Author Topic: Lyrics!  (Read 970 times)

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Ron

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Lyrics!
« on: December 11, 2016, 10:32:24 AM »
I am addicted to online courses. A free university education is there on the web for the taking. In any case, as a break from my usual diet of philosophy, history, and cosmology courses, I enrolled in a course on songwriting. Even though I have a BA, having taken many English literature courses, and having taught secondary school English lit for 8 years in total, I am stunned at how much I did not know about the structure of our language and how to use it to achieve artistic ends. Did you know, for example, that are 6 kinds of rhymes in English?


1. Perfect: mud/blood; trees/breeze
2. Family: bat/bad; ground/grout (same vowel sound; related consonants)
3. Additive: free/speed; cry/smile (a consonant is added to the rhyming vowels)
4. Subtractive: speed/free; (a consonant is subtracted from the rhyming vowels)
5. Assonance: life/tide; fool/rude (same vowel sound; different consonants)
6. Consonance: friend/wind; one/alone (same consonant sound; different vowel sounds)


They remind of the different kind of cadences or endings one employs in music.


Anyhow, the course goes into how the structure of the lyrics: the kinds of rhymes, line lengths, patterns, stress points, etc.
enhance or detract from the meaning the words are trying to convey. I think anyone planning to write lyrics should take this course. It's free. (You have to pay if you want to do the quizzes and assignments..))






https://www.coursera.org/learn/songwriting-lyrics
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 04:02:18 PM by Ron »
Ron
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2016, 10:40:51 AM »
sounds cool.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

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ben

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2016, 04:06:19 PM »
I once had an English teacher who was infatuated with "slant rhymes" (near rhymes of any type) ... he suggested that they were BETTER in poetry than regular rhymes because they make a reader think. I'm not sure I buy it, but this reminded me of that. Interesting stuff, and to answer your questions, linguistics is a fascinating field that I think most people never think about.

Ron

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2016, 04:44:09 PM »
The trouble with perfect rhymes is not that they are bad, but that they stop the forward motion of a song dead in its tracks. They are the equivalent of a perfect cadence in music. A dominate 7th to tonic is so powerful a statement that the forward motion of the music stops. You would not write a piece of music with a perfect cadence at the end of every 4 measures--nor should you write poetry (or lyrics) with a perfect rhyme at the end of every line. Note how Shakespeare used the perfect rhyme--only at the end of scenes in his plays, as if to say, "Okay, we're taking a break here." So, too, in poetry, we use half rhymes, what you call "slant" rhymes, to keep things slightly off-balance, thus providing forward momentum. I was always aware of this; I just didn't know there were so many precise definitions.
Ron
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2016, 05:00:01 PM »
one of the reasons I love Sondheim's lyrics so much is his habit of rhyming a middle syllable of a word with the final syllable of the next phrase.

a bad example (because I'm not Sondheim) could be something like this:

It is unbeliev-
able, that I can weave
a ball of yarn....
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

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sandalwood

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2016, 04:59:12 AM »
Woven yarn is woven yarn is woven yarn is woven yarn...
Ah, woven goods!
What's the customs tariff,
Who gives a darn?
 :)


tbmartin

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2016, 06:07:22 AM »
I like rhymes where a single multi syllable word is rhymed with several smaller words. Even better if those small words are smooshed into a nonsense word that actually makes sense: A clean limerick example:

“A wonderful bird is the Pelican.
His beak can hold more than his bellican.
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week!
But I'll be darned if I know how the hellican?”


― Dixon Lanier Merritt
Terence Martin

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Michel.R.E

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 10:28:38 AM »
hmmm, the only limericks I know are most definitely not music-worthy.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Ron

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2016, 11:56:03 AM »
Another point: a lot of time in the course is spent on matching the rhythm of speech to musical rhythm--which is something beginners often make a mess of. If your musical meter is fighting the lyric rhythm you are losing a lot of meaning.
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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2016, 03:39:28 PM »
ok, so what rhymes with "ooooh baby, baby"?
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

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tbmartin

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2016, 05:07:18 PM »
it rhymes with "ooooh baby, baby".   That's why the song is so repetitive.  ;D
Terence Martin

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Ron

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2016, 06:59:59 AM »
ooooh baby, baby
You leave me aching
For your love divine.

ooooh baby, baby
Here's hoping maybe
Someday that you'll be mine.

Oh baby, baby
You make me crazy
Oh baby, baby
You leave me reeling, feeling, dealing, squealing
Kneeling at your side.
Oh baby, baby
You make me crazy
Oh baby, baby
Be my bride.

ooooh baby, baby
You leave me aching
For your love divine.

ooooh baby, baby
Here's hoping maybe
Someday that you'll be mine.



Did I ever mention that I loved sappy rock 'n' roll when I was 12 years old?
Ron
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gogreen

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2016, 11:31:41 AM »
Hmmm. Before I said any of that, I'd be getting her FICO score.  :D

Ron

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2016, 09:53:42 AM »
Back to more serious matters....

Our professor today talked about Stephen Sondheim's approach to song-writing. Apparently Sondheim first goes to a thesaurus to get a feel for the implications and associations with the central idea of the song. He then uses a rhyming dictionary to flesh out the words surrounding and supporting the ideas of the song, thus killing two birds with one stone: linking the ideas of the song with the sound of the song. When done, he has a worksheet of words and ideas that can be organized and linked in a meaningful way.

Something any song-writers among us should seriously look at.
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Lyrics!
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2016, 09:56:11 AM »
yes, that's one very marking feature of Sondheim's lyrics: the amount of depth that goes into the meaning of words. One need only look at the meaning of the word "nice" as used in "Into the Woods".
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"