From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Songwriters and not[edit]

The wording of this page is too benign and generic.

zyanne will be performing a song with beyonce ion a music video.There should be a distinction between someone who writes a few lines or a few words for a song, rather than wholly contributing to the song. If someone writes the lyrics and the music to a song, and someone rewords or adds a few lines, that doesn't make a songwriter. If Emeril LaGasse cooks a new meal and I add the salt, that by no means means I am now a chef. I am a songwriter and the title of songwriter is thrown around much too freely. MsEames

Done. Hyacinth 08:08, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Vocal range and key[edit]

Whilst agreeing completely about the importance of the intended singer's vocal range, I question that singers favour a particular key. Surely it depends only on the pitch range of the notes in question. For example, I can best sing John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" in the key of C but I can't sing his "Imagine" comfortably in that key, simply because its higher notes approach my upper limit.

Also, looking at the songs of a prolific singer-songwriter, such as Paul McCartney, for example, reveals a variety of keys, without any clear favourite emerging. It does, however, also reveal a group of keys that are not favoured, e.g D flat and B, but this is for other reasons, such as suitabilty for intended instruments and nothing to do with vocal preference.

I agree with your research completely. The reason singers prefer some keys over others, is that even though a certain key might be within the singer's vocal range, it might still be a difficult key to sing in as compared to a different key (which was also within the singer's vocal range like the first key). If both keys are within a singer's vocal range, then why does he find one easier to sing in and the other a little more difficult? It is because of the intervals between notes of the key. For example, because of the biology of the singer's voice box, it might be easier for him physically to make the jump from let's say notes three to five in key X rather in key Y. Individually, the singer can sing the third and fifth notes of both keys without a problem. But when sung in succession, for whatever quirk of his singing abilities, the singer may find it easier to sing the third and fifth notes of key X in succession, rather than the third and fifth notes of key Y. Please note, that I'm using note three (III) and note five (V), only as an example. It can be any notes of the scale of the key.

Too general[edit]

This article is too general and doesn't go into specifics enough.

The line:

'A rock song in contrast, would never have its music played by pianos and banjos' is flat-out wrong - listen to 'November Rain' by Guns n' Roses for example - I'm sure there are many other others. I understand the gist of this comment, however it needs elaboration. Rock songs should not be restricted to certain instruments.

That section "Parameters a songwriter has to keep in mind when writing a new song" was an addition by I removed it. I also removed the "Useful technique for writing music for musical instruments or singers" section by Hyacinth 11:01, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

New article?[edit]

I propose to write a sister article entitled "Songwriting". Thoughts? It looks like at various times, people have tried to add information to this article that are about the act of songwriting, not about songwriters per se. I could take some of this info, as well as information I am researching about songwriting and make an article. Aguerriero 19:41, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

That's a good idea. However, I wonder if such an article would belong under Musical composition. I'm a songwriter, and I know a lot of songwriters and songwriting teachers. It's hard to write about the actual process (not just the history of it) without being either POV or boring. Bufflo 09:33, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Copyright law[edit]

Removed intellectual property reference as songs are only covered by copyright law and not trade mark law, patent law or trade secret law. Also added short explicit info on what you need permission for. Copying and public performing of a work.

Please sign your posts on talk pages per Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Thanks! Hyacinth 21:55, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
Sorry about that. Created an account. Peope 23:39, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

External Links Section[edit]

I have just removed quite a few of the ELs on this article. The reasoning is that they are not directly about songwriters, but instead were links to commercial companies that offer services that might be related to songwriting. I also note that the article on Music publisher also has these links, and if anywhere, I feel that they are more appropriate there. It would be good if we could discuss this here before reverting. Thanks. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 17:28, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, people keep coming here to post commercial links. Not much to do about it , other than to delete them over and over I guess. Bufflo 02:34, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Silly interpolations[edit]

I read in paragraph one or two:

It is often speculated that pre-historic man may have made up and sung songs.

