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#733421 - 06/27/09 01:56 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Letha Allen Offline
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Hi Kevin, Hi all,

This is such an interesting thread. I believe this is part of why JPF is so great, that we have the opportunity to discuss our thoughts and feelings about writing, and get such a broud view of so may personal experiences. It teaches us, makes us understand other writers expereiences, and makes us grow.

I have been stranded at my daughters with a car that tore up since Thursday night, and have not been able to pick up my guitar, record, write, or even listen much. But I have been reading.

Lyricists in my opinion have a gift, ust as musicicans do. Some have more of a gift than others of course, as in all things. Some have more passion, some have honed the art of lyric writing over many years of practicing the art. There have been lyrics in here that touched me so much that it felt like they were calling out to me. There have been musical compositions that did the same.

I think that every tiny piece that joins together in music is important. Like a puzzle, if the right pieces are put in the right place, you can have a beautiful result.

I started playing guitar and writing almost at the same time, but that was when I was a child. I worked in a bank at one time, and they asked me to play for our Christmas party. I wrote a personalized Christmas song, and something the ceo said to me after I performed always stayed in my mind. He told me how much he loved the song, but then he said the felt like people who could do something like that sometimes seem to just take it for granted, and that we did not know how much people who could not do it admired the ones who could. I have heard other people say similar things, like "It's easy for you, because you can just play anything". Well, that is not true, but to them if felt true.

I am not an accomplished musician, know my own limitations, and love to work with people who are more skilled in that area. You see, even thought I play a few instruments, and can record my own songs, I also have the desire to have help from people who can make them the best that they can be.

I love working with cowriters when there is a connection of some kind between us, whether it be a lyric that I want so badly to try to sing, a musical composition that makes me want to write and sing, lol, or just a colab on the whole package with one or more great people to work with.

I guess what my point is, that we are all important pieces of creating, whether we are a non playing lyricist, a non singing composer, a producer or someone who can do it all. I love and respect every intricate piece that it takes to finish that puzzle, so that we can see, (in this case hear), the beauty of the finised creation.

Letha

#733430 - 06/27/09 02:32 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Originally Posted by Kevin Emmrich
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



Don't be confused Kevin. As I clearly state, many lyricists are simply trying to be the best lyricists that they can be. Of course they want their lyrics set to music. Did you miss the three paragraphs I wrote about the value of forming relationships with others? Your question "Do you mean that some lyric writers never want music to be added to their words?" seems to overlook that, with a little effort on the part of a lyricist, relationships can be formed with composers, and "viola": where you had JUST a lyricist and a composer before, NOW you have a songwriter...make that a "collab" or "songwriting partnership."

I would recommend to all lyricists that they form relationships with composers, even those lyricists who do choose to learn music, and I have never said that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, I have been simply addressing your false assumption that "ALL lyricists want to write music too" (ie are "aspiring songwriters", as you put it), which to me, borders on the absurd, and even if ALL lyricists DO want to write music, many know their own limitations, and so pursue other options to complete the songwriting process.

The "life experience" of forming relationships can be more rewarding, and the end-product can be better. I know this first hand. I have done both. I speak from experience. I have also seen many lyricists write songs with great lyrics and God-awful music, because they "learned music" just enough to write a bad song. I've also seen lyricists, sometimes the same ones, work with composers, and seen the work that these ersatz marriages produced far exceed the sum of their parts. Life is full of symbiotic relationships where the sum of the two parts can make for an exceedingly beautiful "whole."

Ultimately, Kevin, you did ask "why" aren't more lyricists learning music, right? My rebuttal to you does in a roundabout way answer your question. Let me say it again clearly: because many lyricists have decided, rightly or wrongly, that their time is better spent simply writing a better lyric, and pursuing and sometimes forming relationships with others who can help them complete the songwriting process.

Let us not be so presumptuous as to judge the merit of each individual lyricist who might not be pursuing the learning of music! Some of these lyricists might know exactly what they are doing, and may have a "plan" that includes other people in it.

Hope that clears up any confusion! smile

Marc Barnette summed it up in three words: "relationship, relationship, relationship."

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 06/27/09 03:18 PM.

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)
#733805 - 06/29/09 12:22 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Janice Hopkins Offline
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Michael....I could not have said it better....except in a lyric.

But now I don't have to spend my valuable time stating that...because you just said it for me and all of my fellow lyricists....who have learned over time where their strengths lie and have also learned to recognize different strengths in others...enough to form relationships that then create....the SONG.


