Suggestion - Lyrics only songs.
@zxcvbnm Mar 2
I tend not to comment on lyrics only songs unless they are by friends. For an ignorant guy like me it would help if the writer even recited the song from which I could at least pick up a rythm. It might even elicit collabs from musicians?
@klaus Mar 2
I used to have a kind of opposite problem. I didn't comment lyrics-only writers I had made a collab with. The selfish logic was: " Well, I already made a fantastic song and demo out of your lyric. That's the biggest positive comment I can give. What more do you want!?" Ah, the good old silly Klaus days.
Now I try to give comments back to everyone. ( This year was an exception ).
The idea itself is a good one. I don't know how many lyrics-only writers will do it. It is, after all, a good half an hour "extra" job for the writer to recite the lyrics, then make an MP3 file and load it to some cloud and get the link and put the link to the song page - the same job every demo making musician does every time.
But it would be a big help. I always spent some time just figuring out the intended rhythm and stresses because very often those are not clear in written form.
For a non-native English speaker, the added bonus would be that he would also get to hear the "proper" pronounciation.
It's a very good idea. I would put any reciting lyricist on top of my personal Super Duper Important People Watchlist for sure. Especially if they recite their lyrics to a steady beat to indicate the tempo and time signature.
@kahlo2013 Mar 2
Hmmmm.... as someone who writes a lot of lyrics and writes to music in my head I hesitate to put even a rhthym down as when a collaborator picks them up while sometimes they come up with something very similar to what I was thinking more often they come up with something that it 100x better and something I would not have thought of at all - so while I could put rough demos in (and I have for some) I hesitate to do that as I think it would actually deter people from being interested if not hurt their ears!
@leomozi Mar 2
@zxcvbnm, I think that’s a great suggestion. I often see lyrics that don’t have a meter that’s evident to the reader, and I don’t have the patience to work it out. I wrote a rare lyrics-only song this year, and even with me mostly sticking to an even number of syllables and stresses within stanzas, when I came back and read it later I couldn’t tell right away why I thought it scanned. But I can also see @kahlo2013‘s point about being interested in seeing what collaborators come up with metrically.
@oneslowtyper Mar 3
Some of the people I work with, especially the singers, refuse to hear my vocal guide, even when I'm posting it only as a possible suggestion. Their reasoning is that they don't want to be "influenced" by my idea, before completing their own interpretation. But then I have others who appreciate that I give them a melody to follow. I truly love it when two different people (this year was Andy and Klaus) come up with 2 different versions of one of my lyrics. This has happened 4 different times for me, and the results were fabulous. I think if I posted my lyrics along with an a Capella recording - none of those songs would have been done.
I'm one of the more "odd" lyricists though, who would much prefer to write to existing music, rather than just posting lyrics.
Having said all this, I'm happy to work in whatever way my collaborators wish.
@donna Mar 3
I was ill for most of February, so this FAWM I didn’t post any Audacity files with my lyrics. But in most FAWMs and 50-90s I post a crapella versions simply to get the lyrics onto the player. I make it clear that the melody is open to be used as is, or enhanced, or discarded altogether.
Most of my songs are with off-site collaborators, and I usually send them a spoken file to indicate pronunciation as well as where the stresses should fall. It’s helpful for sure, and certainly saves them having to re-record if they've mispronounced an important word, or placed stresses where they were unnecessary or in some way altered the intention of the lyrical storyline. (Stresses on generally unimportant words - like prepositions - are the worst offenders.)
It’s also useful for me as a lyricist, because when speaking a lyric aloud I always find places where I can drop a syllabe or two in order to tighten the scansion/rhythm of the piece.
@kahlo2013 Mar 3
@donna Yes! When I do off-site collaborations where we work together I will send or meet with them and sing my idea and then we work together to create the music - but that involves actually talking together and exchanging thoughts which I love but is not a reality of this wonderful community for most of us!
