Peterson Quartet (and Janet Jackson sampling both Erik Satie & Herbie Hancock), the songs featured here can help connect ensemble (and solo) performance literature to styles of music students may already be more familiar with.

 
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Songs to reinforce harmonic & melodic concepts

Here we link to a bunch of songs that serve as good examples of some theory concepts, broken down into four major categories and several subcategories: intervals, modulations, modes, and cadences.  Enjoy!

 
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Rhythm & Meter Concepts

Do your students (band, chorus, orchestra, guitar, modern band, private piano, music theory, etc.) need help counting?  There's so much popular music out there that can expose them to rhythmic concepts that are impossible to explain, listed here with three main features: cross-rhythms, changing meter, and compound and/or asymmetrical meter.