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#1123790 - 02/06/17 02:52 PM What's more important the words or music?  
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Barry David Butler Online content
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What do you think?
Are they equally important?
Or what?

#1123794 - 02/06/17 03:14 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Well, music without words is still music. Lyrics without music is poems. Both are equally important in songs. Though one can carry the other,i.e.,great lyrics gives a boost to average music, great music gives a boost to average lyrics.

John smile

#1123802 - 02/06/17 06:33 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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It depends on how the listener's brain works. I can listen to songs for years, recognize them after a couple of notes or riffs, and not have a clue what the words are. Others are not like me!


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#1123808 - 02/06/17 07:10 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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In the past when we tackled this question....

important as the question is, there was\is no definitive answer...and I am not sure it needs one.

For some music, no words are needed---for some, the melody and harmonies make it.

Imagine "Classical Gas" with words...can you--are they needed?

Imagine "Like A Rolling Stone" without words...

In the end, art is in the mind, ear eyes of the beholder.



If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

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#1123809 - 02/06/17 07:41 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Originally Posted by Barry David Butler
What do you think?
Are they equally important?
Or what?


It's always an incomplete question...are lyrics important?

The bigger question is important for what?

For a hit? These question tend to stem from people concerned with writing a hit song.

For pop music, the ones your trying to write to make money, the hook lyric is probably a marketing concern and the most important lyric you write

Many hit songs, good and bad have one lyrical hook that makes the song what it is...

The futures so bright, I have to wear shades...
I would do anything for love...but I won't do that
Let my love open the door....
Bieber , he does have a hit..."my mama don't like you, and she likes everyone"

First time I heard that it did catch my ear, I don't really like the song, but the hook works

Most hit songs have one or more killer lyrical hooks in them

If you start me up, if you Start me up, if you start me up I never stop

I can't get no, satisfaction

The list goes on. And I notice many times people think any thing they write down is a good hook, small little lines like that can make a song a hit, they are not so easy to find a cool sounding hook, ever try finding a name for a band? It's hard

To further the question...important for what though?

Just because you can't hear every lyric sung, or don't k ow the words to your favorite songs, doesn't mean those lyrics didn't matter, number 1, lyrics make sound, sounds are what people hear when they hear songs.

Somebody mentioned like a rolling stone, listen to the alliterarion, and inner rhymes, if any lyric makes a sound, it's that, I don't need to know what it's about, it's just a great track to listen to

Also just cause you may not hear all the lyrics when listening, if you listen to the song and enjoy it, you might go find the lyric to sing along with it, that's like a gift that keeps giving, you learn something new about a song when you listen for something different in it

It don't even have to be the lyric, take a favorite song, and try to just listen to the bass guitar, without a thing else, block it all out, and hear the bass, chances are you get an extra kick at what the bass is doing

Or just the drums, or just the vocals and harmonies, or just the lyric without anything else

It all contributes to the final product, good lyrics can make a record last longer and have staying power

Of course good is subjective anyway..soo

If lyrics didn't matter people would view James brown and James Taylor the same, they are way different and people know it, one of the reasons is James Taylor has lyrics, brown has grooves

Also remember a song like...I feel good, by James brown, he don't need to say much more than that, because his music sells the idea that he feels good

Sometimes it's en epic lyric...cats in the cradle, trying to tell me those lyrics don't matter?
Sometimes it's one lyrical line

These questions only gain traction when you try to seperate the words and music. songs are sounds made by lyrics and music



Last edited by Warblemusic; 02/06/17 07:44 PM.
#1123811 - 02/06/17 07:49 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Whew sorry bout the typos fixed them all, damn keys get stuck and I roll over them too fast lol

#1123849 - 02/07/17 01:24 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Hi Barry:

IMHO... the melody is most important, followed closely by the lyric. Without both elements, it isn't a song. As John implied, "A stand-alone lyric" is poetry... and a stand-alone melody is a composition.

Having said all that... I have no real success to back up my thoughts and beliefs on this topic. I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express once... so maybe that qualifies? LOL!