Jan....lyricist by trade....HA

#734006 - 06/30/09 07:10 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Janice Hopkins]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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OK we have reached the crucial part of the debate. I would pose the following question in light of what has been said on this and other similar threads re lyricists.

What is the difference between a poet and a lyricist?


I sure do not know the answer but know one thing for sure.... Any lyricist must have some idea of music theory, rhythm, and melody and how their words can be set to music.... otherwise they are not a lyricist but a poet.

#734017 - 06/30/09 08:48 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Big Jim,

On the poem and the lyric, master songwriter Sammy Cahn once wrote in his classic book The Songwriters Rhyming Dictionary;

"What's the difference between a poem and a lyric? My answer is that a poem is meant for the eye, while a lyric is meant for the ear, but both reach the mind and touch the heart."

So you're right, the lyricist must know how the words can be set to music. I don't know if they are poets if they don't, though :-)

The difference Cahn is talking about is about singability, and I would say also knowledge of musical genres come in handy today. Some things works well in one genre, but not at all in another.


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#734018 - 06/30/09 08:49 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Hi Big Jim,

What about all the "self-taught" musicians and lyricists whose only training was and is listening to and appreciating the kind of music and lyric that one wants to write?

Your definition seems to ignore this fact. Many people first listen, then appreciate, and then emulate, and then, after writing and writing and writing, create their own style...and all of this without any, how did you put it, "idea of music theory, rhythm, and melody and how their words can be set to music..", nope. All they did was listen, then appreciate, then emulate, etc. Well on down the line, they might learn that what they were doing intuitively was a "perfect rhyme" or a "consistent meter", etc.

So one can then argue that "a primitive" does know music theory, rhythm, etc,. intuitively, at some gut level, from going through this (listening...emulating) process... smile

If your definition does cover the extreme informality of many lyricists who intuitively write well without being able to "label" what they know, then I'm having a hard time finding much value in your definition of what makes a lyricist. To me it's the same as saying "anyone who wants to write must have some idea about the language they are writing in." Kinda...silently understood, I think. Most people "know" their home language. Much fewer can "articulate" what it is, exactly, that they know, cuz it never really comes up in life that much, just in school.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 06/30/09 05:32 PM.

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)
#734048 - 06/30/09 11:15 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Poetry and lyrics are two different things. Rarely can you take a poem and make it into a song, at least not with out a rewrite, and most of the time lyrics does not sound all that good read as a poem. I am not a poetry lover, hated it in school, still I started writing lyrics. Lyrics are more restrictive than poems, it has to fit with music. Poetry has more freedom and a number of styles. If I try to write a poem, it always turns into a song lyric, I want it to rhyme and have lines to match the other verses so it will work with music. Poetry has it's own music in the rhythm of the words and doesn't need music to support it.


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#734148 - 06/30/09 06:44 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
Hi Big Jim,

What about all the "self-taught" musicians and lyricists whose only training was and is listening to and appreciating the kind of music and lyric that one wants to write?

Your definition seems to ignore this fact. Many people first listen, then appreciate, and then emulate, and then, after writing and writing and writing, create their own style...and all of this without any, how did you put it, "idea of music theory, rhythm, and melody and how their words can be set to music..", nope. All they did was listen, then appreciate, then emulate, etc. Well on down the line, they might learn that what they were doing intuitively was a "perfect rhyme" or a "consistent meter", etc.

So one can then argue that "a primitive" does know music theory, rhythm, etc,. intuitively, at some gut level, from going through this (listening...emulating) process... smile

If your definition does cover the extreme informality of many lyricists who intuitively write well without being able to "label" what they know, then I'm having a hard time finding much value in your definition of what makes a lyricist. To me it's the same as saying "anyone who wants to write must have some idea about the language they are writing in." Kinda...silently understood, I think. Most people "know" their home language. Much fewer can "articulate" what it is, exactly, that they know, cuz it never really comes up in life that much, just in school.

Mike



I think you misunderstand my point and obviously have not read my other posts. Any lyricist who is any good has to have a certain knowledge of music theory and melody, meter, rhythm etc. This can be intuitive, self taught, formally taught or just by copying or emulating what has been done before. However learned it does not matter it is still knowledge.
I do not quite get your point about articulating. Language is absorbed as well as learned at school, college and university. Lots of people can write good stories, poems etc without having any specialist training or education. They know the theory behind writing through everyday experience and a basic education. We hear the spoken word and listen to music from cradle to grave so it is no wonder that we understand more than we appreciate even if we do not realise how we know these technicalities.

