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#857279 - 11/13/10 10:42 AM A Simple Written Systems for adding 'Meter' to Lyrics?  
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 204
ColmT Offline
Serious Contributor
ColmT  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 204
Dublin Ireland
Hi All

THE PROBLEM

I am a singer/songwriter - aren't we all! Here's my problem. On the Lyrics Forums most of us (in fact all of us as far as I can gather) - just post our lyrics (words) arranged in verses, chorus and lifts etc.

Alot of the time very generous and skilled members will suggest 'meter' changes to correct what they percieve to be weakness in the 'meter'.

The problem is their suggestions make no sense in the context of the 'internal rhythm' of the melody! It's not there fault of course, because when presented with a 'words only lyric' it is natural for them to look at the 'internal meter' of the words as you would do a poem!

But song lyrics aren't poems! They are words which, when sung over the melody, must rhyme in some way and obviously match the meter of the music. So the meter of the melody or accompaniment is the critical element missing in 'Word only Lyrics'!

THE QUESTION

Other than Staff Notation itself, can anyone suggest a Simple System which would allow us to communicate the 'meter' of the melody when postings song lyrics without being linked a MP3 recording?

The simpler the better. The first thing a sound engineer does when presented with recording any of our songs is to create a 'click track' which captures the 'internal meter' of the song.

So a simple way of communicating the 'click track' in written form that we could all understand would be ideal I think!

If so that would be great. I think the adoption of such a convention on the Lyric Forums would clear up so much confusion and frustration - when posting and responding to other posters work!

Any and all suggestions and questions welcome

Rock On

lightbulb

ColmT

Last edited by ColmT; 11/13/10 10:48 AM.
#857285 - 11/13/10 11:34 AM Re: A Simple Written Systems for adding 'Meter' to Lyrics? [Re: ColmT]  
Joined: May 2006
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Colin Ward Online content
Colin Ward  Online Content

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Posts: 7,830
Saint Petersburg. FL
I agree 100% that you often cannot tell what the writer had in mind. I read a lyric and assume a rhythm based on the first couple of lines and critique on that basis. It may not be at all what the writer was thinking.

It may not be a bad idea for the lyricist to make a spoken recording if they can't sing - a count like 1,2,3,4 and then launch into a rhythmic reading.

Or one could put slash marks above each line to represent the beat much as guitar chords are shown.

__/___/_______/_________/______/_______/_____/______/
Woke up this morning, looked around for my shoes,

(Hard to get them lined up correctly though)

Last edited by Colin Ward; 11/13/10 11:37 AM.

Colin

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#857287 - 11/13/10 11:50 AM Re: A Simple Written Systems for adding 'Meter' to Lyrics? [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Nov 2010
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ColmT Offline
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ColmT  Offline
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Dublin Ireland
Hi Colin

Thanks for this! Spoken lyric without music, is a brilliant idea! And in away might be more useful than something written which can be misinterpreted or difficult to understand depending on ones level of muscial knowledge.

We should all know more theory than we do! Problem is we're to busy writing songs

LOL! crazy

Regards

ColmT

#857366 - 11/13/10 07:24 PM Re: A Simple Written Systems for adding 'Meter' to Lyrics? [Re: ColmT]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
BIG JIM MERRILEES  Offline

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Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
Every songwriter should know theory...that is a given....without knowing musical theory people will tend to make basic beginners mistakes and their writing will be one dimensional.
Regarding meter we do not need to know the tune of the song to work out its rhythm...that should be obvious from reading the words alone. It should also be obvious when lyrics fail to set out a meter or rhythm pattern.
Re putting down stress or beat marks...probably the easiest way is to make words or letters bold, in caps or italics to show where the beat goes. Dots can be added to show where long or short pauses between words are. Brackets (......) could show the bars.
All that said I personally do not see the need for all of this as lyrics should automatically show the songs meter and rhythm. Perhaps lyricists could provide a tempo eg BPM with lyrics to show the pace of the song. That might help with the music element.

Better still lyricists could learn to put a melody down and then we would could listen to the completed song on the MP3 forum without having to imagine a tune...just a thought.

#857658 - 11/14/10 10:21 PM Re: A Simple Written Systems for adding 'Meter' to Lyrics? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
Joined: Nov 2010
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ColmT Offline
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ColmT  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 204
Dublin Ireland
Got that Jim yeah!

I haven;t explained this well enough! I'll get an example of my work and post it with a proper expo in the next day or two!

Cheers Big Jim

ColmT

#858333 - 11/17/10 11:15 PM Re: A Simple Written Systems for adding 'Meter' to Lyrics? [Re: ColmT]  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Hey Colm. If I'm trying to express time with lyrics, typing on the 'net, I use a count. For sixteenth notes, I'll count 1 e and a 2 e and a three e and a four e and a. Or for triplet time, 1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a. Now, to get that to hold space on most forums (such as JPF) you need to fill in space with dots or your typing compresses. (I imagine that happens because the typing is "justified." Different letters are allowed different amount of space (the contraction "I'm" takes less printed space than the number "000.")

So for Three Blind Mice in triplet meter:

..a..1and..a....2and...a...3and...a...4and...
They all.. ran .after the ..farm ers wife

..a..1...and..a.....2....and..a..3and...a...4 and....
Who cut off their tails with a ...car ving knife....

1anda.....2anda....2anda....4anda....
Three.....Blind....Mice



If I'm writing out by hand, I just write notes and rests above the syllables.

Hope that helps.

Mike



You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#859220 - 11/21/10 12:56 PM Re: A Simple Written Systems for adding 'Meter' to Lyrics? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 204
ColmT Offline
Serious Contributor
ColmT  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 204
Dublin Ireland
Hi Mike

I'm sure this will work fine! Makes alot of sense while being simple and easily understandable.

Many Thanks for this Mike.

I'll consider doing one of my own lyrics like this (accompanied by a MP3 recording) and post them together soon and see how accurate other posters feel it is.

Many Thanks Again

ColmT

#860151 - 11/25/10 04:06 PM Re: A Simple Written Systems for adding 'Meter' to Lyrics? [Re: ColmT]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
No prob, Colm, my pleasure. Mike


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#874709 - 01/28/11 08:32 PM Re: A Simple Written Systems for adding 'Meter' to Lyrics? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 6,343
Bill Robinson Offline
Bill Robinson  Offline

Top 30 Poster

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 6,343
Curmudgeonville, Tn
I think I'm with Big Jim on this.
A written lyric should be constructed so the meter is obvious. Some words sound awful when sung on the wrong beat. They just don't fit.
The stressed Syllables should be apparent.

Shown in Caps here

MARy HAD a LITtle LAMB

Can you think of that line like this
marY had A litTLE lamb
Can't hardly sing it that way. It sounds odd.

Caps would be a simple way to show the stressed beats which in essence is what is the meter.

If you want to get more detailed than that to show pauses etc. I suppose you could but I don't think it necessary.
You can give the time sig...4/4 or 3/4
Also show the beats per minute. 120 BPM

You could also give an example of the "Groove"

Shuffle, Boogie, Swing, etc.

So a heading might look like this.

4/4
Boogie
120 BPM

You could even give an example

Brooks and Dunn
Boot Scootin Boogie,

4/4
Boogie (line dance)
148 BPM

Last edited by Bill Robinson; 01/29/11 02:20 AM.

Bill
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