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GCSE Music Analysis: "Grace" by Jeff Buckley

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I'm currently a full-time student living and studying in London. For years I've written about the environment, science, and psychology.

Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley

"Grace" General Points

  • Composed by Jeff Buckley.
  • Released in 1994.
  • "Grace" is a rock ballad.
  • Buckley only completed 1 album, Grace, before dying at age 31 in 1997.

Instrumentation and Texture

  • Buckley is a vocalist who is accompanied by guitars, bass guitars, synthesizer strings, and a drum kit.
  • The guitar is in drop-D tuning.
  • Synthesizer strings drop in and out to add effect and vary texture.
  • The texture thickens throughout the piece, especially in the coda.

Use of Technology

  • The use of modulation on the synthesizer at the start of the song.
  • The use of distortion and flanging on the guitar.
  • The use of EQ in the final verse.


  1. Intro - Verse 1 - Pre chorus - Chorus
  2. Link - Verse 2 - Pre Chorus - Chorus
  3. Middle 8
  4. Link - Verse 3 - Outro

Tonality and Harmony

  • The song is written in E minor, although it's often ambiguous.
  • The intro focuses on the chord of D, and the key only becomes clear halfway through the first verse.
  • Chromatic chords that move in a parallel motion.
  • The use of dissonant harmonies.

Melody and Word Setting

  • The vocal part ranges over two octaves and sometimes sound is improvised.
  • Falling vocal phrases reflect the sadness of the song.
  • Most of the word setting is syllabic although there is use of mellisma on certain words.
  • In the bridge, there is vocalization or wordless singing during which Buckley uses falsetto.

Rhythm, Metre and Tempo

  • Time signature of 12/8.
  • Lots of syncopation in vocal melody and bassline.
  • Vocal melody is very rhythmically free.
  • Use of cross-rhythms.


Philip Schlemenson on June 06, 2017:

Inspirational, enjoying blog a lot, thanks

Dulan Abeysundara on April 15, 2017:

Er... it's flanger, not flanging and I don't think you can call a part of this song the CODA because its not classical music?

sam on January 29, 2017:

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keep up thew good work its really helping me to progress in music gcse

Adam on June 22, 2016:

This has really helped however I wouldn't mind a section on dynamics

Raph on April 17, 2016:

Maybe u could add what two main styles of music are combined to create grace? But the rest is brilliant, thanks it helped a lot

ice on May 31, 2014:

thanks so much for this :)

Carter Drakes on April 27, 2014:

Thanks, this helped a lot

poop on February 10, 2014:


Joe Salmon from Newport, Isle of Wight on May 23, 2013:

I love Jeff, this is brilliant!

jeff davis on May 23, 2013:

help me

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