@darcistrutt Mar 3
I get bored with my own interpretation sometimes. I’d rather hear a fresh sound. I mostly do my own music, but have loved seeing what happens when someone else takes a lyric. My own melody is much better with someone else’s lyric too!
@quork Mar 3
I think the lyrics should stand on their own.
@donna Mar 3
@quork Yes, ideally the lyric should 'sing off the page', so to speak. And this is what I aim for. It makes it much easier for the composer/musician to 'hear' a melody.
I should emphasise that the ONLY reason I sometimes provide an 'a crapella' is to get the piece on to the player/jukebox so that more people might drop by to read the lyric.
@ajna1960 Mar 3
For me, working as a lyricist year round, I never speak the lyrics for my co-writers (and I sure as hell can't sing).
I have never had a problem with this, and my co-writers have never complained (@stevenwesleyguiles @mmmmarcus @hummingbird @dragondreams @stuartbenbow @karlsburg25 @jenfoss @bobporri et al).
I like to let them have their freedom of expressing what they feel.
I can, and do, write music and play a few instruments (pretty poorly, but well enough to compose), and have written whole songs. But my strength is in writing lyrics, and I'd like to think that the rhythm and cadence of my words is evident to a co-writer.
Outside of FAWM people come to me to collaborate, and usually ask for one of 2 things. 1. Bare lyrics that they can then work with (the most popular option). 2. They hand me the music and I then interpret that and write the lyrics to fit (not so often).
I have been told by co-writers that one reason they come to me for 'bare' lyrics, is because they can read the rhythm and the cadence, because I
@ajna1960 Mar 3
, because I specifically write that into the lyric, as I go. When I write, I write to music in my head. Therefore the lyric should scan.
So for me, reading the lyric aloud for a co-writer would completely compromise their own creative process. But if someone asked me to, I would happily do it.
So enough of my rambling thought process. This is just how I find it works for me and the folks I work with.
@dasbinky Mar 3
Everyone on FAWM works differently, in both their writing/posting styles and their commenting styles. And there's thousands of us, so there room for all types.
Lyricists should feel zero compulsion to post any sort of rhythm or demo of any sort. Commenters should feel zero compulsion to post a comment on any given song, demo or not. To suggest otherwise is going pretty counter to the ideas behind FAWM.
@jmadison Mar 3
Reading through all of this, it occurs to me that speaking the lyrics is just one more tool in the toolbox. Sometimes you might want to use the tool, sometimes not.
I'm not a much of a lyricist, but for me it's like a click track. Sometimes I use one to constrain me to a certain tempo, other times, I go without (leaving it in the toolbox)
@zecoop Mar 3
I'm in the all of the above category. From the opposite direction, I write only music and never have any idea what the melody will be. And the melodies my collaborators come up with are way better than anything I would have done.
For lyrics only I could see it working both ways, but in an interesting twist, @sueawesome sent me a recording of her reading one of her poems and I composed backing music and added her spoken word over the top. I think it worked out magically
I've been trying to comment on more lyrics only songs, but could do way better. There are so many amazing lyricists here.
@stuartbenbow Mar 3
Hmm, I’ve never been bothered one way or the other. When I collaborate, I’ve been given lyrics, lyrics and a rhythm to follow, lyrics and a rough melody, just music, and music with a suggested or required theme. From a creative standpoint when collaborating, they all have unique challenges and opportunities.
When commenting, I’ll look at either or if I have time. If I’m busy, I prefer demo’d tunes, so I can listen while driving or working, take a moment to comment (when I arrive if driving) and keep doing what I’m doing.
@stephenwordsmith Mar 3
I find if I've written a good enough lyric, it will sing off the page to the artist. I tend to use well-known metres and pay attention to which sylLABles are emPHAsised.
However, it will sing in different ways.
