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When setting lyrics, consider the accent patterns of the lyrics as you might say them in casual speech .
This web site is divided into chapters about unlike songwriting elements, but in rehearse, those elements shouldn ’ thyroxine be wholly separate. The melodies you write will impact the chords you choose, and frailty versa. Your most revolutionize bursts of creativity with those elements may occur when you come up with a chord progression and a melody at about the same time .
similarly, some of your best lyrics may come to you right when you ’ ve come up with an authoritative melody and chord progression. When you have a melody and chord progression you like, try playing them, or listening to recordings of them, over and over. Imagine what words might sound best over them. Come up with a crowd of possibilities and write them down. Don ’ thyroxine worry about whether they make sense ; you can sort that out by and by ( or not ). Once you ’ ve done that – possibly in one session, or possibly many times over a period of days – you may end up with a better smell of where your sung ’ second lyrics should go .
Or your songwriting serve might be slightly different. Some songwriters begin with lyrics as their inhalation, for exercise, and work on the music belated. That ’ s okay besides.

What ’ mho crucial is that your thinking and your process are based on the estimate that music and lyrics are interrelated. If your access to lyrics is disconnected from your approach to music, you may wind up trying to jam together puzzle pieces that don ’ thyroxine connect .

Why Is “Friday” So Bad?

  “ Friday ” is a 2011 single by Rebecca Black, a California adolescent whose mother paid a company called Ark Music Factory $ 4,000 to make her a pop birdcall and accompanying television. The television went viral, and Black ’ south dream of becoming a dad leading became a reality, though not in the way she intended. The song was widely ridiculed, and its YouTube uploads received millions upon millions of dislikes .
Getting that many people to hate your sung is unmanageable. If “ Friday ” in truth were abjectly amazing, it probably wouldn ’ t have been thus popular. The song has an extremely catchy refrain ( with a I-vi-IV-V chord progress ), and … well, actually, that ’ s about all it has going for it. But if you ’ re writing a popular song and you ’ re merely going to get one thing right, it ought to be a catchy chorus .

On the whole, though, “ Friday ” is amusingly severe, in part because of Black ’ s voice and in part because of the television. In one verse, Black describes her friends pulling up to her bus stop to offer her a ride to school. She hems and haws about where she ’ ll model ( “ Got ta make my mind up / Which seat can I take ? ” ). then, in the video, we see her sitting in the back center seat. Who chooses to sit in that seat ? cipher, that ’ south who .
What very sends the song over the boundary, though, is the way songwriters Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson set lyrics to music. Consider the follow lyrics :
Gotta have cereal.
Today is Friday.
If you ’ ve heard the song before, pretend you haven ’ thyroxine, and say those lyrics out loud, as if you were saying them in conversation with a friend. ( We ’ ll leave aside the questions of whether you ’ five hundred actually say “ Got tantalum have my stadium. Got tantalum have cereal, ” to your friend, or whether you ’ five hundred remind her that Friday follows Thursday. ) They probably sound a little like this :
GOTta have CEReal .
ToDAY is FRIday.
now consider the room Black says these lines in “ Friday. ”
GOTta HAVE cereAL.
TOday i-is FRIday.
Say these out brassy. They sound farcical, like Siri mangling the pronunciation of your supporter ’ south address. That ’ south because the scorch doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate respect the patterns of the language ( and because all the Auto-Tuning makes Black sound like an android to begin with ). When you write lyrics, you broadly want to place tonic syllables on beats, specially authoritative beats. here ’ s an model of how that might work .

How To Set Text: Theme From “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air”

It should not surprise us that Will Smith does a much better occupation setting textbook in the “ Fresh Prince ” theme than Jey and Wilson did on “ Friday. ” Hip-hop depends much more heavily than other pop genres on setting lyrics in a direction that seems natural, since rapping imitates homo lecture. besides, hip-hop lyrics are less behold to the contour of melodies than lyrics in other genres, so rappers have greater flexibility to move syllables around .
here are the first four lines from the “ Fresh Prince ” theme, with the key syllables capitalized .
On a PLAYground is WHERE I spent MOST of my DAYS
CHILLing out, MAXing, reLAXing all COOL and all
SHOOTing some B-ball OUTside of the SCHOOL

If we say these words aloud, independent of how they sound in the song, they sound natural. ( The idiom “ On a resort area is where I spent most of my days ” is much more awkward than, for exercise, “ I spent most of my days on the resort area, ” but that ’ randomness because of the order of the words, not their stress pattern. ) now listen to the birdcall, and notice how Smith uses the opening bible “ in ” as a pickup, with “ West ” landing on the foremost beat. When we say the idiom “ in West Philadelphia, ” we accent the syllable “ West, ” not the syllable “ in. ” So it would be poor form to place “ in ” on beat one.