Regards, ----Dave

#1123853 - 02/07/17 01:31 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Barry David Butler Online content
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Hey Dave.....I can play a lot of my songs as Just Instrumentals.
SO...Poems can't go too many places BUT Great Melodies can Stand alone and be in movies and TV Shows....Orchestras cover many pop tunes.
SOOOOO I'd say if the melody isn't really strong and words will never find wings.
How are YOU doing?
Barry

#1123857 - 02/07/17 02:25 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Hi Barry:

I re-read Colin's post and chuckled. (My brain no longer works!) LOL! It seems to wander aimlessly toward crappy lyrics and even worse melodies. But hey, whatever makes us happy, right?

Have a great day. ----Dave

#1123860 - 02/07/17 02:34 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Orchestras play melodies of songs that are already famous.

School marching bands play melodies of any song you can dream of, crap melody or not, the point of it is, that they play familiar songs that people know. Let them play a melody of a song one of their classmates wrote, I think they would lose the attention of their audience e, even f it it might sound nice

Any melody, the worst melody of all time can be played as an instrumental

If Taylor swift decided that her next album will be all instrumental melodies, no lyrics, do you think she'd have a hit?

Might be a very nice melody she has too, but without her lyric and her character in it its nothing.

How many instrumental songs have been hits? How many songs with lyrics have been hits?

I agree that the melody Carries it all, I agree more that the production and rhythm, specially today carry it further

Asking what's more important, lyric or melody short changes a lot of stuff.

That's like saying the guitar player, the bass player, the drummer, the background singers, the production people don't even get considered, everything they do was chit, it's only the songwriter who wrote the melody and lyric that are important

Nowadays a great drum beat can make a song a hit, but it's also impossible to tell a detailed story without a well crafted lyric.




Last edited by Warblemusic; 02/07/17 02:40 PM.
#1123863 - 02/07/17 02:43 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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"It all depends" - on the listener's preference.
I watched Lady Gaga's Superbowl half-time show last night on youtube. A medley of her 'hits', I guess. I'd never heard one of them before, and after listening, I can't say there were ANY hooks that imprinted themselves in my brain. The songs were all about the beat, dance moves and visual. So to her fans, the lyrics are not the most important thing.

Conversely I have attended countless concerts where the audience is singing along with every song played by the band - to them, the lyrics ARE an important part of the songs.

#1123864 - 02/07/17 02:50 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: MikeBmusic]  
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Originally Posted by MikeBmusic
"It all depends" - on the listener's preference.
I watched Lady Gaga's Superbowl half-time show last night on youtube. A medley of her 'hits', I guess. I'd never heard one of them before, and after listening, I can't say there were ANY hooks that imprinted themselves in my brain. The songs were all about the beat, dance moves and visual. So to her fans, the lyrics are not the most important thing.

Conversely I have attended countless concerts where the audience is singing along with every song played by the band - to them, the lyrics ARE an important part of the songs.


I'm a not so proud fan of lady gags. I find her very talented, listen to bad romance, if you want several hooks that will need surgical removal!

She's got the fast lyrical/melodic hook thing down to a science. But I'm also not a fan of the dance stage theatric stuff, so I'm torn, lol

#1123869 - 02/07/17 04:41 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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I was just thinking about the song Y.M.C.A

I mention this not as great lyric writing per se, but as smart pop songwriting

You take those four letters out of the picture, that song would be be half as famous as it is today

Imagine the lyrics were:

I'm driving down the street and... I feel ok
I'm driving down the street and I feel ok

As opposed to
It's fun to stay at the ymca
It's fun to stay and the ymca

Which lyric is more effective?

Those four letters made that song an international hit

Lyrics can be more powerful than melody

How bout tommy tutones

87675309

That phone number was being called all over America when that song came out

The melody couldn't do that, it had to be the lyric

Make it all count is the point



,,

Last edited by Warblemusic; 02/07/17 04:46 PM.
#1123871 - 02/07/17 04:51 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Warblemusic]  
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Also repeating it over and over is effective and EASY to remember to sing along.
Those four words and that melody made that a very effective pop song..
ALSO their outfits didn't hurt and the Gay thing and the Y shower room...Every Gay guy in in the world bought that 45....