Compare and contrast these two takes on 'Dragon':
@tcelliott's: A driving rock anthem: https://fawm.org/songs/97464/
@the3queens': A slow, etheral, celtic piece: https://fawm.org/songs/96194/
Not only are they stylistically completely different, they also both took my original lyrics and restructured them slightly - Tom kept the ABAB rhyme scheme but killed the opening chorus, while Lori changed the lines around to make it an AABB scheme and converted the second verse to a chorus. Both worked very well in the context.
I think if I spoke the lyrics aloud, it would probably be distracting and counter-productive.
@klaus Mar 4
It's our mutual interest to get more lyrics-only into music. Recitation is one solution. Indicating intended stresses and meter by slashes or caps works as well.
There is no need to add recitation or stress-marked lyrics sheet for lyrics with clear rhythm and matching verses like for example @oneslowtyper , @donna , and @stephenwordsmith write.
There's often a thread in Fawm about rhyming and rhyming dictionaries and sites. But the fact is that rhythm and meter is much more fundamental. You can write a perfectly good song without a single rhyme. But if you use a different rhythm in each line it takes forever to musify.
The best way to get more collabs, get different versions and avoid recitation is to write lyrics that "sing off the page".
@kahlo2013 Oh, that was wonderful recitation. Thank you so much. I could even hear little bit of punk attitude in your voice. 😀 It really helps. Now I know how to approach a lyric like that.
@roddy Mar 4
As has been said already, everyone has their own approach. For me I prefer seeing the lyrics on their own. What I do is write them out by hand on a pad and read them several times before thinking about music. Often my first impressions about the words will change quite a lot after a few readings. Once I've have a feel for the lyrics then I start with music. I tend to treat the words with a lot of respect, never change them and make the music follow them as much as I can. I've been influenced by Pat Pattison's ideas on prosidy for matching words and music. (though I think he sometimes takes this too far) For me this is easier without hearing a recitation or requiring stress marks. This is my method for FAWM. However, when I work with someone I know then it's a much more back and forth business and I'd find that a bit difficult given the constraints of FAWM.
Here's a link to one of Pattison's songwriting pages https://www.patpattison.com/pat-s-lyr...
@ajna1960 Mar 4
Such an interesting discussion from a lyricists point of view. I work with so many very different people, in many different ways, and it's really cool to read these different ideas on the subject.
@donna Mar 4
Too true, @zxcvbnm. 😉
Apropos Shakespeare: It's been posited by a certain literary scholar that the best works attributed to Shakespeare were in fact written by Mary, the Countess of Pembroke (in the 16th century, women were forbidden to write for the stage; Mary was the second most highly educated woman in Europe, second only to the Queen, Elizabeth), and that only the worst sonnets - and there were some clunkers - were written by Shakespeare himself. 😉
But I guess we'll never know for sure. 😉
@tuneslayer2018 Mar 4
I often post lyrics at work. It's hard to do any kind of audio file when you're in a semi-open workspace with about 30 people within hearing distance. 😀
Unfortunately I also often don't get around to doing demos later. I really should, I know.
@tamsnumber4 Mar 5
I love picking up lyrics and putting music to them, I only choose ones that sing to me and I won't get involved with any that have any preconceived ideas, so if you post what genre they are or tell me how they go, then I will more than likely disappoint you and so won't get involved. I believe that reciting a lyric to yourself as if it were poetry reveals it's natural rhythm to you and the melody lies within. I think there is a version that the lyricist heard and intended and the only way to unlock that is to learn to do it yourself. I am not being mean, I used to only write lyrics myself until the songwriting board forced me to start learning how to do them myself, I went from acapella singing them to learning how to play a guitar, those nuances lie within the writer, to think you can pass that song in your mind into another is not going to happen, if you can't create the music, allow another artist to have their creative moment with it, the result can be amazing.
