(1) Listen to the song. Don’t try to understand or decipher, just listen to the song and appreciate the music, musicality, and any of the other characteristics that strike you.
(2) Listen again & write down words/phrases. Write down any words that you recognize. Don’t worry about transcribing the whole song, just write what you hear and have time to write.
(3) Comparison. Now let’s compare what you thought you heard to the song’s lyrics. (The lyrics to many Italian songs are available at www.angolotesti.com). Lightly cross out any of the words you wrote that do not appear in the lyrics, and pencil in what was said instead.
(4) Follow along. Listen to the song again, this time following along with lyrics. Are some of the words and phrases clearer now?
(5) Sing or speak along. Listen to the song again and either sing along (using the song lyrics text) or pause frequently and repeat in a normal speaking voice any words or phrases that interest you.
(6) Deciphering meaning. Now that you have a feel for how the words sound, you can begin to think about meaning. You may want to ask yourself these questions:
- Who is singing? Who are they singing to, and why?
- What is the mood of the song? Happy & upbeat? Melancholic? Angry? Hopeful? What makes you think that? Is it the music itself, the tone of voice, the use of any particular words or phrases?
- What is the “story” of the song? Is it a clear narrative of a particular instance or instances, or does it talk about certain concepts in general? (For example, it could be the story of how two people met, or it could be about love in general)
(7) Translate. Grab a dictionary (I personally use www.wordreference.com) and translate to the best of your ability. If word-for-word is too difficult, focus on particular words & phrases. If you need help, or would like to discuss the song meaning in more depth, you can always request it be covered in a future lesson by commenting below.