The only virtue of this remark is that it is consistent with the prevailing rationalist-empiricist ideology.

Surely there is no doubt that pre-historic man possessed human language in full. The idea that "he" had all this (think of all the richness of, and history built into, a human language!) but didn't make up and sing songs, is virtually absurd. (However, if rationalist-empiricism is true, then we cannot know anything about pre-history, and therefore it is possible that... and etc. etc.)

Pre-historic man probably had more brains than this. (I have no doubt that he did. Of course, I have no way of knowing this, since [etc. etc.].)

The kind of pseudo-objectivity behind such typical but silly encyclopedic asides is disguised ideology, not objectivity. True, there is a certain amount of ideology implicit in the project of having an encyclopedia at all, but the ideological commitment should cease there. If this is too abstract to understand, someone please direct me up to the global editors, who ought to understand philosophy as it pertains to this kind of project (i.e. wikipedia). --rflacco

thumbnail I would like to point out that in order for copyright to exist in a work, the work must contain lyrics, melody, and chord progression. Therefore, a songwriter must be someone who composes lyrics, melody and chords, or assists in ==Define Songwriter== composing lyrics, melody, and chords. I would propose that the first paragraph on the page (the defination, i suppose of "songwriter") be changed to fit. Infiznitch 22:33, 16 April 2007 (UTC)infiznitch

It's not necessary for a musical work to contain lyrics, melody and chord progressions in order to obtain copyright. Instrumentals, even purely melodic ones without any chords, have the same protection as songs. (Mark 18/04/07)

Specific songwriting information?[edit]

How about a section on popular songwriting form? There is a lot about specific songwriters but not much on songwriting itself. Any thoughts? Warrenmaynard 11:23, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

I think that's a good idea, especially since songwriting redirects to songwriter. However, be careful what you define as "popular" without proper citations. -Amatulic 22:51, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

I feel that this article gives a good basic description of what encompasses that of a songwriter.. (M.C. Petersen7 (talk) 20:08, 31 January 2012 (UTC))

Dylan overdubbing???[edit]

Should dylan be there, i really dont think so he is renound for disliking overdubbing. most of his reocrds have him palying live with a band, they dont have him palying the intrumens himself and then dubbing it in. Unless anyone has info i dont have he should not be in tht list. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:11, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Songwriting Teams[edit]

Have deleted the following from the list:
Steve Clark and Phil Collen & Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin - Entire bands usually credited as songwriters

James Hetfield and Lars Ulrigh, Steve Tyler and Joe Perry, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, & Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora - Questionable as to whether or not they're recognised as "songwriting teams"

The Jacksons - Don't make me laugh.

Eddie Galan - Not even a team, who put this in the list???

Janet Jackson - As if SHE's a noted songwriter.

And added:

Greenwich/Barry (WHY weren't they on the list already??!!)



Nathan86 (talk) 06:23, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

The whole list is a joke (talk) 00:54, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

jesse mcartny and khia???? on the same list as john lennon? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:22, 7 June 2008 (UTC)


I have a problem with the introduction saying that popular lyricists are somehow not artistic. I respect the fact that many of them aren't, and that the vast majority of listeners of other songs don't understand the lyrics. However, saying that just because a song is popular stops it being artistic is not only irrelevent but also, there are other artistic music other than so-called "art-music". I consider much of Linkin Park to have very subtle and artistic undertones. What I am trying to say is that the introduction is poor, and art music is a pretty poor article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by HandGrenadePins (talkcontribs) 12:59, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

First Person[edit]

What's with the first person paragraph in here? Not good. I'll maybe rewrite this entire article when I have some time (and if nobody else has done it by then). Deggle (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 12:53, 16 November 2009 (UTC).