#734153 - 06/30/09 07:05 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Originally Posted by BIG JIM MERRILEES

Any lyricist who is any good has to have a certain knowledge of music theory and melody, meter, rhythm etc. This can be intuitive, self taught, formally taught or just by copying or emulating what has been done before. However learned it does not matter it is still knowledge.


Then Jim, we are in agreement. smile


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)
#734327 - 07/01/09 11:40 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Hello,

Guess I'm a little late to this party, but let me go out on a limb and say I agree with bits and pieces of what most everyone has said. smile Though obviously, being a lyricist, my leanings would be with those folks who recognize, understand and still appreciate the Lyricist As A Sole Entity. Would I like my lyrics "musicated"? Sure, sometimes. Do I lose sleep if they aren't? No. Could I plunk out a melody on my own? Perhaps. But at the end of the day, do I write for the sheer love of it? YES!!

Anyhoo, I think that discussion has been bandied about enough, so I just wanted to touch upon the lyrics vs. poems question. More specifically, I think the line between the two can be a bit blurry.

For instance, my writing background is in prose (copywriting, general interest essays, etc.). I did have some general musical "training" (several years of piano, self-taught on guitar, and selected to be a member of the state choir "back in the day") -- and I'm sure all of this helps me in some form or another when I'm writing lyrics.

BUT, you know what/who have been two of my biggest influences? Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein (whom I have mentioned before). The "sing-songability" of their work lends itself very well to both meter and rhyme -- the building blocks of lyric writing. Would I qualify them as "poets"? From my standpoint, yes....but speaking to Mag's (well, Sammy Cohn's) point about "visual" vs. "listening" pleasure, I think one would be hard-pressed to say these two gentlemen are best appreciated when read to oneself. In fact, I would choose to qualify their work as a "Feast for the heart, mind and soul."

In that sense, I think the difference between lyrics and poems can be simply a matter of semantics. smile

So there you go
Two cents from me
I hope you know
I'll surely be
Delighted if
We can agree
On lyricist
Equality
!! love


Have a good one,
Beth


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#734329 - 07/01/09 11:57 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Beth G. Williams]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Hi Beth I agree with everything you say we are all just arguing about semantics.

Many poems can and have been set to music and many lyrics can be recited as poems.

What is the difference. IMO lyrics are poems that have already been set to music. Poems are perhaps lyrics awaiting music.

#734378 - 07/01/09 04:27 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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beechnut79 Online content
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The way I have always describes song lyrics as is glorified poetry. But there are some who feel that if it doesn't have a repetitive chorus it can't become a song. In some formats that may be true, but there are many story songs that don't have a repetitive chorus. Best story song I can think of which became a major hit was "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel.

#734395 - 07/01/09 06:09 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
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Randy P. Gendron Offline
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Live and learn, and never trust anyone who sez, "You Must!" Especially when it's me.





#734399 - 07/01/09 06:41 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Randy P. Gendron]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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A poem is spoken, a lyric is sung. Big difference.

A poem is not a lyric, and a lyric is not a song. Lyrics are meant to fly through the air, so when you write them, do it with that intention...and don't use words like "isthmus". It might be the perfect word for a story or poem, but it don't sing fer squat.

#734400 - 07/01/09 06:44 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Randy P. Gendron]  
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Nadia Offline
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Randy, it's true that theory can make an inspiration go for some time but it will be back. I think, the best thing to do is not to worry about it and just keep writing. You'll soon find that your inspiration is back because it was there for you before and it's natural for you. Good luck.
Nadia


Nadia
#734418 - 07/01/09 08:14 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Nadia]  
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I'm with Mark, about a poem being a poem, written to be expressed verbally, and lyrics written to be expressed through the medium of singing, within the constraints of a musical environment.

But it can happen that a lyric can be a poem as well. I'd argue some lyrics written by the late, great Richey Edwards formerly of the Manic Street Preachers stand up as great poems and, put to music by James Dean Bradfield, as great song lyrics in great songs, such as Motorcycle Emptiness and Faster.

And, interestingly, Richey Edwards, had very limited musical knowledge and just handed his words to JDB to see if he could make songs from them. It didn't always work, and some of their early songs suffered from this restrictive method of working, but when worked, it REALLY worked. So it can be done that way around, but I think you have to be genuine bona-fide great writer for it to.

