Who's Online Now
21 registered members (Dave Rice, John W. Selleck, Everett Adams, couchgrouch, 9ne, Irwin, Gavin Sinclair, CTthomas, Guy E. Trepanier, 2 invisible), and 1,666 guests, and
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Shout Box
Member Spotlight
Posts: 8,470
Joined: January 2006
Show All Member Profiles 
What's Going On
Wild horses. New version. Vic
by Vicarn. 11/13/19 03:41 PM
Deep Blue Sea
by Mark Kaufman. 11/13/19 11:02 AM
Smuggler's Moon
by 90 dB. 11/13/19 09:38 AM
How are songwriters faring in Nashville?
by Gary E. Andrews. 11/12/19 07:51 PM
The Same Sun Shines On Us All
by E Swartz. 11/12/19 05:02 PM
I Should Be So Lucky
by Gavin Sinclair. 11/12/19 03:18 PM
Blending Music - Sir Howard Morrison
by niteshift. 11/12/19 07:49 AM
THE SCAMMERS ARE SCHEMING !
by Everett Adams. 11/12/19 07:19 AM
FIRST VIDEO for YOUTUBE
by niteshift. 11/12/19 06:48 AM
Dance With Me
by John W. Selleck. 11/12/19 12:30 AM
Restless Wind Marina
by John W. Selleck. 11/12/19 12:10 AM
Perfect Girl
by John W. Selleck. 11/11/19 11:51 PM
Need to Pray
by John W. Selleck. 11/11/19 11:35 PM
A Brian request on Facebook
by Scott Campbell. 11/11/19 07:06 PM
All you need / The Dung Beetle
by ckiphen. 11/11/19 03:18 PM
First Love, Last Love (VIDEO & STUDIO RECORDING)
by Steve Altonian. 11/11/19 11:45 AM
Columbus, Ohio November 2019 Update
by Gary E. Andrews. 11/11/19 07:09 AM
Helens Song - Demo by Mike Caro
by Roy Cooper. 11/11/19 12:15 AM
Find a Sunny Spot
by PaulCanuck. 11/10/19 09:11 PM
Mental Library
by Gary E. Andrews. 11/10/19 08:37 PM
HardWired - Screenplay in progress.
by Gary E. Andrews. 11/10/19 06:46 PM
PRE-AMPLIFIERS
by Ray E. Strode. 11/10/19 12:04 PM
The Tomorrow Trap
by Moosesong. 11/10/19 11:26 AM
RAGING STORMS
by Gavin Sinclair. 11/10/19 11:18 AM
Charlie Manson
by ckiphen. 11/10/19 09:32 AM
traffic and alarms
by Gary E. Andrews. 11/10/19 09:21 AM
Connection
by Calvin. 11/10/19 05:18 AM
Looking for musicians to collaborate with
by ckiphen. 11/09/19 02:08 PM
North Of Nashville
by Fdemetrio. 11/09/19 01:26 PM
Top Posters(All Time)
Calvin 19,776
Travis david 11,593
Kevin Emmrich 10,563
Jean Bullock 10,330
Kaley Willow 10,240
Two Singers 9,600
Joice Marie 9,186
Mackie H. 8,844
glynda 8,613
Mike Dunbar 8,574
Tricia Baker 8,318
Colin Ward 7,907
couchgrouch 7,600
Dave Rice 7,383
Corey 7,357
Wyman Lloyd 6,578
Mark Kaufman 6,561
Joe Wrabek 6,403
Vicarn 6,150
ben willis 6,106
Lynn Orloff 5,788
Louis 5,725
Linda Sings 5,608
niteshift 5,509
KimberlyinNC 5,210
Neil Cotton 4,909
Derek Hines 4,893
DonnaMarilyn 4,652
Blake Hill 4,528
Bob Cushing 4,363
Bill Osofsky 4,199
Tom Shea 4,179
Cindy Miller 4,178
Roy Cooper 4,164
nightengale 4,092
TamsNumber4 4,074
Caroline 3,865
MFB III 3,846
Kolstad 3,813
Dan Sullivan 3,710
beechnut79 3,507
Dottie 3,427
joewatt 3,411
E Swartz 3,405
Bill Cooper 3,279
John Hoffman 3,199
Skip Johnson 3,027
Pam Hurley 3,007
Terry G 3,005
PopTodd 2,890
Harriet Ames 2,870
Nigel Quin 2,812
MidniteBob 2,707
Nelson 2,570
Tom Tracy 2,558
Polly Hager 2,526
Jerry Jakala 2,524
Al Alvarez 2,499
Eric Thome 2,448
Hummingbird 2,401
Stan Loh 2,263
Sam Wilson 2,242
Judy Hollier 2,232
Wendy D 2,216
Erica Ellis 2,202
TrumanCoyote 2,096
Marty Helly 2,014
DukeWill 1,985
floyd jane 1,982
maccharles 1,961
Clint Anglin 1,904
cindyrella 1,888
David Wright 1,866
Clairejeanne 1,851
Cindy LaRosa 1,824
Ronald Boyt 1,675
Iggy 1,650
Noel Downs 1,620
Rick Heenan 1,597
Martin Lide 1,588
Cal 1,574
Jack Swain 1,554
Pete Larsen 1,537
Ann Tygart 1,529
Tom Breshers 1,487
Fdemetrio 1,485
RogerS 1,462
Tom Franz 1,455
GocartMoz 1,441
Chuck Crowe 1,441
Ralph Blight 1,440
Kenneth Cade 1,429
Rick Norton 1,428
bholt 1,411
Letha Allen 1,408
in2piano 1,404
Stan Simons 1,402
mattbanx 1,384
Jen Shaner 1,373
Charlie Wong 1,347
KevinP 1,324
Vondelle 1,316
Tom W. 1,313
Jan Petter 1,301
scottandrew 1,292
DakLander 1,265
PeteG 1,242
Ian Ferrin 1,230
Glen King 1,214
IdeaGuy 1,209
AaronAuthier 1,177
Diane Ewing 1,158
Gerry 1,144
summeoyo 1,126
lane1777 1,092
joro 1,082
BobbyJoe 1,075
Deej56 1,064
S.DEE 1,040
yann 1,037
Tony A 1,016
argo 986
peaden 984
Wolvman 960
IronKnee 947
Jak Kelly 912
krtinberg 890
Drifter 886
9ne 886
Petra 883
90 dB 868
RJC 845
Brenda152 840
Nadia 829
Juan 797
TKO 784
frahmes 781
teletwang 762
Andy K 744
tbryson 737
Andy Kemp 733
ant 732
Jackie444 731
3daveyO3 704
Dayson 703
Dixie 701
Joy Boy 695
Knute 686
Lee Arten 678
Katziis 652
R.T.MOORE 638
quality 637
Irwin 627
CG King 622
douglas 621
Pat Hardy 619
Mel 614
Moosesong 603
NaomiSue 601
Shandy 589
Ria 587
TAMERA64 583
qbaum 570
nitepiano 566
pRISCILLA 556
Tink2 553
musica 539
deanbell 528
RobertK 527
BonzaiWag 523
Roderic 522
BB Wilbur 511
goodfolks 499
R&M 493
Zeek 487
Stu 486
Steve P. 481
KathyW 462
allenb 459
MaxG 458
Philjo 454
fanito 448
trush48 448
dmk 442
arealrush 437
DGR 436
avweek 435
Stephen D 433
Emmy 431
Rob L 426
marquez 422
kit 419
Softkrome 417
kyrksongs 415
RRon 408
Laura G. 407
VNORTH 407
Debra 407
eb 406
JAPOV 399
cuebald 399
EdPerrone 399
Dannyk1 395
Hobart 395
Davyboy49 393
Smile 389
GJShades 387
Ezt 384
tone 380
Marla 380
Cecilee 379
iggyiggy 378
coalminer 377
java 374
spidey 371
Register Today!
Welcome to the Just Plain Folks forums! You are currently viewing our forums as a Guest which gives you limited access to most of our discussions and to other features.

