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The terms 'Lyricist', 'Songsmith', 'Tunesmith' or 'Wordsmith' are used to describe an individual who writes words, prose, rhymes or poetry. These may be performed vocally, spoken rhythmically or accompanied by music for the listeners pleasure. The author has the ability to create imagery through their words and may have little prior knowledge of music and are not required to play a musical instrument, although to be successful the lyricist should learn as much about song construction, alliteration, rhythm and timing plus find suitable composing partners who share their passion to collaborate in creating songs.

There are many collaborative teams who have become famous for their teamwork like lyricist Bernie Taupin and composer/singer Elton John or Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber who follow the tradition set by other great partnerships in creating songs that will be remembered for years to come.

Lyrics are just as important as the music which accompanies them, they convey to the listener the story or theme of the song. Although it's true that there are certain 'formats' that are used to create hit songs, these should not be allowed to limit the lyricists expressive nature. The writer should endeavour to explore all styles and not just aim to write commercially orientated songs as writing for pleasure helps to expand the writers understanding of the creative process. Many lyricists and songwriters have written hundreds of songs before they find a pattern that suits their writing style and appeals to a commercial market.

Every lyricist has their own prefered way of writing and may explore several methods until they find the ones that suit them. It doesn't matter wether the music comes before the lyrics, or the verse is written before the chorus or the arrangement needs to be changed before it flows as a song. The method is far less important than the end result, how you create is individual to you and any partners you work with, so long as it works - nothing else matters!!

There are various songwriting tools that every budding lyricist should have in their possession. Other than a pen, pencil, eraser, paper and small tape recorder, no serious writer would be without a Dictionary, Thesaurus and Rhyming Dictionary, all of which can be found in the Songwriting section along with tips on how to start, free software to aid in songwriting and essential books to help you create songs.

Lyricist v2.2
The ultimate songwriting tool provides online file copyright, chord charting and editing, chord wizard, programmable text styles, database storage, album categorization, spell checker, thesaurus, rhyming dictionary, file export, email and media file launch and multi document interface. This commercial software is available for PC & Mac and retails for $39.95 plus shipping.

Lyricmaker 1.2
From the developer: "It's a small, very simple and free program that finds all the rhymes to a word in the dictionary and helps you write poems, song lyrics, etc. Current version can find words in english and spanish. Version 1.2 is DOS based." Click Here to download 768K Freeware Windows (all) or visit the authors site Hammysoft.

Related Reading
Writing Better Lyrics
Pat Pattison is a professor at Berklee College of Music, where he teaches lyric writing and poetry. His books Writing Better Lyrics, The Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure, and The Essential Guide to Rhyming are considered definitive in their genre. His former students include Grammy winners John Mayer, Gillian Welch, and Rob Hotchkiss (Train).

Also Read
Assonance & Alliteration
Cast Your Songs to the Wind
Session Singers
The Importance of Contrast
Your Best Bet for a #1 Song

Related Articles & Sites

This following are a small selection from the articles available in our Songwriting Articles section. All links open in a new window.

An Online Course in Songwriting
Free online tips and advice provided monthly by Rein Menke

Cybernetic Poet
Produced by Kurzweil CyberArt Technologies this free screensaver helps you write poetry and song lyrics. The premium edition contains a poet analyzer and creator to help you find rhythms, alliterations and ideas.

Developing Successful Song Structures
Tips and advice on songwriting by Jason Blume from Taxi.

Guide to writing Lyrics
By Arnold Shulman, guest writer at Guitar Nine Records.

Jeremy Nicholas: Lyricist
Andrew Stewart interviews this prolific and comedic lyricist.

Jeff Mallett's Songwriter site provides songwriting advice, resources and information on contests and showcases for songwriters.

Lyrics Review
Dedicated to the review of real lyrics from real people, site includes info, contests and helpful links.

Making a living as a Lyricist
CleverJoe's confessions of a Songwriter answers questions and provides an insight into the life of professional Canadian songwriter and musician Austin Smith.

Pre-Choruses & Bridges
Tips and advice on songwriting by Jason Blume from Taxi.

Request Lyrics from a Composer Lyricist
at Carlene's Words & Music World.

Song Lyricist
Connect with songwriters, musicians, publishers, read articles, find contests.

Tips -- Rewriting Lyrics
Nothing makes a song stick in your memory like a great lyric. Learn how the great songwriters craft their words for maximum effect. By Jason Blume. Taxi Article

Tips -- Song Construction
Lyrics or melodies take on a whole new life when they're together. The song is greater than the sum of its parts. By John Braheny. Taxi Article