There ’ s a dorky musician party magic trick ( the origins of which are indecipherable to me ) that involves singing a new translation of “ The Star-Spangled Banner. ” In the anthem, the opening syllable is sing “ O-oh ” – it takes two notes to sing. But what if we lone give “ Oh ” one note, and we move every other syllable up by a note, so that “ can, ” rather than “ say, ” winds up on the first downbeat ?
estimable luck singing the integral song like this, specially if you ’ ve been drinking. Whether you can do it or not, you ’ re going to sound absurd, because “ say, ” “ see, ” “ dawn ’ sulfur ” and “ abstemious ” are the syllables that receive natural talk accents, not “ can, ” “ by, ” “ ear- ” and “ that. ”
This is why Smith begins the “ Fresh Prince ” root with, “ Innnn…. WEST. ” “ West ” is the stressed syllable, so Smith places it on an stress beat. here ’ s the rhythm of the first four lines of the composition .
We ’ rhenium concern here in which syllables spill on beats ( which are represented by the numbers above the notes ), and particularly which syllables descent on beat one of each measure. note that when Smith sings “ Philadelphia, ” the entirely syllable he places on a beat is “ del, ” which is the stressed syllable in that give voice. And in the second line, note how he places the first syllables of “ chilling ” and “ maxing ” on beats, but he does not do so with “ relax, ” because “ lax ” is the stress syllable of that word .
now let ’ s expression more closely at the first telephone line .
In WEST Phil-a-DEL-phi-a BORN and RAISED
Notice how there are two unaccented syllables after “ West ” and two more after “ del. ” We might be able to use that radiation pattern – accented/unaccented/unaccented – to rewrite the rhythm in 3/4, rather than 4/4. therefore lashkar-e-taiba ’ s give it a shoot .
Okay, this international relations and security network ’ thymine bad. We ’ ve got the tonic syllables “ West ” and “ del ” on downbeats. Notice, besides, the cable “ Chilling out, maxing, relaxing or cooling. ” We place the syllables “ chill ” and “ max ” on downbeats because when we say the words “ chilling ” and “ maxing, ” we accent their first base syllables. We do not do this with the word “ relax ” – there, we accent the syllable “ lax. ” So we ’ ve placed “ lax ” on the downbeat, not “ re. ”
More subtly, look at what we ’ ve done with “ where I spent. ” The telephone line “ On a playground is where I spent most of my days ” is a little awkward when we say it out forte – no one would actually talk like that. When I ’ ve discussed this in class, my students have disagreed about whether to accent “ where ” or “ spent. ” here I ’ ve picked “ where, ” but I ’ ve split the remainder between “ where ” and “ spend ” by making “ where ” a relatively short syllable, even though it falls on an stressed beat, and “ spent ” a longer one. Try singing this cycle out brassy – the words should sound natural, about as if we ’ re speaking them .
By the manner, let ’ s go ahead and add a melody and chord progress to our fresh set of the “ Fresh Prince ” theme .
Presto, we ’ ve turned the “ Fresh Prince ” root into a Johnny Cash-style area tune. The progress is a standard IV-I-V-vi in the key of G ; if you ’ re find particularly kittenish, you could try changing the D chord in m. 7 to B7, creating a V7/vi. Note the symmetry of steps and leaps in the tune, and the manner the tune centers around notes from the chords that accompany it .
Setting text to music in a natural-sounding room is an important retainer, but it should, ultimately, be secondary. If you come up with a attention-getting choir, and changing the lyrics to fit the music makes the chorus less catchy, then possibly you shouldn ’ thymine change it. Plenty of dear pop songs have a few awkwardly-placed syllables, and a effective singer can much cover for bits of awkwardness hera and there .
It ’ s important to keep dialect patterns in mind, though, or else you might end up writing “ Friday. ” And if you ’ re the sort of songwriter who begins with lyrics inaugural, thinking about them in terms of their natural accents might help you set them in ways you hadn ’ triiodothyronine previously imagined .

Songwriting exercise
Consider the following lyric : “ On the day I was born, it was raining / On the day I turned nine, it was hot. ” Determine which syllables should be accented. Write a cycle for the lyric, then set it to a melody and add chords .

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