By joining our free community you will have access to post and respond to topics, communicate privately with our users (PM), respond to polls, upload content, and access many other features. Registration is fast, simple, and absolutely free; so please join our community today!
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate This Thread
Page 2 of 5 1 2 3 4 5
#731271 - 06/20/09 01:05 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 10,330
Jean Bullock Offline
Jean Bullock  Offline

Top 10 Poster

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 10,330
Anaheim, CA, USA
Originally Posted by BIG JIM MERRILEES
The importance of lyrics is debateable. Depends on genre. For example some country songs rely on telling a story and creating imagery. The music almost comes as an afterthought. Some pop songs concentrate on music production and catchy riffs but lyrics are unimportant. These songs consist mainly of the same banal line being repeated ad nauseum.

What is important is to write, perform and produce a quality song that has the necessary hooks etc and is pleasing to the ear regardless of the genre. It hardly matters nowadays who writes the lyrics, who composes the music, sings the melody, plays the instruments and produces the recording.
What is important is a professional attitude to do the best job possible. We are never too old to learn new things and never done learning.

The best people at anything do not have a comfort zone. They will experiment, take chances, move on, move back, learn new skills and never stop learning. That is what makes them the best.


Well said, Jim.


Please visit my facebook EZ3D PopUps for free papercraft templates. Great for beginners of all ages.

Favorite Sites:
http://facebook.com/EZ3DPopUps
http://ez3dpopups.blogspot.com/
http://harrietschock.com
http://jpfolks.com
http://phillipmartin.com


#731290 - 06/20/09 02:22 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,563
Kevin Emmrich Online content
Kevin Emmrich  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,563
Crozet, VA
Thanks to all who threw their opinions in the ring -- see, we can have a relatively civil discourse on controversial topics!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being lyrics only, in fact lyrics are what make good songs great. The music and melody pull you in, but the lyrics are what you sing along with. Obviously there are genres where lyrics don't matter, but hits in those genre at least some kind of amazing synergy between the music and words.

Nonetheless, I still feel strongly that non-musical lyricists should go out and get a keyboard (even just a $100 one) and try to learn some rudimentary music. It might turn out to be a total waste of time -- or you might discover a talent that you never knew you had. In the long run, I bet it would make you an even better songwriter.

Kevin



"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @50/90 2019)
#731297 - 06/20/09 02:51 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 8,613
glynda Offline
glynda  Offline

Top 20 Poster

Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 8,613
Princeton Texas
Kevin it may make me a better songwriter cause right now it's best I stay away from my keyboard and guitar...not a pretty thing to hear, I bang on the keyboard and sometimes I kinda like what bits I hear, but can't do it a second time...it's really scarey to hear whatever it is i'm doing..so it will make me a better writer cause i'll be spending more time writing and not trying to scare the neighbors....lol

#731313 - 06/20/09 03:53 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: glynda]  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,403
Joe Wrabek Offline
Top 40 Poster
Joe Wrabek  Offline
Top 40 Poster

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,403
Garibaldi, OR USA
Kevin (et al.), it can be done other ways. Lyricists don't have to be, or become, musicians; they just have to understand how it works.

What I counsel people to do is steep themselves in writing that's from an oral tradition. Stuff that was intended to be *performed* rather than read. The big epic poems--Homer, Virgil, &c. Cicero's and Winston Churchill's speeches. Cowboy poetry (and that includes Dr. Seuss, who really was good at that genre). You need to get a sense (my opinion, of course) how words are used not just for their meaning, but their *sound* and their *rhythm*. And there are poets who crossed the line, so to speak, and became songwriters--Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen. Look how their words were designed to fit music.

And then apply *those* tricks to your lyrics. Doesn't mean you shouldn't learn to play an instrument (I keep telling myself that's why I got the banjo--it wasn't just to look at). But it doesn't mean you have to get good at it right away.

Joe

#731371 - 06/20/09 10:23 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 176
Patti Smith Offline
Serious Contributor
Patti Smith  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 176
Kansas
Because I posted a lyric here and advertised on a post for a co-writer, I got an important message from a member. He suggested I advertise locally. I did. Now I have found a musician, singer/songwriter who seems very interested in working with me. You never know.


Patti Smith-Lyric writer Wanted CO-WRITERS
#731374 - 06/20/09 10:28 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Patti Smith]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,100
Marc Barnette Offline
Top 50 Poster
Marc Barnette  Offline
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,100
Nashville, Tn.
Relationship, relationship, relationship.

#731415 - 06/21/09 01:11 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,383
Dave Rice Online content
Top 30 Poster
Dave Rice  Online Content
Top 30 Poster

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,383
Texas
Hi Kevin:

No offense taken. To answer your question from my perspective, there are more lyric writers because it seems to be the point where a significant portion of songwriters begin. Many have little or no experience in writing or performing melodies. Most cannot play an instrument of any kind but still have a passion for contributing to music in whatever way they can.

Learning to be a good lyricist requires a great deal of work... and true, it is best if the lyricist undertakes a strategy to learn an instrument of some type and to learn the basics of music.

I began as a lyricist only and decided that I wanted more control of my work. I learned to play chords and began to sing, which to me, was the most daunting task of all. Co-writing is a wonderful experience depending upon the chemistry of those involved. If the chemistry is wrong... it is an absolute nightmare.

Most of what I have read and learned about songwriting is that the melody is the most important aspect of the song... but it can be left hanging and largely ignored unless accompanied by a good set of lyrics. Nothing against a good instrumental tune but a good song requires excellent lyrics to bring the melody to fruition. Both contributors are important and, to me, it is significantly easier if the two parts are handled by one person... unless, as Marc B. has stated, there is a very good working relationship where both parties work together efficiently, punctually and on a business-like basis.

