1. PencilJockey
    Offline

    PencilJockey Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Shadowberry Lane

    Poems vs Song Lyrics

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by PencilJockey, Nov 5, 2006.

    I'm interested to know what the differences are between poems and song lyrics. I did a quick pop in to the Song Lyrics forum and read that there are distinct differences but did not see any clarification. Would anyone be able to direct me to a link that clarifies this or simply respond with the main points? Thanks! :D
     
  2. Max Vantage
    Offline

    Max Vantage Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    6
    Depending on how a particular writer writes them then there's very little difference at all, except lyrics are written most of the time with a chorus - a stanza/music paragraph that is the strongest on the song's ultimate meaning and strength of vocal melody.

    Most songwriters write their songs mainly in rough poetry first before restructuring it for the demands of the shape, style and content of the music/melody.

    Specifically with poetry there isn't really any rules other than an actual meaning. I know when I write them I stick rigidly to a rhyming structure sometimes with a repeated stanza that could make the whole thing 'act' as a song.
     
  3. M.Kirk
    Offline

    M.Kirk Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Freestyle poetry is nothing like song lyrics other than you're getting your emotions out, using words.
     
  4. Avrilkiller
    Offline

    Avrilkiller Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Taegu, South Korea
    Easy.

    Good poetry doesn't sound like crappy poetry when read without music or melody.
    Good song lyrics don't sound like gothicy, overly wordy "lamenting visions of my tortured effervescant soul" poetry when sung.

    However, bad poetry often makes good song lyrics, so if you've got a few journals of teenage angst lying around, you should browse through for the worst rhymes and set them to a ncie beat to see if you get somethign catchy.
     
  5. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    there are major differences... writing song lyrics is a highly specialized craft, regardless of the stuff that often gets 'sung' nowadays... aside from 'hip-hop' and 'rap' the lyric has a distinct structure, including all or most of the following:

    intro
    verse
    chorus
    bridge

    phrase/word repeats may also be included first, by the 'songwriter' and later, by the composer/arranger...

    i'm a lyricist, as well as having been a writer of most everything else that takes words, so feel free to email me for more info... for the best how-to, find sheila davis' books on amazon or at www.thewritersstore.com

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  6. ariella
    Offline

    ariella Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,069
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    in a home full of wonderful and loving people I ca
    Am old friend of mine has used many poems to form her song lyrics, she recons it is just putting in a chorus at times that can be the tricky bit.

    Personally I got no idea though, I'm a poet not a song writer.
     
  7. Frost
    Offline

    Frost Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Australia
    Poems are lyrics if you want them to be. I can put any of my poems to music, but until I do, poems they remain.
     
  8. candyg
    Offline

    candyg New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I have put 12 of my poems into songs,by adding or using a couple of lines that outline the meaning of the poem,those words get turned into a chorus.Don't quote me I am no expert.I love doing poems ,but to hear someone sing your song is even a bigger teary joy! If you can write a poem you can write a song!!!!
     
  9. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Not all poetry is suited for use as lyrics. Lyrics depend more upon rhythm and structure than some poetic forms. On the other hand, lyrics can make use of repetition in ways that would make for poor poems - in lyrics, the repetition can make up a chorus or bridge, as mammamaia mentioned, or even a verse element.

    Still, there is no question that poetry and lyrics have more in common than in contrast.
     
  10. LinRobinson
    Offline

    LinRobinson Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Latin American
    Well, actually... a lot of what people call poetry anymore is just sort of essays or rants whose lines don't go all the way to the right side of the page. Being able to do that is absolutely no predictor of being able to write a song. Quite aside from matters of beat, meter, syllable sequence etc of songs. And good RHYMING.

    Actually poetry also has a huge vocabularly or formal structure, MUCH more than the simple structure of songs. A structure which is often ignored. Especially in rap and alternative and such. You can't really walk into Cobain and start wondering where the bridge is. There are songs without choruses, songs without bridges, songs that don't rhyme.

    I've sold songs to performers and as parts of larger pieces or work. The big problem is, I don't write music. I always have a tune in my head (not always the case with poems, no?) but can't get write it out in a lead sheet for anybody. This limits things a lot. I've gotten around it, but it's definitely a hassle. So right there, a big difference.

    I would say that lyrics and poetry are two separate genres with a lot of overlap.

    Many songwriters are thought of as poets: Dylan for one. I did a thesis on the "poetry" of Roger Waters once. And there are poems that come off as songs: a group called "The Three Ds" did albums of singing famous poems like "The Highwayman" and "Soft Rains", somebody like Leonard Cohen or Rod McKuen are hard to sort out.

    But they ain't quite the same thing.
     
  11. candyg
    Offline

    candyg New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Okay,in my situation l write poems and songs.One day my partner was playing guitar and found my book of poems and turned 12 of them into songs.I now sit down while he plays guitar and write one line that is in my head and the song then is revolved around that one line.So in saying that in my situation my poems have been turned into songs.As my previous reply l am no expert my partner has been playing guitar for 15 years and he however is fantastic at writing music with guitar,drums or bass.So maybe l am just lucky!!
     
  12. Unit7
    Offline

    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    59
    Poetry vs Lyrics

    I have always considered Lyrics and Poetry to be very similar. I have never seriously attempted to write either. However I was wondering something. Is there a huge difference between Lyrics and Poetry? Aside from one being having music and is supposed to be sung.
     
  13. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    the difference is mainly in the format...

    poems can take many different forms and can be rhymed, or not... while song lyrics are generally rhymed and have all [or most] of the following components, with repeats of the chorus in toto and repeats of the verse format, with only wording changed:

    intro
    verse
    chorus
    bridge

    many seem to think any poem can be set to music and work well as a song, but that's far from true... however, scam companies make a fortune on these poor souls, putting the same music to many of their victims' poems on a high-priced cd, and letting them think they now have demo they can sell...

    i'm both a full time poet and some time lyricist, so if you want any help with either, just drop me a line any time...

    love and hugs, maia
     

Share This Page