#1123872 - 02/07/17 04:56 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Originally Posted by Barry David Butler
Also repeating it over and over is effective and EASY to remember to sing along.
Those four words and that melody made that a very effective pop song..
ALSO their outfits didn't hurt and the Gay thing and the Y shower room...Every Gay guy in in the world bought that 45....


Lol, well any wedding I've ever been to plays it, I guess you could argue that all weddings are gay..lol


#1123874 - 02/07/17 05:14 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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For that matter you change the lyrical hook of any of these songs, how popular and memorable does the song become?

Sweet home Alabama
Rocky Mountain high, Colorado
Play that funky music white boy, lol
Thank God I'm a country boy
Like a virgin
Imagine
Live and let die
Paradise by the dashboard light

Basically any big hit song where you change those lines you have a lesser song, sometimes those lines resonate

Last edited by Warblemusic; 02/08/17 01:17 AM.
#1123877 - 02/07/17 05:27 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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And, I'm inclined to credit billy Joel for his composing chops, but you change piano man lyric to, give me a call, im at home tonight, as opposed to sing us a song your the piano man, and you dint have a classic

And this one, 95% is lyric, the melody is not the thing here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m50p-XScreM

Last edited by Warblemusic; 02/07/17 05:28 PM.
#1123905 - 02/07/17 11:15 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Andy K Online content
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I agree with Colin in that it depends how you are wired. I'm another one who frequently doesn't know the lyrics to songs I listen to and play. But, as others have said, there are lots of songs that are carried almost entirely by the lyrics.

That said, I think that lyrics are more important with today's pop music. I think the popularity of rap, hip hop, etc., which are almost entirely beat and lyrics, have boosted the importance of lyrics for all popular music. Young listeners today pay more attention to the lyrics.

Last edited by Andy K; 02/07/17 11:16 PM.

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#1123909 - 02/08/17 01:59 AM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Andy K]  
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Originally Posted by Andy K
I agree with Colin in that it depends how you are wired. I'm another one who frequently doesn't know the lyrics to songs I listen to and play. But, as others have said, there are lots of songs that are carried almost entirely by the lyrics.

That said, I think that lyrics are more important with today's pop music. I think the popularity of rap, hip hop, etc., which are almost entirely beat and lyrics, have boosted the importance of lyrics for all popular music. Young listeners today pay more attention to the lyrics.


I agree with Colin too, on that side of it,it could be that there are just too many songs to remember all the words to. We probably have thousands of songs in our memory banks. We will only remember dribs and drabs

We have a hard time remembering 5 passwords, let alone thousands of lyrics
I was asked to sing a few songs with the band at a wedding one time, I needed a lyric sheet to sing
Satisfaction, I had never known the words.

Lyrics are just another sound palate to the dense mix we hear

Story songs the lyric needs to be up front and knowable, and coherent

J

Last edited by Warblemusic; 02/08/17 02:02 AM.
#1123913 - 02/08/17 08:31 AM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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I played a few times in band that played nothing but instrumentals. After a while I found it hard work and was losing interest rapidly.
For myself I certainly prefer music with lyrics.


It's never too late? Yes it is, so do it now.

If, given time, a monkey can write the complete works of Shakespeare maybe there's hope for me.
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#1123915 - 02/08/17 09:54 AM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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I think people like the tone of the human voice and much prefer songs with vocals over instrumentals. That said, the words themselves have to have a rhythm, something memorable like a hook (YMCA), and sound good sung. The actual meaning of the lyric is much less important. I watched the Lady Gaga performance and basically couldn't understand a word she was singing, but it sounded good in that the words fit the beat, the melody was good and she has a good voice.

I always liked the song Brown Sugar by the Stones. One day I read the words and was shocked because I had no idea what the song was about, except I knew I liked the hook. How many of you know the lyrics?