These days the Manics' lyrics are written by bassist Nicky Wire, not in the same class a writer as Richey Edwards, but he is a musician and can sing a bit, so the results are more fluid songs, which has brought them wider commercial success, but without the same power and depth of their earlier songs.

So there isn't really a definitive way of doing things, just one that works for you.

Lucian

#734562 - 07/02/09 08:54 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: lucian]  
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Randy P. Gendron Offline
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smile






#734566 - 07/02/09 09:03 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Randy P. Gendron]  
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Nadia Offline
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You are welcome, Randy. I haven't said anything new, I know, I just know though that it's easy to forget something like that when the feeling of not getting something you used to can overtake and make it hard. All the best,
Nadia


Nadia
#734577 - 07/02/09 10:34 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Randy P. Gendron Offline
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...write on!

#734585 - 07/02/09 11:09 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Nadia]  
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A lyric is a poem that is written to be sung to a melody. Since it is meant to be sung to a melody, the line length and meter have to be consistent so that it can fit the melody. The stresses of the syllables have to fit the melody. The words a lyricist chooses must also be appropriate for the mechanics of singing.

Although lyrics can be verses only, a lyric is often written with other parts of the song in mind, Intro, refrain/chorus or repeated line, bridge and outro. .


As Everett mentioned, a poem does not have to have the consistency that is required of a lyric. Even when it is rhymed and metered, the meter can be variable and the line length as well. Poetry can have repeated lines too. Because a poem is meant to be recited rather than sung, there is more freedom in word choice.

If a poem is strictly metered, and the word choice is appropriate for singing, music can be set to it. Likewise, some lyrics read very well as a poem, even with a refrain or chorus.

The word lyric is derived from from latin and greek words that refer to a lyre.
The lyrical poetry of antiquity was recited or chanted while a lyre was strummed or plucked.

One thing I know for sure, if I were a guitar, I would hate it if someone made a lyre out of me. smile (Sorry, couldn't help it.)



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

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#734627 - 07/02/09 02:52 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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As per Mark's post, there actually was a song once titled "Chirstmas on the Isthmus." Don't remember full lyric, but it was out when I was a child. That was before my first geography class, and didn't know for sure what an isthmus was then.

#737688 - 07/13/09 09:14 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Mark:

I've been watching and reading this thread since you asked the question. Simple answer: There are more people who "feel" music but cannot play an instrument of any kind... yet can still write. To me, it is an important distinction that they be able to imagine the melody (to some degree) otherwise, they would be poets only. (No disrespect to poets intended!) Of course there are all kinds of lyricists. Just like there are many kinds of nuclear physicists or electricians, etc.

From my limited perspective, the lyricist has the toughest "row to hoe" in the music world. Always looking for somebody who can "musicate" their creation without totally taking over, twisting the meaning, crushing the imaginary melodic direction or just being rude and inconsiderate.

My heart goes out to the lonely lyricist... but I challenge you to learn an instrument you feel comfortable with. Just learn to play chords so you can accompany your lyrics and better express what you intend the song to sound like. That does not mean that an arranger or composer cannot further improve what you have created... after all, that is their speciality. It is a two way street and both sides of the musical coin are so important.

Regards,

Dave Rice

http://www.ShowCaseYourMusic.com/DaveRice


#758617 - 10/09/09 06:36 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Is it my imagination or are more lyricists tackling instruments nowadays?

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)
#758627 - 10/09/09 06:56 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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That's a good thing Kevin. Now if we can get the other great lyricists here to learn guitar chords, that would be an accomplishment.


#758634 - 10/09/09 07:13 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: ben willis]  
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God help us if the musicians learn how to write lyrics...LOL

#758650 - 10/09/09 08:07 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Originally Posted by Kevin Emmrich
Is it my imagination or are more lyricists tackling instruments nowadays?
Kevin


I retrieved my keyboard (purchased last December but ignored from March) from the upstairs cupboard two weeks ago and am now armed with a new book called "Play Piano in a Flash" (plus a book of chords).