Given a choice (with a few important exceptions) I prefer to write and compose alone. The logistics are simpler and I can blame nobody but myself if the song is not brought "to life" within the target date established for release, recording or simply pitching to others.

There is no best way... just whatever works best for the individual(s) involved.

Regards,

Dave

http://www.ShowCaseYourMusic.com/DaveRice

#731449 - 06/21/09 09:30 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 406
eb Offline
Serious Contributor
eb  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 406
Georgia
Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
the strum has no rhythm

My advice to this sort of lyricist is always the same: whatever you write, keep its rhythm consistent...it's not the exact syllable count so much as the rhythm of the lyrical lines that needs to match the same melodic passage.



I'm one of the rhythmically challenged strummers. I've had a guitar for probably 35 years and it's still the same "chunk-chunk-chunk" rhythm it's always been. One reason is a childhood arm injury and one reason is laziness. A problem for the last few years has been loss of strength in my left arm/hand and increasing arthritic pain in both hands. But rhythm does not come naturally for me.

A few years ago I bought a new classical guitar with a wider fingerboard which in some ways helps but on some chords my fingers still go to the narrow fingering on my old guitar.

Your advice on lyrical rhythm is right on IMO. Years ago I heard the syllable thing and it messed me up for quite some time. Then I realized for me at least it was the rhythm of the words rather than the syllables--the beats had to be the same.

When I do a song, I usually have a tune. I tweak that tune a lot more than I tweak the words. Some musicians have trouble them sometimes but they seem to work for me. When I play them myself, I can never play them like my mind hears them. There was one where, every time I sang acapella, there was an extra line that I just couldn't do when I played it on the guitar.

Last edited by eb; 06/21/09 09:35 AM.
#731450 - 06/21/09 09:32 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: eb]  
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 406
eb Offline
Serious Contributor
eb  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 406
Georgia
Being a lyricist mainly, I think lyrics are very important. I recently heard a successful Nashville plugger say in his opinion melody is the most important aspect now.

#731456 - 06/21/09 11:10 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: eb]  
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 29,275
"Tampa Stan" Good (D) Offline
Top 10 Poster
"Tampa Stan" Good (D)  Offline
Top 10 Poster

Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 29,275
Tampa, Florida since 1973
My Afterthought Kev is this: There ARE Great Songs where nary a Word IS Understandable..."Louie-Louie" by the Kingsmen immediately comes to mind (Along with MANY an Instrumental Hit.)

THEN Again, there are songs like Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues"..(Prolly the world's First RAP Song)..where the Music's not even necessary...the WORDS set up a Rhythm that's HIT-Worthy..& Classic.

The WORDS make the Difference between a National Anthem (Ours) and a Pub Song (Where it was lifted-from-the-Brits, Originally.)

Yes, it's agreeably EASIER for a Lyricist to create a SONG if ya learn an Instrument. But "a Necessity?" Nah..(& I got 2000+ Exhibit "A"s over the last 5-6 years or so.) MOST of the Songs on the Charts HAVE a Pair Of Writers..& One did the Words/Other did The Music. Specialization. It Works!

Thanks for The Thread, Amigo!
Big Guy-Hug,
Stan

#731460 - 06/21/09 11:35 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: ]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,463
BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
BIG JIM MERRILEES  Offline

Top 20 Poster

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,463
Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
There was a songwriting duo a while back I think they were called Lennon and McCartney. They wrote a few songs together.

Who wrote the lyrics and who wrote the music? and which one could not play an instrument or hold a tune, or had no understanding of basic music composition?

It is not necessary to learn to play an instrument or the basic theory of song construction and recording etc.....BUT IT SURE HELPS.

#731797 - 06/22/09 12:27 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 4,179
Tom Shea Offline
Top 100 Poster
Tom Shea  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 4,179
Nebraska
What is BIAB?

Tom


Thomas Shea

Thomas Shea - Songwriting
http://www.soundclick.com/thomasshea

Justice - Songs
http://www.soundclick.com/justice-nebraska

#731801 - 06/22/09 12:38 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Tom Shea]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,563
Kevin Emmrich Online content
Kevin Emmrich  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,563
Crozet, VA
BIAB = Band in A Box from PG Music. They now have realdrums and realtracks available for use. The realtracks are ultra cool. You just put in the chord progression and the Realtracks (real samples played by real musicians on real instruments) selects passages to play based on the chords/tempo.

Here is a song with all real tracks except for a short acoustic lead break by me and some rhythm electric guitar by me at the end of the tune: http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6470939 -- the drums, bass, acoustic rhythm, pedal steel and harmonica are all BIAB. One of these days I'll re-do Wednesday Girl in BIAB.

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @50/90 2019)
#731809 - 06/22/09 01:05 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 9,104
John Lawrence Schick Offline
Top 20 Poster
John Lawrence Schick  Offline
Top 20 Poster

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 9,104
PA
I think one of the reasons there are more lyricists than composers is because the basic necessities of writing are provided to everyone from the start of school (vocabulary, grammar, spelling, etc). At least everyone learns the language of writing.

However, it's quite a different scenario acquiring the necessities to compose music. Not everyone has the opportunity in their youth.

Best, John smile

#731845 - 06/22/09 03:02 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 829
Nadia Offline
Top 500 Poster
Nadia  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 829
UK
Thank you for an interesting thread, Jean. Some people would say that lyrics are not as important as music and find examples of famous songs where the words aren't really important at all or we don't know what the words are about as it's in a different language, some maintain that the lyrics are important and find examples to support their view. For me the lyrics are very important as they give me an inspiration to compose my music. I find it's important to like the lyric and being able to relate to it, like some people say, it should speak to me. I don't like forced rhymes or something in the lines not making sense. I've been collaborating with different lyricists and I think trust, loyalty and honesty are very important. The ability to discuss the work and being flexible on both parts - for the composer being ready to change the music if the lyricist isn't happy or comes up with some different ideas for the lyric when the work is already in a process, for the lyricist to be ready to change the lines and even rearrange them if the composer is suggesting it. Also if the composer comes up with the suggestions for some lines, not just suggest something else instead (one of the composers was saying about it on another thread) but seriously consider them. I think some lyricists feel very strongly about their work and decide if the composer is asking for a change, the lyric is not for this composer. This is often not the case though as there are always some ways for improvement and it's so important for the composer to be able to relate well to the lyric. I think that it always helps when the lyricist is saying change whatever you feel the lyric needs. When the lyricist says it to me, I don't ever change for the sake of changing and I always say what I'd like to change but it feels so good to have this trust. I also always feel grateful to the lyricists who say they are happy for me to upload the finished song whenever I feel is right and to send the song to any publishers/artists. Again I always let them know where the song is uploaded or sent but it helps so much when it's so easy to communicate.
It would be fantastic if the lyricist either was able to play an instrument or sing or have a good recording software but I appreciate it's not always possible. The main thing is though to have a good working relationship. MAB wrote straight to the point saying relationship three times.
Nadia
P.S. One more point. It would be helpful to know if the lyricist submits the lyric to different composers or just to me. Personally I don't find it interesting to work on my music if I know that the lyric is submitted to someone else for a different song. I know that I wouldn't submit the same music to different lyricists.


