Applying semiotics methods to analyze a song

For this week’s lab I will choose to analyze a song by Nora Jones.

She is an american singer and song writer. A friend introduced me to her music not long ago. Nora Jones is a jazz artist. She sold more than 50 million records worldwide during 2000-2009 decade. Since I don’t have a lot of knowledge of this artist and her songs, it would be great to analyse and learn how to interpret them.

As Philip Tagg suggests in his article, we spend too much time listening to music everyday, and because of that it is important to understand the semiotics, the meaning behind the music that we listen to.

Here is the link to her music video:

As Dr. Irvine suggests, we need to keep in mind how the features of musical forms work for making meaning and this makes it easier to analyse and understand a song.


Some questions to analyse the song:

What instruments can we hear?

What is the beat, tempo of the song?

What cultural, subcultural values does this music represents?

Are the melody and the lyrics in sync?

What is the feel of the song?

Are there repetitions in the melody and the lyrics?


Irvine, Martin. “Complex Artefacts: Music’s Meanings”. Presentation

Irvine, Martin. “Popular Music as a Meaning System” (Introductory essay).

Tagg, Philip.  “Introductory Notes to the Semiotics of Music.”