Will I become a musical force to be reckoned with? Only the Shadow knows... laugh laugh laugh

Donna


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

Life is too important to take seriously.

http://www.reverbnation.com/donnamarilynrichblend




#758726 - 10/10/09 12:38 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
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Man, way too many great points made here. I don't think anyone can say there is a right or wrong point of view. There's an old country song that says, "Do what you do do well boy, do what you do do well". Rather obnoxious hook, but the point is there.
I've been playing guitar since I was 8, self taught. I got some formal training in HS band. Raised on Hank Williams, diggin Pink Floyd, I was a mess. But all those influences show up in my writing. But, remove any of those components, and maybe I can't write melodies, maybe not lyrics. We write what we know, whether it's music or lyrics. But, I do feel strongly that if you can only do one or the other, you limit your resources to just collaborators. Nothing wrong with that, but you're just a little handicapped at that point. Personally, I'm blessed with the ability to do both, whether good or not. I have only recently discovered the pleasure of working with collaborators, and that's really the best of both worlds. Music, is just that, with or without lyrics. But lyrics without melody and musical structure, isn't music, YET. Not to say that it can't/won't be. I have yet to be able to look at a set of lyrics that someone wrote, and come up with a melody, or chord structure for it. I work at it, but it's not there yet. Now, give me a simple melody, and the universe explodes in my head. That's the way my brain works. Others are more blessed, and with different abilities.
I believe there's a place for all these people, as long as they are grounded in reality. I may never write a hit song, but I've got tomorrows Top 40 running through my brain as I type.
Swing hard, in case you hit the ball.


Peace,
Steve

What's another word for Thesaurus?
--- Steven Wright ---
#758729 - 10/10/09 12:53 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: MediaGuy1974]  
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Sorry, one quick point for all the lyricists. I used to be able to burn the hell out of a guitar. But, a brain tumor destroyed my right side. My pick hand can't even keep a simple rhtythm now. But, I can strum a chord, and with a lot of patience, that allows me to at least maintain a meter in my head, the reference of the strum provides the melody relationship, and I'm not limited one bit in my songwriting. It's not necessary that you master an instrument, just be able to provide musical reference, and in time, melodies will spring from that.


Peace,
Steve

What's another word for Thesaurus?
--- Steven Wright ---
#758757 - 10/10/09 05:28 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: MediaGuy1974]  
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Steve we all have to adapt and adopt. We adapt to different circumstances and then adopt new ways of achieving things. The big danger that stagnates the production of new things is "comfort zones" We all to a certain degree work in our own little comfort zones. We should all strive to try out new ideas try to learn different things. Whether it is learning to play instruents, or utilising the new digital technology available, or collaboratiing with others we should all expand our horizons to encompass things that we may feel are alien.
Do what you do is good but it could be so much better if we try to learn to do what we presently cannot do.

#758764 - 10/10/09 06:07 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Well done Big Jim.

I second every word of that, it's so true, if every one copied every format that had ever charted the world of music would be so boring.

Country music has gone that way no one is innovative anymore
most are writing in old over tried formats, all the singers are trying to sound the same.
No wonder Nashville is in such a state.

Hi Letha Allen,

Nice realistic piece you have written on this thread.
My Add.
A lyric writer who has no knowledge of chords and the underlying harmonies, is doomed from the start, all todays top writers,
can write to chords or without, (they must be able to do both, )anyone who can speak English ,can learn guitar or piano chords.







Without the right music your clever lyrics will never be heard, if you want success be prepared to re write many times and even change the meter you chose originally
#759065 - 10/11/09 11:16 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Barry Williams Offline
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Originally Posted by Kevin Emmrich
I just don't get it. Without music, it is just not a song. 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. It would take no longer than 12 months for the "average bear" to become proficient enough on an instrument to compose at least pretty straight forward tunes.

Plus there's BIAB and other tools that can come up with pretty decent musical backings for any one who has learned the simplest basics of chord theory (it will only take a year).

So, what's stopping you lyric-only folks?

Kevin

P.S. Don't take offense -- I really want to know.


I would like to take a moment to respond to the orginal post. I agree completley with you Kevin that as a lyric writer you should be able to at the very least plunk out a few chords. I just bought my first guitar for this very reason. I've commited myself to a short term goal of learning and becoming proficent enough to play and sing at least 3 chords. Once I get there then I'll set another goal for myself, hopefully improving the way I write by learning more about chord progression. I've been writing lyrics for a little over 2 years now, and this to me seems like a natural progression to becoming a better writer.

The only point I disagree with is where you said, without music it just isn't a song. I would say that with music a song is better. Music adds texture, and layers, helps set the mood, and carries the lyrics. But I think if someone sings a song without the benefit of instruments being played along, it's still a song.

No offense taken, and most definatly none meant.


