Tuesday, 20 July 2010

songwriting help on the web

Seem to be having a little (free time) problem with picking up the guitar for anything but the most minimal practice sessions these days but hey.... what about songwriting?

It is a small issue these days but rhyming does seem to add a little something to a song lyric. There are of course, as you would expect, lots of sites offering help on the web. here are a few which you may find helpful.

Rhymer is a free on-line rhyming dictionary, offering six different types of rhyme. This seems to be a very wide ranging search of words that give both storng and weak rhymes. You may find you need to be selective. But on the other hand, the more rhymes you have the more creative you can be.

WIKI rhymer, claims to be the best on-line rhyming dictionary. A claim I have not substantiated but why not try it for yourself. It seems to have a separate engine for weak rhymes ( eg those rhymes which are almost but not quite there but will work in the right place)

Write _express seems to use Rhymer (see above)

Ultimate songwriting.com is a site with lots of tips ( it claims) for writing good songs, this link is to the page on how to use rhymes. It is a blatantly comercial site, but it is up to you to pick what you need from its many pages of tips, etc. It also has a page dedicated to using a rhyming dictionary, and cautions using a rhyme for its own sake, make sure it fits naturally.

Michael Thomas has written a comprehensive explanation of the different types of rhyme. A good idea to at least understand the main points.

Song writing fever 3 has a page on using rhymes. Why and how. A short tutorial but opens the way to more information.

A short article on rhyming ( Samantha Gonzalez), again you are urged to be natural and consider wether you need to rhyme at all. Something the commercial sites selling rhyming dictionaries or software never mention.

OK, I have just proved that I can use Google. And now I am proving that I can use my Amazon associate links.

But seriously, lyrics have to sound good. It should go without saying but writers do try and force lyrics to do what they are told is the right thing. This only leads to a loss of the natural flow of the words and becomes to sound stilted. I know it happens (and even in classic songs), but the use of a natural sounding lyric keeps the listener involved. Leave the breaking of rules to those who can get away with it, a good vocallist can makethe telephone book sound interesting. If you are just learning or want to raise your standard a notch - take some advice and make it sound natural.

I guess you know the sort of thing I am getting at, the order of words is changed to force a rhyme - something you would never hear in ordinary speech. I think this is a death knell to most popular songs, the listener is trying to work out what happened and loses the song altogether.

( note to myself..... I am writing this on the fly. Will be back to add in a couple of examples)

Now, Do I ever use a rhyming dictionary? The answer is no! I let my lyrics come as naturally as possible. The rhyme is the least of my problems. I sometimes run thru a list in my head of simple, single syllable rhymes by changing the first letter in a word. Perhaps my lyrics would be more sophisticated if I used two syllable or weak (near) rhymes but that is debatable. I guess my best advice is as quoted above. Stay natural and do not force a rhyme for the sake of that rhyme.

OK thanks for getting this far, I will try to get back sooner next time and perhaps get down to choosing a subject.