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Old 09-06-2009, 10:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Songs/Poems whats the difference?

I've always wanted to write songs, but I just don't know how to write them. Some people say its just like writing a poem. Is it really? Anyone have advice to give me? I've always dreamed of becoming a songwriter..I mean I LOVE to write(writing is like my 3rd world)and I also love music.So anyways any advice people can give me?

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Old 09-06-2009, 10:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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just to write? It's honestly not a skill that comes from knowing a specific piece of knowledge. Gotta practice, practice, practice, as my piano teacher used to always say... god I hated her.

peace,
-nick
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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writing songs has the added dimension of actually being performed. While poetry may always benifit from being read aloud, most authors can only hope for that. Song writing on the other hand, if its any good, will always be heard rather than read.

Also, there is of course the musical element. While some lyrics read just like poetry, others really have no rythem in and of themselves. Mixing words with cords, dynamics, harmonies, etc. makes it not only more complicated, but more powerful as well.

As far as tips for getting started...im probably not the best person to ask seeing as most of songs are really just poems with ego and haven't actually been set to any kind of music.

When my band and i were writing songs (all of two lol) we started with basically a guitar riff. Then another... then maybe a base riff. After that my co-singer and I wrote some lyrics to fit with the mood of music. Once we had a melody (which we just made up) the drummer and pianist filled in the background. its definitely easier when you have a lot of people all of which have at least mediocre talent and a commen goal.

EDIT: also, practice practice practice. Sometimes all you can do is try and fail and try again to figure out how the music flows from you, and then keep trying until you actually get something decent.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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For me particularly, if I'm writing lyrics, I visualize in my head how it will be sung as I'm writing, and maybe music to go along with it. Poems I tend to focus more on rhythm and rhyming because it will usually always be read the same way. You can't really tell how lyrics are going to be sung until you actually hear them. I don't know if I'm still making sense or if I'm rambling to myself, so I'll just second that 'practice practice practice,' because it is important.
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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thanks guys,you were a big help...if theres anymore people who would like to give advice i would love the help!

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunshineann View Post
thanks guys,you were a big help...if theres anymore people who would like to give advice i would love the help!

~SunshineAnn~
Hi SunshineAnn,
Your question is interesting: what is the difference between poetry and song lyrics? I will take the simple route in my answer: I feel the only difference is that when you sing a poem you control your tone of voice more carefully and with intention than when speaking the words with one's speaking voice. I'm thinking now of people doing religious chanting...it is singing, and there are words, but it may not have a rhythm necessarily. There are also songs that are the equivalent of poetry free verse. Conversely, rap music sounds like spoken words with a lot of rhythm. Songs have so much variety that it is hard for me to distinguish between a poem and song lyrics.

It is true, though, that people like different styles and structures for songs than they like for spoken prose or poetry. For example, there are traditions people follow (copy) when writing words for songs. Pop music often has a simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus format for the poem (or some variation thereof).

I have found that I enjoy writing lyrics (for performance out loud, like VeggieLover notes) much more than simply writing poems that stay fixed on a page and transmit via eyes (or fingers!) to a person's mind as that person reads them. I didn't think of writing lyrics for songs as a primary creative outlet until last year. I'd been writing poetry for years...many years...and other than two songs I made up for my child didn't think of combining poetry with music until last year: while I was making up a song for someone, it "came with a tune" when I imagined it. In other words, the words were linked with a tune from the very beginning when I imagined them.

Now when I write song lyrics, I know from the beginning that I want to sing them, and I will do so with the very first word that pops in my mind and as I write all the lines. Sometimes I'll think of a tune and record it on an old tape player then later "realize" what the feeling of the tune is and what the words are that I want for it, but mostly I start with a few words and a tune joined together. I prefer rhythmic songs and so try to take care that I write the lines with a certain meter or rhythm to match the tune. The words sometimes help the tune evolve, as well.

Here's something interesting I do sometimes that might be fun for you to try. Let's say you have a poem you have written that you like. Try simply reading it out loud with your speaking voice. As you read the poem, notice where your voice dips lower or rises up (with some sort of shorthand above the words). Then, try taking those pitch differences and accentuate them until they are notes. I've been experimenting with making songs like this for which the tune follows how one would say the words by speaking them.

I hope this helps you and that you will have lots of fun creating songs that you like.

--Erica
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think they are very simimlar and when I write it could be either. I have written, thinking I'm writing a poem, and later use that with guitar to make a song. There all very similar if not exactly the same.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The difference between lyrics and poetry is this: Lyrics are written with the intention of being sung with a tune or with music in a song. Poetry is written with the intention of being read or spoken aloud.
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