I'm inclined to be musical
But I'm not musicaly inclined
#759121 - 10/11/09 02:02 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Barry Williams]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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I wonder just how many people who write "lyrics" only actually have a melody in place or a chord structure etc, albeit in their head. Kevin is correct..... a piece of prose without any music is a poem. It will always be a poem until a melody turns it into a song. I also agree that learning basic music theory and how to play an instrument is pretty essential when it comes to writing lyrics. I see people putting "lyrics" on the forums that obviously are just poems they hope may get turned into songs. Some do not have any recognisable meter or characteristics associated with lyrics that could be turned into a song. I do not have a problem with that but it is up to everyone to go the extra mile. Learning to play piano is probably easier than guitar plus modern keyboards are geared towards ease of play where a whole orchestra is at your fingertips.

#759129 - 10/11/09 02:26 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Hey Big Jim, First let me say you have an uncanny resemblence to my Uncle, who's name is Jim as well. Not that that has anything to do with this, just thought I'd let you know.

I can't speak for everyone, but as I write a lyric I try to sing it as I write to see how it will flow, and definatly before it ever gets posted up for critique I have my melody in place. I've usualy recorded how I want the song to sound, and played it back trying to listen for ways to improve it. I'm just trying to learn about chord progressions now, with hopes it will help me with lead ins from verse to chorus, and bridge and out.

I'm still of the thought though, that if I have a lyric, and a melody and can sing it, it's a song. With or without instruments.I guess we can agree to disagree on that point. The main thing for me is I do this because I love doing it, and learning to play an instrument will make it all the more enjoyable.


I'm inclined to be musical
But I'm not musicaly inclined
#759138 - 10/11/09 02:39 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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HIDee Big Jim et al!

SOME of us Lyricists CAN Sing...(which, JMO, indicates we DO have a Musical "Sense" when we write...) and I can whistle whatever melody idea I have in-mind, whenever necessary. DO have a pile of un-learned Instruments lying around here...BUT..it takes Time & Money to Learn an Instrument/I'd so-far rather be writing the Next Lyric. I'll probably ALWAYS prefer a Musical Co-Writer, even AFTER I learn an instrument..since..heh..maybe "Misery Loves Company"..eh? (My One Year-or-Less Experience on Guitar..or Piano..certainly WON'T ever equal the experience level of whatever Co-Writer can be acquired.)

WOULD Elton John BE a major act without BERNIE Taupin? (Or would Bernie BE a Major CO-Writer without ELTON?)

You can have a Song with half the Partnership, but of course...but a HIT Song...I think having The PAIR surely helps.

As for Poetics..there's USUALLY some crafty Musico that can make a Song out of ANY Rhymed batch-of-words...just witness the Demo Mills in NashCity.

Waal...Isthmus be the time I gotta go off to work...but the Thread's been an enjoyable one~

Best Wishes/Big Hugs,
Stan


#759160 - 10/11/09 03:50 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: ]  
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Hi Barry and My wee buddy Stan. I aree with both of you. My point is just that it is so much better and easier to produce great lyrics if the writer has some musical ability other than just being able to hum a tune. You do not need a degree in music or to be a virtuoso but knowing musical rudiments at least does help. It is also important that folk strive to be the best they can be and you cannot really do that without some theory or the ability to knock out a tune on some instrument.

I bet that Bernie Taupin knows more about music theory than he is given credit for.

I agree that some lyricists are not necessary great musicians and vice versa with musicians not being able to create good lyrics but I bet each knows more than a little about each others craft especially the top pros.

#759168 - 10/11/09 04:10 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Just a quick comment.
Barry, Stan, Jim, it appears you guys are really saying the same thing. When it comes to just lyrics, if you have a melody you can sing, whistle, or whatever, that's a song. Prose without a melody, are simply prose. On the importance of learning an instrument, I also agree, it will give you some sort of musical reference.
I recently had some bad things to say about the BIAB guys, I should have chosen my words better. My point was, I hate BIAB for live performance apps. I use it to compensate for my physical disability during the creative process, but I would never consider it for live performance. Just Me.
Thanks gang, lots of good stuff here.


Peace,
Steve

What's another word for Thesaurus?
--- Steven Wright ---
#759172 - 10/11/09 04:30 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: MediaGuy1974]  
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Steve BIAB is just another tool in the arsenal of music producers. What we use or choose not to use is down to availability, our musical and technical ability, experience, budget, personal preference and of course our own comfort zone.
The end product is all that matters. I know from personal experience tht nowadays there are shortcuts and easier ways of doing things that were not available even a few years ago. We should use them to our advantage....WHY.....cause everyone else does and we don't want to get left behind in the past with obsolete technology.

#759175 - 10/11/09 04:36 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Agreed Jim.


