Dai Stuart (eranith) wrote,
Dai Stuart

Poetry vs. Songs

When I was younger, I used to compose music for the piano. Not huge, amazing pieces - I didn't have the knowledge or technical skill for that - but just little, repetitive pieces that sounded kinda cool to me. When I started taking piano lessons, I stopped composing. Not because I didn't like the piano anymore, but I guess because I felt obliged to practice those particular pieces I was learning with my teacher rather than work on anything else. Any attempts to compose anything since then have been feeble and abandoned after too long. I never had a method for writing music; I kind of just mashed the keys until I found something I liked, and tried to hear where it should logically go from there.

Now, I want to compose stuff again. Not just music, but it's like . . . I'm expanding my creative options to include music again. I can never get a theme I like, though. So I thought maybe instead of composing something with a focus on the music itself, I could write a song. I use words, so I should be able to do that. Problem is, how do I do that? The only song I ever wrote before was . . . so-so at best.

So I've asked one of my friends, who frequently writes songs, and I've been observing her methods a bit. She says she writes her lyrics before her music, because they're the focus of it all, then she finds a melody that fits them, and then puts the chords around that. I've even seen a glimpse of her lyrics for a Bridge before she'd figured out the melody, and it sort of sparked something in my brain. The lyrics rhymed sometimes but not always, and their rhythm was questionable. But I've heard her music, and I've seen how she puts things together, and I fully believe she'll make it work. It's sort of reminded me of the difference between poetry and song lyrics, though.

Poetry relies on the consistancy between the writer and the reader to get timing right - that's why syllable count and meter is so important in the poems that choose to use it. Lyrics, however, are made to be heard, so the song itself can be built to accomodate inconsistancies in length of lines so long as equivalent lines (eg. line A of Verse 1 and line A of Verse 2) are roughly the same.

Armed with this knowledge - of lyrics first, and flexibility of meter - I feel a bit more confident. I haven't tried anything yet, but I'm thinking that effectively, I could write something as a poem, except with those little flourishes that make it song-friendly, and that could work as a base for a song. Or I could even take one of the poems I've already written.

I dunno. I want to, but I'm still figuring out how to make it work or where I'd start. Some day.
Tags: lyrics, music, poem, poetry, song, thinking
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