Nadia
#731866 - 06/22/09 04:37 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,172
Kathy Bampfield Offline
Top 200 Poster
Kathy Bampfield  Offline
Top 200 Poster

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,172
Norristown, PA, USA
The short version is we have something to say!

I don't hear music in my head but when I co write I can feel the music and contribute to what we are writing.

#731877 - 06/22/09 05:30 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,401
Hummingbird Offline
Hummingbird  Offline

Top 100 Poster

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,401
Victoria, B.C. Canada
I can't believe we only have 80 entries in the 2009 JPF Lyric Awards. Last time we did this contest we had 500!!! If we don't get more interest, I doubt Brian will do it again.

Have you entered?


Vikki Flawith: Songwriter/Composer, Singer/Voice Teacher

12Feb10- *NEW BLOG: "BE YOUR OWN GURU ;)"

MY STORY & MY MUSIC: http://www.vikkiflawith.com
Be a FAN: http://www.reverbnation.com/vikkiflawith
#731879 - 06/22/09 05:36 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Hummingbird]  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,172
Kathy Bampfield Offline
Top 200 Poster
Kathy Bampfield  Offline
Top 200 Poster

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,172
Norristown, PA, USA
I haven't

#732087 - 06/23/09 12:19 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 4,179
Tom Shea Offline
Top 100 Poster
Tom Shea  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 4,179
Nebraska
Thanks for the information Kevin.

Tom


Thomas Shea

Thomas Shea - Songwriting
http://www.soundclick.com/thomasshea

Justice - Songs
http://www.soundclick.com/justice-nebraska

#732114 - 06/23/09 01:51 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Tom Shea]  
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,126
summeoyo Offline
Top 500 Poster
summeoyo  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,126
Harrisburg, PA, USA
Frankly to answer the question posed: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? - It's because there's less time involved in being lyric-only. We all have other interests and obligations in addition to our music pursuits. Those who have less distractions from music tend to do better if they have the talent, persistance, and work "smart". Those who learn to play and compose music have a larger time requirement to dedicate to their craft, because learning music and learning to play music takes time. Many don't want to or are currently in circumstances where they can't set aside the time necessary. It depends on one's personal priorities. I agree with many of the comments on this thread about lyricists learning to read and play music themselves as a means to improving their craft. It's a matter of learning the perspectives involved in writing and (for those who expand to performing)singing songs. The more working knowledge one has from actually participating in all aspects of the creative process, the better potential they have for writing a hit.

#732670 - 06/25/09 07:39 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: summeoyo]  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,813
Kolstad Offline
Top 100 Poster
Kolstad  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,813
Denmark
I think we have to remember that music is not something that musicians have a copyright on. Music is everyday business for us all if we apply the broadest definition.

Listen to a baby babble, a bird sing, your grandma tell stories, the water in your sink and the wind howling past your ears. All of this has music in it.

A lyricist thinking about a subject, choosing words, structuring meaning units, organizing rhyme patterns etc, is as musical as anything I know.

When there lyrics are enhanced by particular tones, and interpreted on instruments it certainly add to the expression, and becomes more musical as more musical elements are added, but not more musical in terms of better quality. It's just layers of musical expression.

I think it is really great to have these layers, as it is really demanding to write great lyrics. Every layer in a musical production is highly specialized, so a division of work between specialists can really make songs shine IMO

Part of why there are so many lyricists only could be because it is really difficult to be a great lyricist, and that it takes so much effort and focus to reach that level, that other parts of the musical process is put in the background.

From other musicians I hear all the time that they don't feel any good with writing lyrics, but sure they can play the hell out of a song when everything is there. When I was playing, I remember feeling the same (and still not feeling up to par).

Same goes for many lyricists, when they feel competent in writing lyrics, wants to start learning an instrument or take music theory classes. It has always been a good strategy to get good at something first, then you can get some work done and team up with others, while you thereafter develop in other areas.


Buzz Tracks
Making media sweeter

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/buzztracks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buzztracks
#732674 - 06/25/09 07:45 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: summeoyo]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,463
BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
BIG JIM MERRILEES  Offline

Top 20 Poster

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,463
Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
Great post. I agree. Just to take it a stage further on the time element, lyrics can be penned fairly quickly and costs nothing. I can write lyrics in just a few minutes. To compose music and record a demo can take many many hours PLUS EXPENSIVE STUDIO TIME..

#732685 - 06/25/09 08:26 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,509
niteshift Online content
Top 50 Poster
niteshift  Online Content
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,509
Sydney, Australia
Ditto on the time thing. The lyrical component, time wise, equates to less than 10% of production time. Music, in general, takes ten times longer to learn than lyric writing. There are ten lyricists to every musician. Perhaps it should be stated as the "Ten to One Theory of Songwriting".

cheers, niteshift

#732701 - 06/25/09 09:15 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: niteshift]  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Caroline Offline
Top 100 Poster
Caroline  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Texas
What a response! It seems to me that some of you musical minds forget that not every one is honestly capable of actually "making" beautiful music. If they were, none of us would have anything more to do than self entertain!

I can play, a little, I can pluck on the guitar and plink away on the piano, but coming up with a solid musical melody isn't my talent.

Just as I can drive my car, but not change the oil, can I learn? Sure, I certainly can, but I don't because there are people out there who are interested in that, when I'd take long enough to ruin my car, they make a living doing that, and it's relatively cheap (not to say, so much easier) for me to allow one of these folks, already in the know, to take on this task. I've been involved in some under the hood trials, it's not a place I should be, let me tell ya! Yes, just as with my guitar, I know the basics, enough to get me by if I chose to take on the task, but I'd never perform this task as well as those who make it look as easy as brushing their teeth.

Yes, I'm still working on learning more, playing more, but my comfort zone, and confidence, when actually playing, is almost nonexistant.

I agree, every writer should learn to play something, even if it's a tambourine, just to keep time, but please, please, PLEASE!!! don't ever assume that we, who don't play, haven't tried. You guys (and gals) for the most part, seem to have your instruments of choice, attatched to your bodies, it's an extension, and it shows that you have a natural gift.