Peace,
Steve

What's another word for Thesaurus?
--- Steven Wright ---
#759206 - 10/11/09 06:17 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: MediaGuy1974]  
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Mike......
Ya just summed it up so well.

When I write lyrics I always have a tune in my head,
And I would agree with others here that having some basic knowledge about music theory surely would be a help.
But, there is plenty of talent out here for the one's who just have the talent or desire to put words forth as well.
I enjoy the tech people on this board...always amazing what comes out...I am just an old school keyboard guy...While I am truly fascinated with the high tech aspect I just fall back on the rudimentary function of just plunkin it out.

Larry






Can't find the stairway to 'heaven'...but I know where the elevator is.

Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us" - Albert Schweitzer.
#759208 - 10/11/09 06:23 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
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Mags..


Well Said..


Larry


Can't find the stairway to 'heaven'...but I know where the elevator is.

Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us" - Albert Schweitzer.
#759226 - 10/11/09 08:23 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kolstad]  
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An interesting thread--

Did you ever sit alone in a deep forest and listen to the music of NATURE?
As sure as you sit there, if you are a writer, an inspiration to put something on paper or tape will surface-- to describe the things you hear in the forest. If you don't write or tape anything, you have NATURE'S instrumental. It takes all kinds of co-lab work between Lyricist and Musician, as well as Producer. I am a better word person--I'll find the player or producer. What ever works best is the rule.

Just my opinion!

Respectfully,

Mackie Humphries

#1153685 - 06/01/19 07:51 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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You all have learned English surely a knowledge of Chords is not Rocket Science ??,

Last edited by Cheyenne; 06/01/19 11:10 AM.

One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
#1153692 - 06/01/19 02:55 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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knowledge is part of it, talent is most of it. A very large percentage of those who know the English language are very poor creative writers. and many who can play an instrument can't compose. They know the mechanics and can deliver a basic product. But writing memorable prose, dialogue, poetry or lyrics is a different thing. Same with musical composition. Robbie Robertson was arguably the least musically talented member of The Band, Garth Hudson being the most. Robbie was the writer. Garth can't write. Same with Brian Jones of The Stones. Knowledge and talent are related but they're not twins...more like second cousins.


Nashville demos etc:

https://www.soundclick.com/bands3/default.cfm?bandID=431939

other demos:

https://soundcloud.com/wabash-cannibal

Amazon Kindle books by Robert George you may enjoy:

1) Americana

2) Teenage Graceland

3) The Will to Be

4) Fort Mystery

5) Wheel Sea

6) My One True Love
#1153693 - 06/01/19 03:20 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Fdemetrio Online content
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Originally Posted by couchgrouch
knowledge is part of it, talent is most of it. A very large percentage of those who know the English language are very poor creative writers. and many who can play an instrument can't compose. They know the mechanics and can deliver a basic product. But writing memorable prose, dialogue, poetry or lyrics is a different thing. Same with musical composition. Robbie Robertson was arguably the least musically talented member of The Band, Garth Hudson being the most. Robbie was the writer. Garth can't write. Same with Brian Jones of The Stones. Knowledge and talent are related but they're not twins...more like second cousins.


Are you serious now, or just trying to flex your muscles?

Rolling Eyes....Let me guess YOUR one of the great creative people...am I warm?

BTW, people who play an instrument very well. and CAN compose, no particular order (And I touched on 1%)

Shakes head....

Chuck Berry
Keith Richards
Pete Townshend
The Beatles
Jimmy Page
Bruce Springsteen
Bob Seeger
BB King
Elvis Costello
Stevie Ray Vaughn
The Edge
Warren Zevon
Brian May
Brian Setzer
Hall and Oates
Merle Haggard
Herbie Hancock
Pat Metheny
Sting
Phil Collins
David Byrne
Eric Clapton
Steve Winwood
Jack White
Jeff Beck
Steve Tyler
David Bowie
Neil Young
David Crosby
Graham Nash
Stephen Stills
Willie Nelson


Last edited by Fdemetrio; 06/05/19 11:01 AM.
#1153694 - 06/01/19 03:25 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Fdemetrio Online content
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Fdemetrio  Online Content
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BTW, your reason for there being more lyricists, is because there is a much less point of entry to get started writing lyrics.

It takes time to learn an instrument, and play it well enough to compose something.

Lyrics, everybody already writes.

#1153696 - 06/01/19 04:22 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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couchgrouch Online content
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You're back!! JPF must've quit taking the antibiotics a couple of days too early.