@crisp1 Mar 5
I think any of us who are lyric writers only and who have been lucky enough to collaborate with Tammy can attest to the wisdom of her words here. 😀
@donna Mar 5
Indeed, every collaboration journey is a personal, customised one. 😀 No particular way is either right or wrong. To paraphrase the Buddha: 'The truth is what works'. 😀
@klaus Mar 6
When the verses don't match then there simply is no way to decide what is the lyricist's indented rhythm. Even when the verses match to a tee some lines can still have a slightly ambiguous rhythm ( this is because, among other things, stressed words can have two levels of stress ) but if you compare that line to another line in another verse you should be able to find the right rhythm.
I think recitation is still a good idea. You don't have to listen to it if you're not looking for a collaboration. If you are looking for a collaboration and if you already know that listening to a recitation will make it more difficult for you to find your own rhythms, then it's really your own fault if you still listen to them. 😀
Lyricist should not be afraid that recitation or stress marked lyrics will automatically produce exactly the same melodic rhythms. Stress-rhythm of a lyric is not the same thing as melodic rhythm! Recitation is only meant for us poor musicians who for some reason feel it it helps them to collaborate. If you want more collabs for your lyrics-only entries you definitely should give recitation audio files a go. It's a win-win situation, I'm sure.
@ajna1960 Mar 6
11 of my 13 FAWM lyrics have collaborations, without there being a recitation of the words by myself. I would like to think that this is because musicians could 'hear' the music when they read the words, or at least they give them an idea.
@coolparadiso Mar 6
there seems to be an assumption by some that lyricists know the flow of the words and how they might sound. sometimes my lyrics are just a story or message i want told so am grateful for a musician to help me tell them. i do of course do most of my own music but often i have no idea what it will be until after the lyrics are complete. i think one size cant fit all. i write for specific people sometimes, sometimes i write to sell in specific markets. some people want a full demo, some want just lyrics etc. i think its all about your reason to write and or your target group.
@wsharper69 Mar 7
I myself am a lyrics only kind of guy
You may ask yourself why
Sit back a spell and I will tell you why
Oh why, why, why
I'm just a lyrics kinda guy
Oh wait Fawm is over no more lyrics
I personally can not carry a tune
and learning and playing instruments never worked out to my benefit. I am however impressesd with people who can learn to play any instrument and turn lyrics into a anything they hear and create song and make music out of thin air
And most of the time the tune In my head while I write tends to leave after I write the next one. I know my lyrics can tend to be mediocre at best but I also believe there is good material for someone who is looking for something to write about. Also how cool is it to have your lyrics in a song and be able to say I had a part in this song.
@zecoop Mar 7
I'm not a lyric writer, but it seems to me that telling lyricists that they should give some sort of meter or rhythm or melody to their lyrics every time, is kind of like telling people like me how to write their music. I never know what song, rhythm, melody, instrument, style is coming next. And 99% of the time I couldn't tell you what melody works the best over my song. The beauty of FAWM (to me) is that there are no rules. 😀
@zxcvbnm Mar 7
@zecoop There was no suggestion of making rules. There were more than 10 000 songs submitted this FAWM, nobody can listen/look zt them all. Because we are all time limited I think that for lyrics only, some indication or suggestion of a rhythm would elicit more comments That is purely a personal opinion of course 😀
@zecoop Mar 7
@zxcvbnm - I definitely get it and would love to see the ideas that lyricists have, and if it helped get more lyrics read that would be a good thing! I'm just saying that sometimes a different set of eyes might see a completely different and wonderful song in a set of lyrics than the author did. I certainly see that in the other direction. Definitely not trying to downplay the idea, I just know there are lots of ways to do things. 😀
@visiblydistorted Mar 7
I do try to post my lyrics-only songs as a demo done a crapella with melody. I find it is harder to find a collab partner without at least giving a hint at what my intention is. But that said, some folks prefer to take lyrics as-is and run with them, instead. What I hear isn't always what the reader hears, and I think art is meant to be interpreted, too. So sometimes my melody is ignored even when posted, and the collab takes a new direction, and I'm totally fine with that! It isn't all about how many people take the time to read something and comment on it, for me. It's more about, how can I make this more approachable.