Lyric Writing 101: Part 2  

Lyric Writing 101: Part 2


This is Part two of my Lyric Writing guide. Here you will learn how to accompany words by writing alternate lyrics.

It is important As It Was Lyrics  not to mistake alternate lyrics with cover songs. There are many ways to cover a song, you can alter the lyrics slightly to modernize it like in the Disturbed cover of Tears For Fear’s “Shout”. You can also alter the tune slightly as seen in Madonna’s version of Don MacLean’s “American Pie” or Sheryl Crow’s cover of Guns n Rose’s “Sweet Child o’ Mine” [also altered to change the voice from male to female]. You notice that the song in essence stays the same, both lyrically and melodically. For more examples of cover songs, see the reference to ‘Triple M’s Musical Challenge’ in Part 1 of this guide.

What are they?

Alternate lyrics use both the melodic and lyric arrangement of a pre-existing song. The ‘new’ lyrics are sung to the same melody, and in the same manner as the original song. This process is not only used by novices, there are a number of established artists that use this practice.

Why write alternate lyrics?

Many novices use this practice as a tool to help the learning process of combining words with music. As for established artists, well there are several reasons why – some possible reasons are as follows.

* One of the most common forms of alternate lyrics are parodies. Check out any of Weird Al Yankovic’s work. Some of his titles include ‘Amish Paradise’ (“Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio); ‘It’s all about the Pentiums’ (“It’s all about the Benjamin’s” by Sean Combs, Notorious B.I.G, Sean Jacobs, et al); ‘Constipated’ (“Complicated” by Avril Lavinge).

* Alternate lyrics can be used to add a little ‘flair’ to a live performance, or break the monotony of playing the ‘same’ song every night whilst on tour. This can be seen in the Guns n Roses track “Don’t Cry” [both versions can be found on the ‘Use Your Illusions’ albums].

* Perhaps too much was written in the original song draft and the writer adapted the excess to make a ‘new’ track. Or possibly the writer was unable to decide on a particular angle on the song, and continued to alter the song until they found something they were happy with. This can be seen in the Staind song “Outside”, you can find one of the original versions of this song through a simple search on the ‘net.

Getting Started

It is probably best when you first attempt to write alternate lyrics, to choose a song that you are familiar with. When choosing a song, try to pick a melody you know well. To start with, examine the lyrics, making note of patterns such as rhyme schemes and syllable count. What do I mean by this? Look for which line ends rhyme together and whether there is a pattern to it. Count the number of syllables in each line and see if there is any intentional design to them (note not all will have this, but it is important to take note of what is there).

* — * Make sure you know the song well, listen to it 100 times if need be. You need to be able to not only call the melody to mind but also how the lyrics are placed and sung.

What are you going to write about? You will need to have a clear idea of wha



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