Anyone who wants proof of my statement need look no further than FD/Bugsy's lyric and song posts. They're really bad. And what bears deeper study is that his more recent posts as FD are just as bad as his older ones as Mugsy. He never improved, demonstrating talent can't be learned or aquired.

It's no wonder he prefers anonymity. He wears a cyber-bag over his head because he's awful...like the Unknown Comic.

Jeff Beck's a great player...songwriter is different. That's why he needed Stevie Wonder's Superstition. His albums are kinda bad.

Clapton. Pretty much the same. A handful of songs in over 50 years.

Stevie Ray. The same.

Jack White? Lol.

Clapton, Beck and Page illustrate my point. Page is a great composer in addition to being a player. Result? Six classic Led Zep albums.

Keith Richards makes the point about not all players being composers in his 71 interview with Rolling Stone.

Neither Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, Ronnie Wood, Charlie Watts or Mick Taylor ever learned to write songs.

Springsteen makes my point as well...the rest of his band can't get knocked up with a song to save themselves, despite mid-wifing Bruce's classics. Southside Johnny, either. Hearts of Stone was forty years ago.

Go home, little man, buy a 3D printer and make yourself a woman.

Last edited by couchgrouch; 06/01/19 04:39 PM.

Nashville demos etc:

https://www.soundclick.com/bands3/default.cfm?bandID=431939

other demos:

https://soundcloud.com/wabash-cannibal

Amazon Kindle books by Robert George you may enjoy:

1) Americana

2) Teenage Graceland

3) The Will to Be

4) Fort Mystery

5) Wheel Sea

6) My One True Love
#1153697 - 06/01/19 04:35 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: couchgrouch]  
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,538
Fdemetrio Online content
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Fdemetrio  Online Content
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Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,538
Originally Posted by couchgrouch
You're back!! JPF must've quit taking the antibiotics a couple of days too early.

Anyone who wants proof of my statement need look no further than FD/Bugsy's lyric and song posts. They're really bad. And what bears deeper study is that his more recent posts as FD are just as bad as his older ones as Mugsy. He never improved, demonstrating talent can't be learned or aquired.

It's no wonder he prefers anonymity. He wears a cyber-bag over his head because he's awful...like the Unknown Comic.

Jeff Beck's a great player...songwriter is different. That's why he needed Stevie Wonder's Superstition. His albums are kinda bad.

Clapton. Pretty much the same. A handful of songs in over 50 years.

Stevie Ray. The same.

Jack White? Lol.

Go home, little man, buy a 3D printer and make yourself a woman.


For some reason Im attracted to horse chit, some people are allergic to it


Last edited by Fdemetrio; 06/02/19 02:06 PM.
#1153698 - 06/01/19 04:44 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,538
Fdemetrio Online content
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Fdemetrio  Online Content
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Posts: 1,538
What planet?


Last edited by Fdemetrio; 06/02/19 12:52 PM.
#1153699 - 06/01/19 04:44 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Posts: 7,622
couchgrouch Online content
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couchgrouch  Online Content
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Posts: 7,622
No one cares about my songs? You do. You seem to obsess about them. And me. Sad that.

I'd gladly put Strange Apparitions or Gone with the Ghost of the Sun side by side with anything Clapton's written since Layla. And Layla (the song) was hardly a sole Clapton song. And I believe Jim Gordon stole the piano coda from Rita Coolidge.


Nashville demos etc:

https://www.soundclick.com/bands3/default.cfm?bandID=431939

other demos:

https://soundcloud.com/wabash-cannibal

Amazon Kindle books by Robert George you may enjoy:

1) Americana

2) Teenage Graceland

3) The Will to Be

4) Fort Mystery

5) Wheel Sea

6) My One True Love
#1153701 - 06/01/19 04:49 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: couchgrouch]  
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,538
Fdemetrio Online content
Top 200 Poster
Fdemetrio  Online Content
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Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,538
Originally Posted by couchgrouch
No one cares about my songs? You do. You seem to obsess about them. And me. Sad that.

I'd gladly put Strange Apparitions or Gone with the Ghost of the Sun side by side with anything Clapton's written since Layla. And Layla (the song) was hardly a sole Clapton song. And I believe Jim Gordon stole the piano coda from Rita Coolidge.


Dude, you're not even ignorant, i wont call you that, ill call you delusional. Ill call you "Delouie" from now on


Last edited by Fdemetrio; 06/01/19 05:44 PM.
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