Talent, any talent, is a gift. I'm amazed when I see someone play a guitar as easily as they walk. I'm also impressed when I see a beautiful cake decorated, knowing that it would have been all but impossible for me to decorate such a work of art. I'm struck by the beauty of architecture, yet I'll never draw, nor build such a monument. I'm in awe of a wedding gown, with all the intricate detail that I'd never have the patience to create. With all of the many things I admire (and the list goes on) does it mean, I should learn to decorate a cake before I eat another slice? Should I learn to draw a blueprint, or build before I enter another structure that makes my mind wonder where the idea came from? Do I have to learn to sew before I can wear a pretty dress again? Do I have to learn to play a full song, before I take part in creating a song others will enjoy?

Yeah, I know, off track, a little dramatic, but really when you think about it, if you had to learn to cook before you could eat, you'd starve.

Ok, I'm done, off to pluck some strings and plink some keys. Happy now???
(kidding)

Last edited by Caroline; 06/25/09 09:29 AM.

Caroline


http://www.myspace.com/carolineholder
http://www.soundclick.com/carolinewroteit

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them! (Dove Dark Chocolate)
#732818 - 06/25/09 02:29 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: niteshift]  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,813
Kolstad Offline
Top 100 Poster
Kolstad  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,813
Denmark
Originally Posted by niteshift
Ditto on the time thing. The lyrical component, time wise, equates to less than 10% of production time. Music, in general, takes ten times longer to learn than lyric writing. There are ten lyricists to every musician. Perhaps it should be stated as the "Ten to One Theory of Songwriting".

cheers, niteshift


Now, I think thats a disrespectful radical standpoint, nite. How many great lyricists do you know? How long did it take eg Dianne Warren to write great lyrics? You can learn to play guitar sufficiently to write songs in two-five years, if you study intensely and have the right attitude.

I will have to differ on this, as I just don't think it's true. Yes, it is a fact than anyone can sit down and try to write a lyric on the spot without any prior knowledge, but that doesn't make that person a lyricist, and certainly not a great one. To be a great writer takes many years of hard study and practice, unless you're blessed with some Mozart like genious.

The fact that musicians often doesn't appreciate or understand the craft in great lyric writing, is a completely different discussion. But to suggest that lyric writing in general is something lesser than the other elements in music, and that lyrics take less than 10% of the average production time, is a very narrow perspective on the effort a great lyric demands IMO


Buzz Tracks
Making media sweeter

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/buzztracks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buzztracks
#732828 - 06/25/09 02:53 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,509
niteshift Online content
Top 50 Poster
niteshift  Online Content
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,509
Sydney, Australia
Hey Magne,

As a producer, I do stand by my statement. To take a track to finished status, takes a lot of work. ( and a lot of time, expertise, and money )

If you count up how much time, each particular element takes, then lyrics take up about 10%, or less.

Let's list those who are involved...

Lyricist
Composer
Bass player
Guitarist
Drummer
Keyboard player/Programmer
Incidental soloist
Vocalist
Engineer
Producer
Mastering Engineer
Coffee server ( usually put on the credits as Audio Assist )

And that may still only be to demo stage. I don't downplay the role of the lyricist, I'm simply saying that everyone has a job to do, and eveyone needs to know their function in that role, as part of the whole process.

I don't value one aspect over another, they're all important in the scheme of things. And those who are exceptional at what they do, will marry up with others that do the same.

I do appreciate great lyricits, as part of the whole. Not as a seperate entiity, some of whom think they are "special".

cheers, niteshift


#732831 - 06/25/09 03:06 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Caroline Offline
Top 100 Poster
Caroline  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Texas
Mag,
I actually agree with the 10-1 ratio, I don't find it offensive at all. I don't see a reason to have a war over who does more, making a song work is like making a marriage work, it takes both parties doing what they do best.

Everyone else, this is just my opinion, so don't take anything personally.

The fact is, I write, and write and write, and write. I can write a lyric in 15 minutes, it may still need work, but it'd get the point across and be able to pull on a melody. That part is true, but learning how to write correctly didn't happen over night. I've looked at lyrics, I've had some major errors, I've had some dumb-luck, good ones too. I've taken every bit of coaching I could drag out of folks I've come across. Overall though, I'm still learning. So, it's not as easy as some might imply, to write a solid lyric that will still be that way once it has music.

I think everyone has their niche (sp?) and for some, it may be picking up an instrument that makes music, for others, it may be picking up a different instrument that makes what our mind sees, visible to the world.

Honestly, I don't see a reason for this. If you write your own music, you write your own lyrics, great! Some of us don't/won't/can't, so if a composer would rather not work with those of us who don't play, that's fine, after all, there are composers who will, we peons can work with them (that's sarcasm guys, no need to get offended, lol)

I do agree that learning what a composer does, the time taken, the effort on their part, is important. I also agree that to have a full appreciation for the other party, you should at least put forth a solid effort to learn something useful. If I write 10 lyrics a day, I'm not going to get 10 full songs back the next from the composer I work with. Knowing what their end entails is helpful, to say the least. I do feel that if a composer feels they are doing most of the work, they shouldn't take on a cowrite with a lyricist, this only breeds friction, which I've encountered and posted on in another thread. So, if you as a musician, a composer, don't want to work with those of us who are handicapped, it's not a big deal, but why should it be a big deal that we don't play or learn to? And why is it lyricists being picked on? Not all artists can write their own material, some never even try, but they get all the public credit. No one scoffs at them, or the singers who don't play, but can write, or the players who don't sing, for that matter, why leave anyone out? It's a big musical web we're on, balance is best achieved when we all keep our places and do our parts, I think.

OK, babbling now, bye!


Caroline


http://www.myspace.com/carolineholder
http://www.soundclick.com/carolinewroteit

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them! (Dove Dark Chocolate)
#732834 - 06/25/09 03:20 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: niteshift]  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,813
Kolstad Offline
Top 100 Poster
Kolstad  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,813
Denmark
Originally Posted by niteshift
Hey Magne,

As a producer, I do stand by my statement. To take a track to finished status, takes a lot of work. ( and a lot of time, expertise, and money )

If you count up how much time, each particular element takes, then lyrics take up about 10%, or less.

Let's list those who are involved...

Lyricist
Composer
Bass player
Guitarist
Drummer
Keyboard player/Programmer
Incidental soloist
Vocalist
Engineer
Producer
Mastering Engineer
Coffee server ( usually put on the credits as Audio Assist )

And that may still only be to demo stage. I don't downplay the role of the lyricist, I'm simply saying that everyone has a job to do, and eveyone needs to know their function in that role, as part of the whole process.

I don't value one aspect over another, they're all important in the scheme of things. And those who are exceptional at what they do, will marry up with others that do the same.