Brown Sugar live

Last edited by Colin Ward; 02/08/17 09:57 AM.

Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#1123918 - 02/08/17 10:44 AM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Everett Adams  Online Content
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,NL Canada
Depending on the genre which is more important. A gospel song without lyrics will not do its job, but a rock song with a good danceable beat will get people dancing even if there are no lyrics or the lyrics make no sense.

#1123922 - 02/08/17 12:28 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Barry David Butler Online content
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Barry David Butler  Online Content
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Sebring, Florida USA
This would make an interesting song.
"Music or the Words?"

#1123974 - 02/10/17 12:09 AM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
Joined: Apr 2003
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Andy K Online content
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Andy K  Online Content
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Clearwater, FL, USA
I did write a song about 12 years ago that kind of deals with this same topic:

Na Na Baby Goodbye



Stone Marmot
nouveau retro pop-rock music
http://www.stonemarmot.com
Check out our latest song, "Miss Chameleon"
#1123977 - 02/10/17 10:14 AM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Andy K]  
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Roy Cooper Offline
Roy Cooper  Offline

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Originally Posted by Andy K
I did write a song about 12 years ago that kind of deals with this same topic:

Na Na Baby Goodbye



What a great fun song Andy

God Bless Roy and Helen


'You Have To Kiss A Lot Of Frogs To Find A Prince'

Our Record Label

Our Personal Website
#1124003 - 02/10/17 11:58 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Lynn Orloff Offline
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Lynn Orloff  Offline
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PA of the great USA
Melody is key (pun intended) !


My Music at Soundclick
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=788266

~call it a blessing or call it a curse, but I see all of life in verse~

Always open to collaborations smile

God Bless Our Military!!!
#1124049 - 02/13/17 06:55 AM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Kolstad  Offline
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Denmark
What is it Ralph Murphy say, melody pulls you in and lyrics brings you back. http://murphyslawsofsongwriting.com/laws-of-songwriting

When writing, a great lyric can be very musical, and pull the melody out of you. But when listening to a song, melody is quicker to recognize and can make you hum along in a second, while the lyrics takes a little longer to learn. But if the words aren't strong enough, you mostly won't listen again.

Both lyrics and melody is music to me, as there's always an inherent melody in a lyric. It is not possible you speak without using pitch in your words. Some writers have a knack to write very musical lyrics (just check out the lyrics forums here at JPF!), while others need more work.

When a lyric is not musical (at least to the ear that has to set it to music), it takes more work and effort, so thats where craft comes in. Thats also when its important to keep in mind why you wrote it, and find ways to match lyrics and melody that keeps the original idea (if there ever was one :-)).

I find that some lyric writers are more musical than they give themselves credit for, while others with less mojo think of lyric writing as a technical exercise. Composers can write unmusical melodies as well, so nothing is a given just because you give it a name up front. Imo, both lyrics and melody needs to be musical.

justmy2c


Buzz Tracks
Making media sweeter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buzztracks
#1124074 - 02/13/17 11:37 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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R&M Offline
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R&M  Offline
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Looking at myself with what I am looked to be better at I would say that it is sounding more familiar, perhaps with a twist in the lyrics.
It would be great if I were loved for all the words and different spins that I have. But it comes down to what is the most familiar. Not great lyrical depth. Unless you can find that one in a million that can make their lyrics work outside the beaten path.
The words with that certain swave 've verve.

#1124076 - 02/13/17 11:48 PM Re: What's more important the words or music? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


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Indianapolis, IN USA
Without music that draws people in, you have no chance. Once you do, lyrics can help, but don't always make any difference at all, beyond the hook and perhaps overarching idea. Decades of proof are all over popular music, whereas I can show you people who do both great who never get noticed no matter how talented they are because something else in their "game" is lacking to find success (sometimes it's as simple as being likable or entertaining in all ways that ever tough the process, behind the scenes, with tastemakers, with fans, on stage, in business dealings etc. It mostly all needs to click to work.


Brian Austin Whitney
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Just Plain Folks
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney



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