Lyrics – Musical Poems

A simple definition of lyrics is a set of words that make up a song. However, a more precise definition is that of “singing to the lyre” from the Greek word “lyrikos”. This is where the word lyrics is derived. Meanings of lyrics can be hidden, obvious, explicit, or implicit. Some lyrics are abstract, or almost unintelligible. In 1876, the word lyric was first used to mean the “words of a song”. Lyrics can be a form of social commentary. Lyrics can be about any subject dear to the human heart, such as love. Sometimes lyrics encompass political or economic subjects, themes, and messages.

Lyrics can intentionally or unintentionally communicate ideas, morals, and values. Today, many websites offer lyrics of songs to internet surfers. Since most lyrics are copyrighted, this access is sometimes controversial. Searchable lyric databases allow a user to find an artist or the name of a song with just a few words or a phrase from the melody. This modern convenience is unsurpassed in our world today and easily taken for granted. For example, how many times have you wanted to learn the artist, group, or name of a song? You know just some of the words, but not all.

Prior to lyric search engines, you had to wait for a song you liked to come on the radio. Or, you could look in the music section of the store at albums or tapes, or ask a friend if they knew the song. You could buy the record or tape, and learn the words from there. How much easier it is today with lyric search engines! Have you ever had a discrepancy with someone over the exact words of a song? It can be quickly and easily cleared up with the help of a lyrics search on the World Wide Web. If only all arguments could be solved so quickly.

Lyrics can come from famous literature. Lyrics can spring from a whim, or a motivation the writer suddenly feels within him or her. Lyrics can express deep longings, sorrows, or memories. Lyrics can be clever, harsh, or sweet. It is quite impossible to exactly calculate how many specific songs , with their unique lyrics, have been composed throughout history. Many get passed down with the generations, such as the songs early Americans sang while working in the fields. Many religions pass songs along. Most every ethnic group has traditional songs and music. The world is a more colorful, diverse place because of lyrics.

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# I mentioned earlier to take note of the syllable count. By keeping this count in mind you will be able to keep pace with the original song. Keep a copy of the lyrics close by for easy reference if it makes it easier for you. I’ve noticed a couple of examples in my travels have disregarded this, ending disastrously for the song. The reason this happens is because the ‘beat’ [or syllable count] for the lyrics has been disrupted, throwing out the flow of the song. For example, if the original lyrics go: 7/8/7/7 and your alternate lyrics go 5/6/5/7; you can tell straight away that there is going to be some problems in the flow of the ‘new’ song. This may take a little more time and planning in the writing of the lyrics, but if you stick with the ‘format’ of the original song your lyrics will thank you for it.

There is an exception to every rule, and there is one to this. You can sometimes get away with being one syllable out either side of the actual count. Though you need to be careful when doing this because it has a chance of not working. This will not work for all songs, so you will need to be careful when applying it. This technique can help give you a little more freedom to work with, however, I strongly suggest leaving this technique until you are more familiar with lyric writing.

# If a lyric has a specific rhyme scheme, try and stick with it. Just like poetry there are different styles that are used. If a piece uses freestyle rhyme, you may be able to get away with using free verse for your lyrics.

# Try to stay away from the lines or phrases used in the original song especially if you are doing something drastic like converting rock influenced lyrics into that of say Christian lyrics. That in itself could be a very effective song [genre mixing is very popular these days] but only if it is done correctly. Remember what you are writing about, I recently saw a piece that tried to convert a piece about street racing into a Christian based song. This would have been very effective if they didn’t use the same phrases that were in the original song that conflicted with what the author was trying to say.

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