Paying Attention to The Sounds of Words Within a Lyric

Added on Friday 8 Jul 2011

Another often-overlooked element of lyric writing is the actual sound of the words themselves. Certain words and phrases roll off the tongue, and others just don’t. The most popular songs are ones that people love to sing. If the words sound odd and awkward, it doesn’t matter how deep the meaning of your lyric is, the message won’t be delivered effectively. Sometimes a great writer will throw in an unusual word or an unconventional pronunciation as a special effect.

Making the words flow

As you develop your lyric, try to include lyrical and poetic in your lyric. As these lyrics start finding a melody, be sure to try out your lyrics to see how comfortable they feel being sung. One way to help ensure that the sound of your words will be an asset to your song is to write as you would talk. If a lyric is conversational and informal, it’s more likely to be easy to sing and sound natural.

Baby is a word you’ll find a lot in songs, yet few people still use it in conversation. Some popular writers would sooner die than use this word. Yet, others have made a career out of using the word baby.

Another important element of a lyric is the point of view from which the lyric is sung. Hit songs have been written from every imaginable perspective. The first person perspective is perhaps the most popular of all the forms. This is where the story is told from the singer’s point of view — it’s also the most personal of all the points of view.

The first person approach to a lyric is many writers’ favorite point of view. Maybe that’s because so many of us use songwriting as a way of expressing what’s in our hearts — getting things off our chests. The singer/songwriter era in the ’70s spawned many songs from this perspective when the buying audience seemed fascinated by the innermost feelings of the introspective artists of that time. Even if you write a lyric from a personal perspective, before you finalize it, try changing the perspective to third person to see how you like it. Changing the perspective can sometimes add needed depth to a lyric.

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