'Bold text'== Re - Vocal keys and other song writing info. ==

Typically most contemporary songs are composed on specific instruments, so the vocal key will reflect this. Singer songwriters often write both the music and the lyrics and perform them by accompanying their singing on a musical instrument. Many rock songs are written on guitar, therefore favoring "Sharp" keys such as E, A, and D while songs written for broadway or musical theater are usually written on piano so will favor "flat" keys like F, Bb, and Eb.

The singer/songwriter movement has focused on originality and personal expression of the artist. However, I believe these values to be unique to the 20th Century and beyond. Previously performers were expected to adhere to specific standards of classicism where the individual personality of the performer is not relevant. The first examples we have of song lyrics reflecting daily life or personal experiences are the blues songs of the early 20th century and the folk music of the mid twentieth century.

Prior to the 1960's, the music industry was compartmentalized. Singers sang. Musicians played. Recording engineers recorded. Booking agents booked. Arrangers arranged. Publishers published. And songwriters sat in a room with a piano eight hours a day and wrote songs. They were not expected to perform their own compositions and often did not even get credit for songs that they wrote. Songwriters had a poor reputation among professional musicians who often made fun of them for their lack of musical sophistication and low quality lyrics.

This all went by the wayside after the 1960's with the advent of groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones which had their own singers, provided their own musical accompaniment, and generated their own original songs.

Prior to the 1960's the predominate musical structure for popular songs was the 32 Bar Song Form, or AABA, consisting of four eight bar segments of which the third was the bridge. Songs such as "Misty" and "The Shadow of Your Smile" utilizing chromatic harmony brought this song form to a high degree of sophistication, to the extent that songs not using that form were thought of as unmusical.

After the 1960's the form shifted to AAB, or Verse-Chorus and its modifications, consisting of one or more verses with a repeating chorus or "hook". Songs such as "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Me and Bobby McGhee" exploit this song format. ( (talk) 16:13, 22 June 2010 (UTC))

People forget how incredibly rough it is when you are learning to write and play music by ear alone. Learning to site music at ten lets say from a couple years cello lessons is one thing and learning all your scales on as many instruments as you want to learn is quite another. If you had a the voices in the world that could sing out of a bucket since it was mentioned that singing in fithts and thirds can be tough all the voices in the whole world would make noise screaming out all together. I know this is a staggering observation. Music literally has so many working parts. It takes some people a lifetime to just scrape the surface. Music is not about "Making it." Its about making it. So if my music sounds like play dough good for me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:06, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Songwriters Write Songs[edit]

Songwriter, as the term is generally used, is not someone who primarily writes lyrics. That's a lyricist--a type of songwriter. Generally speaking, a songwriter is someone who writes songs. This should be obvious.

What differs between a songwriter and a composer is that a composer writes for orchestras, and a songwriter is a catch-all for everything else.

Can someone please rewrite the lead so that the definition of the term is actually correct and sourced?

More information:

The best songwriters and best musicians and the best bands: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:57, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

I disagree with the statement aboveaboutthe meaning of "songwriter." It's certainly not how ASCAP or BMI use the term. "Songwriter" is generally used to refer to either a lyricist or a composer. The rather smug writer may really have meant his/her comment to refer to the term "composer." It is common for the latter term to be used for the person who wrote the music and "lyricist" used for the person(s) who, obviously wrote the lyrics. (----Apace361)
Seems to me a songwriter writes the lyrics of a song, whereas a composer writes the instrumental music. Thus, a composer may write music intended to be played by instruments alone (instrumental music) or may write music for the lyrics written by a songwriter. Of course a composer could also be a songwriter himself - just as an model can be an actress, and an attorney can be a politician, etc. In any event, I believe the first line in the leded needs reviewing, becuase if a songwriter and a composer are the same thing, this this article would need to be merged with the Composer article - something I am not ready to propose. Mercy11 (talk) 17:07, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

My name is Alexis Myers I'm 15 years old and I want to become a singer but I can't write lyrics can u plz help thx! Alexismyers1230 (talk) 16:36, 27 November 2016 (UTC)