I do appreciate great lyricits, as part of the whole. Not as a seperate entiity, some of whom think they are "special".

cheers, niteshift



I won't argue with you, nite, I've said my piece.. and I think my pointe is valid - but you forgot the pizza guy.. it makes a great difference if it's a schrimp, ham or pepperoni song :-)


Buzz Tracks
Making media sweeter

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/buzztracks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buzztracks
#732839 - 06/25/09 04:00 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Caroline]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,509
niteshift Online content
Top 50 Poster
niteshift  Online Content
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,509
Sydney, Australia
Hey Magne,

Quite true mate. The pizza delivery guy has a lot to answer for. In fact, he can change the whole direction of the session. I'll make sure to put extra anchovies on yours when we get to work together one day. smile

Hey Caroline, you said this.......

Quote
And why is it lyricists being picked on?


You're not ! It's just there are some who simply don't recognise, or are not aware, of their part in the whole scheme of things.

In any production, eveyone has a role to play. That role is part of the whole, which contributes to the overall quality of a piece. I would not comment on the lyricists role, any more than I would comment upon how the string section has been arranged. That's the role of the of the orchestrator.

It's not a fight for importance. It's a fight for quality product, and if each can recoginise their place in the whole scheme of things, the battle is half won.

cheers, niteshift


#732844 - 06/25/09 04:13 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: niteshift]  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Caroline Offline
Top 100 Poster
Caroline  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Texas
Well put, nite!

I was only kidding though, I just really feel like we all have our parts, and even the small ones are important. Just as in acting, there are no small roles...


Caroline


http://www.myspace.com/carolineholder
http://www.soundclick.com/carolinewroteit

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them! (Dove Dark Chocolate)
#732849 - 06/25/09 04:30 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Caroline]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,509
niteshift Online content
Top 50 Poster
niteshift  Online Content
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,509
Sydney, Australia
Quite agreed !

If you can recognise your role, stick to it, be called upon to give guidance in it, are damn good at what you do in it, and can put foward an opinion, which contributes to a positive outcome, then I reckon, you're doing Ok.

I always say, there is no minor contributor. There's those that contribute, and there's those along for a free ride. There's no fee ride.

cheers, niteshift

#732861 - 06/25/09 05:10 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: niteshift]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,463
BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
BIG JIM MERRILEES  Offline

Top 20 Poster

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,463
Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
I wrote that writing lyrics is inexpensive and less time consuming as compared to composing music, learning to play an instrument or recording a demo. The reason I mentioned this was not to belittle lyricists but to highlight the fact that composers cannot produce at the same fast work rate as lyricists. That probably accounts for one of the main reasons why there are more lyrics awaiting music than music awaiting lyrics.

#732862 - 06/25/09 05:10 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: niteshift]  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Caroline Offline
Top 100 Poster
Caroline  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Texas
OK, Kevin, ya gonna tell me how to work this band in a box or do I have to read the whole 310 page manual? HA! Came in today, I'm excited, I've already been putting some stuff together, nothing useful, but it'll get easier as I learn what all this stuff is on here. Course, feel free to offer the crash course, I'm always trying to not read manuals if I can get away with it. What I'm trying to figure out right now is how to record without the music that's on there. I'll find the shut off eventually.,


Caroline


http://www.myspace.com/carolineholder
http://www.soundclick.com/carolinewroteit

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them! (Dove Dark Chocolate)
#732870 - 06/25/09 05:23 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Caroline]  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 12,067
Scott Campbell Offline
Scott Campbell  Offline

Top 10 Poster

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 12,067
Lakeland, FL, USA
I wish the 10:1 theory worked for me.

It's probably exactly opposite - I think I spend 10 times the hours writing a lyric that I do for everything else combined. Now I just have to figure out whether that means I write too slow or compose and record too fast. Suspect it's a combination... smile

Scott

EDIT: I exaggerate to some extent smile

Every song is different of course but I think a rough average for me would be:

Compose a melody: 3 hrs
Record and mix a song: 8 hours
Write a lyric: 20 hours

Hard to say with the last one though, as I am multi-tasking (write most of my lyrics in the car driving to work). Not physically writing, of course, just thinking them....

Wonder what the typical times are for you others?

Last edited by Scott Campbell; 06/25/09 05:28 PM.
#732877 - 06/25/09 05:31 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Caroline]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,563
Kevin Emmrich Online content
Kevin Emmrich  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,563
Crozet, VA
The best thing you can do is to play around with the demos that are in there for a little while.

-- On the left hand side of the main BIAB page (just above the 1A bar marker) there is a button called Style....

-- Click that and the style page will come up (might have to build for the first time).

-- Click on country or something to limit the number of styles to a manageable number and then at the top of that styles sheet, there is something called Load Demo Song. Load that and listen.

Did you get any real tracks with your version of BIAB? The demos with realtrack load a lot slower than midi-only files!

So, when I get started on a new song, I look for demos/styles that are close to the tempo I want (and sometimes you may have to go through 100 demos before you say -- "hey, that's close"). I then type in my chords the best I can and then start playing around.

I do not record in BIAB/RB (although many people do). I get the backing the way I want and export wav files over to my recording software (SONAR HomeStudio) and work over there. Why do I do it that way -- because I know how sonar works (sort of) and I didn't see any need to learn something else, too!!

Oh well, have fun and the BIAB forum is populated with folks that are really, really helpful.

BIAB Forum: http://www.pgmusic.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=0&Board=UBB1

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @50/90 2019)
#732880 - 06/25/09 05:39 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,652
DonnaMarilyn Offline
Top 100 Poster
DonnaMarilyn  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,652
Netherlands
Originally Posted by BIG JIM MERRILEES
I wrote ... to highlight the fact that composers cannot produce at the same fast work rate as lyricists. That probably accounts for one of the main reasons why there are more lyrics awaiting music than music awaiting lyrics.


Jim, I believe that's true but only to a certain extent. While there are certainly lyricists who can crank 'em out in minutes, it can take hours, days, and more to perfect a lyric. wink Often the revision takes two or three times as long - or longer - as it took to write the original lyric, and tweaking can go on right up to the moment of recording.

(I recall reading that Trisha Yearwood's hit, She's in Love with the Boy, took the lyricist ages to complete it. He re-wrote it something like 32 times.)

Donna


Honour the Earth. Without it, we'd be nowhere.

Life is too important to take seriously.

http://www.reverbnation.com/donnamarilynrichblend




#732895 - 06/25/09 06:29 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: DonnaMarilyn]  
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 829
Nadia Offline
Top 500 Poster
Nadia  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 829
UK
I think every song has its story and while some songs I've created in less than a day, most took months on working and reworking. When I collaborate with the lyricists, I'm just trying to do my very best in composing my music and making sure it's what the lyricist is happy with, I can work and rework my music as many times as it needs to be so that the result is positive.
Nadia


Nadia
#732915 - 06/25/09 07:43 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Nadia]  
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 9,600
Two Singers Offline
Two Singers  Offline

Top 20 Poster

Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 9,600
Northern Alabama
Another interesting discussion folks...and, as Kevin said...civil!

