Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #31

Unless it is your intention to do so, you usually never want your lyrics to come across as boring.

As you a revising your lyrics, here are some options of edits that you can make in order to make your lyrics become less wordy, or have more variety:

1.) Delete a verse – if you have too many verses, it might sound like a story book more than a song.

2.) Make a verse a bridge – say that you want to keep the lyrics, but want to change how it is performed to make it interesting to the listener.

3.) Add a bridge, refrain, prechorus, etc. – gives a bit more variety to the structure and progression of the song.

4.) Change the inner structure of the verse – instead of the predictable structure, try using one of those “surprises” we have talked about in previous blog posts.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #30

This is going to be a short post.

Below, I have attached a photo showing different rhyme schemes and patterns depending on the number of lines in your verse:

To read this “X” is any line that will not rhyme, and “A, B, C…” are lines that will rhyme with their same letter within the same line or in a future verse.

Practice by randomly taking one from the graph above and trying it out.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #29

Today we are going to be talking about structure – and more importantly, the inner structure of your lines, stanzas, verses, etc.

When you are writing a song, you want the message to come across as clear as possibly desired to your audience. Having a good structure will make that happen.

So, five main areas of structure within you lines are:

  • Number of lines
  • Length of lines
  • Rhythm of lines
  • Rhyme scheme of the lines
  • Rhyme type to the words in the lines

Let’s briefly talk about them individually.

Number of lines has importance to it. an even number of lines produces stability while an odd number of lines creates tension or a lead-in to something with irresolution.

Length works the same way. Compare a song with each lines of the verse being the same versus ones where they are not.

Does the natural rhythmic flow and accentuation of the words change from line to line? And is that what you want?

With the rhyme scheme, you are basically deciding if the rhyme pattern will be predictable of not (more to come soon).

And finally, will these rhymes be close family or loose rhymes?

Think this stuff over as you are revising and editing your lyrics. Look over the structure and make sure it is what you intended it to be.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #28

Prosody – the unity between two or more things. Balance. Connection. Relation.

In music there are three major areas of prosody that should be kept in mind when writing and editing your lyrics. Those are:

  • Prosody between words and the music/key
  • Prosody between syllables and notes
  • Prosody between rhythm and meaning

Let’s take the first one for example. If you are using a minor key and trying to write really ominous music, does it make sense to use “happy” descriptive words?

We’ve talked in the past about aligning stressed syllables with stressed beats, but the rhythm of how you pronounce the words should be natural as well. In addition, if you want to create a frantic meaning – would you use a fast rhythmic pattern or a slow one? Fast because it creates a unity between the rhythmic performance and musical meaning.

Keep in your conscious mind how you can make one part of your song (music and/or lyrics) relate to another.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #27

A surprise is something unexpected – something out of the ordinary. When your lyrics are becoming predictable (AKA expected) you can use a “surprise” to grab the audience’s attention back.

Some examples of “lyrical” surprises are:

  • Delaying the resolution of a thyme with an extra line
  • Placing the stresses on different words
  • Placing the stresses on different beats
  • Changing the rhyme scheme/pattern.
  • Removing or adding lines to the from.

…or anything else that you can think of. Some modern examples are going from a typical rock song structured verse to maybe a rap.

Whatever you do, be confident in it.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #26

One aspect of your lyric writing you should be aware of is how the words line-up with the stresses of the meter in the music.

To review, meter and measure is the grouping of beats (pulses) together into a repeated hierarchy. In most music, the meter is 4/4 and the first beat is the strongest… followed by the third, second, and fourth.

As you speak your lyrics, you will notice that there are certain words (or maybe syllables of words) that have emphasis/strength. The overall goal is to make sure that those accents in your singing naturally line-up with the accents of the meter.

Strong words at the beginning of a verse should start on the downbeat while weak words at the beginning of a verse should start on an upbeat/anacrusis.

Of course, you can play with the syncopation and placement of accents. However, to achieve a fluid and natural sound – aim to get the lyrics stresses on the beat stresses.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #25

Today we are going to talk about the different points of view (separately) when writing lyrics.  It is important to be conscious of the song’s/story’s point of view because you want the intended message to come across to the audience.  For example: if you want to talk about a personal subject, would you be using the word “you?”  Probably not.

For this post, we are going to talk about the Direct tense.

Direct tense is similar to the Second Person point of view with the words as well as the level of intimacy.  However, this is used for talking more directly, as in a command.

  • Subject – you
  • Direct Object – you
  • Possessive Adjective – your
  • Possessive Predicate – yours

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