A Songwriters Point Of View
There are a few ways to look at choosing a point of view. We all know a song can be written a million different ways, but concentrating on what way will shine a light on the story we are writing, is a completely different issue. Every writer wants the lyric to jump off the page and through the microphone and overwhelmingly connecting with the listener. There are a few tricks of the trade to help make this happen.
There are questions you can ask and fill in the answers to help you with your song. Some of these ideas become part of the way you write without ever realizing you are doing it. Once you learn them they become second nature as you are writing; which is a good thing because writers already have enough to think about…:)
For example: Is the song, What I believe it was, the way I see it, the way I feel about it, the way I think it could be or the way I imagined it.
Mode of the Song
Identifying the mode of your song will help you keep lyrics conscise. Meaning, are you speaking in real time in your lyric or are you spinning a fantasy? You will need to know this information before you write. Mixing and matching in the song will hurt the connection bewteen the song and the listener. The snippets below give you examples of modes of songs.
The way I believe it was: History
Star Spangled Banner
The way I see it: Realism
Hard to Love
The way I feel about it: Romance
Truth and Trust
The way I think it could be: Fabulation
In the Year 2525
The way I imagined it: Fantasy
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
When you identify the mode of your song then move on to who is speaking in the story or lyric. Is it in 1st person, 2rd person, 3rd person?
Here are a few guidelines when making up your mind about the point of view in your song.
When your song is in 1st person, the singer takes on the dierct message of the song, blending into part of them. I and we are the connecting pieces of first person. The song has to be something the singer wants to be identified with and would say. If you create a song that is completely negative or using too many sexual overtones in the 1st person, the song will have a harder time finding a home. An important part of 1st person is keeping the singer likeable.
Another easy too fall into no-no is mindreading. You can't mindread! You don't know how someone feels unless they tell you, so don't tell them you know how they feel.
Writing in second person is straightforward, its speaks about whats right, advice and truths. You is primarily used in second person. When working with this style, you will want to be clear and universal. The broader audience will be identifying with this style because you are taking it upon yourself to speak for them! Clarity has to be in front of this type of lyric.
Now this is the writing technique to use when putting the singer in a negative light. He, she, they will keep the material in perspective. The lyric keeps the singer safe. Your vocalist isn't being identified with the material in the song, she is the carrier of the message or observer; this way the listener can accept what he/she is singing about.
Once the mode and view point of the song are in place it becomes easier to keep your song organized.
You can learn more by reading The Craft of Lyric Writing by Sheila Davis.
or wait for me to continue with my next article…:)
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