1. webdev
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    webdev New Member

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    Difference

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by webdev, Jun 23, 2006.

    What adjustments would one have to make to go from writing poetry to writing song lyrics? I've noticed in quite a bit of the writing that I used to do, that some of them could seem to be songs if I simply added in a chorus.

    I remember trying to keep the number of syllables constant as well when I tried to write one poem as a song instead. I don't know if thats actually involved in song writing, but decided to try it out.
     
  2. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I don't think there is really a technical different.. I've written both. They have the same foundation, for the most part.

    Song lyrics can get complicated when you actually build music into it... I'm not sure which is best, building a song around lyrics, or lyrics around a song...
     
  3. Hylo
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    Hylo New Member

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    Incorporating a hook or a melody is the hardest part to converting most poetry to song lyrics.

    Whether the music comes first or the lyrics come first is the songwriting equivalent of the chicken/egg scenario!
     
  4. Tramontane
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    Tramontane New Member

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  5. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Recently I've expanded my skills (skills, haha) into more music. I play bass guitar and me and some friends will jam from time to time. We wrote a few songs, and let me tell you - there is a vast difference. With song lyrics, you have to (at least for me) have the beat down before you come up with the words, or else it gets very difficult to progress.
     
  6. cl0ud
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    cl0ud Member

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    The difference between a lyric and a poem is that lyrics have to be long. Songs normally last 3 minutes long. Whereas poems can be a short as you want!
     
  7. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    True, but there is also a lot of repetition.
     
  8. Esaul
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    Esaul Member

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    That isn't true all the way through mind you. Lyrics don't have to be long at all, it also depends on the type of music you have going to it. Take Linkin Park's Carousel for instance, at first glance while looking at the lyrics it seems really short, but the music that goes with it lengthes it. Same with some classic rock songs as well.
     
  9. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Esaul also brings up a good point.

    I mean, you *could* make a song that simply repeats one word over and over again in a scremo fashion... It really depends on the type of music and the genre, really.
     
  10. Sir Cameron
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    Sir Cameron Member

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    The only difference between lyrics and poems I've found is that with lyrics, I usually have a basic beat that I go with.
     
  11. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    Lyrics around the song. Building a song around lyrics is half-way to madness.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I was thinking about how poems differ from lyrics the other day, while on a long and boring drive. Before you say it, the contemplation was how I relieved the boredom, not the cause of it.

    A song has structural elements that a poem does not, and to use some of those mechanisms in a poem would just not be as good a fit. Choruses, structurally distinct verses that are repeated at distinct points, are occasionally used in poetry as well. The same is true of bridges, transition verses that break up a transition between two widely different verse structures.

    Repetition can be much more successfully used in lyrics than in regular poetry. On the other hand, my son and I regularly ridicule songs we hear that take repetition to an extreme ("Wow. How long did it take them to come up with ALL SEVEN WORDS in that song!")

    Music has a greater dependence on rhythm and meter. You can change it over the course of the song, but not quite as freely as you can in poetry without it sounding ragged. Also, rhyming structures tend to be more rigidly applied in lyrics.

    In lyrics, though, you can more easliy get away with stretching a word to add syllables. In a poem, for example, you'd be pushing it to try to pronounce "way" in more than one syllable, but in one song that just slid through my head, "way" stretches out to 12 separate notes, each essentially sounded as a syllable.

    I think that critiquing lyrics in the absense of the music is difficult, because the music can completely change the way the rhythm works, and therefore where the emphasis falls in each line. A couple of songs by Alanis Morisette (sorry, don't remember which ones at the moment) put accents in unusual places, so actually picking out the lyrics can be challenging - but the sound of the music works perfectly despite that.

    I don't generally try to critique lyrics. I feel I have somewhat of a wooden ear in that area. But I'm curious whether others who do get in creating and reviewing lyrics agree with these observations.
     
  13. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    I agree about not being able to critique lyrics in the absence of music. I'd just think of it as Poetry, myself, sio I would look at the poetry aspects of it. Often there are repeated verses. If you took them out, it could still work as a poem. For some reason I am thinking of that old 60's song "City of New Orleans" (Steve Goodman). Take the stanzas out, and you still have a complete viable "poem" about a railroad journey and what he saw, etcetera.
     

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