In a thread like this, I wonder if all of you contributors fully realize how much information you are pouytting out to everyone else. There is a vast collection of thoughts, ideas, approaches, suggestions, constructive debates, etc., contained in this thread. I do think that a realtive newcomer to music, lyricist or otherwise, could garner a lot to think about by simply reading through this thread with the intent of learning.

Civil discussion almost always results in a significant benefit to someone involved, or to someone auditing the dicussion, in one way or another.

I enjoyed this thread a lot! The varying perspectives and approaches gived everyone more than a one size fits all approach to the creative processes of the musica compostion arena.

Kudos to all of you for your imformed and educational points and replies. Good job, folks!

Today was the first day in many, many months that I have been able to enjoy a prolonged visit here at JPF. You folks made it worthwhile! Thanks!

Alan

#732947 - 06/25/09 09:45 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,620
Noel Downs Offline
Top 100 Poster*
Noel Downs  Offline
Top 100 Poster*

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,620
Gungal NSW Australia
Most every one speaks in one form or another, most of us have imagination and memory.... a great number can also read and write.... So coming up with a string of words that can be a lyric or poem can be very natural for the great majority...

Knowing and playing a few chords is not melody writing.... many lyric writers, write their lyric to a melody.... but do not have the fundamental tools to translate that to a form that a "few chord" musician can play especially if they sing in different keys... Sure I can come up with a passable melody... but compared to a composer with talent ...all the "complete" songs sound the same...

What makes a great craftsman is knowing your limitations and finding the ways overcome them that leads the end result being as good as it can get.

......

Cheers smile




http://www.soundclick.com/noeldownsandfriends

Tolerance means if you don't like something you ignore it
#732970 - 06/25/09 11:21 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Scott Campbell]  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 3,828
Kristi McKeever Offline
Top 100 Poster
Kristi McKeever  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 3,828
USA
Originally Posted by Scott Campbell
I wish the 10:1 theory worked for me.
.... as I am multi-tasking (write most of my lyrics in the car driving to work). Not physically writing, of course, just thinking them....

Wonder what the typical times are for you others?


If I had to put a time frame on writing a lyric it would not be in hours. I think you have to factor in the “thinking time” that's mentioned by Scott here that factors into creating the story, deciding on a theme and message and then finding the words to express those ideas. Sitting down to write a lyric is the LAST phase and that in and of itself can take days, weeks, months. And then, like some have suggested, there are always revisions to be made. Every part of songwriting is a creative process that comes from within unique individuals who put their own special stamp on a song. Although assigning lyrical “percentages” is arbitrary at best, even if the lyric is considered only 10:1…..without it, the song would be affected much more than 10%.


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#732990 - 06/25/09 11:53 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Noel Downs]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 318
Z. Mulls Offline
Serious Contributor
Z. Mulls  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 318
We're dealing with two completely different meanings of the word "song" as well. Traditionally, a "song" was a melody set to words played on a piano. If it was good, someone arranged it for an orchestra or big band to play so someone could sing it. Those folks on Tin Pan Alley or up in the Brill Building weren't deeply involved in music production, recording, bands in boxes -- they sat at their piano and wrote songs, the composer and lyricist. Rodgers and Hart, Leiber and Stroller, etc.

But today, we use the word "song" to also refer to the whole package. "I downloaded a 'song' today" "Did you hear that new Britany Spears 'song'?" This evolved from the early 60s when artists like the Beatles wrote their own music, and did concept albums, and got into studios with producers who created walls of sound, to today, where people are starting to become one-stop-shops, composing writing lyrics doing their own production, etc.

So many composers in this discussion are saying "song" to mean the *recording* while many of the lyricists are saying "song" as in the music and lyrics that form the basis for the recording. And a lot of people are talking past each other.

It's important to separate -- even if you do it all -- the processs of writing from the process of producing. The question of the lyricist's contribution to the song is different from his/her contribution to the business of recording and selling music.

There are genres where the lyrics don't matter ("ooh-ooh, ahh-ahh,baby") and there are artists who can sing their cell phone bill and will sell downloads. There are genres (folk, country, cabaret, indie rock) where the lyrics really sell the song and make at least half the difference between a catchy melody you'll forget tomorrow and that song/concept/story that you keep coming back to throughout your life.

If you produce and record your own music, that's great. But if your music is wonderful and your lyrics are just OK, why not give the person who specializes in wordsmithing a little space to work?


ZMULLS.COM
My Soundclick

2007 Grand Prize Winner International Songwriting Competition

Avatar Photo by Diana (used with permission)
#733005 - 06/26/09 12:54 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Z. Mulls]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,829
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,829
Indianapolis, IN USA
I could crank out music much faster than full lyrics. I don't think it's true that cranking out lyrics quickly is why we think there are more lyricists. I think the answer is far more simple. People are taught to write words as little kids and most of us do it every day in one way or another. Very few kids (and getting fewer by the day) are taught music in school. I wasn't. Not because I didn't want to learn, but because the only option to learn to play music was to be in the band and if you played football, you were allowed to ALSO be in the band at my school. And, as a younger child, we never had the money for an instrument. So financial means and school policy kept me from being able to learn how to write music so I never did. Even though I wrote and recorded over 2000 songs (100% with music, about 70% had lyrics) I did it with no knowledge of music theory beyond my own. I also played in many bands and did many shows and it was all without training. I didn't own my first instrument until I got a little keyboard that had a memory feature to record the notes you played (chords and single notes, not polyphonic). I started there and when I got out of college (still with no money to that point since I put myself through college 100%) I took out a loan to get some things to start my own home and with some of the money bought 2 small keyboards. But I started writing much earlier. I wrote stories, plays and lyrics going back to the age of 7. My first full script was at the age of 11 when I wrote something called "Mr. Jaws" which was a parody of the Jaws movie I had seen with my Grandma in 1975.

When people can write, but are shut out of music lessons or having access to an instrument, they can't develop those skills so writing lyrics is obvious. And once someone gets older, it's actually scarier and more difficult to find and take lessons as a complete novice. So most just buy an instrument and self teach and sometimes have a knack for it. But it's a huge disadvantage.

Sorry if someone else already made the same argument, I haven't had a chance to read any of the posts. Kinda had something else to focus on the last 14 months.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/justplainfolks

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

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

[Linked Image]
#733027 - 06/26/09 03:09 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,509
niteshift Online content
Top 50 Poster
niteshift  Online Content
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,509
Sydney, Australia
Hey Kristi,

Yes, I quite agree. To develop a storyline, and a theme, and then be able to compress it into 4 minutes, with relevance and detail, is a hard ask. That's where a lyricists talent lies, in my opinion. To use a word, a phrase, to capture a moment and create great imagery.

I've learnt a lot from this thread. Sometimes, we are so focused on outcomes, that we miss the small detail, which enables a work to be whole. If each part of the team focus's on their detailed part, knowing that others do the same, you can't help but get a better result in the end.

As you say, without the 10%, the song will fall on it's ass. Likewise, all the other parts.

Interesting and constructive approach here.

cheers, niteshift

#733225 - 06/26/09 06:26 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: niteshift]  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Caroline Offline
Top 100 Poster
Caroline  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Texas
Hi Big Jim,
You have made an excellent point. It does take longer to actually make the music, into a finished product with the vocal track, and have it all come together smoothly. Not to mention the time it takes to learn how to do that, besides how to actually play the instruments. You guys that have that mastered are my heros! I'm completely confused by a small program and you guys sit there wath a couple hundred buttons and seem to know what they all do. It's inspiring and intimidating at the same time.
Perfecting a lyric should not take as long, but it can take a long time, but that in no way means a lyricist is only working on one lyric.
I think we all need to try to learn as much as possible, if for no other reason tohan to have an understanding of how it all works.


Caroline


http://www.myspace.com/carolineholder
http://www.soundclick.com/carolinewroteit

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them! (Dove Dark Chocolate)
#733250 - 06/26/09 09:15 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,561
Mark Kaufman Offline
Mark Kaufman  Offline

Top 40 Poster

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,561
Minneapolis
Originally Posted by the songcabinet
but you forgot the pizza guy..

Yeah! zombie

#733252 - 06/26/09 09:18 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,561
Mark Kaufman Offline
Mark Kaufman  Offline

Top 40 Poster

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,561
Minneapolis
It doesn't take very long at all to write a crappy lyric.

Ah, but those great ones, that's another story.

#733260 - 06/26/09 09:41 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Caroline Offline
Top 100 Poster
Caroline  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,865
Texas
Mark, you are so right. I can write at least 5 crappy ones a day, but the good ones, those I want to listen to when they have that fine melody, yeah, they can take hours, or days, and longer. I just finished one today, I've been typing at for about 5 months, 3 different versions and I finally flet it write itself, and it still needs work. But I'm going to let the composer see what he thinks, see how he feels about the flow, and we'll go from there. I know it's not complete, even in the state I'm happy that it's in now, but I know it can still be better.


Caroline


http://www.myspace.com/carolineholder
http://www.soundclick.com/carolinewroteit

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them! (Dove Dark Chocolate)
#733264 - 06/26/09 09:52 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,089
Michael Zaneski Offline
Top 50 Poster
Michael Zaneski  Offline
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,089
California
Kevin,

Your header is "Why are there so many lyric-only folks?"

...and in the body of your opening post is

"It seems to me that any aspiring songwriter has to (mandatory, required, no excuses) learn how to play the piano or guitar to at least make suitable work tapes.

* ** ** ** ** ** ***

So it seems to me that there is a hidden assumption here. That being that "ALL lyricists are aspiring songwriters", and to this I can say that this assumption is entirely false.

There are some lyricists that wish they knew music and of these many rectify their situations.

Many, however, are happy to work with composers. One definition of symbiosis is "any interdependent or mutually beneficial relationship between two persons, groups." And so many lyricists and composers find value in the old-fashioned concept of... "working together"...

When one can work on either music or lyric, I think one can put a lot more concentrated energy into such an endeavor, and concentrated energy usually results in better work than static energy. It's known as "focus", and isn't focus easier when one can "clear the deck" for it, and isn't "clearing the deck" easier when one has less on deck?

It is hard for one to lift oneself up by one's bootstraps, and so it is hard to "surprise" oneself in a solo situation, whereas the element of surprise and "stuff happening that you alone would never have thought of" is part and parcel of songwriting teams. In a word: they are fun, and they promote trust, compromise, and many other interpersonal skills.

Should a lyricist know something about music? Goes without saying, but nothing beyond a little theory need be known. But you pose the question, "why aren't they "doin' it for themselves", and this is what I have been addressing here.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 06/27/09 04:50 AM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#733385 - 06/27/09 11:22 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 6,659
Everett Adams Online content
Top 40 Poster
Everett Adams  Online Content
Top 40 Poster

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 6,659
,NL Canada
Lyrics are my strong point, I play guitar, barely, but I find playing guitar (even poorly) greatly improves my lyric writing. Sometimes I write down lyrics when I don't have access to the guitar, but when I pick up the guitar to play to those lyrics, I find I sometimes have to make changes to make them work. So needless to say, I usually write both together.


The more you taste the bitterness of defeat, the sweeter final victory will be

May the flowers of love forever bloom in your garden of life

http://www.soundclick.com/newsflashsounds

http://www.soundclick.com/newsflashgospel

www.cdbaby.com/all/eca333

www.showcaseyourmusic.com/newsflashsounds
#733387 - 06/27/09 11:40 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,563
Kevin Emmrich Online content
Kevin Emmrich  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,563
Crozet, VA
Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
So it seems to me that there is a hidden assumption here. That being that "ALL lyricists are aspiring songwriters", and to this I can say that this assumption is entirely false.

I think you've over complicated my initial post, but that's OK -- you are free to interpret as you wish. I do have a question, though: If the assumption that ALL lyricists are aspiring songwriters is false, then what are they aspiring to? Do you mean that some lyric writers never want music to be added to their words? I'm so confuuuused.

Quote
"why aren't they "doin' it for themselves",

It was not really "let me do it myself and cut the composer out", but more "if I don't do it, then it probably won't happen". I've been here for 3 years and I think there is more collab'ing going on then ever before. But the sad fact is, that unless the lyricist pays someone, 99% of these lyrics will not hear a strum or piano plunk.

Kevin



"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @50/90 2019)
Page 2 of 5 1 2 3 4 5

Support Just Plain Folks

We would like to keep the membership in Just Plain Folks FREE! Your donation helps support the many programs we offer including Road Trips and the Music Awards.


Membership
Join Just Plain Folks
to receive the free
JPNotes Newsletter!
*this is separate from
message board registration*

Newest Members
jane_song, NancyHuebner, Gareth_Glakin, PaulCanuck, MikeNez
21228 Registered Users
Forum Statistics
Forums116
Topics119,488
Posts1,126,211
Members21,228
Average Posts Daily27
Most Online3,244
Nov 8th, 2019
Just Plain Quotes
"I treat all the Just Plain Folks I meet like they are Superstars, and I treat all the Superstars I meet like they are Just Plain Folks. It seems to work perfectly! -Brian Austin Whitney
Today's Birthdays
dreamsandtiaras (24), musicprodusa (60)
Popular Topics(Views)
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0